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Mathematics, Nature And Cosmological Inquiry In Traditional China

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Chapter Summary

The conjunction of the two words nature and mathematics usually evokes the mathematical formulation of laws of nature, the advent of which is so often thought to be the event marking the emergence of modern science in the seventeenth century in the west. This chapter discusses that that nature and mathematics have been tied in ancient China. It indicates how the way in which mathematical reality has been approached in ancient China allowed for the development of such a cosmological reflection embracing mathematics. The relationship of this reflection to a wider cosmological speculation extending over virtually any domain will be highlighted. The chapter describes how various mathematical practices that took shape in ancient China could be related to such an agenda. Mathematics and nature have been approached from the same angle, as comparable domains of reality, for developing, regarding processes, a general understanding of a cosmological type.

Keywords: China; mathematics; nature

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