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simple arithmetic, symptomatic behavior

I like to use conversations about simple arithmetic to illustrate some interesting behaviors. Math as metaphor: does it make sense to you?

(Read all the conversations. Or open them in a new window or tab.)

2+2=3? Or 2+2=5? Which untruth do you prefer?

Is 3+1 somehow better than 1+3?  Don’t they both add up to four?

Got a problem with 8?  Why?

Do I stand corrected? Or do I step right over new information?

Answers, observations, demonstrations, and other related thoughts at my “math as metaphor” page …


  1. erin monahan says:



    September 9, 2006 @ 11:04 am

  2. fouro says:

    Ah, but 2/2 is 1 and if we can get a 1 out of two 2s then 2+2=3 must be possible.

    I will double-check this with my faith-powered calculator and get back to you.

    September 20, 2006 @ 11:50 am

  3. fouro says:

    (Original comment about the draft version of my explanation: )

    Ah, systems and dogma, the other ontological dilemma of man that Becker forgot :)

    Interesting posts, even if I do suck at math.

    If you’re interested, I tried to tackle the whole ships passing/out of phase thing here: Diverge, Converge, Reemerge, Repeat

    September 21, 2006 @ 12:17 pm

  4. josF says:

    I began life rebelling to the dogma of numbers.
    I was unable to do the rote of times tables.
    0 is a number,too.

    March 6, 2009 @ 9:08 pm

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