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Where Mathematics Comes From: How the…

Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics… (original 2000; edition 2001)

by George Lakoff, Rafael Nuñez

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Title:Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being
Authors:George Lakoff
Other authors:Rafael Nuñez
Info:Basic Books (2001), Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Your library

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Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being by George Lakoff (2000)


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Interesting follow-up to Lakoff's Metaphors We Live By.
The thesis here is that all language is metaphorical expression, which is based on conceptual metaphors determined by the brain as well as by society.
Mathematical metaphors are explained within this context, starting with things like the number-line and the Cartesian plane and culminating in the example of Euler's equation where "e to the i pi plus one equals zero". Quite a ride and well worth skimming through the tables and the chapter summaries in order to get a feel of how concept work whithin our brains. ( )
1 vote mykl-s | Jan 31, 2016 |
  lascaux | Aug 16, 2013 |
I've never ready anything about cognitive science and as this book is a look at Mathematics from the Cognitive Scientist point of view it was difficult to start. By the end of the book I was pretty enthralled. Any one that has taken some higher level math courses (analysis, abstract alg) should read this book and really think about what they've learned. Anyone planning on teaching higher level math should read this and think about how they teach.
1 vote jcopenha | Jan 19, 2007 |
Can be summarized by the dust-jacket slogans "Mathematics is not built into the universe" and "The portrait of mathematics has a human face." Meaty and quite absorbing, even though it goes against my sometime Platonist sympathies.
2 vote fpagan | Jan 11, 2007 |
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This book asks a central question: what is the cognitive structure of sophisticated mathematical ideas?
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0465037712, Paperback)

If Barbie thinks math class is tough, what could she possibly think about math as a class of metaphorical thought? Cognitive scientists George Lakoff and Rafael Nuñez explore that theme in great depth in Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being. This book is not for the faint of heart or those with an aversion to heavy abstraction--Lakoff and Nuñez pull no punches in their analysis of mathematical thinking. Their basic premise, that all of mathematics is derived from the metaphors we use to maneuver in the world around us, is easy enough to grasp, but following the reasoning requires a willingness to approach complex mathematical and linguistic concepts--a combination that is sure to alienate a fair number of readers.

Those willing to brave its rigors will find Where Mathematics Comes From rewarding and profoundly thought-provoking. The heart of the book wrestles with the important concept of infinity and tries to explain how our limited experience in a seemingly finite world can lead to such a crazy idea. The authors know their math and their cognitive theory. While those who want their abstractions to reflect the real world rather than merely the insides of their skulls will have trouble reading while rolling their eyes, most readers will take to the new conception of mathematical thinking as a satisfying, if challenging, solution. --Rob Lightner

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:04 -0400)

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A study of the cognitive science of mathematical ideas.

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