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The New MathA Political History$
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Christopher J. Phillips

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226184968

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226185019.001.0001

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The Textbook Subject

The Textbook Subject

Mathematicians and the New Math

(p.47) Chapter Three The Textbook Subject
The New Math

Christopher J. Phillips

University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on the School Mathematics Study Group’s textbooks, showing that the new math’s designers intended students to learn “modern” mathematics. New math textbooks portrayed mathematics as abstract, structural knowledge rather than as a collection of facts and rules. This conception was not universally shared and the chapter centers on divisions among professional mathematicians, particularly disagreements between Morris Kline of New York University and Marshall Stone of the University of Chicago. These debates involved diverging views of the “Bourbaki” program and of the relationship between the nature of mathematical knowledge and its practical applications.

Keywords:   School Mathematics Study Group, modern mathematics, structural knowledge, Morris Kline, Marshall Stone, Bourbaki

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