The radical constructivist assertion that the student constructs his or her own knowledge as opposed to receiving it “ready made” echoes the classical debate as to whether the human subject constitutes the world or is constituted by it. This paper shows how the philosophical traditions of post-structuralism and hermeneutic phenomenology offer approaches to effacing this dichotomy and how this forces a re-assertion of the teacher’s role in the student’s constructing of mathematical knowledge. It is also shown how hermeneutic phenomenology provides an opportunity to ground constructivist mathematical thinking in the material qualities of the world.
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