Read e-book online Mathematics in Western Culture PDF

By Morris Kline

ISBN-10: 019500714X

ISBN-13: 9780195007145

"[Kline] is unfalteringly transparent in explaining mathematical principles; he's realized yet now not pedantic; he has ancient discernment, a sympathetic social outlook and a pleasant feel of enjoyable and irony.... the sweetness and fascination and infrequent excellence of arithmetic emerge from his tale. it truly is an exhilarating, provocative ebook. - medical American"Still the easiest textbook for the background and philosophy of arithmetic for undergraduate liberal arts scholars. specifically stable for the age of the medical Revulution. - Janet A. Fitzgerald, Molloy collage, NYProduct DescriptionThis ebook offers a remarkably effective account of the affects arithmetic has exerted at the improvement of philosophy, the actual sciences, faith, and the humanities in Western lifestyles.

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Extra resources for Mathematics in Western Culture

Sample text

We ourselves speak of the arms of a right triangle. The major Near Eastern civilizations from which our culture and our mathematics sprang were the Egyptian and the Babylonian. In the earliest records of these civilizations we find well-developed number systems, some algebra, and very simple geometry. For the numbers from i to 9 the Egyptians used simple strokes thus: 1, 1 1 , 1 1 1 , etc. For 10 they introduced the special symbol 0 , and there were special symbols for 100, 1000, and other large numbers.

The priests monopolized all learning, mathematics included, in order to use it for their own ends. Knowledge gave them power; and by restricting knowledge they reduced the likelihood that anyone would be able to challenge that power. Moreover, ignorance begets fear and people who are afraid turn to leaders who will guide and reassure them. In this way, the priests reinforced their position and were able to maintain their rule over the people. The theocracies of Babylonia and Egypt compare very unfavorably with civilizations in which there was no dominant priestly class.

To write six in the base five he would write 11. Seven would be 12. Eleven would be 21. Twenty-five would be 100 or i times 52 + o times 5 + 0 units. To use the base five systematically he would of course have to learn the relevant addition and multiplication tables. Thus 3 + 4 would be 12; 13 + 14, the two numbers being in base five and representing eight and nine, respectively, would be 32; and so on. The question, what is the best base, has been seriously considered and there are good reasons to favor twelve.

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Mathematics in Western Culture by Morris Kline


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