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Philosophy of zero

  1. Jan 1, 2004 #1
    I have heard that today's mathematicians are discussing what zero really is. Are there any good resources on this on the net?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2004 #2
    Where have you heard this?
  4. Jan 3, 2004 #3
    i havent read anything, but to me, zero is nothing.
  5. Jan 4, 2004 #4
    I don't think zero is nothing... Zero is emptiness, empty space, or a lack of space maybe. NOTHING, on the other hand... is just not.
  6. Jan 4, 2004 #5
    Where I heard of it? A long time ago on a TV programme about science. There was a Denish professor in maths there. I believe this has to do with finding a different of calculation in maths.
  7. Jan 4, 2004 #6
  8. Jan 4, 2004 #7
    There isn't much that is problematic about zero. People took a long time to accept zero as a bonafide number. Even in the nineteenth century many were wary of acknowledging zero and negative numbers (hence, double-entry bookkeeping). But that was soon surpassed.

    There are two basic FACTS about zero.

    1. for any number x, x + 0 = x

    2. for any number x, x*0 = 0


    Some people make a great fuss about limits involving zero. For example:

    limx->af(x)/g(x), where limx->ag(x)=0. They want to use as a general rule

    limx->af(x)/g(x) = limx->af(x)/limx->ag(x)

    , but it won't work. The problem lies in the theory of limits, not in the meaning of zero.
  9. Jan 5, 2004 #8
    I did not understand these symbols. What are these all about?
  10. Jan 5, 2004 #9
    For me zero is the true balnced number and it represents the equilibrium point in my physics. You see zero has equal amount of positive and negative. On the other hand infinity is the point of extreme chaos.

    Thank you!!
  11. Jan 5, 2004 #10
    Re: Re: Philosophy of zero

    Why is that?
  12. Jan 5, 2004 #11
    These are about functions and limits. I try to express in general terms what some people puzzle over specifically. For example: what happens to 1/x as x goes to 0. Well, you get 1/.1. 1/.01, 1/.001 and so on and these are 10, 100 1000 and so on. In view of this, many conclude that 1/0 is infinite. Other cases get more complicated.

    A translation:

    "limx->af(x)" means "the limit value approached by function f as x approaches value a".
  13. Jan 6, 2004 #12
    Well that's interesting indeed. The math of my kind. Thanks!
  14. Jan 29, 2004 #13


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    Zero is not attainable in reality, but for reference it is a very important quantity. Everything even dark space has something, don't you think?
  15. Jan 30, 2004 #14

    It not the value that people find "special" it the idea of nothingness or the whole concept of nothingness as a value.. The NULL representation was invented by the INCAS thousands of years ago and has helped mankind ever since.

    Sit on this: The most important numeric value to mankind has no numeric value.. Profound.. hey?
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