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Epistemic injustice in mathematics education

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journal contribution
posted on 22.06.2020, 08:35 by Fenner Tanswell, Colin Rittberg
Equity and ethics in the learning of mathematics is a major topic for mathematics education research. The study of ethics and injustice in relation to epistemic pursuits, such as mathematics, is receiving a great deal of interest within contemporary philosophy. We propose a bridging project between these two disciplines, importing key ideas of “epistemic injustice” and “ethical orders” from philosophy into mathematics education to address questions of ethics, equity, values and norms. We build on Dawkins and Weber’s (Educ Stud Math 95:123–142, 2017) “apprenticeship model” of learning proofs and proving, which says that mathematics education should reflect the practices of research mathematicians. Focusing on the norms and values implicit in mathematical proving, we argue that deploying this model unreflectively can lead to “epistemic injustices” in which learners are disadvantaged based on their cultural or class background. We propose thinking about the problem in terms of Max Weber’s “ethical orders”, and the clash that arises between the ethical orders of mathematics and the existing ethical orders of the learners and teachers of mathematics. Weber’s lesson is that sometimes these clashes have no overarching resolution, and so the mathematics classroom may also have to settle for tailored pragmatic measures to combat individual cases of epistemic injustice.

Funding

Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO), project G056716N

Centre for Mathematical Cognition at Loughborough University

History

School

  • Science

Department

  • Mathematics Education Centre

Published in

ZDM

Volume

52

Issue

6

Pages

1199 - 1210

Publisher

Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Acceptance date

04/06/2020

Publication date

2020-06-18

Copyright date

2020

ISSN

1863-9690

eISSN

1863-9704

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Fenner Tanswell. Deposit date: 19 June 2020

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