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Nothing

Thompson, Naomi (2010)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

In this dissertation I suggest an answer to the famous question ‘why is there something rather than nothing?’ I argue that there is something because there could not have been nothing. The focus of my discussion is the empty possible world of metaphysical nihilism, and the first chapter is a rejection of the only prominent argument for that position; the subtraction argument. In the second part of my discussion I construct a positive argument against metaphysical nihilism, I assume, as is common in the literature, that inconceivability provides evidence of impossibility. I establish the inconceivability of nothingness taking propositional imagining to be the core of conceivability, claiming that we have no experience of nothingness in the relevant sense and are unable to imagine it. Finally, I suggest that a distinction should be made between everyday use of the term ‘nothing’, and the sense under discussion here. The inconceivability of nothingness applies only in the latter case. Given that nothingness is inconceivable, we have prima facie reason to suppose that the empty world is impossible. I conclude that given the failure of the subtraction argument and in light of my argument against metaphysical nihilism, that position should be rejected.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of Philosophy
Subjects:BD Speculative Philosophy
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1160
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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