Mathematics as an Art

Michael S. Laufer, Utne Reader, Jan 11, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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This article is draped in Americana, which international readers will need to ignore, but at its core there's a good argument. Mathematics, writes the author, is currently taught as a means of calculating values for use in the sciences (if it is ever used at all) and is thus taught as formulae and operations. But it is better understood as an art. "Mathematics is about starting with an empty universe, and building abstract structures from scratch. These can be shapes, or ways to count things, or ways of guessing what will happen when you do things randomly, but it’s not looking for patterns; it’s about creating them." Why is this useful? Because once you've explored mathematics, you see the world in a different way, just as any art will influence perception. Related: discussion in Quora, Image: Seb Perez-Duarte.

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