x Turn on thread page Beta
 You are Here: Home >< Chat >< Chat

# Does the number π really exist? watch

1. (Original post by skunkboy)
Not really philosophy? Then Why the mod didn't remove this thread?

Posted from TSR Mobile
Probably because asking silly questions is a key feature of amateur philosophy boards. Just because the mods haven't deleted this thread doesn't mean your question is a good one: just look at all the other threads that get posted in debates and current affairs. Mods aren't obliged to delete threads purely on the grounds that the questions are nonsensical (and they are probably prohibited from doing so).
2. (Original post by skunkboy)
Useless wishy washy? I don't think so.

Posted from TSR Mobile
someone who actually had any brains would ask if irrational numbers existed in the real world...

because i sense you will come back every week with a new constant/irrational number
3. (Original post by konvictz0007)
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.

1. No. I don't believe you can prove it.
2. The world can't exist without Pi? Are you okay?
3. Pi is really a number? Do you know the exact value?
4. Philosophy or math is not my field.. I really don't know what you are talking about.
5. I'm making myself look bad? Just ask some questions about Pi? Are you from North Korea?

Posted from TSR Mobile
4. No it's not so much a question of whether it exists, but more whether you can actively count it in base 10. Which, if OP's knowledge about irrational numbers were present, they would know that no, you cannot COUNT pi with our base 10 number system, or at least not with the discreet numbers we use to count with. Unless you have an infinite amount of time but to be honest I have much better things to do.

tl;dr - OP defines 'existence' as being definable with a discrete number system and being able to 'point' at pi number of things (Because we tend to count discretely in base 10)
5. (Original post by KingStannis)
You can apply empiricism to give us factual data about the universe, but that only tells us the properties of the universe. It cannot deal with problems such as this thread raises; the existence of numbers, or something like say ontology.
I maintain that the existence of numbers is completely trivial once existence is defined. Numbers are abstract, so obviously they don't have physical existence as OP seems to want.

Aside from the facets of ontology that have been supplanted by useful study such as science and mathematics, it seems to be little more than arguing over how to define things. I contend that most of the questions that empiricism cannot touch are either "dissolvable" (i.e. complete non-issues) or unanswerable in the first instance.
6. (Original post by skunkboy)
How do you know Pi does exist if its exact value never be calculated? Have you ever seen its exact value?

Posted from TSR Mobile
Its exact value can never be seen when written as a decimal, but decimal numbers are just symbols. It can be seen fine written as π.
7. (Original post by skunkboy)
1. No. I don't believe you can prove it.
2. The world can't exist without Pi? Are you okay?
3. Pi is really a number? Do you know the exact value?
4. Philosophy or math is not my field.. I really don't know what you are talking about.
5. I'm making myself look bad? Just ask some questions about Pi? Are you from North Korea?

Posted from TSR Mobile
If maths is not your field, what on EARTH are you doing questioning the existence of a number when your knowledge on the subject is inferior?

I don't know anything about music, but does the note E really exists? Where's the logic in that question? [[BTW this is a rhetorical question, don't answer it]]
8. (Original post by HJ M)
I think metaphysics seeks out the edges of our reason and in this case can seem of little use. Although, it leads us to seek new ideas that may not have been pursued. For example, it could be argued that Kant's establishment of the a priori synthetic in The Critique of Pure Reason led directly to the entire Positivistic movement which gave us things like the Turing test and then computers.

As is obvious science has its place in all of this, but the argument could be made that it started from this exploration to the edge of reason which at least contributed in some way to the world we live in today. It is hard to find more real world examples, but I think as the previous poster noted metaphysics can arguably be present across other philosophical topics.

Exploration is good, and I agree that historically metaphysics has contributed to to the present - though the work of Kant's that you talk of there is more or less semantics. I think the greatest value of philosophy historically has been that it led to science, and there are very few (if any) questions left that are answerable by philosophy and not by science. It's almost as though philosophy becomes science by definition as soon as it becomes useful. Metaphysics, at least.
9. (Original post by ockhamsshotgun)
I'd posit that ethics/morals is arguably of a metaphysical nature. I am a non-cognitivist, so don't believe that morality can be derived from any natural source.

