The Logic of Existence
Contra Physics

My contention is that logic is a necessary component or arbiter of existence.  Let us examine this premise and its consequences.

A starting point for this inquiry is the not so innocent question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?”  Generally physicists try to avoid this question, but the expanding scope of cosmology renders this avoidance ever more difficult.

Physicists tend to be hardheaded about philosophical issues, and so take existence for granted.  On the other hand philosophers have shied away from cosmological questions lest they step on the toes of the physicists.  The logic of existence falls right into this chasm of neglect.

Physicists are increasingly confronting the question of possible worlds.  In the days of Newton, when physics was simple, it was difficult to imagine any other reality, but as physics and cosmology become more complex this is no longer the case.

The gradual rise of the Anthropic Cosmological Principle to prominence within physics and philosophy is symptom of this trend.  The basic issue is whether the existence of an unobservable world is possible.  The naïve answer is ‘yes,’ but we are being forced to become less naïve.

Might there have been nothing?  With ‘inflationary’ cosmology the trend is to posit an infinity of self-contained universes, but who is to say that inflation is necessary?  We can turn the first question around by asking if anything exists necessarily.  The logical answer is ‘yes.’  Since we know that something happens to exist, it is true that the possibility of existence is necessary.  There is also the possibility that nothing exists, but that does not rule out the possibility of something.  In other words, the impossibility of existence is not possible.

So what?  Where does this word game get us?  We now know that the least possible existence is the possibility of existence.  This is the minimal reality.  But can we up the ante, logically?

What is the nature of the minimal possible reality?  Can we not say that since Bill Clinton exists that his possible existence is necessary and so our minimal possible world necessarily contains the possibility of Bill Clinton, however dismal some might find this thought?  Maybe!

It is important to notice something about the necessity of possibility.  Possibility is a concept; it is not a thing.  Concepts exist logically prior to anything else.  Now you see the logical trap that I have set for the physicists.  Can they not walk out of it?

In the greater scheme of things, which has priority: logic or physics?  This comes down to the issue between Bohr and Einstein.  It is not so much the question ‘Does God play dice?’, but rather ‘Could God play dice?’

The surprising answer, even to me, is ‘No.’ Does this mean that Bohm is right?  Yes and no.

The only way to rule out possibility is to posit an omniscient, omnipotent God.  But the necessity of the concept of possibility implies the necessity of a primordial conceptualizer, which leads back to the previous concept of God.  Possibility necessarily raises its ugly head, only to be overtaken by a larger necessity.  So here we are back in Leibniz minimal/maximal, best/worst of all possible worlds, making a long story short.

Yes, this is a word game, but it is finally the only game in town. It has logical and conceptual precedence over any game that physicists will ever play, unless they choose to become Bohmian/Leibnizians, which they will choose to become out of necessity.


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rev. 1/24/00