The Math Gene: How Mathematical Thinking Evolved and why Numbers are Like Gossip
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.
What people are saying - Write a 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
Other editions - View all
able abstract activation pattern amygdala ancestors animals answer apes arithmetic babies behavior beneﬁts Bickerton boxes brain growth called chapter chimpanzees coat patterns collection color vision communication complex counting deﬁnition denote digits Emily equations Euclid evolution evolutionary example exaptation explain fact ﬁgure ﬁnd ﬁngers ﬁre ﬁrst ﬁve ﬂower fundamental language tree gene give gossip grammatical sentences guage hominid Homo Homo erectus human brain idea individual involves Keith Devlin kind linguistic lives logical look math mathematical ability mathematical thought mathematician matics means mental mind Mitochondrial Eve noun phrase number sense number words objects off-line thinking parse tree particular physical prime numbers problem protolanguage question reason recognize red door reﬂection result rules signiﬁcant simple soap opera species speciﬁc stimulus structure survival symbolic symmetry syntax theory things tion transformations types understand verb phrase vervet monkey whole numbers