Renowned linguist George Lakoff pairs with psychologist Rafael Nuñez in the first book to provide a serious study of the cognitive science of mathematical ideas.
Science News. . .[a] groundbreaking book. . .
American ScholarAdds body heat to the cold and beautiful abstractions of mathematics.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyThis groundbreaking exploration by linguist Lakoff (co-author, with Mark Johnson, of Metaphors We Live By) and psychologist N ez (co-editor of Reclaiming Cognition) brings two decades of insights from cognitive science to bear on the nature of human mathematical thought, beginning with the basic, pre-verbal ability to do simple arithmetic on quantities of four or less, and encompassing set theory, multiple forms of infinity and the demystification of more enigmatic mathematical truths. Their purpose is to begin laying the foundations for a truly scientific understanding of human mathematical thought, grounded in processes common to all human cognition. They find that four distinct but related processes metaphorically structure basic arithmetic: object collection, object construction, using a measuring stick and moving along a path. By carefully unfolding these primitive examples and then building upon them, the authors take readers on a dazzling excursion without sacrificing the rigor of their exposition. Lakoff and N ez directly challenge the most cherished myths about the nature of mathematical truth, offering instead a fresh, profound, empirically grounded insight into the meaning of mathematical ideas. This revolutionary account is bound to garner major attention in the scientific press--but it remains a very challenging read that lends itself mostly to those with a strong interest in either math or cognitive science. (Nov. 15) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
BooknewsTwo cognitive scientists examine the structure of mathematical ideas, what mathematics means, and why. Lakoff (linguistics, U. of California, Berkeley) and N<'u><~n>ez (psychology, U. of Freiburg) believe that conceptual metaphor plays a central, defining role in mathematical ideas, from simple arithmetic and algebra to sets, logic, and infinity. They argue that understanding the ideas implicit in mathematics, especially the metaphorical ideas, demystifies mathematics so that it makes more sense. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The only math ideas humans can have are ideas invented by the human brain: Where Mathematics Comes From argues that a conceptual metaphor plays a defining role in math ideas within the unconscious, drawing important connections between mathematical ideas and what they mean. It's the first serious study of the cognitive science of where math ideas originate: college-level audiences will find it involving.
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