quote: The question is clear. You say that you disagree, then make a statement that doesn't contradict mine.
Since I gave a perfectly valid answer to the question as written, and since you reject it as not making sense then either you don't understand the answer or your question was ambiguous and the answer does not fit the meaning you intended. It has to be one or the other.
So tell me precisely what sense of "possible" is intended in your question.
"Why is there something rather than nothing? Some initial thoughts:
* God would not constitute an explanation, since God counts as something.
* Indeed, if anything constituted an explanation then the existence of everything was contingent on that thing, then that thing would stand in need of an explanation, and so wouldn't be the answer we were looking for.
* This last consideration makes the question look unanswerable. To explain my thinking, consider that a question beginning "Why ..." invites an answer describing some thing which is an antecedent cause, or at least something with a sort of family resemblance to an antecedent cause.
* Any attempt to prove a priori that there should be something rather than nothing would necessarily involve proving that a state of affairs in which nothing existed would be self-inconsistent. Which it isn't.
My own opinion is that the question is unanswerable, and indeed can only be asked because the English language allows us to talk nonsense. This view does not satisfy me in the slightest, but as I am in the habit of saying, being hungry does not prove that we have bread."
Yes, a language does allow us to formulate nonsensical questions. What you are probably asking is "does God exist or not." This question is not nonsensical, provided the word "exist" is clearly defined. God does not exist as a material entity. But God does exist as a spiritual entity.
Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia) .
Ludwik Kowalski, a retired nuclear scientist and the author of a free ON-LINE book entitled “Diary of a Former Communist: Thoughts, Feelings, Reality.”
It is an autobiography illustrating my evolution from one extreme to another--from a devoted Stalinist to an active anti-communist. This testimony is based on a diary I kept between 1946 and 2004 (in the USSR, Poland, France and the USA).
Why am I distributing these books on-line, instead of selling them for profit? Because I want to share what I know and think about communism. The more people know about proletarian dictatorship less likely will they experience is. Please share the above link with those who might be interested, especially with young people, and with potential reviewers. Thank you in advance.
Not sure what two statements you're referring to so I'll pass on that bit until you explain.
What I was thinking was that, as the questioner doesn't know the answer to his question, then both "the possibility of nothingness" and "the necessity of something" could be answers from his point of view.
But the question itself may not be answerable by "necessity", although it would be nice to be able to do so. Even if we appeared to have a good case for necessity on one level (from future physics, perhaps), the questioner can always say "But why are we in a reality in which something is necessary?"
Read that way, the question seems as though it's always unanswerable in any conclusive way.
In this abstract, the author calls the Leibniz version of the question the "Primordial Existential Question" (PEQ). Do you think that he's reading the question in the wrong way?
quote: What I was thinking was that, as the questioner doesn't know the answer to his question, then both "the possibility of nothingness" and "the necessity of something" could be answers from his point of view.
That doesn't make a lot of sense. If you had been suggesting something as trivial as "the questioner doesn't know that it is necessary that something exist" then what's the point ? Any non-rhetorical question implies (not assumes !) that the questioner doesn't know the answer.
quote: But the question itself may not be answerable by "necessity", although it would be nice to be able to do so. Even if we appeared to have a good case for necessity on one level (from future physics, perhaps), the questioner can always say "But why are we in a reality in which something is necessary?"
You know, I already dealt with this way back at the start of the thread...
quote: In this abstract, the author calls the Leibniz version of the question the "Primordial Existential Question" (PEQ). Do you think that he's reading the question in the wrong way?
Re: Creating absolute nothingness/interesting angle on the O.P. question.
That's a DIFFERENT question.
Yes. But Leibniz also asked: "Why is there something rather than nothing", and asked for "a full reason why there should be any world rather than none".
Grünbaum approaches all three questions in a similar way. These questions are not your preferred "Why are things the way they are?" The clause "rather than nothing" is central to the O.P. question. A specific alternative to the current reality, "nothingness", is suggested.
Grünbaum attacks the "nothing" alternative. Some of the things he says are similar to some things I've been saying. He sees "nothingness" as being largely a religious invention, and claims that people have it the wrong way round. The Christian philosophers who ask the question tend to express amazement that there's something, and to regard "nothing" as simpler and more natural. He argues the case that there's no logical reason or empirical reason to perceive nothing as "natural".
As I pointed out further up the thread, it's far more reasonable to regard "nothing world" as requiring a creator god then "something world". We have no empirical evidence that it ever could have existed, and it's faulty logic to perceive "nothing" as "easier" than something, as I tried to explain with my forest/not forest analogy.
But here's Grünbaum in a brief article making his case.