Review of “Loving and Hating Mathematics”

Loving and Hating Mathematics  (Princeton University Press, 2010) is the child of two passionate scholars: a mathematician (Reuben Hersh) and a social scientist (Vera John-Steiner). Reuben Hersh has written for many articles for the Intelligencer, as well as earlier books such as The Mathematical Experience, coauthored with Davis and Marchisotto, and What is Mathematics Really?.

The present book has as its expressed aim the vanquishing of four myths:

  1. Mathematicians are different from other people, lacking emotional complexity.
  2. Mathematics is a solitary pursuit.
  3. Mathematics is a young man’s game.
  4. Mathematics is an effective filter for higher education.

More generally, the book is a tour of mathematical life in the large, carrying with it a recommendation that design issues relating to the school-level experience of mathematics should be addressed in terms of mathematics in its entirety, and in particular the joy that its practioners take in the endeavor.

An in-depth review, written by one of the present bloggers (Borwein) is available here.

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