Universiteit Leiden

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Arnold Ziegelaar

PhD candidate

Drs. A. Ziegelaar
+31 71 527 2031

My research focuses on the fundamental question of metaphysics, first posed by Leibniz in 1714, why is there something rather than nothing? Purpose is to distinguish the important strategies for answering or dissolve the question and to evaluate and criticize them. I hope to reach conclusions on the issue if and in what way the question has been answered.

More information about Arnold Ziegelaar


In 1714 the German philosopher G.W. Leibniz posed for the first time the fundamental question of metaphysics: why is there something rather than nothing? One may presuppose that this question was implicitly asked and answered by creation myths and premodern metaphysics.
Parmenides claimed that there is no non-being and that there is only an unchanging being. Plotinus thought that there is an absolute origin of all beings (the One). In the middle ages, for example with Anselm of Canterbury or Thomas Aquinas this One is Christianised in the idea of God. This idea is maintained in early modernity, with Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz. Since the thought of Immanuel Kant however, the idea of an absolute origin becomes ever more problematic.

This means that the fundamental question is not answered. In late modernity the question seems to come in the reach of scientific cosmology. Contemporary philosophy after the linguistic turn on the other hand tends to a linguistic dissolution of the question.
The PhD-research aims to clarify the philosophical situation of the fundamental question and to give an argumentative evaluation of the different strategies to answer or dissolve the question.

Curriculum vitae

Arnold Ziegelaar (1962) is lecturer in philosophy in schools for higher education. He works mainly for HOVO (Higher education for the elderly) and for the ISVW (international school for philosophy). He is also author of the books Aardse mystiek (earthly mysticism) (2015) and Oorspronkelijk bewustzijn (primordial consciousness) (2016). His interests are metaphysics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of (human) life. 

PhD candidate

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Instituut voor Wijsbegeerte

Work address

P.J. Veth
Nonnensteeg 1-3
2311 VJ Leiden
Room number 2.03


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