Math Can Cause ‘Collateral Damage’ to Society (philosophy of mathematics)


EXCERPT: According to a new textbook written by a professor at the University of Exeter, learning mathematics can cause “collateral damage” to society because it “provides a training in ethics-free thought.”

“Reasoning without meanings provides a training in ethics-free thought,” Paul Ernest writes in “The Ethics of Mathematics: Is Mathematics Harmful?” — a chapter of his book The Philosophy of Mathematics Education Today.

In an abstract for the book, Ernest claims that although he does “acknowledge that mathematics is a widespread force for good,” “there is significant collateral damage caused by learning mathematics.”

According to Ernest, this “collateral damage” happens in three ways. First, he argues, the styles of thinking involved with mathematics are “detached” and “calculated” ones, which value “rules, abstraction, objectification, impersonality, unfeelingness, dispassionate reason, and analysis” — which he claims “can be damaging when applied beyond mathematics to social and human issues.”

The second problem, he explains, is that...

I would have to disagree completely with that notion. Mathematics elucidates areas of human thought. Our default setting is a human proclivity. Thus mathematics provides an ideal to which we can strive towards. A mental world.
So...he doesn't want statistics used in the social sciences...because they show inconvenient facts?

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