The Puzzle of Existence: Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Puzzle of Existence

Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?, 1st Edition

Edited by Tyron Goldschmidt


304 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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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.


"[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

"There is not much doubt that the title of this book will catch the eye of every philosopher, regardless of their personal interests…For a philosopher, interested in philosophical implications of scientific theories of the universe, and also working in S&R, this book offers great promise of a delightful feast… [and] the variety of the contributions makes it likely that everybody will find something tasty in this volume." - Grzegorz Bugajak Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw, ESSSAT News & Reviews

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

Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States

Learn more about Tyron Goldschmidt >>

Tyron Goldschmidt is Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Metaphysics

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Subject Categories

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