The coherence of enactivism and mathematics education research: A case study

Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies (2):137-172 (2014)
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Abstract

This article addresses the question of the coherence of enactivism as a research perspective by making a case study of enactivism in mathematics education research. Main theoretical directions in mathematics education are reviewed and the history of adoption of concepts from enactivism is described. It is concluded that enactivism offers a ‘grand theory’ that can be brought to bear on most of the phenomena of interest in mathematics education research, and so it provides a sufficient theoretical framework. It has particular strength in describing interactions between cognitive systems, including human beings, human conversations and larger human social systems. Some apparent incoherencies of enactivism in mathematics education and in other fields come from the adoption of parts of enactivism that are then grafted onto incompatible theories. However, another significant source of incoherence is the inadequacy of Maturana’s definition of a social system and the lack of a generally agreed upon alternative.

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