Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0017713, Wed, 18 Feb 2009 02:47:47 EST


In a message dated 18/02/2009 03:26:19 GMT Standard Time, skb@BOOTLE.BIZ

... With a little ingenuity not God but we humans can do it [derive 1 from 0]
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Recalling VN’s statement quoted recently by Jansy that ONE is the only real
number, and everything else comes from addition, you may see some
contradictions afoot. Was Kaplan aware of VN’s assertion: VN the poet/wordmaster but
not, on this occasion, the mathematician able to see the beauty of 0 playing the
prime role he assigns to 1? Was VN aware of the Salem Codex? The irony will
escape the many non-mathematicians on our list, I fear.

Stan Kelly-Bootle

Another VN (Von Neumann) derived all the natural numbers (1,2,3,...) from
zero by set theory thus:

1 = {0), 2 = [0, 1}, 3 = {0, 1, 2}, etc.

where {a, b, ...} denotes the set containing a, b, ... .

In other words, 1 is the set containing zero, 2 is the set containing zero
and 1, etc.

Anthony Stadlen

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