Attitudes toward intuition in calculus textbooks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Intuition was long held in high regard by mathematicians, who considered it all but synonymous with clarity and illumination. But in the 20th century there was a strong tendency to vilify intuition and cast it as the opposite of rigorous reasoning. Calculus in particular became a battleground for these opposing views. By systematically surveying references to intuition in historical and modern calculus textbooks, I look at how its status has changed across the centuries. In particular, I argue against the veracity of the self-fashioned origin story of the modern anti-intuition movement, which relies heavily on a particular historical narrative to portray the demise of intuition as an inexorable triumph of logic and reason.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDig where you stand 5: Proceedings of the fifth International Conference on the History of Mathematics Education
PublisherFreudenthal Institute
Pages83-92
ISBN (Print)978-908-236-796-6
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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