A New Paradigm For Thinking About Mathematics |
Mathematics has long been viewed as the pinnacle ofthe rationalist tradition. In this chapter I will argue that a new paradigm fordiscourse about mathematics has begun to emerge. I begin by situating this newparadigm in the context of other post-modern attacks on rationalism. The historical and epistemological roots ofthe problems with rationalism in mathematics are then explored. The increasing role of the computer inmathematics will be seen as contributing to the downfall of earlier concepts ofproof but, as in so many other disciplines into which it has entered, theeffect of the computer has been contradictory -- pushing mathematical practiceboth in more formal and more intuitive directions.