Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Why is there something rather than nothing at all?

Time for a bit of philosophy.

This lecture touches on the distinction between prescriptive laws (like the law of the land) and descriptive laws (like the laws of physics) that was the subject of my first Philosophy lecture at York 40 years ago.

Its subject reminds me of Prendergast in Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall. He had no trouble believing the whole of Christian doctrine, but had to give up being a clergyman because he could not see why God had created the universe in the first place.

1 comment:

Roger said...

My comments on Holt's talk are:

1. It seems that possibilities, and possible worlds, exist in the mind. Where else would they exist? In a Platonic realm? Where is that realm and why does it exist? To me, the possibilities idea as a possible solution to the title question is incorrect because it doesn't say why the possibilities are there.

2. This leads to the second point that it's real important to distinguish between the mind's conception of "nothing" and "nothing" itself, in which no minds are present. These are different things. Building on this, because we exist, we must define "nothing" as the lack of "something", but "nothing" itself doesn't have this restriction. Whether or not it exists is independent of "something".

3. The blank = something idea was laughed about, but it's a serious point. If we want an answer to the question "Why is there something rather than nothing?" that's not just it's a brute fact or something similar, we have to somehow explain how there could have been nothing ("blank") and now there's "something". This is like saying that you start with 0 and end up with 1. You can't do this unless somehow the 0 isn't really 0 but is actually a disguised 1, even though it looks like 0 on the surface. That is, somehow "nothing" must be a "something". Said another way, "something" doesn't come out of "nothing". It is "nothing".

My proposed solution to the question "Why is there something rather than nothing?" has some similarities to the last point but provides a mechanism. Blogger doesn't allow for longer comments, but if anyone's interested, there's more at my website at:
(click on first link down)

Thanks for listening.