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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.

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