Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing?

The Peripatetic Blog

There was a famous debate in 1948 between Jesuit priest Frederick Copleston and atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell regarding a contention (stemming from David Hume) that an infinitely old universe would alleviate the question of whether or not the universe has an explanation of its existence. Copleston was rather frustrated* with Russell to not see the legitimacy of asking the question, “Why does something exist rather than nothing?”

According to Russell, “I see no reason to think there is any [cause of the existence of all particular objects]. The whole concept of cause is one we derive from our observation of particular things. I see no reason to suppose that the total has any cause whatsoever” (Leslie and Kuhn 2013, 54). The debate (crudely summarized) ran something like this:

Copleston argues in the affirmative regarding the existence of God. His argument is a variation of the cosmological argument, which first says that…

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