The Mystery of Existence: Why Is There Anything At All 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0470673553
ISBN-10: 0470673559
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“In this deep and thoughtful book, philosopher John Leslie and public sage Robert Lawrence Kuhnorganize, integrate, and reassess past and current ideas about this most compelling of metaphysical questions.”  (Metapsychology, 13 August 2013)

“And now John Leslie and Robert Lawrence Kuhn have published The Mystery of Existence: Why Is There Anything At All?, a very useful anthology of classic and contemporary readings.”  (First Things, 24 July 2013)

“Read the book by all means.  It's well written.  Inevitably.  After all its contributors number the greatest brains known to man.  But I think it has been misnamed.  The Mystery of Existence(There really isn't anything to concern us.).”  (New Nurturing Potential, 1 July 2013)

“I certainly recommend it, but it is not the sort of book you would buy to read in the train.”  (Magonia Blog, 6 June 2013)

"Their book, which I would recommend highly to students, researchers or indeed anyone with a curiosity about or stimulated by these deepest of questions, offers an abundance of suggestions for further reading and research on this inexhaustible topic."  (Mysterious Planet, 1 June 2013)  

Review

“Recent discoveries in cosmology have led to a renewed surge of interest in ultimate questions of existence. What, if anything, came before the big bang? If the universe appeared from nothing 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 but an infinitesimal fragment of an eternal, infinite sea of diverse laws and universes? This book provides a comprehensive review of attempts to grapple with such foundational questions, and skillfully charts the intersection of science, philosophy and theology. The authors have assembled an intellectual feast for all those who care about physical existence, the universe and our place within it.”

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


“This book gathers together some of the best that has been thought and written on what may be the most fundamental question of all: Why does anything exist? Readers won’t find a definite answer – perhaps there isn’t one that we’re capable of understanding – but they will at least get a feel for the nature of the question. And in philosophy, understanding the question is in itself an important step
forward.”

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


“A very useful collection containing many of the most prominent responses to the question why there is something rather than nothing, with helpful introductions by the editors.”

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


“This book will be an indispensable resource for anyone who wants to think seriously about the questions, ‘Why is there something – and not rather nothing?’ and ‘Why is there this something – and not rather some entirely different “something”?’”

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

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (April 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470673559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470673553
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.6 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Arthur Witherall on October 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For almost a hundred years, the questions of metaphysics have been left bleeding and whimpering, dying at the bottom of the academic ditch into which they were hastily discarded by logical positivism. Now it seems that rumours of their actual death were greatly exaggerated.
The fundamental question of metaphysics “Why is there something instead of nothing?” has recently been resurrected and re-vitalized for twenty-first century philosophy. This is partly due to the fact that both of its majority traditions, the Analytic and the Continental, have withered away and are struggling to maintain their original sense of purpose. It is also due to the fact that this one daring question has a commanding position in the economy of meaningful inquiry, whether it is suppressed or not.
It is now time to ask the question properly, to discover its hidden dimensions, and to feel the world-shattering shock of its impact. For this reason “The Mystery of Existence” is both timely and apposite. It is basically an anthology, interspersed with commentaries and summaries by John Leslie, of representative articles that approach the fundamental question in one way or another. Systematic, well executed and penetrating, it serves as an eye-opening introduction to its topic, and a good standard resource for research.
There are holes, however, and reasons for mild dissatisfaction. If the aim of the book was to provide central examples of the most significant ways to address the question, it is basically successful. On the other hand, as with many anthologies, the selection of articles reflects a certain bias. In this case, papers by physicists, often dealing with multiverse theories, are given a great deal of space.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By roadman on June 8, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I received the book earlier than expected and new like what was advertised. Good customer service, thank you.
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3 of 20 people found the following review helpful By spudboy100 on November 29, 2013
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Be advised, John Leslie is my fav philosopher, if one is to have a favorite philosopher at all, as opposed to a favorite football team. What I would have like to see is a continued word or three, concerning Leslie's works from Immortality Defended, and Infinite Minds, which are Leslie's books I already have. However, it would have made Mystery of Existence more informed. I also guess that it would've sold/sell more copies. People like existentialist answers and so do I.
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