The Zero Ontology - David Pearce on Why Anything Exists

David Pearce has described a proposal which outlines an explanation space within which the question "Why is there something instead of nothing? " can be given a legitimate answer. This is how he describes his endeavour, and he makes it clear that his ideas are purely speculative. He does not have a straightforward answer to the question, nor even a theory. All that he has is a sketch of what a theory which "explains existence" might be like, and how it might arrive at its conclusions. While I must admit that I find his sketch compelling in many ways, there are problems and paradoxes lurking in the very idea that one could explain why the world exists. In the case of Pearce's proposal, the explanation takes the form of showing that there is (in a sense) nothing to explain. As such, it is similar to necessitarian responses to the problem, which claim that there is no alternative to the existence of the world since something - God, for example - exists as a matter of logical necessity. Pearce does not exactly endorse a traditional necessitarian theory, but he comes awfully close. In my opinion, there is a recognition of balance and proportion in his thesis which makes his thesis more appealing than any reliance upon a deus-ex-machina.
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