It doesn't make sense to ask if they "exist" ? Why not? Abstract concepts don't exist? Such ratio is the abstract concept? And the ratio exists?(Original post by Implication)
Numbers are abstract concepts that we apply to the real world. It doesn't make sense to ask if they "exist".
If you want a physical application, it is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.
Posted from TSR Mobile
Turn on thread page Beta

skunkboy
 Follow
 5 followers
 11 badges
 Send a private message to skunkboy
 Thread Starter
Offline11ReputationRep: Follow
 21
 23012014 01:53

 Follow
 22
 23012014 02:04
Given that it's defined using a circle and circles don't really exist in nature, I think it's a good question.

skunkboy
 Follow
 5 followers
 11 badges
 Send a private message to skunkboy
 Thread Starter
Offline11ReputationRep: Follow
 23
 23012014 02:13
Posted from TSR Mobile 
skunkboy
 Follow
 5 followers
 11 badges
 Send a private message to skunkboy
 Thread Starter
Offline11ReputationRep: Follow
 24
 23012014 02:17
(Original post by KeepYourChinUp)
Why are you always asking ridiculous questions? You're not a philosopher you're just asking stupid questions as if they have some sort of meaning.
Posted from TSR Mobile 
justanotherposter
 Follow
 1 follower
 12 badges
 Send a private message to justanotherposter
Offline12ReputationRep: Follow
 25
 23012014 02:21
(Original post by skunkboy)
A constant? Why a constant? Is it really a constant? And if it's not a number, what exactly is it? I'm not closeminded.
Posted from TSR Mobile
Edit for the typo.Last edited by justanotherposter; 24012014 at 13:02. 
 Follow
 26
 23012014 02:35
(Original post by HJ M)
I don't think it's a stupid question at all, it branches into philosophical questions about knowledge, its nature, its sources and questions such as how do we know pi really exists? A great place to look when answering this question specifically would be Descartes when he was exploring certainty and doubt, his Meditations and the quest for certainty. I suggest you look at Descartes yourself because he explored similar questions about knowledge and 'how do we know' questions. 
konvictz0007
 Follow
 2 followers
 13 badges
 Send a private message to konvictz0007
Offline13ReputationRep: Follow
 27
 23012014 02:38
Pi exists and is proven to exist. I can show you a proof but since you clearly are not a student of mathematics, it is beyond your understanding. Take it from the experts it exists.
It is simple physics, the constant Pi has to exist in order for the world to exist and function. You enquired if Pi was a number, yes it is, it is an irrational number, which differs from say naturals or rationals.
You may be equally confused by a number defined as the square root of 2. If you construct a right angled triangle with the non hypotenuse sides being 1, we see that by Pythagoras the hypotenuse must be equal to square root of 2, which like Pi is also irrational and cannot be represented as a fraction (or what you think of as a 'normal' number). Yet this number clearly does exist, just like Pi.
I am sorry that your confused, but this is not your field, and you do not have the credentials to discuss these matters, as I would not have when discussing ideas in your field.
If you have anymore questions, please do not ask them in the future, you are making your self look bad here. 
KeepYourChinUp
 Follow
 18 followers
 16 badges
 Send a private message to KeepYourChinUp
Offline16ReputationRep: Follow
 28
 23012014 03:37
(Original post by skunkboy)
Grow up! Don't beat around the bush, please. It's not about stupid question or answer.
Posted from TSR Mobile
Do you know what is equal to? I really think the OP just doesn't understand numbers in all fairness. GCSE Bitesize is great for basic mathematics.Last edited by KeepYourChinUp; 23012014 at 03:38. 
StrangeBanana
 Follow
 27 followers
 19 badges
 Send a private message to StrangeBanana
Offline19ReputationRep: Follow
 29
 23012014 08:01
Circles exist; they can be manufactured by humans, or they can be found in nature. pi is defined to be the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter of that circle, so, if circles exist, then pi exists.
The question is meaningless until you define existence, though. Is existence being able to be expressed as a decimal with a finite number of digits? Then, from the manner in which we have defined existence, pi, the square root of 2, and all other irrational numbers do not "exist". Is existence not being able to be written down accurately on paper with simple instruments? Then pi, e, and the transcendental numbers do not "exist".
