Tag Archives: David Tall

8 Different Ways to Think of the Derivative

In his paper The Transition to Formal Thinking in Mathematics, David Tall presents W.P. Thurston’s seven different ways to think of the derivative: Infinitesimal: the ratio of the infinitesimal change in the value of a function to the infinitesimal change in a function. Symbolic: the derivative of x^n is nx^n−1, the derivative of sin(x) is cos(x), the… Read More »

What are the Three Worlds of Mathematics?

There are three worlds of mathematics according to David Tall: the world of conceptual embodiment, the world of symbolic calculation and manipulation, and the world of axiomatic formalism. This classification is based on how mathematical concepts/objects developed. It is important for us teachers to be at least aware of these three worlds.  It tells us… Read More »

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