Workshop / Seminar / Short Course

# Mathematics Research Seminar Series: The Ethics of Mathematics and Mathematics in Society

**Mathematics Research Seminar Series**

The Ethics of Mathematics and Mathematics in Society

by Paul Ernest

Date: Wednesday, 15 February 2023

Time: 5:00 - 6:30 pm

Time Zone: GMT+8

Venue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKOs9kzn3mo

*Abstract:*

What is Ethics? Here I focus on ethical values, and I claim that both pure and applied mathematics are good but can be harmful. How does Ethics enter Maths? I will discuss: (1) Professional ethics of mathematicians -- Do mathematicians behave well (and honestly) to each other in research and towards other persons in society?; (2) Professional ethics of mathematics teachers -- Do mathematics teachers treat their students well? Do they do what is best for them? Is the teaching of mathematics beneficial or harmful or both?; (3) Ethics of mathematical applications – What are or should be the ethical limits of mathematical applications to ensure the good for society?; (4) Ethical impact of mathematics on society – What further ethical impacts does the role and valuation of mathematics in society have, especially unplanned or hidden consequences?; (5) Ethics of pure mathematics – What ethical values does pure mathematics incorporate or embody, if any?; (6) For some mathematicians and philosophers the claim that pure mathematics is ethics- or value-laden is problematic ab initio. There is a hidden harm caused by mathematics. How do we correct or prevent such harm? I suggest including philosophy of maths with mathematics, adding the ethics of mathematics to maths courses, using ethical examples in the teaching of mathematics, and teaching appreciation of maths and critical citizenship through maths.

*About the Speaker:*

Paul Ernest is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Exeter and founding editor of Philosophy of Mathematics Education Journal. His academic starting point is reflections about mathematics, mathematics in education, society, and its philosophical significance. To this, he has not only extensively written about the philosophy of mathematics education, but also critically explored mathematics, pedagogy, and society. He is likewise committed to interpreting mathematics, mathematics education, and all knowledge as materially based social practices and constructions. A testament to his great impact on how mathematics educators and researchers think about mathematics and mathematics education is his widely cited book The Philosophy of Mathematics Education that has sold thousands of copies to date and has been translated to several languages.

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