
06074887
j
2012e.00029
Swetz, Frank J.
Similarity vs. the ``inandout complementary principle": a cultural faux pas.
Math. Mag. 85, No. 1, 311 (2012).
2012
Mathematical Association of America (MAA), Washington, DC
EN
A30
G40
inout principle
Chinese mathematics
geometry
proportionality relations
doi:10.4169/math.mag.85.1.3
Summary: Modern investigators of early Chinese mathematical classics have often attributed a recognition and application of the principles of geometric similarity to the authors and commentators of these works. In problem situations involving the use of sighting poles and the determination of a remote distance, Chinese mathematicians frequently employed proportionality relations involving the sides of relevant pairs of right triangles. In such situations the modern western observer sees similarity; however, the Chinese employed a concept now called ``the inandoutcomplementaryprinciple" IOCP. They did not use geometric similarity. This article identifies the issues of confusion and examines the concept and application of IOCP.