Updating the “abstract–concrete” distinction in Ancient Near Eastern numbers

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
The characterization of early token-based accounting using a concrete concept of number, later numerical notations an abstract one, has become well entrenched in the literature. After reviewing its history and assumptions, this article challenges the abstract–concrete distinction, presenting an alternative view of change in Ancient Near Eastern number concepts, wherein numbers are abstract from their inception and materially bound when most elaborated. The alternative draws on the chronological sequence of material counting technologies used in the Ancient Near East—fingers, tallies, tokens, and numerical notations—as reconstructed through archaeological and textual evidence and as interpreted through Material Engagement Theory, an extended-mind framework in which materiality plays an active role (Malafouris 2013).
PhilPapers/Archive ID
OVEUTA
Upload history
Archival date: 2019-11-01
View other versions
Added to PP index
2019-11-01

Total views
157 ( #31,707 of 58,435 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
40 ( #19,710 of 58,435 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.