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The Nature of Numbers

The Nature of Numbers

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Published by vampire88

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Published by: vampire88 on Apr 07, 2010
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12/13/2010

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Natural Numbers
In mathematics, a
natural number
can meaneither an element of the set {1, 2, 3, ...} (thepositive integers or the
counting numbers
) or anelement of the set {0, 1, 2, 3, ...} (the non-negativeintegers). The former is generally used in number theory, while the latter is preferred in mathematicallogic, set theory, and computer science.
Natural numbers have two main purposes: theycan be used for counting ("there are 3 apples onthe table"), and they can be used for ordering("this is the 3
rd
largest city in the country")

U
nfortunately, 0 is sometimes also includedin the list of "natural" numbers (Bourbaki1968, Halmos1974), and there seems tobe no general agreement about whether toinclude it. In fact, Ribenboim(1996) states"Let be a set of natural numbers; whenever convenient, it may be assumed that ."
Due to lack of standard terminology, thefollowing terms and notations arerecommended in preference to "countingnumber," "natural number," and "wholenumber."

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