Mathematics as Oppression

     Of course, the Progressive Left find mathematics to be #Problematic. Unless Progressive “ethics” and “philosophy” are intimately intertwined with the teaching of mathematics, mathematics per se causes “collateral damage” according to a chapter from the textbook “Philosophy of Mathematics Education Today”. The abstract states:

“In this chapter I challenge the idea that mathematics is an unqualified force for good. Instead I show the harm that learning mathematics can inadvertently cause unless it is taught and applied carefully. I acknowledge that mathematics is a widespread force for good but make the novel case that there is significant collateral damage caused by learning mathematics. I describe three ways in which mathematics causes collateral damage. First, the nature of pure of mathematics itself leads to styles of thinking that can be damaging when applied beyond mathematics to social and human issues. Second the applications of mathematics in society can be deleterious to our humanity unless very carefully monitored and checked. Third, the personal impact of learning mathematics on learners’ thinking and life chances can be negative for a minority of less successful students, as well as potentially harmful for successful students. I end with a recommendation for the inclusion of the philosophy and ethics of mathematics alongside its teaching all stages from school to university, to attempt to reduce or obviate the harm caused; the collateral damage of learning mathematics.”

     Mathematics is a tool of the Capitalist oppressors!

“Money and thus mathematics is the tool for the distribution of wealth, […] It can therefore be argued that as the key underpinning conceptual tool mathematics is implicated in the global disparities in wealth.”

     Mathematics is a tool of the Patriarcy™ and White Supremacy!

“So two of the detrimental effects of images of mathematics that I shall foreground here are first the negative impact on female students following on from the masculine image of mathematics. Second, the negative impact of mathematics related experiences and images on the attitudes and self-esteem of a minority, including many girls and women”.

     Mathematics is objective, logical, and rational. While it may be used as a tool of evil or of good, it is still just a tool of understanding and the language we use to understand, as much as is possible, objective phenomena and processes. That ethics and philosophy exist so that we can apply moral restraints on any tool, does not mean that the tool per se is #Problematic in anyway whatsoever. Mathematics, per se, does not and can not cause “collateral damage”. Sometimes an equation is just an equation, and not merely the means of oppression or liberation.

     Hat Tip: Campus Reform and National Review.

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