I am working with the excellent book of Stephen Abbott's Understanding Analysis. The author (p. 3) quotes Kronecker:

The natural numbers are the work of God. All the rest is the work of the mankind.

As far as I know the exact quote attributed to Kronecker reads:

God made the integers; all else is the work of man.

[Die ganzen Zahlen hat der liebe Gott gemacht, alles andere ist Menschenwerk

In German ganzen Zahlen stands for integer numbers; natürlichen Zahlen means natural number]

Is it this just a simple misquote of the author or am I missing something here? Thanks in advance.

  • $\begingroup$ I think you would do better to ask this question (which is essentially about German mathematical terminology in the 19th century) on hsm.stackexchange.com. (As an uninformed conjecture on my part, I would imagine that Kronecker would have considered negative numbers to be Menschenwerk. So my guess would be that his ganzen Zahlen did not include negative numbers. As for $0$, I wouldn't care to guess.) $\endgroup$ – Rob Arthan Dec 18 '20 at 22:07
  • $\begingroup$ I suggest not so much misquote as paraphrase, to fit a particular modern English math book's likely readers. $\endgroup$ – Will Jagy Dec 19 '20 at 1:06

Found a free preview. In context, the author does not think the reader yet knows what the word integers means. The quote is paraphrased, very much on purpose.

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