The enacting perspective in mathematics education: doing is always knowing

María Dolores Lozano

Abstract: In this article I present the enactivist perspective (Maturana and Varela, 1984)
as a theoretical alternative that can be used to investigate and clarify the teaching and
learning of mathematics. The biological roots of the theory are introduced, including fundamental
ideas such as autopoiesis and structural determinism. In addition, the theory’s
ideas on cognition as embodied action are discussed and some of its uses in mathematics
education are exemplified. Finally, I conclude by inviting the reader to use the ideas
exposed in order to investigate, in a complex manner and considering a multiplicity of
dimensions, the phenomena related to the teaching and learning of mathematics.

Keywords: enactivism, autopoiesis, embodied cognition, mathematics education.



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