
Re: 300 BCE Chinese multiplication table. Nature owes India an apology!
Posted:
Jan 17, 2014 8:48 AM


On Jan 16, 2014, at 11:52 PM, Jonathan Crabtree <sendtojonathan@yahoo.com.au> wrote:
> This is anachronistic reporting in the extreme! Nature magazine is in effect, not reporting history, it is rewriting it with its translation into a contemporary multiplication table with Hindu Arabic Numerals and zero as a number, not just a placeholder.
Also, why would a ?decimal? times table need to list the multiplicands 1 through 9 AND 10 through 90. Unfortunately, ?decimal? has been given two meanings. The base 10 hindu arabic ?positional? notation that we generally think of, and counting systems that have symbols for multiples of 10, like roman numerals. The significance of multiples of 10 in counting systems has a much longer history than positional systems based on powers of 10 (base 10).
I would call the counting systems (with symbols for multiples of 10) ?pre decimal?, not ?decimal?. While it is reasonable to suspect that they influenced the invention of decimal positional notation, they are not themselves anything of the sort.
Bob Hansen

