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Mathematics in Context: A Case in Early Nineteenth-Century Korea

  • Jun Yong Hoon (a1)


This paper aims to show how a nineteenth-century Korean scholar's mathematical study reflects the Korean intellectual environment of his time by focusing on the rule of false double position and the method of root extraction. There were two major trends in Korean mathematics of the early nineteenth century: the first was “Tongsan,” literally “Eastern Mathematics,” which largely depended on Chinese mathematics of the Song and Yuan period adopting counting rod calculation; the second trend was Western mathematics, which was transmitted by the Jesuits and their Chinese collaborators from the late sixteenth century. There was also an intellectual transition in late eighteenth-century Korea when mathematics, which had been of only minor interest for Confucian scholars, became an important part of Confucian pursuits. We can gain an insight into the history of mathematics in Korea by examining and understanding Hong Kil-chu's (1786–1841) mathematical studies and the context of the academic world of his time.

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I use the McCune-Reischauer system for romanizing all Korean words, except for the English articles in which authors' names and titles have already been romanized in other ways. For Chinese and Japanese, the Pinyin and the Hephurn romanization systems, respectively, are used.
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Science in Context
  • ISSN: 0269-8897
  • EISSN: 1474-0664
  • URL: /core/journals/science-in-context
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