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May 1st, 2015, 10:21 PM  #1 
Newbie Joined: May 2015 From: LA Posts: 2 Thanks: 0  factorial meaning
Hello, I'm not sure if this is a good Critical thinking question but here goes What is the mathematical meaning of factorial? (besides its mathematical definition, n! = nx(n1)x(n2)....x2x1) Thanks, 
May 2nd, 2015, 02:13 AM  #2 
Senior Member Joined: Jan 2012 From: Erewhon Posts: 245 Thanks: 112 
It has no meaning other than that contained in its definition, the factorial of a positive integer is defined to be the product of all the positive integers less than or equal to it. CB Last edited by skipjack; May 2nd, 2015 at 02:53 PM. 
May 2nd, 2015, 02:53 AM  #3 
Newbie Joined: May 2014 From: Italy Posts: 6 Thanks: 0 
Wikipedia tells me: "there are n! ways to arrange n distinct objects into a sequence"...

May 2nd, 2015, 05:57 AM  #4  
Math Team Joined: Jan 2015 From: Alabama Posts: 3,264 Thanks: 902  Quote:
In general, mathematical "objects" do not have a "meaning" other than their definition. That's the reason mathematics is so "flexible" you can assign a meaning for a particular application. In that sense "there are n! ways to arrange n distinct objects into a sequence" is a meaning assigned to the factorial for that particular application.  
May 2nd, 2015, 01:41 PM  #5 
Newbie Joined: May 2015 From: LA Posts: 2 Thanks: 0 
Thank you very much.

May 2nd, 2015, 11:50 PM  #6 
Newbie Joined: May 2014 From: Italy Posts: 6 Thanks: 0 
Yes, I know, but I wasn't sure what you meant by "meaning". What is the meaning of cosine for example?


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