The Social Life of Numbers: A Quechua Ontology of Numbers and Philosophy of Arithmetic

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University of Texas Press, 1997 - Всего страниц: 267
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Unraveling all the mysteries of the khipu—the knotted string device used by the Inka to record both statistical data and narrative accounts of myths, histories, and genealogies—will require an understanding of how number values and relations may have been used to encode information on social, familial, and political relationships and structures. This is the problem Gary Urton tackles in his pathfinding study of the origin, meaning, and significance of numbers and the philosophical principles underlying the practice of arithmetic among Quechua-speaking peoples of the Andes.

Based on fieldwork in communities around Sucre, in south-central Bolivia, Urton argues that the origin and meaning of numbers were and are conceived of by Quechua-speaking peoples in ways similar to their ideas about, and formulations of, gender, age, and social relations. He also demonstrates that their practice of arithmetic is based on a well-articulated body of philosophical principles and values that reflects a continuous attempt to maintain balance, harmony, and equilibrium in the material, social, and moral spheres of community life.


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Anthropology and the Philosophy of Arithmetic
The Cardinal Numbers and Their Social Relations
Ordinal Numerals The Reproduction and Succession of Numbers
Yupay Counting Recounting and the Fabric of Numbers
Quechua Arithmetic as an Art of Rectification
Numbers and Arithmetic in PreHispanic and Colonial Andean Societies
Quechua Number Symbols and Metaphors
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Об авторе (1997)

Gary Urton is the Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Pre-Columbian Studies, Harvard University

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