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# Where Mathematics Come From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being

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This book is about mathematical ideas, about what mathematics means-and why. Abstract ideas, for the most part, arise via conceptual metaphor-metaphorical ideas projecting from the way we function in the everyday physical world.

*Where Mathematics Comes From*argues that conceptual metaphor plays a central role in mathematical ideas within the cognitive unconscious-from arit ...more## Get A Copy

Paperback, 512 pages

Published
August 16th 2001
by Basic Books
(first published 2000)

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**Linguistic Overreach?**

Get ready; here’s the headline news: MATHEMATICS IS A HUMAN CONSTRUCTION JUST LIKE LANGUAGE. In fact mathematics is a language and employs the same parts of the human brain and nervous system as any other language. It’s arguably the most precise language we have. But there is no truth to the rumour, first formulated by Plato, that the central elements of mathematics - numbers - have any existence beyond our use of them.

That’s it, ladies and gentlemen. We can rest easy in our ...more

I've long believed that there was no way to break down thought into discernible mechanistic-like chunks and analyze the thought process in a non-hand-waving manner. I am delighted to discover I was wrong about this. It turns out cognitive scientists have developed what seems to be a very solid method and vocabular ...more

In former, the authors propose a (loosely defined) "metaphor" to show how the infinite series work, which cannot even show the convergence or divergence of the series! It actually gets help from math and is faki ...more

*is*through content. We forget the form of the copula in metaphors and thus experience the content as a variation of the copula form instead of being the actual connection. In other wo ...more

I'm far too dim to understand Lakoff + Núñez's ideas.

Or maybe they're not saying anything other than people have to use language to express and explain mathematical ideas and language is entirely metaphorical.

Or maybe they're saying that mathematics is entirely metaphorical and language is fundamental.

There's a philosophical chicken-and-egg problem with this entire book.

Or ma ...more

Jun 12, 2011
Carlos
rated it
did not like it
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
non-fiction,
general-science

Reading this book seemed like watching a picture come in and out of focus constantly. The authors start the book with the great promise to explicitly present the underlying metaphors of all of mathematics and they begin quite well. They explain arithmetic from innate counting abilities in humans and clarifying the metaphors by which those innate abilities are extended to all of what we know as arithmetic. Unfortunately, the book starts to see-saw on the following chapter on algebra. The authors
...more

It can be seen as a form of psychologism, in which more sophisticated mathematics/logic concepts are derived from innate mental concepts that are based in genes/evolution (parts of language of thought in a sense) and that happen to be useful in relatively accurate human models of reality.

I think the book caused a lot of controversy among actual mathematicians reading it, because of its opposition to the platonic p ...more

Sep 14, 2010
Hollis Fishelson-holstine
marked it as to-read

This wasn't as 'dense' reading as I'd anticipated, but I need to read it when I have more time to focus - abandoned it for the moment
...more

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George Lakoff is Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at UC Berkeley and is one of the founders of the field of cognitive science.

He is author of The New York Times bestseller

He is author of The New York Times bestseller

*Don't Think of an Elephant!*, as well as*Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think*,*Whose Freedom?*, and many other books and articles on cognitive science and ling ...more## News & Interviews

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