Ultimately, numbers can't really exist on their own  we can use them to count things, and the we count exist, but the numbers with which we count do not. Mathematics is an abstract field of study, after all. 
StarvingAutist
 Follow
 38 followers
 17 badges
 Send a private message to StarvingAutist
Offline17ReputationRep: Follow
 30
 23012014 08:45
(Original post by skunkboy)
Wiki doesn't give me the answer. It didn't tell me the "real value of Pi ". Just approximation.
Posted from TSR Mobile
If it wasn't a number, how could it be in any way useful? Sure, it's not algebraic, but it has many applications. I'll just remind you:
Last edited by StarvingAutist; 23012014 at 08:48. 
Implication
 Follow
 27 followers
 18 badges
 Send a private message to Implication
Offline18ReputationRep: Follow
 31
 23012014 09:02
(Original post by skunkboy)
It doesn't make sense to ask if they "exist" ? Why not? Abstract concepts don't exist? Such ratio is the abstract concept? And the ratio exists?
Posted from TSR Mobile
Can you see a pi in real life (please no lame jokes )? No. But can you see a 2 in real life either? No. Can you apply pi to concepts in real life? Yes. Can you apply 2 to concepts in real life? Yes. Can you apply them both to the same concepts? Not necessarily. 
scrotgrot
 Follow
 39 followers
 16 badges
 Send a private message to scrotgrot
Offline16ReputationRep: Follow
 32
 23012014 09:27
Even the rational numbers don't exist, we can merely construct examples with the number tacked on to some referent in our heads. It doesn't have to be something as crude as "two apples plus four apples" but we do think "two ones plus four ones", since one is the multiplicative identity, so you can say that psychologically speaking it allows us to attach an abstract referent to numbers so we can do sums in our head.
So the rational numbers are things we can identify by conceptualising them in terms of how many ones they are, creating a ratio out of them, hence the name. Of course you can also express them as ratios like 5/2, and even think of them that way psychologically without reducing them to a ratio over 1, but since "2" has already been constructed in terms of 1 it's fine.
With pi you can't understand what it means in terms of ratios. It is simply meaningless to try to give it a numerical value, unfortunately because of the way we are taught counting, we think numerical values/rationality is the acid test for being a "proper number". We can only understand what pi means in terms of geometry, i.e. imagining a circle.
And you might say, but we can't really understand it, because we can't see exactly how long the circumference is compared to the radius. But that's a numerocentric view. Pi means we can construct any circle geometrically. Measuring the lengths in various circles and putting them into a big table and looking at patterns is a numerical approximation of what is much more simply described in geometry by just constructing a circle. You may then say yes, but what about circles of different sizes? But the inclusion of axes in a geometric construction is just another way of trying to measure numerically. A circle drawn on an axisless background represents all circles, and uses pi as its base, just as the numeral 1 represents all sets that have one object in them.
The Greeks knew about irrational numbers and prioritised geometry in their mathematics to investigate them on their own terms. But the Islamic world was more into algebra, an outgrowth of basic arithmetic. When they tried to use the Greeks' ideas they kludged them into algebra.
Since Europe took its mathematical notation, including number forms, from the Muslims, we got this kludge as part of the package, including misleading abstract symbols like π which could never represent a numerical constant. The symbol for infinity is another such.Last edited by scrotgrot; 23012014 at 09:31. 
 Follow
 33
 23012014 10:40
(Original post by scrotgrot)
Even the rational numbers don't exist, we can merely construct examples with the number tacked on to some referent in our heads. It doesn't have to be something as crude as "two apples plus four apples" but we do think "two ones plus four ones", since one is the multiplicative identity, so you can say that psychologically speaking it allows us to attach an abstract referent to numbers so we can do sums in our head.
So the rational numbers are things we can identify by conceptualising them in terms of how many ones they are, creating a ratio out of them, hence the name. Of course you can also express them as ratios like 5/2, and even think of them that way psychologically without reducing them to a ratio over 1, but since "2" has already been constructed in terms of 1 it's fine.
