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.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - angharad_reads - LibraryThing
Recursive structures extant in all but one human languages provide ability to perform abstract thinking. Or, offline/abstract thinking provides ability for syntax. Highly recommended, if you enjoy reading about evolutionary or meta cognition. Read full review
The math gene: how mathematical thinking evolved and why numbers are like gossipUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
This book is not about mathematics or genetics or why some people are good at math and others are not. Rather, Devlin (Goodbye, Descartes) asks and attempts to answer the question, "How and why did ... Read full review
1 A Mind For Mathematics
2 In the Beginning Is Number
3 Everybody Counts
4 What Is This Thing Called Mathematics?
5 Do Mathematicians Have Different Brains?
6 Born to Speak
7 The Brain That Grew and Learned to Talk
8 Out of Our Minds