Be Fruitful

\bulletIf It Ain’t Repeated Addition…. Over 100 comments.
\bulletHow versus Why at the Unapologetic.
\bulletThe Intute Mathematics Gateway: free books online.


  1. Wow, thanks for the link! Within minutes of your posting this, seven new people came by and joined the conversation.

  2. Denise,

    It is a good conversation for so many different reasons.

    If Devlin is wrong why would he be motivated to say such a thing?

    Why doesn’t Devlin explain himself if he’s right?

    And for me personally, I became interested in the different ways that multiplication works in different groups.

    I’ve got a new stack of books that I ordered that are coming to my house soon. So even though there isn’t a whole lot say directly on the issue, it’s brought up a lot for me to think about. JD on text savvy brought up the name of a mathematician who supposedly can develop the field of real numbers based on four axioms–if I understood the book description correctly in amazon.

  3. Well, not the REAL numbers in four axioms. The natural numbers. At least that’s my memory.

  4. the reals can be characterized as the
    “complete ordered field”–three “axioms”
    (if you will). of course, to say *field*,
    for example, takes in nine or eleven
    axioms all by itself (& “complete” is widely
    considered too hard for non-STEM folks
    to wrap their little minds around properly
    at all what with epsilons & deltas & whatnot
    [though not by me of course]).

    as for the naturals: *five* peano postulates.

  5. Hypatia

    Ouch, Vlorbik. Just spent the last two days digging into old textbooks and notes. It brought back some painful memories. “If I only knew then what I know now… ” type of

    At any rate, just wanted to add that Devlin is more than just “The Math Guy”. He is quite an accomplished research mathematician and lecturer, and guess what his specialty is? He’s written 24 books and at least 70 research related articles. Of those 24 books, six are research monographs and six are textbooks. I’d say he’s explained himself fairly well.

    I’ll admit a certain partiality. I think Keith Devlin has done a great dealing for promoting mathematics to the general public. He has done a tremendous job of writing about mathematics for a general audience with an interest in mathematics. I had just finished reading ‘The Language of Mathematics” when all of this cropped up.

    Denise, you have done a tremendous job with your blog. I’ve enjoyed reading all of the responses and then went on to look at the some of the rest of your blog. Thank you for a very enjoyable ‘read’.

  6. oh, for sure–devlin‘s one of the good guys.
    i’ve referred to devlin’s angle in these pages
    before … but don’t read it regularly.
    i’ve never heard the math guy
    and never plan to; talk radio is slow torture.
    doggoned if i can tell what his specialty is …

  1. 1 What’s Wrong with “Repeated Addition”? « Let’s Play Math!

    […] it The article that launched a thousand posts…, and counting comments on this and several other blogs, that may not be too much of an exaggeration. Yet the discussion feels incomplete — I […]

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