Constructing Mathematical Knowledge: Epistemology and Mathematics Education

By Paul Ernest | Go to book overview

Preface by Series Editor

Mathematics education is established worldwide as a major area of study, with numerous dedicated journals and conferences serving national and international communities of scholars. Research in mathematics education is becoming more theoretically orientated. Vigorous new perspectives are pervading it from disciplines and fields as diverse as psychology, philosophy, logic, sociology, anthropology, history, feminism, cognitive science, semiotics, hermeneutics, post-structuralism and postmodernism. The series Studies in Mathematics Education consists of research contributions to the field based on disciplined perspectives that link theory with practice. It is founded on the philosophy that theory is the practitioner's most powerful tool in understanding and changing practice. Whether the practice is mathematics teaching, teacher education, or educational research, the series intends to offer new perspectives to assist in clarifying and posing problems and to stimulate debate. The series Studies in Mathematics Education will encourage the development and dissemination of theoretical perspectives in mathematics education as well as their critical scrutiny. It aims to have a major impact on the development of mathematics education as a field of study into the twenty-first century.

Unusually for the series this book (Volume 4) and Volume 3 are edited collections. Instead of the sharply focused concerns of a research monograph the books offer a panorama of complementary and forward-looking perspectives. In the spirit of the philosophy of the series Volumes 3 and 4 illustrate between them the breadth of theoretical and philosophical perspectives that can fruitfully be brought to bear on mathematics and education. The companion to the present volume is Mathematics, Education and Philosophy: An International Perspective. It offers a reconceptualization of mathematics from a range of philosophical, educational and social perspectives, as well as philosophical reflections on mathematics education itself. The present volume provides a complementary focus. Its emphasis is on epistemological issues, encompassing multiple perspectives on the learning of mathematics, as well as broader philosophical reflections on the genesis of knowledge. The two books aim to set a research agenda for the philosophy of mathematics education, a rapidly developing area of enquiry. Together they survey research, providing a report on advances made so far, as well as indicating orientations for potentially fruitful work in the future.

Paul Ernest
School of Education
University of Exeter
March 1994

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