Hi, I love your website and I have enjoyed reading the articles.
Please could you help me with a question?
I would like to ask the question regarding 'negative numbers'. Can there be such a thing as a negative? Please allow me to explain. My daughter recently brought home some Math homework that asked what -20 + -10 =. So this had me thinking, -20 (or-10) does not exist. There is no difference between having no apples to having minus a million apples both equal me having no apples. I don't think this is the same as debt as the amount in question (as in financial debt) does physically exist, even if you owe it.
My daughters teacher explained that you have to see it as a scale. But I do not feel this explains the question either. For example if a car travels one direction on a scale (say North) at 100mph, if the scale is reversed the car is not travelling minus 100mph, it is now simply travelling South at 100mph. Scale I feel is inaccurate, surly its a measure of direction along an axis i.e. left or right.
Another person said we have minuses in temperature as in minus 5 degrees Celsius. But again inaccurate as temperature is mealy a scale measured at the temperature of water freezing. There is no temperature lower than absolute zero (−273.15°), all temperature starts at -273.15°.
As you may have noticed I am not the greatest at explaining things, but hopefully you will understand where I am coming from. I believe there is no such thing as a negative as it does not exist. Even to ask the question what is -20 + -10 does not make sense, as neither number exists the answer must always be zero?
Thank you for you time