Mathematics and philosophy, as disciplines, have been always been intertwines through their common origin in ancient academic tradition. In these intersections, they shape one another's conceptions of things like logic, existence, and nothingness. This Independent Study focuses upon mathematical and philosophical accounts of nothingness in order to expose the pervasiveness of ideas of nothingness throughout human intellectual tradition, as well as throughout one's human life. Beginning with a historical account of conceptions of zero in Indian, Egyptian, Greek, and Chinese mathematics, several conceptual problems with talking about and signifying nothingness are revealed. Then, the focus of the project moves to a preliminary account of the concept of emptiness in Buddhism; addresses mathematical implications of treating zero as an arithmetic number through zero divisors and division by zero; and explores Kierkegaard's dread and despair as fundamental, early concepts in European existentialism. In conclusion, Zen Buddhist and Daoist accounts respond to all aforementioned conceptions of nothingness.
Griffith, Melissa M., "The Ineffability of Nothingness" (2016). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 6981.
Algebra | Comparative Philosophy | Continental Philosophy | Metaphysics
ontology, nothing, zero, mathematics
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
© Copyright 2016 Melissa M. Griffith