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

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

Available as an e-book

302 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
  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
  • Sample Chapters
  • Subjects
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.

Acknowledgements

Introduction

James Wynn and G. Mitchell Reyes

Part 1 Framing the Intersections

From Division to Multiplication: Uncovering the Relationship Between Mathematics and Rhetoric Through Transdisciplinary Scholarship

James Wynn and G. Mitchell Reyes

In What Ways Shall We Describe Mathematics as Rhetorical?

Edward Schiappa

Part 2 Rhetoric, Mathematics, and Public Culture

The Mathematization of the Invisible Hand: Rhetorical Energy and the Crafting of Economic Spontaneity

Catherine Chaput and Crystal Broch Colombini

The Horizons of Judgment in Mathematical Discourse: Copulas, Economics, and Subprime Mortgages

G. Mitchell Reyes

The Ourang-Outang in the Rue Morgue: Charles Peirce, Edgar Allan Poe, and the Rhetoric of Diagrams in Detective Fiction

Andrew C. Jones and Nathan Crick

Part 3 Mathematical Argument and Rhetorical Invention

Rhetoric and Mathematics in the Saturnian Account of Atomic Spectra

Joseph Little

The New Mathematical Arts of Argument: Naturalistic Images and Geometric Diagrams

Jeanne Fahnestock

Part 4 Mathematical Presentations: Experts and Lay Audiences

Accommodating Young Women: Addressing the Gender Gap in Mathematics with Female-Centered Epideictic

James Wynn

Turning Principles of Action into Practice: Examining the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ Reform Rhetoric

Michael Dreher

List of Contributors

Index