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Sean Carroll

Why Is There Something, Rather Than Nothing?

8 Feb 2018, 17:19 UTC
Why Is There Something, Rather Than Nothing?
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

A good question!
Or is it?
I’ve talked before about the issue of why the universe exists at all (1, 2), but now I’ve had the opportunity to do a relatively careful job with it, courtesy of Eleanor Knox and Alastair Wilson. They are editing an upcoming volume, the Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Physics, and asked me to contribute a chapter on this topic. Final edits aren’t done yet, but I’ve decided to put the draft on the arxiv:
Why Is There Something, Rather Than Nothing?
Sean M. Carroll
It seems natural to ask why the universe exists at all. Modern physics suggests that the universe can exist all by itself as a self-contained system, without anything external to create or sustain it. But there might not be an absolute answer to why it exists. I argue that any attempt to account for the existence of something rather than nothing must ultimately bottom out in a set of brute facts; the universe simply is, without ultimate cause or explanation.
As you can see, my basic tack hasn’t changed: this kind of question might be the kind of thing that doesn’t have a sensible answer. In our everyday lives, ...

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