__Dissertation Abstract__

The Rhetorical Dimension Of Mathematics

by

Mark D. Tenney

Degree: D.A.

Year: 2001

Pages: 00270

Institution:

Advisor: Adviser Francois Cooren

Source: DAI, 62, no. 04A (2001): p. 1398

Standard
No: ISBN: 0-493-22617-6

The objective of my study is to explore the
rhetorical dimension of mathematics. I claim that the
rhetoric of mathematics resides in the way individuals enlist the cooperation
of others in the process of understanding mathematical ideas and the way
individuals resist others' depictions of such ideas. To show this, I examine
the strategies that individuals use in making mathematics accessible and non-technical.
In particular, I focus on rhetorical strategies that are developed in the
theories of Kenneth Burke, George Campbell, Jonathan D. Culler, Bruno Latour,
Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca, Charles Sanders Peirce, Chaim Perelman, and George
Lakoff and Mark Johnson. Based on my review of the literature, I develop a
theoretical framework for my method of analyzing the rhetoric of mathematics.
In the theoretical framework, I establish the coherence of the various theories
from which I draw. Then, as case studies, I analyze two published debates. One
debate takes place between a mathematician (Alain Connes) and a neuro-biologist
(Jean-Pierre Changeux), the other between two mathematicians (Otto Hölder and
Hermann Weyl). My findings include the following: By closely examining the
discursive strategies used by individuals who discuss mathematical ideas, we
can unveil the rhetorical dimension of the mathematics at hand as well as
determine each interlocutor's worldview of mathematics. Furthermore, an
understanding of the rhetoric of mathematics equips us with strategies for
optimizing our attempt to convince a given audience of a particular

mathematical idea.

SUBJECT(S)

Descriptor: MATHEMATICS

Accession
No: AAI3012359

Provider: OCLC

Database: Dissertations