Visualism in mathematics

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Professor Don Ihde introduced the term ‗visualism‘ in his book Expanding Hermeneutics; Visualism in Science, from 1998. The introduction of the term aimed to the development of a hermeneutics of science focusing in ‗visualization‘ of mental contents as the typical bearer of scientific truth. Ihde proposes the expansion of hermeneutical studies to the field of technoscience making a phenomenological interpretation of visual contents in the technoscientific discourse. In this project Ihde concluded that from the earlier times of modernity, hermeneutics grew apart from science, making rationalism, empiricism and later positivism the standard interpretations of science.It is our intention here to follow professor Ihde's research project but moving inquires from the field of natural sciences to the field of mathematics. Our intention is to discern how some textlike depictions have been taken from the everyday life into a mathematical reality, without much consideration about the implications of such transcriptions. We think that mathematics is the field of science in which a renewed ‗P-H tradition‘ can be most useful. The differences between pure Gestalt features and textlike visualizations are very important for the purpose of our study and we will reinforce their importance introducing the idea of ‗dimensionality of thought‘ as their main intrinsic difference. These visualizations are special aspects of the visual scientific imaginary because they have the power of being ‗proof-producer‘. From the time of Galileo these proof-producers depictions have played an essential role in the historical divorce between hermeneutics and science, hiding the nearer connection between proof and everyday life.


  • Fernando Flores
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History of Ideas


  • Phenomenology, Philsophy of technology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalHistorielärarnas Förenings Årsskrift
Publication statusUnpublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch

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