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

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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Review:

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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Book Description INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book 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. Bookseller Inventory # AA29780465016198

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Book Description INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. 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. Bookseller Inventory # BZE9780465016198

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Book Description INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book 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. Bookseller Inventory # AA29780465016198

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Book Description Basic Books. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 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. Bookseller Inventory # 9780465016198

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Book Description The Perseus Books Group. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, The Math Gene: How Mathematical Thinking Evolved and Why Numbers are Like Gossip, Keith Devlin, This work about maths and language is from the NPR commentator Keith Devlin. Why is maths so hard? And why, despite this difficulty, are some people so good at it? If there is 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 theory of language development - that language evolved in two stages, and its main purpose was not communication. Devlin goes on 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 maths 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. Bookseller Inventory # B9780465016198

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