“According to Aristotle, the Pythagoreans held that the elements of number were the elements of things, and, therefore, that things were numbers. To us, accustomed as we are from childhood to the multiplication table, such an assertion seems simply meaningless. We are so familiar with the idea of counting without counting anything, that it is only by an effort that we can realise what a very abstract process this is. It is certain, however, that, natural as it may be to us to speak of numbers as things that can exist by themselves, it was long before men learnt to think of a number, except as a number of something.” – John Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy

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