Karen Francois

Karen Francois
Vrije Universiteit Brussel | VUB · (i) Department of Philosophy & (ii) Faculties of Human Sciences

PhD in Philosophy

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58
Publications
21,136
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285
Citations
Citations since 2016
17 Research Items
162 Citations
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201620172018201920202021202205101520253035
201620172018201920202021202205101520253035
201620172018201920202021202205101520253035

Publications

Publications (58)
Chapter
As knowledge can be condensed in different non-verbal ways of representation, the integration of graphic and visual representations and design in research output helps to expand insight and understanding. Layers of visual charts, maps, diagrams not only aim at synergizing the complexity of a topic with visual simplicity, but also to guide a persona...
Article
This paper investigates the impact of publication pressure on the ethics and the scientific integrity in the domain of mathematics and of the arts. Both research fields are specific in their methodology, being that they do not start from a classical hypothesis and researchers in these areas are not knowing what the outcome will be. The research des...
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In the contemporary society a massive amount of data is generated continuously by various means, and they are called Big-Data sets. Big Data has potential and limits which need to be understood by statisticians and statistics consumers, therefore it is a challenge to develop Big-Data Literacy to support the needs of constructive, concerned, and ref...
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In this paper we discuss aspects of a research study which investigated collaborative experiences with teachers from a Ororubá Xukuru indigenous village in Pernambuco, Brazil. The study focused on the teaching of statistics related to daily live situations. Based on a qualitative ethnographical research design we tried to answer the question 'if an...
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Abstract / Synopsis Evident in human prehistory and across immense cultural variation in human activities, symmetry has been perceived and utilized as an integrative and guiding principle. In our long-term collaborative work with Indigenous Knowledge holders, particularly Yupiaq Eskimos of Alaska and Carolinian Islanders in Micronesia, we were str...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we discuss aspects of a research study which investigated collaborative experiences with teachers from a Xukuru of Ororubá indigenous village in Pernambuco, Brazil. The study focused on the teaching of statistics related to daily live situations. Based on a qualitative ethnographical research design we tried to answer the question ‘if...
Chapter
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A well-known critique in the research literature of critical mathematics education suggests that framing educational questions in cultural terms can encourage ethnic-cultural essentialism, obscure conflicts within cultures and promote an ethnographic or anthropological stance towards learners. Nevertheless, we believe that some of the obstacles to...
Chapter
The development of the philosophy of science in the twentieth century has created a framework where issues concerning funding dynamics can be easily accommodated. It combines the historical-philosophical approach of Thomas Kuhn (The structure of scientific revolutions (2nd ed., enlarged). The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, [1962] (1970)) wit...
Chapter
This chapter looks at the impact of recent societal approaches of knowledge and science from the perspectives of two rather distant educational domains, mathematics and music. Science’s attempt at ‘self-understanding’ has led to a set of control mechanisms, either generating ‘closure’—the scientists’ non-involvement in society—or ‘economisation’, p...
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In recent years, research on teaching and learning of statistics emphasized that the interpretation of data is a complex process that involves cognitive and technical aspects. However, it is a human activity that involves also contextual and affective aspects. This view is in line with research on affectivity and cognition. While the affective aspe...
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This article discusses the concept of mathematics discourses by analysing two main questions. The first question is about the plurality of mathematics and the possibility of the simultaneous existence of culturally different mathematics. The second question is about the respective value of the different mathematics and its means of power in terms o...
Conference Paper
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This article discusses the concept of ethnomathematics from three perspectives: the epistemological, the political, and the educational. We use a theoretical toolkit that borrows the concepts of “discourses” and of “disciplining” from Foucault but also the concepts of “language games” and of “family resemblance” from Wittgenstein in order to analyz...
Conference Paper
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In recent years, research on the processes of teaching and learning of Statistics emphasises that the interpretation of data is a complex process that involves cognitive and technical aspects. However, the interpretation of statistical data is a human activity that also involves affective aspects. However these aspects were not sufficiently investi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In recent years, research on the processes of teaching and learning of Statistics emphasises that the interpretation of data is a complex process that involves cognitive and technical aspects. However, the interpretation of statistical data is a human activity that also involves affective aspects. However these aspects were not sufficiently investi...
