Chapter

Arithmetic

E. Brian Davies

in Science in the Looking Glass

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780199219186
Published online September 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191711695 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199219186.003.0003
 Arithmetic

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This chapter explains why our concept of number is not nearly as simple as most people think. It argues that a long historical process has resulted in the creation of a powerful numerical structure which we now use with confidence. However, the chapter states, this must not blind us to the fact that the properties of numbers which we regard as self-evident were not always so. Topics discussed include whole numbers, small numbers, medium numbers, what large numbers represent, addition, subtraction, multiplication, inaccessible and huge numbers, Peano's postulates, and infinity.

Keywords: whole numbers; small numbers; medium numbers; addition; subtraction; multiplication; Peano's postulates; infinity

Chapter.  10390 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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