Re: prime numbers and African artifact

Daniel Kian Mc Kiernan (
Sun, 16 Jul 1995 18:50:30 -0700

On 14 Jul 1995, Michael Jennings wrote:

] In article <>,
] Daniel Kian Mc Kiernan <> wrote:
]]] numbers are useful - this result isn't called the fundamental theorem of
]]] arithmetic for nothing.
]] No one is calling the importance of the theorem into question. It
]] is only insofar as how a definition of "prime" affects the felicity
]] of expression that the theorem can here be brought into play. NOw,
]] you didn't give a formal statement of the theorem, but nonetheless
]] look at what you did say, and how you said it. It really comes down
]] to nothing more than a question of where one sticks in "except one"
]] (or the equivalent) in the expression.
] The issue is simple: this (and virtually all the other theorems used
] in mathematics that are based upon prime numbers) does not make sense
] if you count one as a prime number. That is why we exclude it.

That is flat-out wrong. The theorem itself is not language-
dependent. It may be expressed in Urdu, in Quebecois, or in
standard English. It can be expressed in a language in which "prime"
has a meaning that includes 1. The issue is =purely= one of
felicity of expression.

It's always Dark. Light only hides the Darkness.

Daniel Kian Mc Kiernan (619) 535 - 0546 <75013,676>