jenyan1 jenyan1 at
Fri Apr 20 14:38:59 MDT 2001

On Fri, 20 Apr 2001, Craven, Jim wrote:

> On a parenthetical note, The Mayans developed and used the concept of 0 some
> 600 years before it was "discovered" in Europe. For some interesting
> expositions on some of the "undiscovered" origins of central concepts in
> advanced mathematics see "Native American Mathematics" Ed by Michael P.
> Closs, University of Texas Press, Austin, 1986. Since Calculus is
> essentially the mathematics of change and non-linearity, Indigenous
> paradigms focusing on the essential changability and non-linear integration
> of aspects of a totality, seen as a totality of interrelated aspects, the
> essential concepts and operations of calculus were known and practiced by
> some Indigenous societies long before "credit" was given for the same
> "discoveries" elsewhere.
> Jim C.


I don't know anything about the history of Mayan mathematics and would be
interested to know more about the subject. However, I don't think anyone
seriously claims that zero was "discovered in Europe" as you put it. Might
I suggest a bit of research on Indo-Arabic numberals?

Re cultures and mathematics, my greatgrandparents in central Africa were
familiar with the first few hundred positive integers. But they did not
know zero, algebra or any higher mathematics. Nor did they posses a
written script of any sort -- the traditions were purely oral. But,
needless to say, I don't think of anyone as more or less human for it.

So, yes to hell with Eurocentrism. But I won't dignify Eurocentrism by
contesting its (thoroughly spurious and contemptible) claims on its terms.



More information about the Marxism mailing list