What Does It All Mean?

  • Calvin C. Clawson


We have come a long way in our quest for numbers. Beginning with the natural numbers, we have investigated their origins and expanded our ideas to include fractions, irrational, complex, and transfinite numbers. We have even speculated on how other species count. Now it is time to ask: What are numbers in the most general sense? This is really not a mathematical question but a philosophical one, and as such, we must be careful not to get bogged down in a quagmire of endless philosophical debate.


Physical Object Physical World Mathematical Object Material Object Material World 
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End Notes

  1. 1.
    Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy (London: Oxford University Press, 1959), p. 12.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    George Berkeley, “Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous,” in Philosophers Speak for Themselves: Berkeley, Hume, and Kant, pp. 1–95.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Russell, p. 98.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Jerry P. King, The Art of Mathematics (New York: Plenum Press, 1992), p. 29.CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ibid., p. 43.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ibid., p. 139.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    W. H. Werkmeister, A Philosophy of Science (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1940), p. 141.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Calvin C. Clawson 1994

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  • Calvin C. Clawson

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