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Our presence in the universe is something too bizarre for words. The mundaneness of our daily lives cause us take our existence for granted — but every once in awhile we're cajoled out of that complacency and enter into a profound state of existential awareness, and we ask: Why is there all this stuff in the universe, and why is it governed by such exquisitely precise laws? And why should anything exist at all? 

marked as duplicate by iphigenie, virmaior, Dave, Einer, stoicfury Sep 10 '14 at 19:58

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    Are you sure you didn't just copy-paste the (verbatim) question? Many of the sites that list the word-by-word-same question (just Google for "The mundaneness of our daily lives cause us ...") provide some answers too ... – Drux Sep 9 '14 at 9:56
  • "Why is there something rather than nothing?" --- we simply have no answer. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Sep 9 '14 at 9:56
  • Maybe this helps: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Einer Sep 9 '14 at 10:12
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    Or to reword your question into the vocabulary of physics -- what you've asked is a combination of the following: please tell me what rest mass is, explain the motion patterns of sand using a differential equation, and show me how to derive the age of the universe from the red shift. All in one question. You're asking too much here. – virmaior Sep 9 '14 at 11:55
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    If there was 'nothing' could there then somehow 'develop' something ,then more 'somethings' then beings like us 'people' some of whom dramatically shout 'Why is there something instead of nothing!' But maybe there is nothing; maybe all the observed order including the 'thought organizations in our 'brain' are just 'mindless' patterns like in a mechanism; a 'temporary bit of what looks like 'self-propelled' ordering that is really nothing. I know this sounds DEPRESSING. – user128932 Sep 10 '14 at 6:55
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"why should anything exist at all?" - Why do people find existence more mysterious or "unexpected" than non existence? in particular since we have evidence of the former and no evidence of the later.

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    This question happens to be about the reason for the existence of "something". Weather or not a mysterious question is solved when we know the answer... who knows. But if the question was "Why do tables exist and not not?", the answer is not "It's not that astonishing, and we do have plenty evidence they exist!" – Einer Sep 9 '14 at 11:40
  • @Einer, I could see the point of your comment if the the part of the question I responded to concerned why something exist in one form rather than another, but that doesn't seem to be the question. – nir Sep 9 '14 at 12:24
  • "Why ...?" asks for a reason. Depending on the question answers maybe "Because ...", "Impossible to know", "What you are asking for is not the case", "It is without a reason". Somehow the reason needs to be addressed or it must be shown why one cant give a reason. So why does something exist? Or: Why is it impossible to tell why? – Einer Sep 9 '14 at 14:44
  • @Einer, incidentally, the Buddha, an expert on the question of existence said in sutta pitaka "There are questions that should be answered with a counter-question" so there you go, another legitimate form for an answer – nir Sep 9 '14 at 15:14
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    @nir While a question is a legitimate form for an answer, I don't think you've answered the question with your question. – Brilliand Sep 9 '14 at 16:57
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The last question is metaphysically quite interesting. If you're a Lewisian modal realist there is a quick answer: There is something rather than nothing, because it's impossible that there is nothing. According to Lewis it's possible that there is nothing iff there is some possible world where nothing exists. Lewis analyses worlds in such a way that this is the case only if there is some (non-empty) mereological sum u of individuals having no parts. But u has at least one part. Contradiction. See David K. Lewis : On the Plurality of Worlds.

You get the same result, if you accept the biconditional and if you assume that worlds are (represented by) classical first-order models, which by definition have non-empty domains.

  • Lewis's rule could just as easily be described as "filter out the worlds in which nothing exists, because they aren't interesting". Treating that filter as a statement about reality seems wrong to me. – Brilliand Sep 9 '14 at 16:52
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My answer to the question "Why is there something rather than nothing?", 

which is roughly the same question as "Why should anything exist at all?" is as follows:

I propose that "something" and "nothing" are just two different words, derived from two different ways of thinking, for describing the same underlying thing: what we've traditionally, and, as I'll try to show, incorrectly, thought of as the "absolute lack-of-all" or "non-existence". I put these phrases in quotes because I try to show by my argument that when we've gotten rid of everything that is traditionally thought to exist, the supposed "absolute lack-of-all" or "non-existence" that's left actually meets a definition of what it means to exist.

A. To start, I think the reason that something exists is that it's a grouping defining what is contained within. The surface of a book, the outlines of a cloud, and the curly braces around a set all define what is contained within and give existence to the thing. Without a grouping defining what is contained within, a thing doesn't exist. Imagine an object that has no surface, for instance. Any thing, A, that exists needs a grouping that ties together whatever is inside into a new existent entity called A.

B. Now, getting back to "nothing", we've always thought that when you get rid of all matter, energy, space/volume, time, abstract concepts as well as all minds to consider this, then what's left is the complete lack-of-all or "nothing". But, I think once we've gotten rid of all that stuff, there's one existent thing we can't get rid of, which is the existent entity that is the supposed "absolute lack-of-all" itself. How can this be? Consider the supposed "absolute lack-of-all". That lack of volume, matter, energy, concepts, minds, time, etc. would be the entirety of all that is present. It would be the all. Entirety and all are groupings defining what is present and contained within. Therefore, what we've previously thought of as the "absolute lack-of-all" is, when thought of a little differently, not really the lack of all existent entities; it is itself an existent entity.

If you're interested, there's a better explanation at my website at:

sites.google.com/site/whydoesanythingexist

Thanks.

  • IMHO too many etc.s, quotation marks, imprecise terminology (e.g. thing vs. entity) to be useful; and how do you square "no(-)thing" with "an-existent-entity"? – Drux Sep 10 '14 at 7:28
  • Drux: As I explained, I think it's incorrect to consider the lack of all space/volume, matter, energy, time, concepts and minds as the lack of all existent things, no-thing, or nothing, which is what we've traditionally done. The argument I'm making is that this situation fits the definition I gave of an existent entity. Also, as I explained, I used quotes to try and highlight that our traditional meanings for the words something and nothing as opposites are, I argue, incorrect. – Roger846 Sep 11 '14 at 3:12
  • I appreciate that you put some effort into coming up with an original answer, but also think you may be mistaking the existence of a word for nothing with the existence of nothing. – Drux Sep 11 '14 at 8:36
  • Drux: I understand why you say that and would agree if not for one thing. I think it's real important to distinguish the mind's conception of the supposed "lack-of-all" with the "lack-of-all" itself. Our mind's conception of it uses the word "nothing", but the "lack-of-all" itself is independent of our mind. It's hard to picture anything without our mind being there, but it seems that when all is gone, including our minds, then that "lack-of-all" that's left is the entirety of all that is present, and entirety and all are groupings defining what is present and therefore an existent entity. – Roger846 Sep 12 '14 at 5:21
  • Why shouldn't something exist at all? – user128932 Sep 14 '14 at 3:36

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