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Accueil du site > Publications > Ouvrages parus > String Figures as Mathematics ? An Anthropological Approach to String Figure-making in Oral Tradition Societies

String Figures as Mathematics ? An Anthropological Approach to String Figure-making in Oral Tradition Societies

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Eric Vandendriessche (SPHERE)

’’This book addresses the mathematical rationality contained in the making of string figures. It does so by using interdisciplinary methods borrowed from anthropology, mathematics, history and philosophy of mathematics. The practice of string figure-making has long been carried out in many societies, and particularly in those of oral tradition. It consists in applying a succession of operations to a string (knotted into a loop), mostly using the fingers and sometimes the feet, the wrists or the mouth. This succession of operations is intended to generate a final figure.

The book explores different modes of conceptualization of the practice of string figure-making and analyses various source material through these conceptual tools : it looks at research by mathematicians, as well as ethnographical publications, and personal fieldwork findings in the Chaco, Paraguay, and in the Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea, which all give evidence of the rationality that underlies this activity. It concludes that the creation of string figures may be seen as the result of intellectual processes, involving the elaboration of algorithms, and concepts such as operation, sub-procedure, iteration, and transformation.



– Shows how string figures appear to be the products of a mathematical activity
– Is relevant for researchers in anthropology, history and philosophy of science, mathematics, and ethnomathematics
– Includes a website giving the details of all procedures referred to in the book’’
(Springer)





 :: Springer, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Vol. 36
 :: XIX, 392 p., 1234 illus., 134 illus. en couleur.
 :: ISBN 978-3-319-11994-6
 :: 2015








Table des matières - 51.6 ko

Préface - 55.9 ko

Chapitre 2 - 398.1 ko