# [plt-scheme] Natural numbers

On Wed, Mar 11, 2009 at 8:33 PM, Norman Gray <norman at astro.gla.ac.uk> wrote:
>*
*>* Greetings.
*>*
*>* On 2009 Mar 11, at 23:47, Matthias Felleisen wrote:
*>*
*>>* Natural numbers are the counting numbers. You count how many things you
*>>* have. (The philosophical way to understand "five" is to say that it is what
*>>* all collection of five objects have in common.)
*>>*
*>>* The natural (sorry) place to start counting is with 0, having nothing.
*>*
*>* In maths, the term "the natural numbers" refers specifically to the set of
*>* positive integers (see for example [1]), and not to any set isomorphic to
*>* that. Thus it does not depend on what you or I may or may not find natural,
*>* and its meaning is not really a matter for dispute. Anyone who refers, in
*>* any sort of semi-formal context, to "the natural numbers" as meaning
*>* anything other than {n in Z : n > 0} is being quixotic.
*>*
*>* I don't believe computer scientists have a get-out-of-jail-free card here.
*>*
*>* Best wishes,
*>*
*>* Norman
*>*
*>*
*>* [1] http://eom.springer.de/N/n066090.htm
*
The very reference you provide lists an alternate interpretation of
natural numbers including 0 under "comments" at the bottom of the
page.
--
Carl Eastlund