We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The concept of zero is traditionally supposed to be from the Mideast -- actually the Arabs, IIRC, but I'm sometimes wrong. So what has the Mideast contributed to the world's total knowledge? Zero. Wait -- that can't be right.
As my husband often reminds me, there'll always be a smarta$$.
Indeed, if the subject was # of apples on table - then one never returns to zero apples, given there was actually at least one apple at one time. Instead, once cleared from the table, it's at most five unapples - going to none on the table. Zero's the absence of all, including apples, from the start - which poses a question for fractions of anything short of one (of same). This quickly segways into metaphysical concepts, which is the highest form of thought (apprehension of Ens qua Ens). Cheers, Tom
Of course, this all depends on what the meaning of apple is...
If the definition of apple is too broad things like pomogranates and kiwis are going to start throwing a wrench into our calculations. If the definition is too narrow some varieties will count as a percentage of a whole (allowing for a fuzzy logic approach to the whole calculus of apple-ness).
If as Sissy suggests we look at the whole set "apples", it seems there is an ample, uncounted quantity. But if we are dealing with the subset of "apples on a (particular) table", are we justified looking at the issue from a linear, chronological perspective, or is the quantity "future apples" or "past apples" on the table (so to speak) as well? So the question is is the physical absence of apples in itself evidence of a lack of apples?
If the issue is one of there being any apples on the table when you're craving an apple, well duh! Either there are or there aren't... (That is if you can prove your existence to justify the claim of "hunger", whatever that is).
As for the discovery of the concept "Zero", well, that's kind like a little boy discovering he has a twinkie. It's always been there, but WOW! when you find it. Anyway, hasn't Coke taken the copyright to Zero?
Sorry, I learned somewhere how to make a Cuba Libre and this is the aftermath.
OK, now it's gotta be asked (because my miserable back has me immobilized today and I literally have nothing better to do)...As you gradually decrease the number of apples to a number approaching zero, i.e. a linear progression (regression?) where said apples would be at locations which are not zero, but which have zero distance from zero, would they equal the number of oranges on our hypothetical table? Or am I just being silly?
Coke and Zero, good point :) We may eventually need to pay to discuss all words and concepts if they're privately owned (evidently even the word for nothing ;)
Of discovering the obvious, I'm more amazed - upon seeing the ancient Mayan observatory's circular form - that the Amerindians never discovered the use of the wheel to faciltate transportation ... right in front of them the whole time. This miss most likely explains their overall technological disadvantage upon the arrival of Europeans. Cheers, Tom
There is no concrete zero but real math does not work without it. It is like time in that zero cannot be an illusion. Past, present, future are all real, but never can change time and leave the present or find zero (or infinity).