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Science in the Looking GlassWhat Do Scientists Really Know?$
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E. Brian Davies

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199219186

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199219186.001.0001

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(p.61) 3 Arithmetic
Science in the Looking Glass

E. Brian Davies

Oxford University Press

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

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