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The Mystery of Existence / Edition 1

The Mystery of Existence / Edition 1


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The Mystery of Existence / Edition 1

This compelling study of the origins of all that exists,including explanations of the entire material world, traces theresponses of philosophers and scientists to the most elemental andhaunting question of all: why is anything here—oranything anywhere? Why is there something rather thannothing? Why not nothing? It includes the thoughts of dozens ofluminaries from Plato and Aristotle to Aquinas and Leibniz tomodern thinkers such as physicists Stephen Hawking and StevenWeinberg, philosophers Robert Nozick and Derek Parfit, philosophersof religion Alvin Plantinga and Richard Swinburne, and the DalaiLama.

  • The first accessible volume to cover a wide range of possiblereasons for the existence of all reality, from over 50 renownedthinkers, including Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Leibniz,Hume, Bertrand Russell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Weinberg, RobertNozick, Derek Parfit, Alvin Plantinga, Richard Swinburne, JohnPolkinghorne, Paul Davies, and the Dalai Lama 
  • Features insights by scientists, philosophers, andtheologians
  • Includes informative and helpful editorial introductions toeach section
  • Provides a wealth of suggestions for further reading andresearch
  • Presents material that is both comprehensive andcomprehensible



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780470673553
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 04/29/2013
Pages: 328
Sales rank: 785,026
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

John Leslie is University Professor Emeritus ofPhilosophy at the University of Guelph, Canada, and Fellow of theRoyal Society of Canada. Well-known in the philosophy of cosmologyand religion, he has held visiting professorships at institutionsincluding the Australian National University (Research Departmentof Philosophy) and the University of Liège (Institute ofAstrophysics). He is the author of numerous publications includingValue and Existence (Blackwell, 1979), Universes(Routledge, 1989), The End of the World: the Science and Ethicsof Human Extinction (Routledge, 1996), Infinite Minds(Oxford University Press, 2001), and Immortality Defended(Blackwell, 2007).

Robert Lawrence Kuhn is a public intellectual and thecreator and host of Closer To Truth, the long-running PBS /public television series on science and philosophy. With adoctorate in brain research (UCLA), he is the author or editor ofmore than 30 books, including Closer To Truth: ChallengingCurrent Belief and Closer To Truth: Science, Meaning and theFuture. A recognized expert on Chinese politics and economics,he is the author of The Man Who Changed China: The Life andLegacy of Jiang Zemin (Crown, 2005), China’s best-sellingbook of 2005, and How China’s Leaders Think (Wiley,2011). He is a frequent commentator on the BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC,China Central Television (CCTV), and Euronews.

Table of Contents

About the Editors vi

Acknowledgments vii

1 General Introduction (pages 1-12)

2 Some Quotations

Leibniz, Kant (page 13)

Schopenhauer, William James, George Santayana, Ludwig Wittgenstein,Bertrand Russell, J.J.C.Smart (14)

John A. Wheeler, Stephen Hawking, Steven Weinberg (15)

3 Possible Responses to "Why Anything?"

Nicholas Rescher (pages 16-17)

4 First Solution: A Blank is Absurd

Editorial Introduction (pages 18-24)

F.H. Bradley, Henri Bergson (24)

Bede Rundle (25-26)

David Lewis (26-30)

Peter Unger (30-38)

Steven Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow (39-40)

5 Second Solution: No Explanation Needed

Editorial Introduction (pages 41-46)

Epicurus (46-47)

Hume (47-49)

Fred Hoyle (49-50)

W.B.Bonnor (51-52)

Bertrand Russell and F.C.Copleston (53-56)

Adolf Grünbaum (56-70)

6 Third Solution: Chance

Editorial Introduction (pages 71-77)

Alan Guth (77-82)

Stephen Hawking (82-90)

Alex Vilenkin (90-98)

Martin Rees (98)

Peter van Inwagen (98-100)

7 Fourth Solution: Value/ Perfection as Ultimate

Editorial Introduction (pages 101-109)

Plato (109-110)

Aristotle (110-111)

Plotinus (111-112)

Aquinas (112-113)

Anselm (113-114)

Descartes (114-115)

Alvin Plantinga (115-118)

Spinoza (118-119)

Leibniz (119-122)

Hegel (122-123)

A.C.Ewing (123-124)

Keith Ward (125)

John Polkinghorne (125-126)

John Leslie (126-141)

8 Fifth Solution: Mind/ Consciousness as Ultimate

Editorial Introduction (pages 142-147)

Richard Swinburne (147-153)

Timothy O'Connor (153-155)

William Lane Craig (155-159)

Sayyed Hossein Nasr (159-160)

Tenzin Gyatso, Dalai Lama XIV (160-161)

Andrei Linde (161-163)

Paul Davies (163-170)

9 Fine-Tuning and Multiple Universes

Editorial Introduction (pages 171-178)

John Polkinghorne (178-189)

Leonard Susskind (189-192)

Steven Weinberg (192-194)

Max Tegmark (194-206)

Robin Collins (207-210)

10 The Problem Seems Genuine

Editorial Introduction (pages 211-219)

Derek Parfit (220-237)

Robert Nozick (238-246)

Robert Lawrence Kuhn (246-278)

Michael Heller (278-284)

Nicholas Rescher (284-288)

Bibliography and Further Reading 289

Index of Names 310

Index of Concepts 313

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Recent discoveries in cosmology have led to a renewedsurge of interest in ultimate questions of existence. What, ifanything, came before the big bang? If the universe appeared fromnothing in a law-like manner, then where did the laws come from,and why do they have the form that they do? Or is our universe butan infinitesimal fragment of an eternal, infinite sea of diverselaws and universes? This book provides a comprehensive review ofattempts to grapple with such foundational questions, andskillfully charts the intersection of science, philosophy andtheology. The authors have assembled an intellectual feast for allthose who care about physical existence, the universe and our placewithin it.”

—Paul Davies, Director, BEYOND Center for FundamentalConcepts in Science, Arizona State University
Author of The Goldilocks Enigma: Why the Universe is Just Rightfor Life

“This book gathers together some of the best that has beenthought and written on what may be the most fundamental question ofall: Why does anything exist? Readers won’t find a definiteanswer – perhaps there isn’t one that we’recapable of understanding – but they will at least get a feelfor the nature of the question. And in philosophy, understandingthe question is in itself an important step

—Martin J. Rees, Astronomer Royal (UK)
Author of Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape theUniverse

“A very useful collection containing many of the mostprominent responses to the question why there is something ratherthan nothing, with helpful introductions by theeditors.”

—Richard Swinburne, University of Oxford
Author of The Existence of God

“This book will be an indispensable resource for anyone whowants to think seriously about the questions, ‘Why is theresomething – and not rather nothing?’ and ‘Why isthere this something – and not rather some entirelydifferent “something”?’”

—Peter van Inwagen, the University of Notre Dame
Author of Existence: Essays in Ontology

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