Journal of Romance Studies

Borges: between zero and infinity

Journal of Romance Studies (2007), 7, (3), 87–100.

Abstract

The concepts of zero and infinity have never ceased to perplex philosophers, mathematicians and scientists, especially since the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Using these concepts in regard to the notion of spatial dimensions, and in view of Borges’s ‘Death and the compass’, holds some surprises, especially, first, as viewed through the complementary thought processes of detective Lönnrot and Scharlach, presumably the perpetrator of four homicides, and, second, in view of Charles S. Peirce’s concept of sign processes. Bringing one of Zeno’s paradoxes into the picture, along with allusions to other Borges images and characters – Funes the Memorious, the Aleph, the Zahir – we are left with a wedding between time, space and number, which continue to confound our best thinkers, even today.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Almeder, Robert (1980) The Philosophy of Charles S. Peirce: A Critical Introduction (Totowa: Rowman and Littlefield). The Philosophy of Charles S. Peirce: A Critical Introduction Google Scholar

Borges, Jorge Luis (1962) Labyrinths, Selected Short Stories and Other Writings, ed. D. A. Yates and J. E. Irby (New York: New Directions). Labyrinths, Selected Short Stories and Other Writings Google Scholar

Borges, Jorge Luis (1970) The Aleph and Other Stories, 1933–1969, trans. N. T. de Giovanni (New York: E. P. Dutton). The Aleph and Other Stories, 1933–1969 Google Scholar

Borges, Jorge Luis (1971) Ficciones (Buenos Aires: Alianza Editores). Ficciones Google Scholar

Borges, Jorge Luis (1974) Obras Completas, 1923–1972 (Buenos Aires: Emecé Editores). Obras Completas, 1923–1972 Google Scholar

Dantzig, Tobias (1930) Number: The Language of Science, 4th edition (New York: The Free Press). Number: The Language of Science Google Scholar

Descartes, René (1968) [1641] Méditations métaphysiques (Paris: P. U. F. ). Méditations métaphysiques Google Scholar

Eliot, T. S. (1943) Four Quartets (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich). Four Quartets Google Scholar

Kalupahana, David (1986) Na¯ga¯rjuna: The Philosophy of the Middle Way (Albany: State University of New York Press). Na¯ga¯rjuna: The Philosophy of the Middle Way Google Scholar

Lao Tsu (1967) Tao Te Ching, trans. D. C. Lan (Middlesex: Penguin). Tao Te Ching Google Scholar

McTaggart, J. M. E. (1927) The Nature of Existence, vol. 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). The Nature of Existence Google Scholar

merrell, floyd (1997) Peirce, Signs, and Meaning (Toronto: University of Toronto Press). Peirce, Signs, and Meaning Google Scholar

merrell, floyd (2002) Learning Living, Living Learning: Signs, Between East and West (Ottawa: Legas). Learning Living, Living Learning: Signs, Between East and West Google Scholar

merrell, floyd (2003) Sensing Corporeally: Toward a Posthuman Understanding (Toronto: University of Toronto Press). Sensing Corporeally: Toward a Posthuman Understanding Google Scholar

Prigogine, Ilya (1980) From Being to Becoming: Time and Complexity in the Physical Sciences (New York: W. H. Freeman). From Being to Becoming: Time and Complexity in the Physical Sciences Google Scholar

Rotman, Brian (1987) Signifying Nothing: The Semiotics of Zero (New York: St Martin’s). Signifying Nothing: The Semiotics of Zero Google Scholar

Seife, Charles (2000) Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea (New York: Penguin). Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea Google Scholar

Almeder, Robert (1980) The Philosophy of Charles S. Peirce: A Critical Introduction (Totowa: Rowman and Littlefield). The Philosophy of Charles S. Peirce: A Critical Introduction Google Scholar

Borges, Jorge Luis (1962) Labyrinths, Selected Short Stories and Other Writings, ed. D. A. Yates and J. E. Irby (New York: New Directions). Labyrinths, Selected Short Stories and Other Writings Google Scholar

Borges, Jorge Luis (1970) The Aleph and Other Stories, 1933–1969, trans. N. T. de Giovanni (New York: E. P. Dutton). The Aleph and Other Stories, 1933–1969 Google Scholar

Borges, Jorge Luis (1971) Ficciones (Buenos Aires: Alianza Editores). Ficciones Google Scholar

Borges, Jorge Luis (1974) Obras Completas, 1923–1972 (Buenos Aires: Emecé Editores). Obras Completas, 1923–1972 Google Scholar

Dantzig, Tobias (1930) Number: The Language of Science, 4th edition (New York: The Free Press). Number: The Language of Science Google Scholar

Descartes, René (1968) [1641] Méditations métaphysiques (Paris: P. U. F. ). Méditations métaphysiques Google Scholar

Eliot, T. S. (1943) Four Quartets (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich). Four Quartets Google Scholar

Kalupahana, David (1986) Na¯ga¯rjuna: The Philosophy of the Middle Way (Albany: State University of New York Press). Na¯ga¯rjuna: The Philosophy of the Middle Way Google Scholar

Lao Tsu (1967) Tao Te Ching, trans. D. C. Lan (Middlesex: Penguin). Tao Te Ching Google Scholar

McTaggart, J. M. E. (1927) The Nature of Existence, vol. 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). The Nature of Existence Google Scholar

merrell, floyd (1997) Peirce, Signs, and Meaning (Toronto: University of Toronto Press). Peirce, Signs, and Meaning Google Scholar

merrell, floyd (2002) Learning Living, Living Learning: Signs, Between East and West (Ottawa: Legas). Learning Living, Living Learning: Signs, Between East and West Google Scholar

merrell, floyd (2003) Sensing Corporeally: Toward a Posthuman Understanding (Toronto: University of Toronto Press). Sensing Corporeally: Toward a Posthuman Understanding Google Scholar

Prigogine, Ilya (1980) From Being to Becoming: Time and Complexity in the Physical Sciences (New York: W. H. Freeman). From Being to Becoming: Time and Complexity in the Physical Sciences Google Scholar

Rotman, Brian (1987) Signifying Nothing: The Semiotics of Zero (New York: St Martin’s). Signifying Nothing: The Semiotics of Zero Google Scholar

Seife, Charles (2000) Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea (New York: Penguin). Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

merrell, floyd