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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
Most of us think nothing of slathering on the sunscreen or donning a pair of shades to protect our eyes when we venture outdoors.
People who wouldn't take a newspaper from an unlocked dispenser without paying the 50 cents think nothing of "borrowing" a $1,000 camcorder system by buying it Friday, taping the niece's wedding on Saturday, and bringing it back Monday, claiming the equipment was not satisfactory.
Detroiters think nothing of crossing the border via the tunnel or the Ambassador Bridge for dinner, a night of gambling at the Windsor Casino or just to view Detroit's downtown skyline from afar.
Now people think nothing of writing an e-mail message to someone across the hall."
Far better to put more eort into catching and punishing the rat-run speeders and other thoughtless idiots that think nothing of doing 40mph along residential roads.
It says so much about a country when people think nothing of spoiling it by littering.
Yet the fuel companies think nothing of passing on costs when wholesale prices rise but rarely lower them when prices fall.
And it's all down to the mentality of those men and women who think nothing of physically or mentally abusing those closest to them.
In an age when people think nothing of driving to large out-of-town shopping centres, cutting car parking spaces in Brighouse would seem the wrong thing to do.
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.
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.