Why Does 1+1=2?
Date: 28 Feb 1995 22:27:08 -0500 From: Satinder K. Bhayana Subject: WHY does 1+1=2? Nobody that I ask has been able to answer that Why does 1 + 1 = 2? Nobody that I ask has been able to answer that question with explanation. Notice the word "WHY" not "HOW"!!! Please write back ASAP.
Date: 28 Feb 1995 23:35:47 -0500 From: Dr. Ken Subject: Re: WHY does 1+1=2? Nobody that I ask has been able to answer that Here's a good reason that nobody you ask has been able to tell you WHY 1+1=2. I quote from the February edition of the Newsletter of the Mathematical Association of America: ...when was the last time you saw a proof of a real theorem that followed the strict rules of logic? Remember, it took Whitehead and Russell 362 pages of formal deduction in their mammoth work _Principia_Mathematica_ before they were able to prove 1+1=2. It was nice that I happened to notice this yesterday, just in time for your question. _Principia Mathematica_ was a work that attempted to codify all of the existing mathematics at that time, in an absolutely rigorous fashion. After all, there are almost no proofs these days that follow the strict rules of logic; they are simply chains of reasoning that convince mathematicians that such a formalized proof _could_ be given, but nobody actually wants to see them. But you are wise to ask why 1+1=2. I suggest you check out Whitehead and Russell's book, and see what they have to offer. -Ken "Dr." Math
Search the Dr. Math Library:
Ask Dr. MathTM
© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.