Something Rather Than Nothing

Philosophy 97 (1):1-22 (2022)
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Abstract

Peter van Inwagen has given a probabilistic answer to the fundamental question ‘why is there something rather than nothing?’: There is something, because the probability of there being nothing is 0. Some philosophers have recently examined van Inwagen's argument and concluded that it does not really work. Three points are central in their criticism: the premise which states that there is only one empty possible world is false, the premise which states that all possible worlds have the same probability is not plausible and the argument is not significant for the question it sets out to answer. In this paper, I shall show that even if there are many empty worlds, this does not necessarily invalidate the argument in its general lines, the examples they offer to support the intuition that possible worlds may have different probabilities fail, and even if the conclusion of the argument does not really answer the question van Inwagen sets out to answer, it is still not an insignificant response to the question.

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Tractatus logico-philosophicus.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1922 - Filosoficky Casopis 52:336-341.
Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Mind 93 (371):450-455.
I: A lecture on ethics.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1965 - Philosophical Review 74 (1):3-12.
Statistical explanation.Wesley C. Salmon - 1970 - In Robert Colodny (ed.), The Nature and Function of Scientific Theories. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 173--231.

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