`max`

and `min`

return the maximum or minimum of *all*
the values present in their arguments, as `integer`

if
all are `logical`

or `integer`

, as `double`

if
all are numeric, and character otherwise.

If `na.rm`

is `FALSE`

an `NA`

value in any of the
arguments will cause a value of `NA`

to be returned, otherwise
`NA`

values are ignored.

The minimum and maximum of a numeric empty set are `+Inf`

and
`-Inf`

(in this order!) which ensures *transitivity*, e.g.,
`min(x1, min(x2)) == min(x1, x2)`

. For numeric `x`

`max(x) == -Inf`

and `min(x) == +Inf`

whenever `length(x) == 0`

(after removing missing values if
requested). However, `pmax`

and `pmin`

return
`NA`

if all the parallel elements are `NA`

even for
`na.rm = TRUE`

.

`pmax`

and `pmin`

take one or more vectors (or matrices) as
arguments and return a single vector giving the ‘parallel’
maxima (or minima) of the vectors. The first element of the result is
the maximum (minimum) of the first elements of all the arguments, the
second element of the result is the maximum (minimum) of the second
elements of all the arguments and so on. Shorter inputs (of non-zero
length) are recycled if necessary. Attributes (see
`attributes`

: such as `names`

or
`dim`

) are copied from the first argument (if applicable,
e.g., *not* for an `S4`

object).

`pmax.int`

and `pmin.int`

are faster internal versions only
used when all arguments are atomic vectors and there are no classes:
they drop all attributes. (Note that all versions fail for raw and
complex vectors since these have no ordering.)

`max`

and `min`

are generic functions: methods can be
defined for them individually or via the
`Summary`

group generic. For this to
work properly, the arguments `…`

should be unnamed, and
dispatch is on the first argument.

By definition the min/max of a numeric vector containing an `NaN`

is `NaN`

, except that the min/max of any vector containing an
`NA`

is `NA`

even if it also contains an `NaN`

.
Note that `max(NA, Inf) == NA`

even though the maximum would be
`Inf`

whatever the missing value actually is.

Character versions are sorted lexicographically, and this depends on
the collating sequence of the locale in use: the help for
‘Comparison’ gives details. The max/min of an empty
character vector is defined to be character `NA`

. (One could
argue that as `""`

is the smallest character element, the maximum
should be `""`

, but there is no obvious candidate for the
minimum.)