The Cosmic Void

In Sara Bernstein & Tyron Goldschmidt (eds.), Non-Being: New Essays on the Metaphysics of Nonexistence. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
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Abstract
What exists at the fundamental level of reality? On the standard picture, the fundamental reality contains (among other things) fundamental matter, such as particles, fields, or even the quantum state. Non-fundamental facts are explained by facts about fundamental matter, at least in part. In this paper, I introduce a non-standard picture called the "cosmic void” in which the universe is devoid of any fundamental material ontology. Facts about tables and chairs are recovered from a special kind of laws that satisfy strong determinism. All non-fundamental facts are completely explained by nomic facts. I discuss a concrete example of this picture in a strongly deterministic version of the many-worlds theory of quantum mechanics. I discuss some philosophical and scientific challenges to this view, as well as some connections to ontological nihilism.
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First archival date: 2020-07-08
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