The position developed in this volume combines features of both the strong and the weak viewpoint. In accordance with the former, mathematics is assigned an active and even shaping role in the sciences, but at the same time, employing mathematics as a tool is taken to be independent from the possible mathematical structure of the objects under consideration. Hence the tool perspective is contextual rather than ontological. Furthermore, tool-use has to respect conditions like suitability, efficacy, optimality, and others. There is a spectrum of means that will normally differ in how well they serve particular purposes. The tool perspective underlines the inevitably provisional validity of mathematics: any tool can be adjusted, improved, or lose its adequacy upon changing practical conditions.
This volume provides new sources of knowledge based on Michael Otte’s fundamental insight that understanding the problems of mathematics education – how to teach, how to learn, how to communicate, how to do, and how to represent mathematics – depends on means, mainly philosophical and semiotic, that have to be created first of all, and to be reflected from the perspectives of a multitude of diverse disciplines.