Note: The following article is cross-posted over at First Things.
Nothing is all the rage of late. Physicists Stephen Hawking and Lawrence Krauss have devoted pop science bestsellers to trying to show how quantum mechanics explains how the universe could arise from nothing. Their treatments were preceded by that of another physicist, Frank Close (whose book Nothing: A Very Short Introduction, should win a prize for Best Book Title). New Scientist magazine devoted a cover story to the subject not too long ago, and New Yorker contributor Jim Holt a further book. At the more academic end of the discussion, the medieval philosophy scholar John F. Wippel has edited a fine collection of new essays on the theme of why anything, rather than nothing, exists at all. 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.