Borges: between zero and infinity

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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.

Keywords: BORGES; COMPASS; DIMENSIONALITY; INFINITY; LITERATURE; MATHEMATICS; PEIRCE; ZERO

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/jrs.2007.070307

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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