RAFAEL NÚÑEZ is deeply interested in a multidisciplinary approach to the scientific study of the mind, and for more than a decade has worked on the foundations of embodied cognition. One of his major research areas is the nature and origin of mathematical concepts. He has published in leading journals in several areas: cognitive science, philosophy of mind, mathematics education, consciousness studies, mathematical cognition, cross-cultural psychology, statistics for social sciences, developmental psychology, clinical psychology and mental health. In cross-cultural studies, he has done field research in Africa (Ivory Coast, and Cape Verde), and in South America (in the Chilean, Bolivian and Peruvian Andes). He has published in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
He is the author (with George Lakoff) of Where Mathematics Comes From; Philosophy of the Flesh; and En deçà du transfini: Aspects psychocognitifs sous-jacents au concept d'infini en mathémathiques [On this side of transfinity: Psychocognitive aspects underlying the concept of infinity in mathematics]. He is also the co-editor (with M. Bolognini, B. Plancherel, and W. Bettschart) of Préadolescence: Théorie, recherche et clinique [Early adolescence: Theory, research, and clinical practice], and co-editor (with Walter Freeman) of Reclaiming Cognition: The Primacy of Action, Intention and Emotion.
He has taught in different languages in several countries around the world: In French at the University of Fribourg, University of Lausanne, University of Geneva, and also at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Télécommunications in Paris. In Spanish at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, at the Universidad de Barcelona, and at the Universidad Católica del Norte in Chile. In Portuguese, at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas in São Paulo, at the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil, and in English at the University of California at Berkeley.
He is an important figure in the mathematics education world. He is on the international board of the International Group for Psychology of Mathematics Education, and lectures widely to mathematics education groups around the world. In the last few years he has made about a dozen academic public appearances a year, in Europe, South America, and in the USA.