By Geraldine Coggins
May well there were not anything? is the 1st book-length learn of metaphysical nihilism – the declare that there might have been no concrete items. It significantly analyses the controversy round nihilism and similar questions about the metaphysics of attainable worlds, concrete items and ontological dependence.
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Extra info for Could there have been Nothing?: Against Metaphysical Nihilism
Surely there could have been objects other than those that actually exist. Rejecting the idea that worlds are sets would surely be preferable to this. As for (b), it seems convincing to say that a set could not exist without its members. The identity of a set is determined by its members, so it is hard to see how it could exist without those members existing. You could say that there is a set containing a unicorn or Sherlock Holmes and so sets can exist in worlds where their members do not exist.
This could be said to beg the question against the ontological argument. In order to avoid this charge Baldwin puts forward an argument in support of (A2). He suggests a second triad of premises. Here they are with both Rodriguez-Pereyra’s improved (B1∗ ) and Baldwin’s (B1). (B1∗ ) It is a necessary condition of concrete objects, and therefore of concrete∗ ones, that they non-vacuously fail to satisfy the identity of indiscernibles. 30 (B1) It is a mark of concrete objects that they do not satisfy the Identity of Indiscernibles.
This would be an ersatz world because the propositions would be the things according to which something is the case. I am happy to admit that these sorts of worlds are plausible and compatible with metaphysical nihilism. They are within the range of ersatz views I have discussed before. However, those philosophers who object to my arguments tend to think that worlds are not sets of propositions, or ersatz entities in this sense. Rather they are sets of concrete (and maybe also abstract) objects.
Could there have been Nothing?: Against Metaphysical Nihilism by Geraldine Coggins