What is the integral of 1/x?

Answers to the question of the integral of 1x are all based on an implicit assumption that the upper and lower limits of the integral are both positive real numbers. If we allow more generality, we find an interesting paradox. For instance, suppose the limits on the integral are from −A to +A where A is a real, positive number. The posted answer in term of ln would give

ln(A)−ln(−A)=ln(A−A)=ln(−1)=i∗π a complex number --- rather strange.

Now if you do the same integral from − to + infinity (i.e. A=∞) using Contour Integration, you get i∗2π or twice the above value.

If you use simple reasoning, and also numerical integration, this integral for any value of A ( as long as the limits are −A to +A is clearly 0. So one must be careful in evaluating real integrals with a singularity of this kind. Same applies to any integral of 1x−k where k is any constant real number)

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