TY - JOUR

T1 - Reifying actions into artifacts: process–object duality from an embodied perspective on mathematics learning

AU - Shvarts, Anna

AU - Bos, Rogier

AU - Doorman, Michiel

AU - Drijvers, Paul

PY - 2024/5/8

Y1 - 2024/5/8

N2 - Grasping mathematical objects as related to processes is often considered critical for mathematics understanding. Yet, the ontology of mathematical objects remains under debate. In this paper, we theoretically oppose internalist approaches that claim mental entities as the endpoints of process–object transitions and externalist approaches that stress mathematical artifacts—such as physical manipulatives and formulas—as constituting mathematical objects. We search for a view on process–object duality that overcomes the dualism of mind and body. One such approach is commognition that describes mathematical objects as discursive entities. This paper expands the nature of mathematical objects beyond discourse and highlights the role of learners’ interaction with the environment by adopting ecological onto-epistemology. We develop a functional dynamic systems perspective on process–object duality in mathematics learning emphasizing embodied actions and the re-invention of artifacts’ affordances. As a main result, we reconsider process–object duality as a reification of repetitive actions into a cultural artifact that consists of two steps: (1) forming a new sensory-motor coordination that brings new perception to the fore and (2) crystallizing a new artifact in a mathematical environment that captures this new perception. An empirical example from research on embodied action-based design for trigonometry illustrates our theoretical ideas.

AB - Grasping mathematical objects as related to processes is often considered critical for mathematics understanding. Yet, the ontology of mathematical objects remains under debate. In this paper, we theoretically oppose internalist approaches that claim mental entities as the endpoints of process–object transitions and externalist approaches that stress mathematical artifacts—such as physical manipulatives and formulas—as constituting mathematical objects. We search for a view on process–object duality that overcomes the dualism of mind and body. One such approach is commognition that describes mathematical objects as discursive entities. This paper expands the nature of mathematical objects beyond discourse and highlights the role of learners’ interaction with the environment by adopting ecological onto-epistemology. We develop a functional dynamic systems perspective on process–object duality in mathematics learning emphasizing embodied actions and the re-invention of artifacts’ affordances. As a main result, we reconsider process–object duality as a reification of repetitive actions into a cultural artifact that consists of two steps: (1) forming a new sensory-motor coordination that brings new perception to the fore and (2) crystallizing a new artifact in a mathematical environment that captures this new perception. An empirical example from research on embodied action-based design for trigonometry illustrates our theoretical ideas.

U2 - 10.1007/s10649-024-10310-y

DO - 10.1007/s10649-024-10310-y

M3 - Article

SN - 0013-1954

JO - Educational Studies in Mathematics

JF - Educational Studies in Mathematics

ER -