But now the irrational real numbers have all made their appearance.

The arithmetic of real numbers follows from appropriate definitions of the operations of addition and multiplication.

This is exactly the same reason as that which has led mathematicians to work with signed real numbers in preference to real numbers, and with real numbers in preference to rational numbers.

View more

Arithmetic, algebra, and the infinitesimal calculus, are sciences directly concerned with integral numbers, rational (or fractional) numbers, and real numbers generally, which include incommensurable numbers.

The importance of this algebra arises from the fact that in terms of such complex numbers with this definition of multiplication the utmost generality of expression, to the exclusion of exceptional cases, can be obtained for theorems which occur in analogous forms, but complicated with exceptional cases, in the algebras of real numbers and of signed real numbers.