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Ethnomathematics and philosophy

Ethnomathematik und Philosophy

Abstract

Any concept of ethnomathematics must eventually meet philosophical debates about the nature of mathematics. In particular neo-realist positions are anathema to the idea that mathematics is culturally based, but even modern quasi-empiricist philosophies are challenged by the fundamental relativity implied in ethnomathematical writing.

A new way of interpreting mathematical history which may allow for a truly relativist mathematics is described, and some evidence is presented to support this view. The kind of studies which would arise from this perspective on mathematics are outlined.

Kurzreferat

Jede Konzeption von Ethnomathematik muß sich möglicherweise philosophischen Debatten über das Wesen der Mathematik stellen. Insbesondere neo-realistische Positionen sind den Vertretern der Idee, daß Mathematik kulturel fundiert ist, ein Greul. Aber selbst moderne quasi-empiritische Philosophien werden durch die durch ethnomathematische Schriften implizierte grundlegende Relativität herausgefordert.

Ein neuer Weg, die Geschichte der Mathematik zur interpretieren, der eine wirklich relativistische Mathematik zuläßt, wird beschrieben und untermauert: Es wird kurz dargestellt, welcher Art die Studien sind, die aus dieser Sicht der Mathematik entstehen könnten.

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A presentation to the First International Conference on Ethnomathematics, University of Granada, Spain, September 2–5, 1998

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Barton, B. Ethnomathematics and philosophy. Zentralblatt für Didaktik der Mathematik 31, 54–58 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-999-0009-7

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  • E20