FOM: formalism

Judy Roitman roitman at
Wed Oct 29 10:39:53 EST 1997

This came off the post-secondary mathematics education list out of Warwick,
and seems relevant to FOM.  The author is David Henderson, who has
instantiated his notions of proof by writing at least one highly
non-traditional college text ("Experiencing Geometry on Plane and Sphere";
the title makes his point of view fairly explicit).  Any replies should be
copied to him.

"Now, I think that the formalisms in mathematics that have been developed in
this century are clearly very powerful and useful in many situations.  I,
and every mathematician that I know, do not think that the formalism ARE
mathematics.  For a recent paper, I tried to find quotes positing the
formality of mathematics and could only finds ones from computer scientists
talking about mathematics.  But the issues remains:  What is the role of
formalisms in mathematics and when and where should it be taught and what
should be the emphasis?"

Judy Roitman                           | "Whoppers   Whoppers   Whoppers!
Math, University of Kansas       |     memory fails
Lawrence, KS 66045                |         these are the days."
785-864-4630                        |                Larry Eigner, 1927-1996
Note new area code

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