Is all of moral thought equally useless? This can of course be countered with moral naturalism,but that is another thread. In short, you have to handle Moore's argument if you hold that latter position.
What do you mean by derived?

Once we allow that morality can be defined in terms of other properties (and is not a fundamental one in and of itself), it's very easy to study it empirically. For example, one could define it in terms of suffering and happiness, at which point it is simply to "derive" from scientific study (in principle at least)

If you don't allow this, then I think the existence of objective morality is more or less unfalsifiable and a useless or unanswerable question, and this is true whether you are out doing field work or sat at home with a mug of coffee thinking deeply and writing about things.
10. (Original post by KeepYourChinUp)
How about negative numbers, do they exist? What about complex numbers? I guess you disagree that 0.999 repeating = 1?

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.
Again? Off topic. Can you read? Did I say anything about negative or complex number? This thread doesn't need advanced math, tensor, or anything else, I think. It's really boring. Just Pi needed. I have been trying to make it as simple as possible.

Posted from TSR Mobile
11. Well, I might try my two cents in what seems a pointless discussion.

1) The qualm that is inexpressible as a finite sequence of decimal places seems to, somehow, translate as to not knowing its 'value' (whatever that means), and hence its existence (which I'm not sure is a valid inference). Well, I have two reasons we do know its "value", where I am going to take value to mean "knowing where it belongs on a number line". We know 2 is greater than 1, and that 0.726492 falls between the two somewhere, whereas I'm sure if I asked someone how much is 0.726492, I'd get a blank stare and a repetition of the number! How about ? Classically speaking, is a constructible numbers; you can make a line that has length (in an idealised sense, since space isn't really continuous. But then you have problems with root 2, as well.), and hence can place it on the numberline. Secondly, given any other real number, we can tell if it is less than or greater than (even if this may be difficult for some numbers!) and this is enough for me to claim we know its value, for we have a total ordering of the real numbers, and such relations are essentially about "value".

Further on the issue, with a different number of a similar nature: https://www.dpmms.cam.ac.uk/~wtg10/roottwo.html

2) Given the number can be accepted like any other number (which 1) hopes to have achieved..) whether exists is now more of a special case of "do numbers exist". It is a curious thing that can be seen as less "real" than the integers, yet is undoubtedly more special (except for 1. 1 is by far the most special number. So damn special it's kinda boring to see 1 have most 'interesting properties').
12. (Original post by StarvingAutist)
I'll just remind you:
Attachment 264151
Yes but then does "e" really exist? How do you know, have you ever smelt it?

What about i....are you sure your not dreaming? What are the moral implications of the empty set {0}? When is a door not a door (and what does it really mean to be "a jar")?

Philosophy!
13. (Original post by skunkboy)
Okay, according to your reply I believe you can prove it... the existence of that stupid Pi. But good enough? No. Because you still don't know the exact value of it,right?

Posted from TSR Mobile
You are right that my proof only shows it exists, it does not construct it. owever we can find its exact value in other ways. First you show that pi really is a root of sin(x) (this follows from the continuity of sin), and then use some fairly clever tricks to get that (pi^2)/6=1/1^2+1/2^2+1/3^3+1/4^2+... which, with a little rearanging, gives the exact value of pi. There are other such ways of giving pi exactly, which one you use depends on the context of the problem (although all are the same, some will be easier to use than others in a given circumstance).
14. (Original post by GottaLovePhysics! :))
Yes but then does "e" really exist? How do you know, have you ever smelt it?

What about i....are you sure your not dreaming? What are the moral implications of the empty set {0}? When is a door not a door (and what does it really mean to be "a jar")?

Philosophy!
Haha you're the next Plato
15. (Original post by skunkboy)
The ratio of a circle's radius to its circumference is always Pi? It seems clear that you have not studied the definition of Pi before replying.

