Date: Dec 5, 2012 8:36 PM
Author: GS Chandy
Subject: Re: In "square root of -1", should we say "minus 1" or "negative<br> 1"?

Joe N.:  Thanks for all the information about Alberto Martinez and "Negative Math".  Let me try and get hold of the book.

> GS Chandy says:
> >Rather late in the day (I'm sure), I must confess
> that I do not 'get' what you mean by the 'Martinez
> road'.
> Author of "Negative Math":
> -Positively/dp/0691123098
> He simply shows that the algebra we learn in school
> is not the only possibility -- more a philosophical
> point than practical.
> Regarding the business of why (-) x (-) = (+), the
> answer in this book is "well, that's a choice, there
> are other possibilities," and he begins to explore
> that a bit.
> Obviously its not a bad choice, but people have been
> confused for eons thinking it should be more obvious
> somehow (of course it can be "proved" as well, given
> you accept certain other axioms.) Not quite at the
> level of math infamy as the fifth postulate, but
> along those lines.

> >Indeed, Mazur's 'virtuous circles' ("virtuous
> cycles", I would believe) are only a (relatively
> small) portion of 'deeper understanding:
> I was too hard in my words, its a good discussion in
> "Imagining Numbers", but he never points out the
> other possibilities.
> Cheers,
> Joe N