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Zero

By Kathryn Otoshi

Summary

Zero, the main character of ‘Zero’ explores issues of value and self-worth. Zero worries about whether she is worth anything and goes on a roller coaster ride to find the value in her. She fails miserably at first, but in the end she discovers that she does have value, just like the other numbers, and she can help the other numbers count for more. The importance of self esteem is portrayed here in a very playful manner, as we can see Zero rise up from feeling hopeless about herself to becoming very happy and proud in the end when she finds that she has value too. The reason Zero felt valueless in the beginning was because she had a hollow centre and as a result, she felt empty inside. She compared herself with 1 and got intimidated by his solid, bold strokes and started thinking that she needs to ‘look’ more like 1 and the other numbers in order to have value. However, she later goes on to realize that regardless of her looks, she holds value. This book can be used beautifully to explain how appearance isn’t what gives you value.

Guidelines for Philosophical Discussion

By Rudmila Salek

The issues raised by this book are intriguing. First, we know that having zero amount of something means that we have nothing. So how can something that is nothing have value? Even though Zero in the end finds that she has value, it is very logical to ask, how much value does she have and how do we know that? If 0 and 5 are both considered to have value, would someone be happy with 0 apples instead of 5?

Second, the value that Zero finds in herself in the end is a complementary one. Her value is apparent only when she is combined with other numbers such as 1,2,3, etc. Does that mean she has no value on her own? But this problem can be seen in the other numbers too. Can we say 2 has value if 1 didn’t exist? So does that mean all numbers are dependent on one another for their own value? Would this make the other numbers just like 0, who doesn’t have value of its own?

Third, this brings us to a deeper question, what is value? Value can be of several different kinds- Monetary, sentimental, practical etc. But how does someone decide if something has value? What is the difference between an object’s face value and its hidden value? We know all things don’t have the same value. So how is it that we decide what has more value?

Questions for Philosophical Discussion

We know that having zero amount of something means that we have nothing

  1. Can something, which is nothing, have value?
  2. Does that mean that zero has no value?
  3. Would we rather have something than nothing?

The value that Zero finds in herself in the end is a complementary one. Her value is apparent only when she is combined with other numbers such as 1,2,3, etc

  1. Is there anything that has value in and of itself?

Zero compared herself with 1 and got intimidated by his solid, bold strokes and started thinking that she needs to ‘look’ more like 1 and the other numbers in order to have value.

  1. Does physical appearance give you value? Why or why not?

We know all things don’t have the same value.

  1. Does something worth $10 necessarily have more value than something worth $5?
  2. How do we decide how much value something has?

Value can be of several different kinds- Monetary, sentimental, practical, etc

  1. Do some kinds of value have more value than others?
  2. Is monetary value more important than other kinds of value? For example, is a large sum of money, such as $5000, worth more than an old ring, that happens to be a family heirloom?

This book module deals with metaphysics and epistemology. You can buy this book on Amazon.

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