Plenitude principle

The plenitude principle or principle of plenitude asserts that everything that can happen will happen.

The historian of ideas Arthur Lovejoy was the first to discuss this philosophically important Principle explicitly, [ tracing] it back to Aristotle, who said that no possibilities which remain eternally possible will go unrealized, then forward to Kant, via the following sequence of adherents:
*Augustine of Hippo brought the Principle from Neo-Platonic thought into early Christian Theology.
*St Anselm's ontological arguments for God's existence used the Principle's implication that nature will become as complete as it possibly can be, to argue that existence is a 'perfection' in the sense of a completeness or fullness.
*Thomas Aquinas's belief in God's plenitude conflicted with his belief that God had the power not to create everything that could be created. He chose to [ constrain] and ultimately [ reject] the Principle.
*Giordano Bruno's insistence on an infinity of worlds was not based on the theories of Copernicus, or on observation, but on the Principle applied to God. His death may then be attributed to his conviction of its truth.
*Leibniz believed that the best of all possible worlds would actualize every genuine possibility, and argued in "Théodicée" that this best of all possible worlds will contain all possibilities, with our finite experience of eternity giving no reason to dispute nature's perfection.
*Kant believed in the Principle but not in its empirical verification, even in principle.

The Infinite monkey theorem and Kolmogorov's zero-one law of contemporary mathematics echo the Principle. It can also be seen as receiving belated support from certain radical directions in contemporary physics, specifically the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics and the cornucopian speculations of Frank Tipler on the ultimate fate of the universe.

ee also

*Kolmogorov's zero-one law
*Infinite monkey theorem
*Many-worlds interpretation
*Murphy's law


*Arthur Lovejoy, "The Great Chain of Being". Harvard University Press, 1936: ISBN 0-674-36153-9
**Chapter IV "The Principle of Plentitude and the New Cosmography", p. 99–143.
**Chapter V "Plenitude and Sufficient Reason in Leibniz and Spinoza" p. 144–182.

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