So as i understand according to Aristotle's theory of abstraction every abstract concept (i.e universal) is instantiated (or abstracted) from it particulars in the outside world if that so how can we explain the existence of the concept "Nothingness" (or the concept of "impossible") in our minds if it has no particulars (Nothingness does not exist)

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    Abstraction in Aristotle works by selective attention, some features are disregarded and others are focused on. If you disregard all of them in any particular you are left with nothing.
    – Conifold
    Commented Feb 15, 2021 at 6:01

3 Answers 3


If Blue is the quality of all blue things and Existence is the quality of all existing things, then surely Nothingness is the quality of all non-existent things.

Sounds right to me.


Systems are defined by boundaries (cf. systems theory), which essentially define what is and what is not the system. The idea of negation is inherent to our thinking.

Systems are, by definition, groups of interrelated parts. In multiple circumstances, a system loses all its parts (behavior known as dissipation). Emptyness is what happens to such system, and nothingness is its equivalent, from a generic point of view of existence.

For example, if you have marbles in your pocket, the system is "marbles", which is a group of parts (each marble) sharing an ideal relationship (e.g. they are all in the same place, or, they are all marbles of the same size, or they are all not coins). If your pocket gets empty, the system has dissipated, become empty.

So, the pure concept of "apple" raises the idea of "non-apple" in our mind. If I ask you to put all apples in a bag, you will not put a bottle inside, this is quite obvious, but it shouldn't be so. "Possibility" raises naturally the notion of "impossibility" in our mind. For nothingness, the idea of "everything" would produce a group of what is not everything. This is inevitable, it's just how our brain processes ideas. So, what is not everything comes to be nothingness, a natural idea raising from the idea of grouping all things.

  • So basically the idea of "Nothingness" came from the act of "Negation" wich is conter part to the law of identity of i understand well Commented Feb 26, 2021 at 0:55
  • I don't think the opposite of negation is identity. Identity is essentially the lack of mutation of an entity along time (following Aristotle's three laws, X should be X all along a set of mathematical operations, for example). The concept of nothingness has no intrinsic relation with time. But yes, we can say that nothingness comes essentially from a negation. Like thinking of a lack of elephants in a room is essentially thinking on elephants in a room, and then removing them from the room.
    – RodolfoAP
    Commented Feb 26, 2021 at 3:04

For me Nothingness is simply the ontological reality/truth/God or whatever name which is similar. It's simply unknowable through our human mind perceptions, experiences, reasoning, no matter how advanced the techniques you employ, there's still an invincible gap between human understandings and the ultimate reality, assuming its existence. So you can also even claim it does not exist as we normally experienced in this world, not even like unseen X-ray.

The critical insight of Nothingness is like a blank paper metaphor, from it you can draw any shape or structure as long as it's possible according to certain rules. So many religions and philosophy schools historically conveniently used this vivid name to call the ultimate relevant reality, but the drawback is it easily caused so many confusions for layperson to believe there's no meaning or worthwhile to do anything. But on the other hand, no name will be perfect to describe the "undescribable" ontology...

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