Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 239–257

Young Peoples' Ideas of Infinity

  • John Monaghan

DOI: 10.1023/A:1016090925967

Cite this article as:
Monaghan, J. Educational Studies in Mathematics (2001) 48: 239. doi:10.1023/A:1016090925967


This paper considers views of infinity of young people prior to instruction in the methods mathematicians use in dealing with infinity. To avoid overlap with other papers in this special issue on infinity, reference to limit notions and Cantorian views of infinity are kept to the minimum. A partially historical account of studies examining young peoples' ideas of infinity is presented. Methodological problems in accessing such ideas is a sub-theme of this paper. The four main sections deal with: potential pitfalls for research in this area and the work of Piaget; issues concerning the contradictory nature of infinity and infinity as a process and as a object; infinite numbers; contexts and tasks.

infinity pre-university research methods 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Monaghan
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Leeds, Centre for Studies in Science and Mathematics EducationUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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