Trevor Batten

Inventing Numbers:

As far as I can see, "Numbers" are created by the process of "Counting". 

This may sound a little silly -but one can "Count" by cutting notches in a stick (for example every time an animal goes into the pen). One can later slide ones finger from notch to notch and check that the same number of animals are still present -without actually even having "names" (like six, seven, etc..) for the numbers.

It is even possible to split the stick in two (or more?) pieces lengthwise -so one has a copy of the tally (a receipt).... All without having to name the "Number" pf animals present.....


Perhaps this has conditioned most people into apparently thinking of numbers as a row of numbers stretching off into infinity....

I don't see numbers like this: I see myself having a magic bag full of an infinite number of balls. No matter how many balls I take out of the bag -there are always some left in.....

So, if I have an empty table and take a ball out of the bag and put it on the table -then I have "One" ball.... If I take another ball out and put it on the table -then I have "Two" balls, etc.....

This helps to create the problem of knowing how many balls are now on the table. After a while (around 20 -it seems) we run out of names -so we need a more systematic way of inventing names. The sequence 21. 22. 23. etc... is very clever -because it allows us to "count" any specific number of balls -with no upper limit on the "number" we can count....
ADD & Subtract

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