Hermeneutics in Mathematics Education: History of Mathematics to Imagine the Future and Understand the Perspective of Others


 September 29-30, 2015, Tsukuba, Japan.

The meeting was the opening event for the exhibition, “Wisdom of Mathematics: Exploration and Development,” at the Central Library of the University of Tsukuba, Japan. The exhibition featured two 15th century books: Suanxue Qimeng and Yang Hui Suanfa. These books are the oldest copies of the originally lost 13th century. The exhibition also featured 22 rare books from the 16th – 18th centuries, which have been collected by M. Isoda, with the help of HPM members such as former HPM presidents, J. van Mannen, and J. Fauvel. The exhibition shows the influence of Greek and Arabic mathematics in Europe, the mathematics that existed and developed in East Asia, and its integration into school mathematics. The exhibition showed how mathematics, since Ancient Greece, has been taught as the necessary literacy for the basic culture that can be shared and developed only through school education. The exhibition also showed how the recent Japanese secondary school textbook in 1943, as an influence of Felix Klein, has some similarities with the book by Euclid (1537 edition) and the book by van Schooten (1646).

During the meeting, the following people contributed to the theme: Luis Radford, Gert Schubring, Kenji Ueno, Yuriko Yamamoto Baldin, Wann-Sheng Horng, Shigeru Jochi, Márcia Maria Fusaro Pinto, and Masami Isoda. The lectures and discussions were very informative and fruitful according to their specialties. Firstly, L. Radford, President of HPM, introduced HPM and presented his view for Hermeneutics and significance of the collection. Then, M. Isoda explained his perspective on mathematics education (2015) as the meeting host. G. Schubring, presented his view for Hermeneutics as for research methodology on history with examples of various revisions of textbooks. K. Ueno, W. Horng, and S. Jochi explained the historical value of the books Suanxue Qimeng and Yang Hui Suanfa for the Innovation of Japanese Mathematics (Wasan). M. Pinto presented the history of mathematics education as a discipline and Y. Buldin presented necessary perspectives for integration of several presentations. The speakers also discussed the further meeting for the book project on Hermeneutics, and the future HPM meeting in 2020 in relation to ICME-14.




Isoda, M. (2015). Dialectic on the problem solving approach: Illustrating hermeneutics as the ground theory for lesson study in mathematics education. In S. J. Cho (Ed.), Selected regular lectures from the 12th international congress on mathematical education (pp. 355-381). Cham: Springer.

Masami Isoda

University of Tsukuba (Japan)


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