Conjecture. ‘Thinking like a mathematician’ is a concept confusing cognition of the individual (student, academic, mathematician) and the fruits of centuries of mathematical and scientific research.
This blog is based on a Twitter thread
Teaching students to ‘think like a mathematician’ is a huge waste of effort.
This quote from Whitehead (1911, p. 8) “… mathematics … is necessarily the foundation of exact thought as applied to natural phenomena” refers to science, not to the thinking of an individual (scientist, student).
- Alfred North Whitehead (2011) ‘An introduction to mathematics’
p. 11 “To see what is general in what is particular and what is permanent in what is transitory is the aim of scientific thought.”
‘Scientific thought’ here is a metaphor for scientific research , it is not meant to be the thinking of the individual scientist.
Whitehead, p. 11:
“In the eye of science, the fall of an…
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