Posted from TSR Mobile
That was a typo I mean to put 2 radius (aka the diameter,) I'll edit that now. I'm assuming that's what you meant, if not please give an example of when the ratio of the diameter to the circumference is not pi. I'm a second year undergraduate in maths whilst you seem to believe the only numbers that exist are rational numbers please don't try to act like you know more on the subject than the numerous people who have already explained why you are wrong. There are two possibilities here, either you are a troll (in which case well done you've actually succeeded in trolling unlike most idiots who try to troll badly on this site.) Or you genuinely believe pi isn't a number because you can't write it down in decimal points in which case you need to at the very least revise GCSE maths before making ridiculous claims. There are an infinite amount of numbers that cannot be written down as a decimal, what makes pi so special to you?
16. (Original post by skunkboy)
Again? Off topic. Can you read? Did I say anything about negative or complex number? This thread doesn't need advanced math, tensor, or anything else, I think. It's really boring. Just Pi needed. I have been trying to make it as simple as possible.

Posted from TSR Mobile
No this is not off topic and it certainly isn't advanced math. I'm directly addressing the premise of your entire argument. If mankind cannot write the number down, it doesn't exist in your eyes which is jut pathetic and the fact you cannot acknowledge that is my cue to leave this conversation as I have much better things to do.
17. (Original post by skunkboy)
Why you think It's a good question? Some people don't think so. Circles don't really exist in nature? care to explain?

Posted from TSR Mobile

They

Don't

Actually

Exist
18. I'm not saying you're wrong, but if you're going to say that it's not useless and wish washy at least come yo with some evidence to support your opinion.

(Original post by skunkboy)
Useless wishy washy? I don't think so.

Posted from TSR Mobile
19. (Original post by HJ M)
When I brought up those topics it was with the intention that they have philosophical questions surrounding them, not specifically. Aspects of religion are yet to be answered by 'science' and questions about 'knowledge' can be answered by science, but there are other questions, for example, around truth, justification and how we obtain knowledge which can have aspects answered by science, but other aspects that cannot and therefore are approached philosophically.

Some questions like this are, for example, if someone had committed a crime and forgotten about it, should they be held responsible? Do we have free will? Does God exist? What is the best moral system? Should we kill healthy people for their organs to save several people who need organs? I think it is easy to see the point about how 'hard' science will have trouble answering these sorts of questions.
The is/ought distinction seems a bit contrived to me - it is possible that we will eventually create a way to read off everyone's brains and construct a moral system that seems objectively best to everyone. It's not inherently impossible, just practically difficult. It certainly isn't in a separate magisterium to "hard science".
The "existence of a god" question is an interesting one from the perspective of cognitive bias and perhaps evolutionary psychology.

(Original post by KeepYourChinUp)
A doctor is just as less qualified as a lawyer to answer this question. Who in their right mind would deem it acceptable to kill a perfectly healthy human being in order to save 6 ill people?
People have different opinions about different things and sometimes there is no right answer, only opinion which is why philosophy asks questions and science answers them, or some of them at least.
You assert that "accepting the saving of six lives at the unwilling sacrifice of one" is an indicator of mental unsoundness. I'd be interested to know why you say that, other than personal aversion to the idea. I might not be able to sacrifice the healthy life to save the six (blasted idiot brain, causing me to murder six people instead of one), but it seems considerably better to me.
"Sometimes there is no right answer" - well, there is usually an answer which is better than the others. It only seems like not because we're running on monkey brains, which are rubbish at thinking and are very bad at making decisions.

(Original post by skunkboy)
Okay, according to your reply I believe you can prove it... the existence of that stupid Pi. But good enough? No. Because you still don't know the exact value of it,right?
Please tell me exactly how to construct one of you before you assert that you are "good enough" as a being.
20. People who don't know maths trying to debate about maths. Ridiculous how some people in this thread think they know maths better than mathematicians when they don't even study the subject.

Posted from TSR Mobile

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
Today on TSR

### Any tips for freshers...

who are introverts?

### More snow?!

Discussions on TSR

• Latest
Poll
Useful resources

Got a question about the site content or our moderation? Ask here.

### Welcome Lounge

We're a friendly bunch. Post here if you're new to TSR.

## Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups
Discussions on TSR

• Latest

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE