Dr Suki Finn who is a postdoctoral research fellow in philosophy at the University of Southampton, UK, poses a question in a recent AEON magazine article : ‘Is a hole a real thing, or just a place where something isn’t?’ Pointing out that:
“[…] a better understanding of where holes lie on the material/immaterial and thing/nothing divides should fill a gap in our knowledge of reality.”
And, to clarify, uses the special example of the doughnut (‘donut’ US)
“So, imagine a doughnut – the classic kind that is round with a hole in the middle, rather than the jam-filled kind. The dough of the doughnut is an example of what is called the ‘host’ of the hole – the stuff that surrounds the hole. Now imagine you put your finger through the hole in the doughnut, and wear the doughnut like a ring. Your finger is then an example of what is called a ‘guest’ in the hole – the stuff that is inside the hole. But now consider the doughnut in an early stage of its creation in a factory, about to get the hole cut out of the dough. What do we call the part of the dough that gets removed to create the hole?”
The photo used in the essay is from the Sally L. Steinberg Collection of Doughnut Ephemera, at the Smithsonian Institution, which points out variations in donut (‘doughnut’ UK) hole sizes in the US between 1927 and 1948.