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How do we understand mathematical practices in non-mathematical fields? Reflections inspired by cases from \(12^{\text{th}}\) and \(13^{\text{th}}\) century China. (English) Zbl 1478.01006

Author’s abstract: Recent studies of the history of mathematics have shed light on the diversity of mathematical practices in the ancient world. In this article, I address this issue from two perspectives. First, I analyze different mathematical instruments used in different domains in \(12^{\text{th}}\) and \(13^{\text{th}}\) century China. Second, by analyzing how the text is related to the problems written down in the same period, I argue that there existed two categories of mathematical problems. As a result, I suggest that problems, textual procedures, and material operations should be considered together when regarding various mathematical practices in mathematical and non-mathematical fields.

MSC:

01A25 History of Chinese mathematics
01A35 History of mathematics in Late Antiquity and medieval Europe
01A85 Historiography
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