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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 ?
Yet the fuel companies think nothing of passing on costs when wholesale prices rise but rarely lower them when prices fall.
They think nothing of random beatings, stabbings, shootings and even murder.
In the the first of an exclusive three-part series, Dougherty, who is challenging for the Open Championship in Carnoustie this week, tells the ECHO how he would think nothing of splashing out pounds 5,000 a night with his mates in swish London bars.
Amusing documentary about clans who think nothing of splashing the cash - whether they can afford it or not.
It starts with preteens who think nothing of busting through their cell- phone minutes, said Souhaina Ghayadi, a 40-year-old student from Iran now living in West Hills.
I travel all the time, and friends think nothing of asking me if my partner and I have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy in regard to our fidelity.
Young people think nothing of running up debts exceeding pounds 3,000 and accept being in the red as part of everyday life.
In the face of tragedy and fear, more often than not staring death in the face, these proud professionals think nothing of themselves but only of duty and a willingness to lay their lives down for others.
Mine currently pay pounds 30 a week and think they are hard done by but, like many of the younger generation, think nothing of paying pounds 100+ for items such as trainers, phones, ipods, etc.
He used to think nothing of gassing up and heading for the desert for off-road joy rides.