Nothing


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Nothing

 

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 classic literature ?
'Dear me!' thought the old minister, opening his eyes wide, 'I can see nothing!' But he did not say so.
Where have you been?' 'With Gretel.' 'What did you take her?' 'I took her nothing, she gave me something.' 'What did Gretel give you?' 'Gave me a bit of bacon.'
She could not do otherwise than accept him, for he was rich, and she had nothing; but he turns out ill-tempered and exigeant, and wants a young woman, a beautiful young woman of five-and-twenty, to be as steady as himself.
Ferrars to give up a woman like Miss Morton, with thirty thousand pounds to her fortune, for Lucy Steele that had nothing at all; and I had it from Miss Sparks myself.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -- Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;--'Tis the wind and nothing more!"
But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if its soul in that one word he did outpour Nothing farther then he uttered; not a feather then he fluttered-- Till I scarcely more than muttered: "Other friends have flown before-- On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before." Then the bird said "Nevermore."
I knew nothing. I know they say men tell their wives of their former lives, but Stiva"--she corrected herself--"Stepan Arkadyevitch told me nothing.
His heart would soon be rendered callous, for, as he ran about begging, people would pass him by and give him nothing. Yes, their hearts would be as stone, and their replies rough and harsh.
"They will have nothing to do, then at this end?" said Mordaunt.
No mystery, Valeria, in that claret--I'll take my oath it's nothing but innocent juice of the grape.
The wedding was no distant event, as the parties had only themselves to please, and nothing but the necessary preparations to wait for; and when he set out for Bath again, there was a general expectation, which a certain glance of Mrs.
In short, if this could be arranged there would be nothing left for us to do; anyway, we should have to understand that.