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*To*: ablunden@mira.net, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>*Subject*: Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus*From*: Ng Foo Keong <lefouque@gmail.com>*Date*: Thu, 30 Apr 2009 00:22:31 +0800*Cc*:*Delivered-to*: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu*Dkim-signature*: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed; d=gmail.com; s=gamma; h=domainkey-signature:mime-version:received:in-reply-to:references :date:message-id:subject:from:to:content-type :content-transfer-encoding; bh=YnP/qqbsmwr4I9Qclnzkqq3nImqp6E3F6q5/msB5OSI=; b=ZzX391T5sx5bXKHzGILifjFNbbts4XTTOJe32lwFd5IA0qDr0Wh/FdBJlgLdWbJRDu J2r3Zz6xyXaTVEpqM+Jr94Btj5eVrVb1NFO90pkzv9KoJ5mV/QbpEnVFWzaRmpzZs3Z5 Gr0DSy2TW1IyJ5TkPWFleS93T/062kDRRs2p4=*Domainkey-signature*: a=rsa-sha1; c=nofws; d=gmail.com; s=gamma; h=mime-version:in-reply-to:references:date:message-id:subject:from:to :content-type:content-transfer-encoding; b=TUxZvuJE3IbsOYfQybKQI+A1JDw/WJ+tCrl37c0pD4b34rMSXX0VYKE2cBXXvauBKA piP1bB+nm2pqWYAORv82LkkRMaR8KOqktjI+oRrxpP0in+MrQlyHIaazUpcn1Ly3qVt6 jT18eQUIjISQJbDEx8EIU5dqKVpYNDcDcN9/Y=*In-reply-to*: <14a6419f0904290117q6c0e8432xf78fe6d1b3e9012b@mail.gmail.com>*List-archive*: <http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/private/xmca>*List-help*: <mailto:xmca-request@weber.ucsd.edu?subject=help>*List-id*: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca.weber.ucsd.edu>*List-post*: <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>*List-subscribe*: <http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca>, <mailto:xmca-request@weber.ucsd.edu?subject=subscribe>*List-unsubscribe*: <http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca>, <mailto:xmca-request@weber.ucsd.edu?subject=unsubscribe>*References*: <30364f990904271547o5b4df21eifca69bf8318483f2@mail.gmail.com> <2C46D7A7-AD94-441C-AABD-269045835E3D@umich.edu> <0193A85F-03A7-4811-B912-217722A5770B@uvic.ca> <BDD722EC-3E52-48C1-829B-AD5053D51B78@umich.edu> <2B2B3D4D-462E-4654-8457-A1C4F21B2874@uvic.ca> <49F7DE9B.5050908@mira.net> <14a6419f0904290031g79f0f6aagaaaf6e9a906005b2@mail.gmail.com> <49F8060B.6070401@mira.net> <14a6419f0904290117q6c0e8432xf78fe6d1b3e9012b@mail.gmail.com>*Reply-to*: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>*Sender*: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu

Is Mathematics _merely_ socially constructed, or is there something deeper and inevitable? I think this deserves a new thread, but I couldn't manage to start one. Let me try to draw out and assemble the line of discussion that spun off from the "a minus times a plus" thread. In her inaugural post to xcma, Anna Sfard about talked "rules of the mathematical game" among other things. Then Jay Lemke said:- > ... > I think it's important, however, to see, as Anna emphasizes, > that there is a certain "arbitrariness" involved in this, or > if you like it better: a freedom of choice. Yes, it's > structure-and-agency all over again! Structure determines that > some things fit into bigger pictures and some don't, but > agency is always at work deciding which pictures, which kind > of fit, which structures, etc. And behind that values, and > culture, and how we feel about things. ----- Then I (Ng Foo Keong) said:- > regarding structure and agency, arbitrariness:- > i think now it's time for me to pop this question that has been > bugging me for some time. i am convinced that mathematics is > socially constructured, but i am not so convinced that mathematics > is _merely_ socially constructured. if we vary across cultures > and different human activities, we might find different ways > in which patterns and structure can be expressed and yet we might > find commonalities / analogies. the question i am asking is: > is maths just a ball game determined by some group of nerds who > happen to be in power and dominate the discourse, or is there some > invariant, something deeper in maths that can transcend and unite > language, culture, activity .... ? Foo Keong, NIE, Singapore ----- Then Ed Wall said:- > Ng Foo Keong > As regards your question about mathematics being socially > constructed, I'm not entirely sure what you mean by > mathematics or what kind of evidence would convince you it wasn't. > Suppose I said that there was evidence for innate subtizing. _______________________________________________ xmca mailing list xmca@weber.ucsd.edu http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca

**Follow-Ups**:**[xmca] In what sense(s) is mathematics a social construction.?***From:*Ed Wall <ewall@umich.edu>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Wolff-Michael Roth <mroth@uvic.ca>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Wolff-Michael Roth <mroth@uvic.ca>

**RE: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*"Eugene Matusov" <ematusov@UDel.Edu>

**References**:**[xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Mike Cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Ed Wall <ewall@umich.edu>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Wolff-Michael Roth <mroth@uvic.ca>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Ed Wall <ewall@umich.edu>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Wolff-Michael Roth <mroth@uvic.ca>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Ng Foo Keong <lefouque@gmail.com>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Ng Foo Keong <lefouque@gmail.com>

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