Volume 1 · Number 2 · Pages 61–72
A Constructivist Approach to Experiential Foundations of Mathematical Concepts Revisited

Ernst von Glasersfeld

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Purpose: The paper contributes to the naturalization of epistemology. It suggests tentative itineraries for the progression from elementary experiential situations to the abstraction of the concepts of unit, plurality, number, point, line, and plane. It also provides a discussion of the question of certainty in logical deduction and arithmetic. Approach: Whitehead’s description of three processes involved in criticizing mathematical thinking (1956) is used to show discrepancies between a traditional epistemological stance and the constructivist approach to knowing and communication. Practical implications: Reducing basic abstract terms to experiential situations should make them easier to conceive for students.

Key words: foundations of mathematics, concept formation, conceptual semantics


Glasersfeld E. von (2006) A constructivist approach to experiential foundations of mathematical concepts revisited. Constructivist Foundations 1(2): 61–72. http://constructivist.info/1/2/061

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