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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Till that happens, we are all swimming or drowning in a vast sea of nothingness. And thank God for that.
However, when this man, who we are supposed to be, is not supported by anything more than Nothingness, it becomes complex to be as Sartre supposes; it turns into an almost impossible mission.
Scientists have argued over nothingness since the early days of physics.
The Giocatore Nero, on the other hand, is able to prove that the existence of any eternal Beginning/ Principle implies the negation of that very principle, or that it is impossible, that thus the Principle, the beginning of all things is nothingness: Il Giocatore Nero riesce a mostrare che l'esistenza di un qualsiasi Principio eterno implica la negazione di tale "principioossia e impossibile, e che quindi il Principio di tutte le cose e il nulla (Severino, 2015: 139).
Void, gap, nothingness, emptiness, they are words orbiting the phenomenon of ennui, as well as conditions in the possibility of manifesting it.
Simplicity, he says, is paradoxical, complexity unproblematic, and nothingness self-contradictory.
The only way we could embrace change in a way that was credible to them, was to invite them to participate in the 'Nothingness'."
To illustrate, throughout her book we find descriptions of evil as rooted in "nothingness" (from Barth) which, she claims, is "not allowed ontological status" (p.
The concept of nothingness informs Nishida's view of death, which clearly contrasts to a general Western view of death.
The sense of nothingness is powerful, but so is the sense of desire; it pops up when you least expect it, and it must be explained away as quickly as possible, to let the sense of nothingness replace it again.
The idea of nothingness as an entity evolves through the use of negative triggers and through employing binary opposition:
Its explicit relation to nothingness has often been underplayed, and partly, due to Heidegger's own contradictory writings, mystified.