Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 77, Issue 2–3, pp 351–367 | Cite as

Geometry, subjectivity and the seduction of language: the regulation of spatial perception

  • Tony BrownEmail author
  • David Heywood


Following Husserl's speculations on how geometry originated, we suggest that spatial perception is seduced by language as a result of human attempts to capture, signify and share its concepts. And this language traps geometry and humans themselves in to the forms that have guided and regulated past practices, thereby obscuring possibilities for cultural growth and adjustments to new conditions. Some body movement exercises reveal student teachers' spatial orientations. The paper proposes that the very evolution of geometry, and the ontological status of its objects, relate to their representation in cultural forms referenced to human self-image. It is further argued that learning crucially relates to evolving mathematical or pedagogical understandings of spatial phenomena.


Geometry Subjectivity Language History Unity Embodiment Husserl 



The classes of 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 performed the shapes: Special thanks to Sally Jackson (for the drawings), Clare Crookall, Claire Shakeshaft, Jenny Taylor and to our colleague Yvette Solomon.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Manchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK

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