'Essays on the Theory of Numbers'
By Richard Dedekind (Author)
This volume contains the two most important essays on the logical foundations of the number system by the famous German mathematician J. W. R. Dedekind. The first presents Dedekind's theory of the irrational number-the Dedekind cut idea-perhaps the most famous of several such theories created in the 19th century to give a precise meaning to irrational numbers, which had been used on an intuitive basis since Greek times. This paper provided a purely arithmetic and perfectly rigorous foundation for the irrational numbers and thereby a rigorous meaning of continuity in analysis. The second essay is an attempt to give a logical basis for transfinite numbers and properties of the natural numbers. It examines the notion of natural numbers, the distinction between finite and transfinite (infinite) whole numbers, and the logical validity of the type of proof called mathematical or complete induction.
The contents of these essays belong to the foundations of mathematics and will be welcomed by those who are prepared to look into the somewhat subtle meanings of the elements of our number system. As a major work of an important mathematician, the book deserves a place in the personal library of every practicing mathematician and every teacher and historian of mathematics. Authorized translations by "Vooster " V. Beman.
Julius Wilhelm Richard Dedekind (6 October 1831 – 12 February 1916) was a German mathematician who made important contributions to abstract algebra (particularly ring theory), algebraic number theory and the definition of the real numbers.