Nothing has been my favourite verb since its use by Martin Heidegger was singled out by Rudolf Carnap in his paper The Eliminiation of Metaphysics Through Logical Analysis of Language. He quotes a passage from Was Ist Metaphysik which ends The Nothing itself nothings. He then goes on to explain that this sentence is a rare case where a new word is introduced which never had a meaning to begin with as opposed to a meaningful word twisted in metaphorical usage. In other words, Carnap asserts that you cannot truly believe that this sentence even has symbolic meaning.

Of course this example brought great joy to the small tutorial of philosophy students of the analytic tradition reading the paper. For surely this was a crowning example of continentialist depravity coming, as it were, from such a significant philosopher and using a symbol close in appearance to one with a significant referent (the empty set?).

Despite the fact that many of Carnap's ideas on logical positivism have fallen out of favour, I believe that this example stands indestructable. It appears to have permanently removed my ability to be charitable in interpretation of existentialism. No matter how many times Ludwig Wittgenstein tells me about showing and saying, surely any emperor who takes this sentence to be meaningful has no clothes.

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