28. See “Universal Arithmetic,” Encyclopédie, I, 675–76. We can indicate numbers by general expressions (in algebra these are alphabetical letters). This is what is meant in the phrase “expressing these relationships [numbers] in a universal way.” For instance, the letter a can be the universal expression for any number and b for any other, etc. We can manipulate and combine these alphabetical general numbers in different ways in order to reduce them to their simplest expression possible. See the definition of algebra in the Chart of Knowledge.
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