You explain to me what 4 is by pointing to four rocks on the ground, or dropping them in succession — Peano map, Peano map, Peano map, Peano map. Sure. But that’s an example of the number 4, not the number 4 itself.
So is it even possible to say what a [whole] number is?
Willard van Orman Quine had an interesting answer. He said that the number seventeen “is” the equivalence class of all sets of with 17 elements.
Accept that or not, it’s at least a good try. Whether or not numbers actually exist, we can use math to figure things out. …