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How the cosmos knows itself

September 10, 2016

Amanda Gefter writes an interesting column about how we got here from there… whatever ‘there’ means.

It’s fairly lengthy but interesting if you like efforts to unite philosophy and physics. I enjoyed it, at any event.

The Bridge From Nowhere
How is it possible to get something from nothing?

“The question of being is the darkest in all philosophy.” So concluded William James in thinking about that most basic of riddles: how did something come from nothing? The question infuriates, James realized, because it demands an explanation while denying the very possibility of explanation. “From nothing to being there is no logical bridge,” he wrote.

In science, explanations are built of cause and effect. But if nothing is truly nothing, it lacks the power to cause. It’s not simply that we can’t find the right explanation—it’s that explanation itself fails in the face of nothing. […]

If you recognized the title of this post, you’ll know it reminded me of something Carl Sagan said.

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