Why is Reality as It Is?
Parfit (Derek)
Source: Hales - Metaphysics: Contemporary Readings
Paper - Abstract

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Reading Questions1

  1. Parfit starts by asking, "Why is the Universe as it is?" Is this just a version of the question "Why is there something rather than nothing?" or is Parfit asking something importantly different?
  2. Parfit claims it is puzzling that the initial conditions of the universe were precisely those that permitted life, given long odds against it. Compare Parfit's claim with the following claim. Presumably there are certain initial conditions of our lives — decisions we made when we were young — such that if we had decided slightly differently, we would never have met our current mates. Is the following question a puzzle? "Why were the decisions that I made precisely those that allowed me to meet my mate? " This seems analogous to Parfit's question about the universe.
  3. What does Parfit mean by "a plausible Selector"? Is there any possible Selector you would find to be explanatorily adequate?
  4. Parfit thinks that the global possibility that obtains may not be random, even though that Selector which is the actual Selector is random. Why doesn't Selector arbitrariness produce arbitrariness all the way down?


In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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