Why does the world exist? – A bibliography

That anything should exist at all does seem to me a matter for the deepest awe.

J. J. C. Smart

Nicht wie die Welt ist, ist das Mystische, sondern dass sie ist.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

The most important question of all is also one of the most neglected.  The list below includes what are, to the best of my knowledge, the only scholarly writings in the contemporary literature that directly address the question of why the universe exists. (That question includes two sub-questions, ‘Why is there anything at all?’ and ‘Why does this particular world exist, rather than some other’, which we may call the “general” and the “special” ultimate questions of existence, respectively.) Note that this excludes non-scholarly writings (such as Jim Holt’s Why does the world exist?); writings that address the question indirectly (such as those found in certain areas within physical cosmology and the philosophy of religion); and writings too removed from the present (published before, say, 1850, such as Leibniz’s De rerum originatione radicali). My personal recommendations are boldfaced.

If you think I’m missing something, please let me know.

Dedicated to the memory of Quentin Smith (1952-2020)