Article ID: CBB146012101

The Remarkable Number “1” (2014)


In human history, the origin of the numbers came from definite practical needs. Indeed, there is strong evidence that numbers were created before writing. The number “1”, dating back at least 20,000 years, was found as a counting symbol on a bone. The famous statement by the German mathematician Leopold Kronecker (1823–1891), “God made the integers; all else is the work of man,” has spawned a lively modern philosophical discussion, and this discussion begins by trying to get a philosophical handle on “1.” This approach remains under heavy discussion, and is more-or-less unresolved (Frege in Die Grundlagen der Arithmetik (English: The foundations of arithmetic). Polhman, 1884). In this note, we consider the many facets of “one” in it many guises and applications. Nonetheless, “one” has multiple meanings, from the very practical to the abstract, from mathematics to science to basically everything. We examine here a mere slice of mathematical history with a focus on the most basic and applicable concept therein. It troubles many, particularly students, even today.

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Authors & Contributors
Zellini, Paolo
Hachaichi, Yassine
Hamouda, Leïla
Franco Purini
Bertolini, Manuel
Knott, Betty Irene
Bruniana & Campanelliana: Ricerche Filosofiche e Materiali Storico-testuali
British Journal for the History of Mathematics
Vivarium: Journal for Mediaeval Philosophy and the Intellectual Life of the Middle Ages
Nei Menggu Shifan Daxue Xuebao (Ziran Kexue Ban)
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
IEEE Annals of the History of Computing
Princeton University Press
Pickering & Chatto
Oxford University Press
Il Mulino
Mathematics and its relationship to nature
Philosophy of mathematics
Al-Baghdādī, Muwaffaq al-Dīn Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Laṭīf ibn Yūsuf
Fermat, Pierre de
Thomas Aquinas, Saint
Reitwiesner, George W.
Leonardo da Pisa
Time Periods
20th century, early
20th century
18th century
17th century
Middle and Near East

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