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ARITHMETIC

After his suppression of the Satsuma rebellion he was made a field-marshal, and he was chief of the staff in the war with China (1894–95). His younger brother, Prince Takehito Arisugawa (b. 1862), was from 1879 to 1882 in the British navy, serving in the Channel Squadron, and studied at the Naval College, Greenwich. In the Chino-Japanese War of 1894–95 he was in command of a cruiser, and subsequently became admiral-superintendent at Yokosuka. Prince Arisugawa represented Japan in England together with Marquis Ito at the Diamond Jubilee (1897), and in 1905 was again received there as the king’s guest.

ARITHMETIC (Gr. ἀριθμητική, sc. τέχνη, the art of counting, from ἀριθμός, number), the art of dealing with numerical quantities in their numerical relations.

1. Arithmetic is usually divided into Abstract Arithmetic and Concrete Arithmetic, the former dealing with numbers and the latter with concrete objects. This distinction, however, might be misleading. In stating that the sum of 11d. and 9d. is 1s. 8d. we do not mean that nine pennies when added to eleven pennies produce a shilling and eight pennies. The sum of money corresponding to 11d. may in fact be made up of coins in several different ways, so that the symbol “11d.” cannot be taken as denoting any definite concrete objects. The arithmetical fact is that 11 and 9 may be regrouped as 12 and 8, and the statement “11d. + 9d. = 1s. 8d.” is only an arithmetical statement in so far as each of the three expressions denotes a numerical quantity (§ 11).

2. The various stages in the study of arithmetic may be arranged in different ways, and the arrangement adopted must be influenced by the purpose in view. There are three main purposes, the practical, the educational, and the scientific; i.e. the subject may be studied with a view to technical skill in dealing with the arithmetical problems that arise in actual life, or for the sake of its general influence on mental development, or as an elementary stage in mathematical study.

3. The practical aspect is an important one. The daily activities of the great mass of the adult population, in countries where commodities are sold at definite prices for definite quantities, include calculations which have often to be performed rapidly, on data orally given, and leading in general to results which can only be approximate; and almost every branch of manufacture or commerce has its own range of applications of arithmetic. Arithmetic as a school subject has been largely regarded from this point of view.

4. From the educational point of view, the value of arithmetic has usually been regarded as consisting in the stress it lays on accuracy. This aspect of the matter, however, belongs mainly to the period when arithmetic was studied almost entirely for commercial purposes; and even then accuracy was not found always to harmonize with actuality. The development of physical science has tended to emphasize an exactly opposite aspect, viz. the impossibility, outside a certain limited range of subjects, of ever obtaining absolute accuracy, and the consequent importance of not wasting time in attempting to obtain results beyond a certain degree of approximation.

5. As a branch of mathematics, arithmetic may be treated logically, psychologically, or historically. All these aspects are of importance to the teacher: the logical, in order that he may know the end which he seeks to attain; the psychological, that he may know how best to attain this end; and the historical, for the light that history throws on psychology,

The logical arrangement of the subject is not the best for elementary study. The division into abstract and concrete, for instance, is logical, if the former is taken as relating to number and the latter to numerical quantity (§ 11). But the result of a rigid application of this principle would be that the calculation of the cost of 3 ℔ of tea at 2s. a ℔ would be deferred until after the study of logarithms. The psychological treatment recognizes the fact that the concrete precedes the abstract and that the abstract is based on the concrete; and it also recognizes the futility of attempting a strictly continuous development of the subject.

On the other hand, logical analysis is necessary if the subject is to be understood. As an illustration, we may take the elementary processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. These are still called in text-books the “four simple rules”; but this name ignores certain essential differences. (i) If we consider that we are dealing with numerical quantities, we must recognize the fact that, while addition and subtraction might in the first instance be limited to such quantities, multiplication and division necessarily introduce the idea of pure number. (ii) If on the other hand we regard ourselves as dealing with pure number throughout, then, as multiplication is continued addition, we ought to include in our classification involution as continued multiplication. Or we might say that, since multiplication is a form of addition, and division a form of subtraction, there are really only two fundamental processes, viz. addition and subtraction. (iii) The inclusion of the four processes under one general head fails to indicate the essential difference between addition and multiplication, as direct processes, on the one hand, and subtraction and division, as inverse processes, on the other (§ 59).

6. The present article deals mainly with the principles of the subject, for which a logical arrangement is on the whole the more convenient. It is not suggested that this is the proper order to be adopted by the teacher.


I. Number

7. Ordinal and Cardinal Numbers.—One of the primary distinctions in the use of number is between ordinal and cardinal numbers, or rather between the ordinal and the cardinal aspects of number. The usual statement is that one, two, three, ... are cardinal numbers, and first, second, third, ... are ordinal numbers. This, however, is an incomplete statement; the words one, two, three, ... and the corresponding symbols 1, 2, 3, ... or I, II, III, ... are used sometimes as ordinals, i.e. to denote the place of an individual in a series, and sometimes as cardinals, i.e. to denote the total number since the commencement of the series.

On the whole, the ordinal use is perhaps the more common. Thus “100” on a page of a book does not mean that the page is 100 times the page numbered 1, but merely that it is the page after 99. Even in commercial transactions, in dealing with sums of money, the statement of an amount often has reference to the last item added rather than to a total; and geometrical measurements are practically ordinal (§ 26).

For ordinal purposes we use, as symbols, not only figures, such as 1, 2, 3, ... but also letters, as a, b, c, ... Thus the pages of a book may be numbered 1, 2, 3, ... and the chapters I, II, III, ... but the sheets are lettered A, B, C, ... Figures and letters may even be used in combination; thus 16 may be followed by 16a and 16b, and these by 17, and in such a case the ordinal 100 does not correspond with the total (cardinal) number up to this point.

Arithmetic is supposed to deal with cardinal, not with ordinal numbers; but it will be found that actual numeration, beyond about three or four, is based on the ordinal aspect of number, and that a scientific treatment of the subject usually requires a return to this fundamental basis.

One difference between the treatment of ordinal and of cardinal numbers may be noted. Where a number is expressed in terms of various denominations, a cardinal number usually begins with the largest denomination, and an ordinal number with the smallest. Thus we speak of one thousand eight hundred and seventy-six, and represent it by MDCCCLXXVI or 1876; but we should speak of the third day of August 1876, and represent it by 3. 8. 1876. It might appear as if the writing of 1876 was an exception to this rule; but in reality 1876, when used in this way, is partly cardinal and partly ordinal, the first three figures being cardinal and the last ordinal. To make the year completely ordinal, we should have to describe it as the 6th year of the 8th decade of the 9th century of the 2nd millennium; i.e. we should represent the date by 3. 8. 6. 8. 9. 2, the total number of years, months and days completed being 1875. 7. 2.