The Puzzle of Existence: Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? (Hardback) book cover

The Puzzle of Existence

Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?

Edited by Tyron Goldschmidt

© 2013 – Routledge

296 pages

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Paperback: 9781138823440
pub: 2014-08-12
Hardback: 9780415624657
pub: 2013-05-15
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203104323
pub: 2014-02-05
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This groundbreaking volume investigates the most fundamental question of all: Why is there something rather than nothing? The question is explored from diverse and radical perspectives: religious, naturalistic, platonistic and skeptical. Does science answer the question? Or does theology? Does everything need an explanation? Or can there be brute, inexplicable facts? Could there have been nothing whatsoever? Or is there any being that could not have failed to exist? Is the question meaningful after all? The volume advances cutting-edge debates in metaphysics, philosophy of cosmology and philosophy of religion, and will intrigue and challenge readers interested in any of these subjects.


"Why is there anything at all? The Puzzle of Existence offers a treasure of cutting-edge answers to this classic question. The answers are diverse, as are the philosophical approaches. Yet this sixteen-author volume is remarkably unified: each chapter puts in place a different piece of a big puzzle. The result is new groundwork for inquiry into our most ultimate ‘why?’ question. There is much to like about the book. The writing is impressively clear. Meanwhile, the material is sophisticated, innovative, and rigorous. Seasoned philosophers and interested students alike will learn much. Readers will also appreciate the careful tone of the book: the authors, all of them, display the twin virtues of intellectual humility and clear-mindedness." -- Joshua Rasmussen in the European Journal of Philosophy

"[A] great strength of the volume is how much it has to offer to so many different domains of discourse. Anyone with even a passing interest in cosmological arguments, the PSR, metaphysical nihilism, subtraction arguments, methodology in modality, ultimate explanations, God, the limits and purview of scientific explanations and, of course, the puzzle(s) of existence will find something of value in it. And…it also has something to offer to folks working in areas who may not yet realize that certain of their commitments are tangled up in the puzzle(s) of existence." -- Ricki Bliss, Kyoto University, Japan

"…this work offers an excellent exercise in abstract philosophical reasoning. Summing Up: Highly recommended." -- H.C. Byerly, University of Arizona, USA in Choice

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Understanding the Question Tyron Goldschmidt 2. Could There Be a Complete Explanation of Everything? Timothy O'Connor 3. Ultimate Naturalistic Causal Explanations Graham Oppy 4. Explanatory Power and the Principle of Sufficient Reason Shieva Kleinschmidt 5. The Principle of Sufficient Reason and the Grand Inexplicable Jacob Ross 6. Contingency, Dependence, and the Ontology of the Many Christopher Hughes 7. Conceiving Absolute Greatness Earl Conee 8. A Proof of God's Reality John Leslie 9. Metaphysical Nihilism Revisited E.J. Lowe 10. Contingency John Heil 11. Methodological Separatism, Modal Pluralism, and Metaphysical Nihilism David Efird and Tom Stoneham 12. The Subtraction Arguments for Metaphysical Nihilism: Compared and Defended Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra 13. The Probabilistic Explanation of Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing Matthew Kotzen 14. Are Some Things Naturally Necessary? Marc Lange 15. Questioning the Question Stephen Maitzen 16. Ontological Pluralism, the Gradation of Being, and the Question "Why is there Something Rather than Nothing?" Kris McDaniel

About the Editor

Tyron Goldschmidt is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Wake Forest University, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Metaphysics

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Metaphysics
PHILOSOPHY / Religious
RELIGION / Philosophy