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In this chapter, I argue for the importance of transcending dualisms and using multi-paradigm perspectives when examining phenomena and issues in mathematics education. I begin by exploring the philosophical bases—ontological, epistemological, axiological, and methodological—underlying three major paradigms in mathematics education research: the modernist (post-)positivist paradigm, the post-modernist interpretive paradigm, and the post-modernist transformative paradigm. Then, I present three modes of thinking that enable researchers to deal with multiple paradigms: dualistic thinking, dialogical thinking, and dialectical thinking. I adopt the dialectical mode of thinking to blend the modernist and post-modernist paradigms with respect to an ontological opposition (mind-world duality) and an epistemological opposition (objectivity-subjectivity duality) prevalent in the literature. A new paradigm begins to emerge from this blend, one which transcends these dualities to better interpret phenomena and issues in mathematics education.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Open Access Book Chapter

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Open Access

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.