Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Conversation: When is a noun not a noun?

On Jun 3, 2008, at 5:50 PM, Staticboy44 wrote:

When we speak about nothing we speak about something because nothing is the idea of something. Otherwise, 'nothing' wouldn't be a noun. And if nothing 'is' and noun and can 'be' a noun, then nothing is a 'something'.

To which I replied:


I agree that an Idea is something, however, it's not quantifiable unless expressed. Even if expressed, an idea generally isn't much. However, that doesn't mean that having an idea or thought about anything that exists or doesn't yet exist makes that thing (real or imagined) any more than what it already was. For example, the idea "rent check" is great, the landlord loves that idea. But the idea is essentially nothing without its extant counterpart. Are you getting this? Things with no force have no ability to bring other things into being, so having an idea about something isn't that same as creating that thing, nor does it mean that the thing that doesn't yet exist always existed. In fact, that idea probably doesn't mean anything.

As for your next statement, I can start out by agreeing that the WORD nothing is usually a noun, and there are many contexts in which the word nothing is properly used to signify a state of being, most of these cases are when nothing is used as a numerical equivalent. Examples would be, "there's nothing left!" or "I will harm nothing among your prize winning otter-skin hat collection". Again, those statements are both numerical so they do not refer to "pure nothing". However when used to refer to "pure nothing" the word nothing can be used as an identifier, but not properly as a noun.

Thanks for your linear and overly simplistic comments regarding nothing.

Xymyl (KON)


Dan said...

to think of nothing creates a delima since to think of nothing is to have no thoughts thinkable and thus if i truly thought of nothing would i have any recolection of those thoughts so as to know whether or not i achieved thinking nothing?

Xymyl said...


I thoroughly enjoyed how you over-thought your comment about thinking about nothing. However, that is just one way to think of nothing. Another way is to fully comprehend the total void that "is" nothing.

But to prove that both of these can be accomplished with a little "you know what" in the brain department, I shall make reference to my May 29 2007 post entitled "Q&A Your first "encounter" with nothing".


But to answer your question directly by twisting your words, yes! I think you'd remember nothing, at least in the sense that you wouldn't remember whether you actually thought of nothing or not.

I know that doesn't really answer your question, but the post I mentioned does tell you that it's feasible.

Dan said...

thought i'd drop by and see what was up and there is nothing new... now isn't that something.

UNdesireable said...

Have you read the quote by Charles Pierce on nothing.com? It refers to the "pure nothing" as being boundless because it has no restrictions, being it cannot be restricted because it comes before anything and everything comes from it.

Once nothing is defined, it can no longer be nothing, because it's become something and therefore, no longer nothing.

I'd think that everything, was once nothing.

Anonymous said...

why there is something and not nothing?

Anonymous said...

because nothing is not something. if it were it would not be called nothing. But when people say "nothing is something", that is false because we cannot be sure what nothing is, for we have never experienced nothing. When you try to think of absolutely nothing, is that nothing? Why is considered a noun and not a verb? Because you simply cannot be doing NOTHING. We are living, breathing, blinking, and our hearts are beating. So when you are dead is there nothing? Not for your corpse, because your corpse is lying in the coffin, or your ashes are somewhere. But mentally, nothing comes back to religion and what happens after death.

Anonymous said...

Nuh NUH!

Anonymous said...

For the purpose of this argument, how you describe any part of speech depends on whether you apply grammar or logic.

"Nothing" would be classified gramatically as a noun as opposed to a verb, adjective, preposition or any other definition.

Logically it would be nondescript, ergo indescribable.

Jeremy said...

There is no such thing as nothing.....

Anonymous said...

Nothing is not a noun. If it were a noun, where is its substantial object? "It" as to have something that can be described, a noun. If it were then it would to be able to give a description of "it". Nothing is not describable, so how is it a noun.

Xymyl said...


Why do you post a comment about something you haven't read as though you read it? It makes your comment seem like it was all for nothing.

Oh, now I get it...