P: P exists

In rereading an essay I wrote several years ago for my paradoxes class, I noticed that I was marked off for assuming that the universe existed.

“A universe is a necessary being?!!”

My teacher said.

Allow me to defend my A- several years after the fact.


I do not believe that the universe is a necessary being, nor necessary in any way. However, since all of our analyses of anything (with the possible concept of abstractions and laws of logic) seem to be contained entirely within the universe, I argue that it is necessary for intelligibility to assume the Universe for the sake of argument.

To illustrate this in the least illustrative fashion ever, take the statement P:

“Statement P exists.”

It seems almost redundant that this is true, after all P only claims what is obvious by the very fact that P is able to claim it.

Take statement Q:

“Statement Q does not exist.”

This is prima facie false, although there can be some objections here as to whether abstract entities such as propositions and statements exist.  The Universe, on the other hand, is not an abstract entity.  The Universe is the concrete entity and by nature of being contained within it, it makes the universe a necessary prerequisite for asking about the universe.

Therefore, you’re justified in assuming the Universe exists.  Just like a person in a box is justified in assuming the box exists (No, you’re not getting out!).  It’s a bit like when Descartes claimed he knew he existed because he could ask the question.  I, too, can ask the question.

I understand that this gets us into set theory which gets us into self-referential paradoxes and all that hoo-ah  🙁 , but this should suffice for now. 😐

One comment

  1. I recently went over my English final and realized that my essay was marked down because I made an inference about a character’s subconscious motives. My teacher’s comment was “We don’t know what her subconscious was thinking!”

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