Five stages of accepting constructive mathematics

During the special year on the Univalent foundations for mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study, Andrej Bauer gave a talk on the Five stages of accepting constructive mathematics. In it, he compared the process a classically trained mathematician might go through (or might get stuck in) in accepting constructive mathematics, to the five stages identified by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross of dealing with trauma. These five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Now the talk has been turned into an article, and it is published by the Bulletin of the AMS. Each of the five stages apart from ‘depression’ is illustrated by mathematical theorems that a mathematician might use to justify their being in that stage. And the ‘depression’ stage… well, just read it for yourself! There are juicy quotes, it is mostly non-technical, and I found it delightful and funny. Also, it is freely available, so I can highly recommend it!


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