Cover image for Arguing with Numbers: The Intersections of Rhetoric and Mathematics Edited by James Wynn and G. Mitchell Reyes

Arguing with Numbers

The Intersections of Rhetoric and Mathematics

Edited by James Wynn and G. Mitchell Reyes

COMING IN MAY

$89.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-08881-5
Coming in May

304 pages
6" × 9"
17 b&w illustrations
2021

RSA Series in Transdisciplinary Rhetoric

Arguing with Numbers

The Intersections of Rhetoric and Mathematics

Edited by James Wynn and G. Mitchell Reyes

Arguing with Numbers is a major contribution to the rhetoric of science, technology, and medicine and is full of important resources for teaching communication to math and engineering students. We can only hope, too, that it will become a foundational book, fostering the further growth of a rhetorical subfield investigating mathematics, related formal systems, and the disciplines that study them.”

 

  • Description
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As discrete fields of inquiry, rhetoric and mathematics have long been considered antithetical to each other. That is, if mathematics explains or describes the phenomena it studies with certainty, persuasion is not needed. This volume calls into question the view that mathematics is free of rhetoric.

Through nine studies of the intersections between these two disciplines, Arguing with Numbers shows that mathematics is in fact deeply rhetorical. Using rhetoric as a lens to analyze mathematically based arguments in public policy, political and economic theory, and even literature, the essays in this volume reveal how mathematics influences the values and beliefs with which we assess the world and make decisions and how our worldviews influence the kinds of mathematical instruments we construct and accept. In addition, contributors examine how concepts of rhetoric—such as analogy and visuality—have been employed in mathematical and scientific reasoning, including in the theorems of mathematical physicists and the geometrical diagramming of natural scientists. Challenging academic orthodoxy, these scholars reject a math-equals-truth reduction in favor of a more constructivist theory of mathematics as dynamic, evolving, and powerfully persuasive.

By bringing these disparate lines of inquiry into conversation with one another, Arguing with Numbers provides inspiration to students, established scholars, and anyone inside or outside rhetorical studies who might be interested in exploring the intersections between the two disciplines.

In addition to the editors, the contributors to this volume are Catherine Chaput, Crystal Broch Colombini, Nathan Crick, Michael Dreher, Jeanne Fahnestock, Andrew C. Jones, Joseph Little, and Edward Schiappa.

Arguing with Numbers is a major contribution to the rhetoric of science, technology, and medicine and is full of important resources for teaching communication to math and engineering students. We can only hope, too, that it will become a foundational book, fostering the further growth of a rhetorical subfield investigating mathematics, related formal systems, and the disciplines that study them.”

James Wynn is Associate Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University. He is the author of Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science, and Public Engagement and Evolution by the Numbers: The Origins of Mathematical Argument in Biology. G. Mitchell Reyes is Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Media Studies at Lewis and Clark College. He is coeditor of Global Memoryscapes: Contesting Remembrance in a Transnational Age.