With pi you can't understand what it means in terms of ratios. It is simply meaningless to try to give it a numerical value, unfortunately because of the way we are taught counting, we think numerical values/rationality is the acid test for being a "proper number". We can only understand what pi means in terms of geometry, i.e. imagining a circle.
And you might say, but we can't really understand it, because we can't see exactly how long the circumference is compared to the radius. But that's a numerocentric view. Pi means we can construct any circle geometrically. Measuring the lengths in various circles and putting them into a big table and looking at patterns is a numerical approximation of what is much more simply described in geometry by just constructing a circle. You may then say yes, but what about circles of different sizes? But the inclusion of axes in a geometric construction is just another way of trying to measure numerically. A circle drawn on an axisless background represents all circles, and uses pi as its base, just as the numeral 1 represents all sets that have one object in them.
The Greeks knew about irrational numbers and prioritised geometry in their mathematics to investigate them on their own terms. But the Islamic world was more into algebra, an outgrowth of basic arithmetic. When they tried to use the Greeks' ideas they kludged them into algebra.
Since Europe took its mathematical notation, including number forms, from the Muslims, we got this kludge as part of the package, including misleading abstract symbols like π which could never represent a numerical constant. The symbol for infinity is another such. 
Rainbow Student
 Follow
 54 followers
 18 badges
 Send a private message to Rainbow Student
Offline18ReputationRep: Follow
 34
 23012014 10:48
I would call it more of a constant than a number. It's value that I can recall so far is 3.1415... my memory is poor. I do know however that the millionth digit after the decimal point is 1. Pi is a strange and wonderful thing.
Last edited by Rainbow Student; 23012014 at 10:50. 
 Follow
 35
 23012014 10:54
Tips to guys: ask your girlfriend this in bed, it will do wonders I promise **

 Follow
 36
 23012014 12:44
(Original post by majmuh24)
I'm pretty sure circles and pi turn up a lot in nature.
http://news.nationalgeographic.co.uk...spacescience/
http://m.livescience.com/34132what...ispecial.html
Also there are no perfect circles in nature and thence, the points about pi being related to the structure of DNA are wrong.Last edited by Liamnut; 23012014 at 17:43. 
 Follow
 37
 23012014 12:53
(Original post by KeepYourChinUp)
Just because great philosophers have asked a question, doesn't make the question anymore meaningful. There are some people who think that by asking completely random questions that makes it philosophy.
Why is our sun the size it is, why not some other size?
Why are there 8 planets.
How high does one have to go before they're classed as being in the sky.
If a tree falls and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
They're just stupid questions. Sure we can sit here and waste our time debating nonsense but it's about as pointless as the questions themselves. 
 Follow
 38
 23012014 12:56
(Original post by Implication)
The fact that he focused on pi makes me think it isn't some deep question about Descartes' method of doubt and is more about his inability to understand irrational numbers. In fact, I'm not sure how easy it is to extend Descartes' method to abstract concepts like numbers anyway.
As per my last post, the question is completely trivial when one bothers to define existence and completely meaningless before then. 
yo radical one
 Follow
 53 followers
 3 badges
 Send a private message to yo radical one
Offline3ReputationRep: Follow
 39
 23012014 12:56
(Original post by rickfloss)
its people like you who make philosophy look like a useless wishy washy subject. 
 Follow
 40
 23012014 12:59
(Original post by rickfloss)
its people like you who make philosophy look like a useless wishy washy subject.
Reply
Submit reply
Turn on thread page Beta
Related discussions
 *MEGATHREAD*  BMAT for 2016 Entry Discussion
 Bristol Medicine  2016 entry
 Imperial College medicine applicants 2016
 Ask a Current UCL Student: The Official Thread
 Do we live in a rape culture?
 Do buses exist?
 Ask a Current UCL Student: The Official Thread
 Abortion right or wrong
 Should male circumcision be banned?
 I'm a Muslim & I just FOUND OUT that my younger brother ...
TSR Support Team
We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.
This forum is supported by:
Updated: February 8, 2014
Share this discussion:
Tweet