Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Justin, a student:

Hi there, I was just wondering what is the difference between the potential infinity and actual infinity in math? Thanks a lot for your help with this question!

All the Best,



This is, in my opinion, more of a philosophical distinction than a mathematical one. To (over)simplify: an "actual infinity" is assumed to exist, while a potential infinity is a property of a collection of finite things which are assumed to exist.
However, many feel that this distinction says more about how we choose to use the word "exist" than anything else. When we say that any mathematical object exists we do not use the word in the sense that we use talking about (say) a person or a rock.

Good Hunting!


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