Why is There Something Rather than Nothing? The Substantivity of the Question for Quantifier Pluralists

Erkenntnis:1-16 (forthcoming)
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Many have argued that the question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” is defective in some way. While much of the literature on the Question rightly attends to questions about the nature and limits of explanation, little attention has been paid to how new work in metaontology might shed light on the matter. In this paper I discuss how best to understand the Question in light of the now common metaontological commitment to quantifiers that vary in metaphysical naturalness. I show that proponents of this view have arguments at their disposal that appear to challenge the metaphysical substantivity of the Question. Then I argue that, not only are there ways to resist these arguments, the arguments do not pose a challenge to the Question if it is construed in a way that makes reference to many quantifiers. Rendering the Question with multiple quantifiers not only allows one to grant the prima facie substantivity of the Question, but allows us to express it in a way that is mode-of-being-neutral and ontology-neutral—an independently desirable aim.
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Archival date: 2021-04-18
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