Chapter
In this chapter we explore how mathematics education is caught by a meritocratic sense of the useful and how it could benefit from a more creative and experiential approach. The notion of olympification in mathematics education comes to the fore in the analysis of the differences between the measurements of PISA and TIMSS, further detailed by an ex...
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In this article, we outline some of the challenges involved in the construction of a communitarian mathematics education within the realms of the Urban Boundaries Project. The Urban Boundaries Project has been innovative in the way it congregates the critical development of basic needs of three distinct communities with an Ethnomathematics Posture...
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The majority of research in mathematics education in Brazil focuses on aspects related to urban schools. Although there has been a discussion for decades about the need for a curriculum in schools located in rural areas that considers the importance of the local culture and the concept of context-based knowledge, there is still precarious teaching...
Chapter
It is a rather safe statement to claim that the social dimensions of the scientific process are accepted in a fair share of studies in the philosophy of science. It is a somewhat safe statement to claim that the social dimensions are now seen as an essential element in the understanding of what human cognition is and how it functions. But it would...
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In this paper we discuss the distinction between statistical literacy and mathematical literacy. The starting point of this discussion is the fact that within the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) statistical survey items are elaborated only from the mathematical literacy point of view. We first present theoretical elements on t...
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This paper starts from two statements based on a literature review. The first one concerns the learning process and states that learning is situated and socioculturally contextualized. Learning happens in the space of the background and the foreground of the learner in his or her particular environment of experience. This statement is based on the...
Chapter
The chapter by Karen François, Kathleen Coessens and Jean Paul Van Bendegem turns to ‘The Spaces of Mathematics: Dynamic Encounters Between Local and Universal’ (Chap. 10). No doubt mathematics is the last place (or face?) to look for situatedness, that is, to show that mathematics too is linked to places, to people, to instruments and to practices...
Chapter
In this paper we demonstrate how dualism was finally installed by the philosophy of Descartes. He not only establishes a dualism between mind and body, he also established a dualism within epistemology; a dualism between the knowing subject, – the cogito ego – and the nature beyond. Although Husserl was fascinated by the philosophy of Descartes and...
Article
It is a rather safe statement to claim that the social dimensions of the scientific process are accepted in a fair share of studies in the philosophy of science. It is a somewhat safe statement to claim that the social dimensions are now seen as an essential element in the understanding of what human cognition is and how it functions. It would be a...
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Full-text available
Although D' Ambrosio (2001) in his later work speaks about the political dimension of Ethnomathematics as 'an evidence' and the researchers of Critical Mathematics Education have incorporated ethnomathematical ideas in their research, these two approaches are up to now perceived as separate research fields. In this paper we briefly present the deve...
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Working with Navajo Indian informants in Arizona, USA we became aware of the capabilities of children and adults to find their way in vast and clearly “chaotic” canyons. One thing we did was describe what people actually did and said about their ways to find the way back home in such contexts. A second one was to use these data in order to build a...
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In this comment I want to clarify five topics. The first topic concerns the importance of looking back at the very principles of the foundations of Western society. The second comment argues for the original position of Latour within the field of (social) constructivism. In the third comment, I argue that Haraway adds to the science-politics discus...
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This paper gives a philosophical outline of the initial foundations of politics as presented in the work of Plato and argues why this traditional philosophical approach can no longer serve as the foundation of politics. The argumentation is mainly based on the work of Latour (1993, 1997, 1999a, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008) and consists of five parts. In...
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In this paper I elaborate on the way in which Husserl analyzed the constitution of objectivity both of the ideal and of the material objects. A central question in The Origin of Geometry (1936) is how an internal, personal, psychological process of consciousness can evolve into the objectivity of objects. In line with the analysis of Husserl, I dem...
Article
Ethnomathematics has no correlate in Dutch. Analogous to ethnomusicology -referring to the science of music around the world with the exception of so-called classical music - ethnomathematics could be considered to be the science of mathematical thinking around the world, except for academic mathematics. Indeed, at its inception ethnomathematics co...
