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absolute




Not limited by exceptions or conditions. The term is used in many different ways in mathematics, physics, philosophy, and everyday speech.

Absolute space and time, which, in Newton's universe, form a unique, immutable frame of reference, blend and become deformable in the spacetime of Einstein. See also absolute zero.

In some philosophies, the absolute stands behind the reality we see – independent, transcendent, unconditional, and all-encompassing. The American philosopher Josiah Royce (1855–1916) took the absolute to be a spiritual entity whose self-consciousness is imperfectly reflected in the totality of human thought. Mathematics, too, reaches beyond imagination with its absolute infinity.


Related entry

   • absolute value


Related categories

   • MATHEMATICAL TERMINOLOGY
   • PHILOSOPHY