Is Terrance Howard correct when he says 1×1=2?

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Object Oriented Nature < The Idea of Ideas < Philosophy of Mind < Philosophy
Terrence Howard

Terrance Howard has asserted that 1 x 1 equals 2, arguing that traditional mathematics is fundamentally flawed. He believes that one times one should equal two because if one multiplied by itself equals one, then two would be of no value. He asserts that multiplication is about increasing the value of something, so 1 times 1 cannot equal 1, and 1 times 0, which equals 0, is wrong. According to him, you cannot multiply something and end up with nothing.

Terryology relies on his fame and errors in critical thinking to confuse people. Multiplication is about scaling, not just addition, and it accurately represents real-world situations. Imagine holding a bowl in front of a group. You ask, “How many of these do you have?” One person says, “I have 1.” That can be represented in math by 1×1=1, meaning they have one of the bowls you’re holding. Another says, “I have none,” which is represented by 1×0=0, indicating they have none of the bowls you’re holding. If you’re holding 3 bowls and ask, “How many sets of these do you have?” and someone says “two,” what they’re saying is that you have 3 bowls and they have twice that amount, or 6 bowls at home (3×2=6). Put simply, multiplication represents scaling quantities.

For more, including a comprehensive critique of Howard’s theories, take the deep dive: Terrence Howard: Debunking Terryology.

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