With a lot of attention these days (see here for instance) going to an argument between philosophers and physicists about the “Why is there Something rather than Nothing?” question, this is the perfect time for Jim Holt’s new book Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story. While the argument between Krauss, Albert and their fellow combatants was mind-numbingly dumb, boring, narrow, petty and ill-mannered, Holt’s discussion of the topic is brilliant, entertaining, and wide-ranging as well as generous in spirit to all points of view. The only unfortunate thing here is that the book won’t be out until July. I’ve checked with him though, and he doesn’t mind if I write about it now, since I just read an advance copy. In July I’ll try to remember to repost this.
Holt first sets the stage by explaining some of the history of the question “Why is there Something rather than Nothing?” and why it’s one he finds compelling (as well as explaining why one might reasonably think otherwise…).