On Explaining Existence: Subsumption, Privilege, and Reality
The fundamental foundations of philosophy overtly derive themselves from its asking. Why is there something rather than nothing? Curiously enough, the logical mystery sparked by Leibniz's question, in and of itself begs for an explanation. Many philosophers prefer ponderance of these issues rather than direct confrontation of the central ontological matter: Robert Nozick is such a person. On the question posed above, Nozick speculates as to its ultimate significance in his aptly and equally titled essay Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? "It is late enough in the questions history to stop merely asking it insistently, and to begin proposing possible answers (Nozick 33)." Nozick, however, is far from promoting an answer to such a question, instead, posing as suggested above, significant logical observations about the possible answers popular amongst numerous philosophers. In critique of this essay, I will examine the realm of directives that Nozick analyzes in his attempt to segregate and quantify the issue of existence.
Specifically, attention must be paid to the two overriding philosophic interpretations in answering this question: the egalitarian and inegalitarian possibilities, and their associated refinements and sub-parts.
Prior to the critical analysis of alternative possibilities presented by Nozick, some understanding of the problem and its intricacies must be achieved. What are the limits of human understanding? Although seemingly transitive, the simple fact that such an idea may be proposed attracts scrutiny. Are certain truths unattainable due to human sensory and deductive capacities? Derivable laws and principles provide an ordered platform for explaining particular things, but what of the most general theories we draw relationships from?
It appears that the basis of understanding lies in the ability to draw or infer the existence of something based on the inference of another thing.