Towards an Ethics of Mathematical Application

Chapter
Part of the ICME-13 Monographs book series (ICME13Mo)

Abstract

In the light of growing public attention to the influence of algorithms on our lives, this chapter addresses the question of how an ethical perspective on mathematical application could be conceptualised in contemporary late-modern societies. Firstly, we recapitulate some of the recent theoretical developments on the ethics of mathematical application in the field of mathematics education (Skovsmose in Mathematics education in a knowledge market: developing functional and critical competencies. Opening the research text: insights and in(ter)ventions into mathematics education. Springer, New York, pp. 159–188, 2008; de Freitas in Int Electr J Math Educ 3(2):79–95, 2008). Secondly, based on the work of the sociologist Luhmann (Thesis Eleven 29(1):82–94, 1991), we develop theoretical outlines of an ethics of mathematical application as a reflexive theory of moral communication on mathematical application. We then move into the sphere of the social and confront these theoretical considerations with a critique of the ideology of “solutionism”. Solutionism refers to a semantics that links the mathematisation of the social to ‘the morally good’. This critique leads us to suggest firstly, developing an ideology critique of the underlying semantics as a desideratum; and secondly, a systematic further development of an ethics of mathematical application that could inform moral communication on mathematical application in (critical) mathematics education.

Keywords

Mathematical application Ethics Mathematization of social process Critical mathematics education 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Freie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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