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Mathematics, language and Derrida

Brown, Tony (1999) Mathematics, language and Derrida. Research in mathematics education, 1 (1). pp. 11-22. ISSN 1754-0178

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Abstract

Derrida's revolutionary work in the study of language has seriously challenged the way in which we see words being attached to meanings. This paper makes tentative steps towards examining how his work might assist us in understanding the way in which our attempts to describe or capture our mathematical experiences modify the experience itself. In doing this we draw on the work of Jacques Derrida and John Mason in locating possible frameworks through which to conceptualise the relationship between language and mathematical cognition. It concludes that mathematical meaning never stabilises since it is caught between the individual's ongoing experience and society's ongoing renewal of its conventions. That is, mathematics, language and the human performing them are always evolving in relation to each other.

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