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‘Working’ mathematicians will claim without any hesitation that the above figure and formula represent the same thing, namely a normal distribution or Gauss bell-curve. The label ‘working’ is apposite here, as some more philosophically minded mathematicians will insist that the formula is the Gauss curve, whereas the drawing is a representation of...
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This paper wants to think beyond the science-politics divide that is omnipresent in sustainability discourse. With Bruno Latour, we investigate if and how decomposing matters of fact and recomposing them back as matters of concern can open up a scientific-political space in which sustainability challenges can be addressed in an adequate manner. By...
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In this paper we elaborate on the difference Bishop made between mathematics with a capital M and mathematics with a small m. The relation between M and m is far from clear and, confronted with the task of teaching mathematics, the problem only sharpens. In the first section (Ethnomathematics) we give a brief presentation of the critical role of ma...
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During my research into the mathematics curriculum of Flanders secondary education (age 12-18), I first discovered that there is small scope for an explicit philosophy of mathematics. Nevertheless, there are some initial concepts formulated in the general objectives which tend to a more absolutist view of mathematics. In formulating the new curricu...
Book
Prelude.- Prelude.- Interlude.- The Untouchable and Frightening Status of Mathematics.- Interlude.- Philosophical Reflections in Mathematics Classrooms.- Interlude.- Integrating the Philosophy of Mathematics in Teacher Training Courses.- Interlude.- Learning Concepts Through the History of Mathematics.- Interlude.- The Meaning and Understanding of...
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Looking for a philosophy of mathematics in the curriculum of mathematics in secondary schools is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Everyone had the intuition, that there was little to find. "I think you won't find anything." they told us. But in order to have concrete proof of this statement, it was necessary to screen all the curricula. A...
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In this presentation, we want to stress that philosophers, logicians and mathematicians have, starting with Aristotle, via Descartes, up to Kant and so many others wrongly emphasized the logico-mathematical reasoning as an ideal to be aimed at by all forms of reasoning, guaranteeing absolute certainty. We claim this only holds in the "protected" en...
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In a globalized world, international evaluations of studentsperformance influence political and economical plans. However, the perspectives which support those studies do not consider specific aspects which can provide different interpretations to studentsresponses. In this paper we discuss data from the 2003 results for the Programme for Internati...
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In this paper we sketch the history and the philosophy of statistics and probability theory and the connections to its political aspects. Knowledge of the cultural embeddedness of statistics and probability theory is an added value in the teaching thereof. The use of statistics and probability is a phenomenon with which everyone is confronted on a...
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Het Brussels Nederlandstalig secundair onderwijs heeft een goede reputatie, een aantal prestigieuze scholen en de doorstromingscijfers van de leerlingen ogen goed. Nochtans doen we de feiten geweld aan indien we het Brussels Nederlandstalig secundair onderwijs in een adem noemen. De verschillen tussen de scholen zijn immens. Zo slaagt 'de meest pre...
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Through a literature review we document the fact that ethnomathematics in Europe —in comparison with other places like America or Africa— are of less application. In this paper we are discussing the reasons for this late development of ethnomathematics in Europe. We explore the importance of an ethnomathematical approach to contribute and inform ma...
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The aim of this paper is to give a philosophical insight into the ethical and political aspects of the concept of statistical literacy from a historical perspective. The growing interest into the accessibility of statistics goes hand in hand with the fact that statistical information is penetrating in growing measure the forms of personal and publi...
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This paper considers the field of enquiry called ethnomathematics and its role within mathematics education. We elaborate on the shifted meaning of 'ethnomathematics'. This "enriched meaning" impacts on the philosophy of math education. Currently, the concept is no longer reserved for 'nonliterate' people, but also includes diverse mathematical pra...

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Projects (4)
Archived project
The overall project aims are to increase the awareness and knowledge about European Higher Education for Chinese higher education actors and to strengthen dialogue and cooperation between European and Chinese stakeholders in the field of doctoral education. The specific objectives of the project include: Enhancing mutual understanding of doctoral education; Facilitating dialogue and specific cooperation between European and Chinese stakeholders on doctoral education; Facilitating exchange of views on critical issues regarding doctoral education, such as the objectives, process, supervision, the structures and employability; Identifying drivers and barriers of EU-China cooperation in the field of doctoral education and mobility; Enhancing doctoral supervisor cooperation.