Tag Archives: Logic

Königsberg Bridges

Background The great Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler, who had been asked by the Mayor of Danzig to provide a solution to the Königsberg Bridge problem, sent him this disdainful reply: “. . .  Thus you see, most noble Sir, how this type of … Continue reading

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Baboon Counting Algorithms

Human counting can be thought of as a kind of condition controlled logic where counters increment a sequence of labels “one, two, three four…” until some condition is met. (Cantlon et al. 2015) The diagram below illustrates some, but not all, … Continue reading

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Place Value

Laplace “The ingenious method of expressing every possible number using a set of ten symbols (each symbol having a place value and an absolute value) emerged in India. The idea seems so simple nowadays that its significance and profound importance … Continue reading

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Jevons’es Data

In 1871 the early economist and logician William Stanley Jevons published an article in Nature “The Power of Numerical Discrimination” (Jevons 1871) According to Jevons, Sir William Hamilton had clearly stated the problem: “Assuming that the mind is not limited to … Continue reading

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Otto Koehler

Numerical Competence in Animals The German zoologist Otto Koehler (1889-1974) was the first scientist to convincingly demonstrate numerical competence in animals. The first part of this post is based upon a panel from Counting on neurons: the neurobiology of numerical competence” (Nieder … Continue reading

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Even 3-day-old Chicks Do It

An interesting series of experiments has recently been reported in Science.  (Regani et al 2015). These strongly support the idea that many animals and humans represent numbers by a mental number line where smaller values are located on the left … Continue reading

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Seriation

This is Archie, our then 3 year old grandson, after spontaneously reassembling a sawn up branch and being asked to pose with it for his delighted grandfather. Seriation is defined as “the forming of an orderly sequence” and was apparently first used in this sense in the 1650s. … Continue reading

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