2023-04Thematic Section
Nothingness at the Intersection of Science, Philosophy, and Religion


This contribution examines the effects that a philosophical consideration of nothing has on the debate between theism and atheism. In particular, it argues that surprising conclusions that arise from a close analysis of the concept of nothing result in three claims that have relevance for that debate. Firstly, that on the most plausible demarcation criterion for science, science is constitutionally unable to show theism to be a redundant hypothesis; the debate must take place at the level of metaphysics. Secondly, that on that level, an increasingly popular atheistic response to the question “Why is there something rather than nothing” commits one to rejection of the presumption of atheism. Thirdly, the presumption of atheism is in any case unsupported. The arguments for these claims are only sketches, with the hope for further development in future.


science, philosophy, religion, nothingness, God, atheism

How to cite:

Waghorn, Nicholas. “Nothingness at the Intersection of Science, Philosophy, and Religion.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 7, no. 4 (2023):  26-39. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2023.0031.


Nicholas Waghorn
Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford
St Giles, Oxford OX1 3LY, United Kingdom


Achinstein, Peter. “Demarcation Problem.” Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy 1998. Accessed November 15, 2015. https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/demarcation-problem/v-1.

Albert, David. “On the Origin of Everything.” The New York Times, March 25, 2012.

Augustine. The Teacher; The Free Choice of the Will; Grace and Free Will. Translated by Robert P. Russell. Catholic University of America Press, 1968.

Carlson, Erik, and Erik J. Olsson. “The Presumption of Nothingness.” Ratio 14, no. 3 (September 2001): 203-21. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9329.00158.

Copan, Paul, and William Lane Craig. Creation out of Nothing: A Biblical, Philosophical, and Scientific Exploration. IVP, 2004.

Dawkins, Richard. “Afterword.” In Krauss, Lawrence. A Universe from Nothing: Why there is Something rather than Nothing, 187-192. New York: Free Press, 2012.

Hawking, Stephen. A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes. Bantam Books, 1995.

Krauss, Lawrence M. A Universe from Nothing: Why there is Something rather than Nothing. New York: Free Press, 2012.

Krauss, Lawrence. “Lawrence Krauss vs. William Lane Craig.” Accessed July 28, 2023. https://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/04/05/lawrence-krauss-vs-william-lan.

Lycan, William G. “The Metaphysics of Possibilia.” In The Blackwell Guide to Metaphysics, eEdited by Richard Gale, 303-16. Blackwell, 2002. https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470998984.ch15.

Mahner, Martin. “Demarcating Science from Non-science.” In General Philosophy of Science: Focal Issues. Edited by Theo A. F. Kuipers, 515-75. North-Holland: Elsevier, 2007. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-044451548-3/50011-2.

Rayo, Agustín, and Gabriel Uzquanio. eds. Absolute Generality. Oxford, 2006. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780199276424.001.0001.

Sorenson, Roy. “Nothingness.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Accessed July 25, 2023. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nothingness/.

Van Inwagen, Peter. “Why Is There Anything at All?” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 70, no. 1 (1996): 95-120. https://doi.org/10.1093/aristoteliansupp/70.1.95.

Waghorn, Nicholas. Nothingness and the Meaning of Life. Bloomsbury, 2014.

Open Access Statement:

This is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author, as long as the author and original source are properly cited. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Submitting a text to Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture means that the author agrees with the general conditions of this license. The author does and will maintain copyrights and publishing rights for his/her article without any restrictions.