
02349950
j
2003a.00177
Hall, Richard D.G.
An analysis of views of the nature of mathematics by gender.
Philos. Math. Educ. J., No. 16, 7 p. (2002).
2002
Professor Paul Ernest, University of Exeter, Graduate School of Education, Exeter
EN
C60
The purpose of this enquiry is to examine, by gender, pupils' perceptions of the nature of mathematics. This has been attempted by administering a survey in which the questions fall under two categories, dualist and relativist, which are shown to correspond to a greater or lesser extent to absolutist and fallibilist philosophies respectively. Dualism and relativism are discussed in detail both in connection with school mathematics and mathematicians' mathematics. Some hypotheses are put forward about the sources of the driving forces behind the new mathematics' curricula. In the same vein, the fact that the rise in awareness about gender differences took place just after these curriculum upheavals is examined for any causality. The design of the experiment itself is seen as critical, with much attention being given to avoiding leading the pupils to preordained or stereotypical responses. The data is analyzed with boys and girls plotted against dualist and relativist viewpoints. Any gender differences, or lack of them, are discussed with reference both to the existing literature and to the design of the experiment itself.