Abstract / Synopsis

In this article we present an analysis of the multi-fold artist’s book, A Guide to Higher Learning (Chen, 2009). In our analysis, we propose different perspectives from which to view the mathematical and philosophical aspects found within the book. We explore aspects of “higher learning” by analyzing the complex mathematical equations and textual elements that readers meet in the book. Chen challenges the reader with: “This is a test. You will not be given any assistance or instructions on how to proceed. You will not be told when to begin or when to stop” (Chen, 2009). Thus, in our exploration of the book, we consider Chen's challenge from the perspectives of the “person on the street” and the “mathematician in the academy.” By doing so, we formulate answers to philosophical questions regarding the process of doing mathematics and the role emotions play in this process (which we call the mathematico-emotional journey). Through this analysis, and the establishment of the distinct perspectives, we were able to identify diverging purposes that A Guide to Higher Learning serves, depending upon the perspective the reader chooses.



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Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.