In 2013 Markus Gabriel, the young philosophy professor at the University of Bonn, wrote a book with the provocative title: Warum es die Welt nicht gibt (Why the World does not exist).
On June 23, 2011 Gabriel had lunch with his Italien colleague Maurizio Ferraris in Naples. When they had finished their ristretti they had also finished or rather founded a new approach to philosophy. This so-called New Realism is an advancement of both metaphysics and constructivism. Somewhat simplified Gabriel states: Whereas metaphysics claims that the world is different from how it appears to us, constructivism claims that we construct things in recognizing them. New Realism, however, claims that when we recognize something by seeing, hearing, or sensing there is really something.
Gabriel's reasoning starts with a common definition of the World: The World is the totality of things and facts. Things have certain properties but facts consist of concepts and concepts are never fully settled. Gabriel then introduces Sinnfelder (fields of context) and formulates the first law of New Realism:
Existence is the recognition in a field of context (FOC).
According to Martin Heidegger the World is - in Gabriel's language - the field of context of all FOCs in which all other FOCs appear.
Another argument goes like this: A thing cannot exist isolated; it has to appear in a field of context. This field of context can only exist if it appears in another FOC and this again in another one. When we continue the argumentation we shall never reach the last field of context, i.e., the World in which everything appears. Ergo: The World does not exist.
We always look at things, i.e., items, notions, and concepts under certain aspects and place them into specific fields of context. A table can be regarded in the FOC of physics as an ordered ensemble of elementary particles. That is different from the FOC of furniture where a table could be placed and that again is different from the community FOC, i.e., the table as a place where people eat, drink, and communicate. Gabriel continues: Some things are connected but not all things are connected, again an argument that The World does not exist. Here shall I stop. For further explanations ofNew Realism you must read Gabriel's book.
For Hamlet To be or not to be that is the question but it was Heidegger who asked the question of all questions: Was ist Sein? (What is this: To Be?). Young Markus Gabriel asks offhand: Was soll das Ganze alles? (What is the purpose of all this?)
Whereas constructivist epistemology and metaphysics look for the authenticity beyond the fields of context - we may know or miss - Gabriel claims that there is nothing behind that settles things. Since an overall structure does not exist we are not determined by it. That means that we are alone but we as free autonomous human beings have the privilege of infinite possibilities of exploring.
Comforting, isn't it? Watch Markus Gabriel on You Tube.