The Math Gene: How Mathematical Thinking Evolved And Why Numbers Are Like Gossip

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9780465016198: The Math Gene: How Mathematical Thinking Evolved And Why Numbers Are Like Gossip
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Why is math so hard? And why, despite this difficulty, are some people so good at it? If there's some inborn capacity for mathematical thinking—which there must be, otherwise no one could do it —why can't we all do it well? Keith Devlin has answers to all these difficult questions, and in giving them shows us how mathematical ability evolved, why it's a part of language ability, and how we can make better use of this innate talent.He also offers a breathtakingly new theory of language development—that language evolved in two stages, and its main purpose was not communication—to show that the ability to think mathematically arose out of the same symbol-manipulating ability that was so crucial to the emergence of true language. Why, then, can't we do math as well as we can speak? The answer, says Devlin, is that we can and do—we just don't recognize when we're using mathematical reasoning.

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For many, the mere word "mathematics" is enough to conjure memories of incomprehension at school, and fear and loathing ever afterward. Countless otherwise well-educated people see mathematics as the skeleton in their intellectual closet--the one key subject demanding a talent that they so obviously did not possess.

Or so it seems to anyone who has felt very much on the outside of the subject. British mathematician Keith Devlin is certainly on the inside, and in The Math Gene, he has wonderful news for everyone: we can all join him there. For Devlin argues that we all possess the ability to cope with mathematics--if only we recognize what's required. While a number of recent books, notably Stanislas Dehaene's The Number Sense, have focused on numerical ability, the scope of Devlin's book is much larger. He examines the evidence that we all possess, if not literally a gene, then at least an inherent ability not just for arithmetic but for real mathematics: algebra, calculus, and the rest. Devlin even puts forward a Darwinian explanation for the origin of this ability, based on the idea that being able to handle abstract ideas and relationships confers key evolutionary advantages.

Mathematics merely involves a relatively high level of abstraction--but one we can all cope with, if we work at it. "Doing mathematics is very much like running a marathon," writes Devlin. "It does not require any special talent, and 'finishing' is largely a matter of wanting to succeed."

In its wealth of wonderful examples supporting the central argument, The Math Gene bears comparison with Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct, and its plain common sense about this most misunderstood of subjects is inspirational. Thoroughly recommended for anyone seeking to rid their intellectual closet of the skeleton of mathematical "incompetence." --Robert Matthews, Amazon.co.uk

About the Author:

Keith Devlin is the Dean of the School of Social Science at St. Mary's College, Moraga, California, and a Senior Researcher at the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University. He is the author of 22 books, one interactive CD-ROM, and over 65 technical research papers in mathematics. His voice is heard regularly on National Public Radio, on such programs as "Weekend Edition," "Talk of the Nation," "Science Friday," "Sounds Like Science," and "To the Best of Our Knowledge." His previous books include Life by the Numbers, the companion to a PBS series that aired in April and May, 1998; Goodbye Descartes: The End of Logic; and The Language of Mathematics: Making the Invisible Visible.

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9780465016181: The Math Gene: How Mathematical Thinking Evolved and Why Numbers Are Like Gossip

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ISBN 10:  0465016189 ISBN 13:  9780465016181
Publisher: Basic Books, 2000
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9780297645719: The Maths Gene : Why Everyone Has It, but Most People Don't Use It

Orion ..., 2000
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9780753811269: The Maths Gene : Why Everyone Has It, but Most People Don't Use It

Orion ..., 2001
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9780756765927: Math Gene: How Mathematical Thinking Evolved and Why Numbers Are Like Gossip

Diane ..., 2000
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Book Description INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English. Brand new Book. Why is math so hard? And why, despite this difficulty, are some people so good at it? If there's some inborn capacity for mathematical thinking,which there must be, otherwise no one could do it ,why can't we all do it well? Keith Devlin has answers to all these difficult questions, and in giving them shows us how mathematical ability evolved, why it's a part of language ability, and how we can make better use of this innate talent.He also offers a breathtakingly new theory of language development,that language evolved in two stages, and its main purpose was not communication,to show that the ability to think mathematically arose out of the same symbol-manipulating ability that was so crucial to the emergence of true language. Why, then, can't we do math as well as we can speak? The answer, says Devlin, is that we can and do,we just don't recognize when we're using mathematical reasoning. Seller Inventory # HUK9780465016198

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Book Description INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English. Brand new Book. Why is math so hard? And why, despite this difficulty, are some people so good at it? If there's some inborn capacity for mathematical thinking,which there must be, otherwise no one could do it ,why can't we all do it well? Keith Devlin has answers to all these difficult questions, and in giving them shows us how mathematical ability evolved, why it's a part of language ability, and how we can make better use of this innate talent.He also offers a breathtakingly new theory of language development,that language evolved in two stages, and its main purpose was not communication,to show that the ability to think mathematically arose out of the same symbol-manipulating ability that was so crucial to the emergence of true language. Why, then, can't we do math as well as we can speak? The answer, says Devlin, is that we can and do,we just don't recognize when we're using mathematical reasoning. Seller Inventory # HUK9780465016198

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Book Description INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English. Brand new Book. Why is math so hard? And why, despite this difficulty, are some people so good at it? If there's some inborn capacity for mathematical thinking,which there must be, otherwise no one could do it ,why can't we all do it well? Keith Devlin has answers to all these difficult questions, and in giving them shows us how mathematical ability evolved, why it's a part of language ability, and how we can make better use of this innate talent.He also offers a breathtakingly new theory of language development,that language evolved in two stages, and its main purpose was not communication,to show that the ability to think mathematically arose out of the same symbol-manipulating ability that was so crucial to the emergence of true language. Why, then, can't we do math as well as we can speak? The answer, says Devlin, is that we can and do,we just don't recognize when we're using mathematical reasoning. Seller Inventory # HUK9780465016198

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Book Description Basic Books. Paperback. Condition: New. 352 pages. Dimensions: 8.0in. x 5.3in. x 0.8in.Why is math so hard And why, despite this difficulty, are some people so good at it If theres some inborn capacity for mathematical thinkingwhich there must be, otherwise no one could do it why cant we all do it well Keith Devlin has answers to all these difficult questions, and in giving them shows us how mathematical ability evolved, why its a part of language ability, and how we can make better use of this innate talent. He also offers a breathtakingly new theory of language developmentthat language evolved in two stages, and its main purpose was not communicationto show that the ability to think mathematically arose out of the same symbol-manipulating ability that was so crucial to the emergence of true language. Why, then, cant we do math as well as we can speak The answer, says Devlin, is that we can and dowe just dont recognize when were using mathematical reasoning. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780465016198

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