Does a point exist?

My question pertains to a point as defined as zero dimensional. I don’t think it exists in the actual world. I also don’t think that a point can be understood as a concept. I think these are the only ways it could be said to exist. Does anyone think points exist?

some theorize that space itself is not a continuous “aether” of occupiable nothingness, but rather semi-randomly scattered discrete points. one of my friends who’s really big on science, reads the journals and whatnot, tells me that’s the theory about how space itself is that he finds most convincing.

I think points exist but the size of the “pointness”(the size of the point) is arbitrary.
A point is just a specific location so just like the sides on a circle there can be (in theory) infinitely many points that can be designated by people.
After all the 0-est(maybe its 0-rd or 0-st?) dimension (just like all the others) are classifications of the parts of the universe we can observe with our limited senses.


I agree that it is theoretically, not physically, possible for a circle to have any finite number of points. Is this all that is meant by infinite?

I agree that knowledge about the dimensions are only known through our senses which construct dimensions using small pieces finite points.

Points are mathematical entities that were created precisely because they don’t literally exist.

Wouldn’t this mean that space is physical and that there really isn’t anything between the points? Intuitively, it would seem that it would be possible to put something between these points. If we could put something between the points and then wouldn’t this mean that there was space between the points?

Okay, but how?

How do they exist? As Khrone said, a point is a location. They are relations. Relations are just ideas.

London exists, but its location does not. London’s location is a set of relations.

So we can create something that after its creation does not exist? ( I suspect I know your answer, but what the heck, maybe something interesting will come up)

We can create a useful concept that is not related to an empirically existing object.

We do it all the time.

Useful fictions.

Hi to All,

Faust’s comments are simplistic. Very Wittgensteinian.

It is much more complex than that.

There are multiple ways to make mathematical foundations. One of the ways is by axioms. Another is by abstractions from real world experience. (The way we are taught in school).

In the case of arithmetic, even if one wants to believe in the synthetic nature of axiomatic systems, it turns out that these different systems are technically homomorphic to each other (they behave the same). This means that the stickyness of the abstracted systems to the “Real World” is “glued” (a topological concept) onto an axiomatic system.

In other words you can not get away from the empirical world even if you want to.

I am pretty sure that Geometry works analogously.


This should be proven but I am pretty sure that I am right.

A couple of small plugs for the abstracted system: It has a domain of discourse, and as an illegal aside Godel believed in it as well. OK he actually believed in Plato’s ideals, but close enough.

If they are empirically useful concepts, perhaps they are related to an existing object. Or, how do we distinguish between something that is useful to think of as existing and something that exists.

Ed, that is surely the first time I have been called Wittgensteinian. But as long as you are pretty sure - that’s really what counts.

Abstractions, fictions, mathematics - these do not bring us “away” from the empirical world. You’re over-reacting a bit. They are in addition to the empirical world. But there is nothing empirical about length, or height, or points. There’s also nothing empirical about the dream I had last night about Beyonce Knowles, but I would be very happy if you could convince me otherwise.

Moreno -

When you find this object, please post photos.

How do you know if she’s faking it? We rely in our senses. Real stuff exists in three or four dimensions. Points, by definition, do not.

I have never been able to figure out why this is difficult for anyone. No disrespect intended.

What are the consequences of points being real? Why is it even an interesting question?

It all boils down to metaphysical lust.

Ed, you have no idea just how complex my analysis really is.

Photos are just effects of something we call real, even very hazy things like the stuff they take ‘photos’ of in particle accelerators. It seems like if something is useful, it is having effects.

So you’ve solved the problem of other minds and can do this even in potentially emotional situations. Good on ya.

There are many things considered real that we cannot rely on our senses for.

. How many dimensions does time have? Is time real? Or is it merely a useful fiction?

It’s not difficult. I could sit here and type out standard thining and not explore anything. I am quite sure I could defend your position. On the other hand I am finding this more interesting.

I think it is in interesting question because I don’t think it is so easy to distinguish between things that are merely useful ideas, things that merely are ‘as if’ they are real and help us to understand some things, and things that are really real.

Perhaps a lot of what we consider real boils down to this. That is one of the areas I am trying to push us to look at.

We do not have sensory access to everything considered real.

Yeah, well, I can smell metaphysics a mile away. What I don’t get is why people are constantly trying to sneak it in, instead of doing philosophy. First, you lay down your assumptions and then you go on from there. Trying to establish something like a point as real when those who invented the concept don’t think it is and never consider it as such just doesn’t seem like a good way to go.

Just my view.


Well, Moreno, you didn’t bring the topic up, so i wasn’t necessarily talking about you.

I’m just not very interested in your points, though. Don’t take that personally. It’s due to my overall philosophical outlook.

Points are points. They are human inventions. Mathematicians don’t think they are real.

I don’t think there ever was a problem of “other minds”. Minds don’t exist, either. I do not take the problem seriously. To save time, see Ayer and Russell on this. But really, I do not need to have a definitive answer to this problem, anyway. Maybe you’re all zombies. I don’t know how that effects my life or anyone else’s.

Like what?

I have no idea what that means. Time is a measurement. It is no more real than points are. I have had this debate about eleventy-gazillion times.

I am sorry to hear that, but I a not sure that i can help you with this problem. “Point” is not a useful idea to everyone. You have to make up your own mind what is a useful idea to you. Geometrists find it useful, and not real. I am in no position to argue with them.

And if you found that physicists thought time was real?

Not believing minds or other minds are real does not mean you know what people are really going to end up doing or if the woman is faking it.

Ah, ok. I get you now.

Nice one. And the really clever thing is you can argue it was not an ad hom, like some of the other responses you made to my posts.

I’ll avoid you here.

no you’d only be able to put “something” on the points themselves.

Moreno -

If i found out that anyone but philosophers with too much time on their hands thought that time was real, I would be surprised and amused.

I agree. In fact, as i said, there is no consequence to either alternative. It is, again, just something for philosophers with too much time on their hands to think about.

My point is that you are making no case for this claim. You are having trouble with this issue, but give me no reason to find it troublesome myself.