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Title: Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? A Logical Investigation (epub ahead of print)
Authors: Heylen, Jan # ×
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: D. Reidel
Series Title: Erkenntnis: an International Journal of Analytic Philosophy
Abstract: From Leibniz to Krauss philosophers and scientists have raised the question as to why there is something rather than nothing (henceforth, the Question). Why-questions request a type of explanation and this is often thought to include a deductive component. With classical logic in the background only trivial answers are forthcoming. With free logics in the background, be they of the negative, positive or neutral variety, only question-begging answers are to be expected. The same conclusion is reached for the modal version of the Question, namely `Why is there something contingent rather than nothing contingent?' (except that possibility of answers with neutral free logic in the background is not explored). The categorial version of the Question, namely `Why is there something concrete rather than nothing concrete?', is also discussed. The conclusion is reached that deductive explanations are question-begging, whether one works with classical logic or positive or negative free logic. I also look skeptically at the prospects of giving causal-counterfactual or probabilistic answers to the Question, although the discussion of the options is less comprehensive and the conclusions are more tentative. The meta-question, viz. `Should we not stop asking the Question', is accordingly tentatively answered affirmatively.
ISSN: 0165-0106
Publication status: accepted
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Centre for Logic and Analytical Philosophy
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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