Por que existe algo em vez de nada? Uma investigação lógica

quarta-feira, maio 24, 2017


June 2017, Volume 82, Issue 3, pp 531–559

Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing? A Logical Investigation


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Jan Heylen 1

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1.Centre for Logic and Analytic Philosophy, Institute of PhilosophyKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

Original Research

First Online: 20 July 2016

Cite this article as:

Heylen, J. Erkenn (2017) 82: 531. doi: 10.1007/s10670-016-9831-9



From Leibniz to Krauss philosophers and scientists have raised the question as to why there is something rather than nothing (henceforth, the Question). Why-questions request a type of explanation and this is often thought to include a deductive component. With classical logic in the background only trivial answers are forthcoming. With free logics in the background, be they of the negative, positive or neutral variety, only question-begging answers are to be expected. The same conclusion is reached for the modal version of the Question, namely ‘Why is there something contingent rather than nothing contingent?’ (except that possibility of answers with neutral free logic in the background is not explored). The categorial version of the Question, namely ‘Why is there something concrete rather than nothing concrete?’, is also discussed. The conclusion is reached that deductive explanations are question-begging, whether one works with classical logic or positive or negative free logic. I also look skeptically at the prospects of giving causal-counterfactual or probabilistic answers to the Question, although the discussion of the options is less comprehensive and the conclusions are more tentative. The meta-question, viz. ‘Should we not stop asking the Question’, is accordingly tentatively answered affirmatively.


Previous versions of this paper have been presented at the Fifth Graduate Student Conference (27 March 2015, Leuven), the SePPhia Seminar (1 April, 2015), the Congress for Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science (7 August 2015, Helsinki), and the CEFISES Seminar in Louvain-la-Neuve (13 January 2016). I would like to thank the audiences for their comments and questions. Furthermore, I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their useful reports.


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