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

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.<P> 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.

Synopsis:

This is an extraordinary book. It is easily readable even for the non-mathematically inclined and non-Andeanists. It deals with issues of why one counts, what is counted, and how arithmetic operations are used in social life. — Hispanic American Historical Review This book is of virtuoso quality in ethnographic research and contains important fresh insights in every section, many of them touching whole areas of inquiry that nobody else has even tried to probe.... This is a major work by a major ethnographer. — Frank Salomon, Professor of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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, andmoral spheres of community life.

Synopsis:

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.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780292785342
Editor:
Llanos, Primitivo N.
Editor:
Llanos, Primitivo N.
Editor:
Llanos, Primitivo N.
Author:
Urton, Gary
Publisher:
University of Texas Press
Subject:
History
Subject:
Mathematics
Subject:
Ethnology
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Indians of south america
Subject:
Quechua language
Subject:
Quechua Indians
Subject:
History -- Philosophy.
Subject:
Quechua Indians -- Mathematics.
Subject:
Quechua language -- Numerals.
Subject:
anthropology;cultural anthropology
Edition Description:
Univ of Texas P
Publication Date:
19970131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.03x6.05x.79 in. 1.05 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Anthropology » Central and South America
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » History

The Social Life of Numbers: A Quechua Ontology of Numbers and Philosophy of Arithmetic New Trade Paper
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$32.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages University of Texas Press - English 9780292785342 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , This is an extraordinary book. It is easily readable even for the non-mathematically inclined and non-Andeanists. It deals with issues of why one counts, what is counted, and how arithmetic operations are used in social life. — Hispanic American Historical Review This book is of virtuoso quality in ethnographic research and contains important fresh insights in every section, many of them touching whole areas of inquiry that nobody else has even tried to probe.... This is a major work by a major ethnographer. — Frank Salomon, Professor of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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, andmoral spheres of community life.

"Synopsis" by , 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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