Philosophy and Fun of Algebra

Philosophy and Fun of Algebra

Printed: 9.99 $eBook: 4.99 $
Series: Orange Line Academic Books, Book 0
Genres: Academics, Children's Books, Mathematics & Geometry, Science & Nature & Philosophy Books
Publisher: e-Kitap Projesi & Cheapest Books
Publication Year: 2014
Format: (eBook + Printed)
Length: English, 8.5" x 11" (17 x 27 cm), 44 pages
ASIN: 1505488656
ISBN: 9781505488654

My Dear Children,
A young monkey named Genius picked a green walnut, and bit, through a bitter rind, down into a hard shell. He then threw the walnut away, saying:

“How stupid people are! They told me walnuts are good to eat.” His grandmother, whose name was Wisdom, picked up the walnut—peeled off the rind with her fingers, cracked the shell, and shared the kernel with her grandson, saying: “Those get on best in life who do not trust to first impressions.” In some old books the story is told differently; the grandmother is called Mrs Cunning-Greed, and she eats all the kernel herself. Fables about the Cunning-Greed family are written to make children laugh. It is good for you to laugh; it makes you grow strong, and gives you the habit of understanding jokes and not being made miserable by them. But take care not to believe such fables; because, if you believe them, they give you bad dreams.


About the Book

Arithmetic means dealing logically with facts which we know (about questions of number). 

“Logically”; that is to say, in accordance with the “Logos” or hidden wisdom, i.e. the laws of normal action of the human mind. 

For instance, you are asked what will have to be paid for six pounds of sugar at 3d. a pound. You multiply the six by the three. That is not because of any property of sugar, or of the copper of which the pennies are made. You would have done the same if the thing bought had been starch or apples. You would have done just the same if the material had been tea at 3s. a pound. Moreover, you would have done just the same kind of action if you had been asked the price of seven pounds of tea at 2s. a pound. You do what you do under direction of the Logos or hidden wisdom. And this law of the Logos is made not by any King or Parliament, but by whoever or whatever created the human mind. Suppose that any Parliament passed an act that all the children in the kingdom were to divide the price by the number of pounds; the Parliament could not make the answer come right. The only result of a foolish Act of Parliament like that would be that everybody’s sums would come wrong, and everybody’s accounts be in confusion, and everybody would wonder why the trade of the country was going to the bad. 

In former times there were kings and emperors quite stupid enough to pass Acts like that, but governments have grown wiser by experience and found out that, as far as arithmetic goes, there is no use in ordering people to go contrary to the laws of the Logos, because the Logos has the whip hand, and knows its own business, and is master of the situation. Therefore children now are allowed to study the laws of the Logos, whenever the business on hand is finding out how much they are to pay in a shop. Sometimes your teachers set you more complicated problems than:—What is the price of six pounds of sugar? For instance:—In what proportion must one make 5 per cent. profit by selling the mixture at 1s. 9d. a pound? 

Arithmetic, then, means dealing logically with certain facts that we know, about number, with a view to arriving at knowledge which as yet we do not possess.

About the Author
Mary Everest Boole

Mary Everest Boole (1832, Wickwar, Gloucestershire – 1916) was a self-taught mathematician who is best known as an author of didactic works on mathematics, such as Philosophy and Fun of Algebra, and as the wife of fellow mathematician George Boole.

Her progressive ideas on education, as expounded in The Preparation of the Child for Science, included encouraging children to explore mathematics through playful activities such as 'curve stitching'. Her life is of interest to feminists as an example of how women made careers in an academic system that did not welcome them.

She was born Mary Everest in England, the daughter of Revd Thomas Roupell Everest, Rector of Wickwar, and Mary nee Ryall. Her uncle George Everest gave his name to Mount Everest. She spent the first part of her life in France where she received an education in mathematics from a private tutor. On returning to England at the age of 11 she continued to pursue her interest in mathematics through self-instruction.

George Boole became her tutor in 1852 and on the death of her father in 1855 they married and moved to Cork County, Ireland. Mary greatly contributed as an editor to Boole's The Laws of Thought, a work on algebraic logic. She had five daughters by him.

She was widowed in 1864, at the age of 32, and returned to England where she was offered a post as a librarian at Queen's College, London. She also tutored privately in mathematics and developed a philosophy of teaching that involved the use of natural materials and physical activities to encourage an imaginative conception of the subject. Her interest extended beyond mathematics to Darwinian theory, philosophy and psychology and she organised discussion groups on these subjects among others.
She died in 1916 at the age of 84.

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