nulliverse

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Blend of null +‎ verse, coined by William James.

Noun[edit]

nulliverse (plural nulliverses)

  1. (philosophy) The world, regarded as having no rationality or rules.
    • 1882 April, James, William, “On Some Hegelisms”, in Mind[1], volume VII, number 1, page 192:
      If the world cannot be rational in my sense, in the sense of unconditional surrender, I refuse to grant that it is rational at all. It is pure incoherence, a chaos, a nulliverse, to whose haphazard sway I will not truckle.
    • 1909, James, William, A Pluralistic Universe: Hibbert Lectures to Manchester College on the Present Situation in Philosophy[2], Longmans, Green, and Company, page 68:
      If rationality be in it at all, it must be in it throughout ; if irrationality be in it anywhere, that also must pervade it throughout. It must be wholly rational or wholly irrational, pure universe or pure multiverse or pure nulliverse ; and reduced to this violent alternative, no one's choice ought long to remain doubtful.
    • 1969, Nabokov, Vladimir, Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle[3]:
      You admit yourself that I am only a pale wild girl with gipsy hair in a deathless ballad, in a nulliverse, in Rattner's ‘menald world’ where the only principle is random variation.
    • 1969 August 2, Updike, John, “Books: Van Loves Ada, Ada Loves Van”, in The New Yorker[4], volume 45, number 24, page 67:
      Now, why should an author not create a “nulliverse” to represent “oneirologically” the contents of his own mind?
    • 2004, Donald Gardner and Suzanne Jill Levine (tr.), Three Trapped Tigers[5], Dalkey Archive Press, translation of Tres Tristes Tigres by Guillermo Cabrera Infante, published 1967, page 480:
      ... one of the infinite seas that swim in a bubble of a phenomenal ocean where there are no longer any stars because the stars have lost their name: the nulliverse, and wondering if Bustrófedon's sentity was expanding multiversally, ...
    • 2012, Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow, The Rapture of the Nerds[6], Tor Books, page 291:
      And Huw is abruptly ejected from whatever pocket nulliverse the Prophet’s fifth column have installed in the lobby of the virtual Tripoli Mariott, to a destination even more profoundly alienating than the cloud itself.

Related terms[edit]