By David Eugene Smith

A historic account of arithmetic in the United States from the 16th throughout the 19th centuries, with concentrations on schooling, study, and sensible use. moderate shelf put on. past owner's identify on entrance pastedown. x, 210 pages. cloth.. small 8vo..

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Verbs and nouns are “incompatible contexts” and thus the equation is ambiguous. Similarly, all infinite decimals are ambiguous. 999. . only as a process. They imagine themselves actually adding up the series term by term and they “see” that this process never ends. So at any finite stage the sum is “very close” but not equal to 1. They don’t see that this infinite process can be understood as a single number. 999. . 999. . (shifting the decimal point). 999. . 999. . = 9. So x = 1. The reaction is interesting.

The power of ideas resides in their ambiguity. Thus any project that would eliminate ambiguity from mathematics would destroy mathematics. It is true that mathematicians are motivated to understand, that is, to move toward clarity, but if they wish to be creative then they must continually go back to the ambiguous, to the unclear, to the problematic, for that is where new mathematics comes from. Thus ambiguity, contradiction, and paradox and their consequences—conflict, crises, and the problematic—cannot be excised from mathematics.

Of course Fermat’s equation for n > 2 is Diophantine but has no integral solutions. David Hilbert’s Tenth Problem is another example. 22 Thus he asked whether an algorithm can be devised that would be able to determine in a finite number of steps whether a given Diophantine equation had an integral root. This problem is interesting because of what it tells us about the nature of algorithmic intelligence, a question that will be returned to later on. In 1970 Yuri Matiyasevich showed that Hilbert’s Tenth Problem is unsolvable.

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A history of mathematics in America before 1900 by David Eugene Smith


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