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a category in a number of idealist systems of ontology, signifying the absence or nonexistence of a specific essence or the total absence of being.

From classical times, two fundamental approaches to nothing may be observed in the history of idealist philosophy. In the systems of one group (Platonism and Neoplatonism, medieval Christian mysticism, Hegelianism) nothing is one of the key categories of ontology (as god, being, the absolute) and the principle ex nihilo nihil fit (nothing can be created from nothing) is rejected. The second approach to the problem, dating back to the Eleatic school of Greek philosophy, affirms the origin of nothing from formal negation, that is, nothing is only a concept in formal logic. Thus, the problem of nothing in ontology is completely removed.

In materialist philosophy, nothing is not a philosophical category, since materialist philosophy proceeds from the fact that the material world is indestructible, and pure nonexistence and absolute emptiness are not possible.

References in periodicals archive ?
Unfortunately, we are gradually losing our fights to ambitious bureaucrats in government who think nothing of using the power of government to destroy people.
I would see ABBA, then AC/DC, then Air Supply, then Rose Tattoo, and think nothing of it.
As a result, teams think nothing of carving an engine from billet--an exercise that gives a very precise wall thickness, stable material properties, and that can run non-stop--or having a bill of materials of $250,000 per engine.
Nelson and Diane Keaton--is such a model of New England liberal acceptance, they evidently think nothing of inviting their gay son's black boyfriend to their home for the holidays.
Literary pilgrims think nothing of traveling long distances to see the place where a favorite author lived, worked or was buried.
But with professors who think nothing of plagiarizing, what is the academic community to do?
But a local 'animal-lover' seems to think nothing of kicking out their cat every night, even in this harsh weather.
While today we wouldn't dream of visiting a mental hospital to laugh at the inmates (as the Victorians did), we think nothing of giggling at Arkwright's stammer or Corporal Jones' malaria.
We think nothing of listening to the child stumble around in the world of words she is learning as she develops the expertise to express herself clearly.
They own many saddle horses, yet they prefer to walk, and think nothing of doing so for 12 hours or more.
Even girls who wouldn't dream of scarring their body with a tattoo, however, think nothing of scarring it with a sunburn.