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Cover Art
Author Urton, Gary, 1946-

Title The social life of numbers : a Quechua ontology of numbers and philosophy of arithmetic / Gary Urton with the collaboration of Primitivo Nina Llanos.

Published Austin : University of Texas Press, 1997.


Location Call No. Status
Edition 1st University of Texas Press ed.
Physical description xv, 267 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 243-253) and index.
Contents 1. Anthropology and the Philosophy of Arithmetic -- 2. The Cardinal Numbers and Their Social Relations -- 3. Ordinal Numerals: The Reproduction and Succession of Numbers -- 4. Yupay: Counting, Recounting, and the Fabric of Numbers -- 5. Quechua Arithmetic as an Art of Rectification -- 6. Numbers and Arithmetic in Pre-Hispanic and Colonial Andean Societies -- 7. Conclusions -- Appendix. Quechua Number Symbols and Metaphors.
Summary 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.
Other author Nina Llanos, Primitivo.
Subject Quechua Indians -- Mathematics.
Quechua language -- Numerals.
Quechua philosophy.
ISBN 029278533X (cloth : alk. paper)
0292785348 (paper : alk. paper)