The Role of History and Philosophy in University Mathematics Education

  • Tinne Hoff Kjeldsen
  • Jessica Carter


University level mathematics is organised differently in different universities. In this paper we consider mathematics programmes leading to a graduate degree in mathematics. We briefly introduce a multiple perspective approach to the history of mathematics from its practices, reflections about uses of history and the research direction in philosophy of mathematics denoted ‘Philosophy of Mathematical Practice’. We link history and philosophy of mathematical practices to recent ideas in mathematics education in order to identify different roles history and philosophy can play in the learning of mathematics at university level. We present, analyse and discuss different examples of inclusions of history and philosophy in university programmes in mathematics. These presentations are divided into courses in history and philosophy, respectively, since this is the main way they are organised at the universities. We shall see, however, that the history courses address philosophical questions and that the philosophy courses employ historical material. The chapter ends with comments on how mathematics educations at university level can benefit from history and philosophy of mathematics.


Mathematics Education Mathematical Object Project Work Mathematical Practice Philosophical Question 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Science, Systems and ModelsIMFUFA, Roskilde UniversityRoskildeDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and Computer ScienceUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark

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