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Tag Archives: zero

I’ve been reading e-book ”Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy” originally written by Bertrand Russell and published in the year 1901.

Among other interesting thoughts Russell gives thought to the definition of a number. This is something very interesting; I’ve been thinking myself strange things about number zero. Can zero be considered as a whole number? It doesn’t describe anything existing as whole. If the number of something is zero, this something doesn’t exist at all in somewhere, particularly not as whole.

As to definition of number, Russell discusses about classes. From an old Finnish book that discusses university level algebra, I recently learned the definition of zero as a class. In Russell’s book zero is defined as a class in slightly different way: Russell doesn’t say anything about the empty set, instead he mentions ”null-class”. I think I will read this part of the book over and over again.

This is something fascinating…

Hopefully you got interested in this great book:


In multiplying one (1) is neutral element: a * 1 = a. For example, 7 * 1 = 7. Number one keeps the identity of a number, which includes a number being even or uneven. But what about zero (0)?

0 * 1 = 0. Does one keep the identity of zero or does zero keep the identity of its own? The property of this identity is ”zeroing” property: a * 0 = 0, were a whatever real number, including one and on the other hand zero.

In case -2 * 0, zero takes the whole identity of number -2: The number being negative and even; as a result we get ”just” zero. Similar happens in 2 * 0 = 0.

“Unique Sphere Shows Standing Out”


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My two cents: Zero ”zeroes” any number except itself. It ”zeroes” the whole identity – including a number being even or uneven – of any number except from itself; in case 0 * 0 = 0 zero keeps the identity of its own, it doesn’t ”zero” itself, which reflects the identity of zero itself, how it is neutral in a deep sense and meaning.

Mathematical philosophically zero refers to none, there isn’t something at all. Still, zero refers different than nothing. As I’ve written before emptyness (”zero”) can be created, nothing can’t be created; it is from which the creation begins.

Let us assume, that we have two (2) coins. It’s even amount of coins. Let’s give one coin to a poor beggar. Now we have only one coin, uneven amount of coins. We’ll give that coin to a poor beggar too. Now we have no coins at all, the number of coins we have is zero. Do we have still again even number of coins, as we have zero amount of coins? I mean, we don’t have coins left at all!

The coins we had were in a wallet and the two coins were all we had there; now the wallet is empty. Is emptyness even or uneven? Or are we speaking now about different matter?

As far as I can see, if the number of something is different than zero, there must exist something, somehow. This number is even or uneven.

So, number being even or uneven, philosophically would refer to existence; something must somehow exist, that is, the number of something is different than zero. This amount can be negative or positive, even or uneven, but not zero.

But if something doesn’t exist, the amount of this something is zero, that isn’t even or uneven, as stated before. If the “number of something” is even or uneven, something must exist, somehow.


Technically one test to determine, that is a number even, is to divide the number to be tested by 2; if reminder is zero, the number is even. This test is suspicious to zero from two (2) reasons:

  1. 0 / = 0 anyway  were the number whatever real number (except zero)
  2. Two (2) is greater than zero by its absolute value (philosophical mathematical problem)

My two cents: Zero is neutral element in addition and one of its properties is, particularly philosophically, that as to being even or uneven, it is neutral.

(As a sidenote something came into my mind from section 2 above: Is number one (1) somehow fundamentally uneven in natural numbers set?)

If zero (0) is added to any real number a, as a result we get a: a + 0 = a. What now was added to a? Nothing? I would say wrong. In some sense.

Namely from our friend, the set theory, point of view set A = {0} is not empty, there is something, namely number zero. If one would say, that 0 is nothing, in set A weren’t anything. In our case there clearly now is something, element 0.

Somehow philosophically 0 isn’t in same extent ”nothing”, that it would lead from view of set theory as the only element in the set to same state as the empty set ({} or ∅), that is so empty, that there simply is nothing; the empty set is more ”nothing” than 0. As  a number, zero is considered as neutral element in some cases. But it obviously is more… What?


As to empty set, more philosophical question is, does the empty set contain itself – and is it then empty.

Emptyness and nothingness have their differences.

Let us imagine an empty room where there is four walls and a roof. Emptyness gives there space. And also this emptyness, space, has many meanings; if the room has only little space you would probably feel quite uncomfortable there.

In music the fact the there isn’t a note is known as pause. In this case emptyness in the notes gives rhythm to the music, without this non-existence of a note (nothingness from point view of sound?) we would’n have music as we know it.

In speech silence, a pause, can give one some kind of power to the speech itself.

Emptyness and nothingness really are powerful from their beings!

I consider ”nothing” as something that doesn’t exist. Still it does.

Update! (16/5/2016)

In order to express all this more precisely zero is interpreted as an positive integer, but not genuinely positive integer; ”nothing” can’t be a positive integer. As to 0 + a = a, to number a is added an positive integer – something else than ”nothing”. This makes me consider the empty set being ”more nothing” than number zero. In this particular case to a is added a neutral element zero – not ”nothing”, in some sense…

It seems we’re pushing the limits of semantics of ”nothing” to new boundaries… Anyway it is essentially something else than ”emptyness”. See my post on creation.

The question now is: Is the rank of {} zero (0)? Do we need to “divide” zero; do we need a new “zero”?