The Problem of Existence
This book explores the question of why there is something instead of nothing. Several responses to this question are possible, but only some of them address the question seriously, respecting its emotional aspects as well as its cognitive dimension. The author carefully distinguishes those answers that are truly satisfactory, in both respects, from those that are inadequate. It can be argued that the existence of the world has no explanation at all, or that there is a necessary being whose existence is self-explanatory, or that the world exists because it has value. Each kind of response is defensible to some degree, and it is argued that where they are defensible, they have a common content. Incorporating aspects of both the 'analytical' and 'continental' traditions, this book also responds to several historical philosophers concerned with these questions, including Plato, Leibniz, Kant and Nietzsche.
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The Fundamental Question of Metaphysics
The Deflationary Response
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The Problem of Existence: Why is There Something Instead of Nothing?
Limited preview - 2002
A.J. Ayer absolute abstract objects antinomies appears appreciation argues asking axiarchism B-theory Birth of Tragedy brute fact causal claims concept consider context contingent creative deflationary response deity Dionysian Dionysus doctrine emotional empty world entails evaluative example explanatory expression fact of existence feeling felt meanings finite Form of Formhood formulated frustration fundamental question gift gift-giving given gives intelligibility global gratuitous Ibid idea immanent immanent world infinite instantiated interpretation intuition Inwagen Kant kind Leibniz Leibnizian argument limits metaphor moral mystical nature necessary existent necessary truth necessitarian answer Nietzsche Nietzsche's nonsense nothingness notion particular philosophical Plato Platonist position possible world postulate premiss principle problem proposition pure reason Quentin Smith question of existence rational explanation reality satisfactory schema seems sense significant Smith teleological theism theory theory of Forms thesis transcendent true truly ultimate value understanding Universal Instantiation universe whole Wittgenstein wonder world exists world-whole