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Nothing is no thing,[1] denoting the absence of something. Nothing is a pronoun associated with nothingness,[1] is also an adjective, and an object as a concept in the Frege-Church ontology.

In nontechnical uses, nothing denotes things lacking importance, interest, value, relevance, or significance.[1] Nothingness is the state of being nothing,[2] the state of nonexistence of anything, or theproperty of having nothing.

[hide] 1 Philosophy 1.1 Western philosophy 1.1.1 Parmenides
1.1.2 Leucippus
1.1.3 Aristotle
1.1.4 John the Scot
1.1.5 G. W. F. Hegel
1.1.6 Existentialists

1.2 Eastern philosophy

2 Language and logic
3 Mathematics
4 Computing
5 Physics
6 See also
7 Notes
8 References
9 External links

[edit] Philosophy[edit] Western philosophy

Some would consider the study of "nothing" to be foolish, a typical response of this type is voiced by Giacomo Casanova (1725–1798) in conversation with his landlord, one Dr. Gozzi, who also happens to be a priest,

As everything, for him, was an article of faith, nothing, to his mind, was difficult to understand: the Great Flood had covered the entireworld; before, men had the misfortune of living a thousand years; God conversed with them; Noah had taken one hundred years to build the ark; while the earth, suspended in air, stood firmly at the center of the universe that God had created out of nothingness. When I said to him, and proved to him, that the existence of nothingness was absurd, he cut me short, calling me silly.[3]

”However, "nothingness" has been treated as a serious subject worthy of research for a very long time. In philosophy, to avoid linguistic traps over the meaning of "nothing", a phrase such as not-being is often employed to unambiguously make clear what is being discussed.

[edit] Parmenides

One of the earliest western philosophers to consider nothing as a concept was Parmenides (5th century BC)who was a Greek philosopher of the monist school. He argued that "nothing" cannot exist by the following line of reasoning. To speak of a thing, one has to speak of a thing that exists. Since we can speak of a thing in the past, it must still exist (in some sense) now and from this concludes that there is no such thing as change. As a corollary, there can be no such things as coming-into-being,passing-out-of-being or not-being.[4]

Despite the fact of existence stubbornly refuting Parmenides' conclusion, he was taken seriously by other philosophers, influencing, for instance, Socrates and Plato.[5] Aristotle too, gives Parmenides serious consideration but concludes; "Although these opinions seem to follow logically in a dialectical discussion, yet to believe them seems next door tomadness when one considers the facts."[6]

[edit] Leucippus

Leucippus (early 5th century BC), one of the atomists, along with other philosophers of his time, made attempts to reconcile this with the everyday observation of motion and change. He accepted the monist position that there could be no motion without a void. The void is the opposite of being, it is not-being. On the other hand, a thingthat exists is an absolute plenum and there can be no motion in a plenum because it is completely full. But there is not one monolithic plenum, existence consists of a multiplicity of plenums. These are the invisibly small atoms of the atomists theory, later expanded more fully by Democritus (circa 460 BC – 370 BC). They are a necessary part of the theory to allow the void to exist between them.In this scenario macroscopic objects can come-into-being move through space and pass into not-being by means of the coming together and moving apart of their constituent atoms. The void must exist to allow this to happen or else the frozen world of Parmenides must be accepted.

Bertrand Russell points out that this does not exactly defeat the argument of Parmenides, but rather ignores it by...
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