Question from Anandmay, a student:
I was looking closely at early arithmetic where I found how we discovered properties of Arithmetic.
Like:2 x 3 = 3 x 2.
This can be proved by considering a 2-D figure(actually,quadrilateral) having length consisting of 2 boxes of 1-by-1 dimensions and breadth of 3 boxes of the same dimensions. Now,consider it again,but,this time,length of 3,and breadth of 2 of such 1 by 1 boxes. We now notice that we can fit the 2 types of rectangles formed on each other precisely. So the multiplicative property of commutativity is true for all natural numbers as we can generalize the result(in our mind,for self satisfaction).
Now,can you find me a nice satisfactory reason of why a fraction times a natural number equals the number times the fraction? I mean, for example,i can understand the meaning of 3 x 2/3 to be three times 2-3rd,that is, 2/3+2/3+2/3.Fair enough. But here is the problem:By definition and actual meaning of multiplication, a x b means the repeated sum of b,done 'a' times. So what is the meaning of doing 2/3 x 3?The repeated addition of 3 how many times??2/3 times??Not making sense,right? And even we have not proved yet the commutative property of numbers INCLUDING fractions.So how can we resolve this problem and make these things meaningful?