In other words: Is the question “Why is there something rather than nothing?” equivalent to the question “Is there something rather than everything?”?
That’s one possibility raised by this surprisingly enjoyable article. The author takes a mathematical/informational approach to the problem “why is there something?” and actually says some interesting things using that rather limited toolset. I quite like the measure-based fix for the existential subtraction argument, and the information-theoretic stuff does a decent job trying to talk about form versus matter.
As for the question at hand: Well, they’re not the same, exactly, but they are rival ways of formulating the same skeptical confusion. To paraphrase the linked-to article in a more classical philosophical idiom: to a certain sort of idealist, “Is there something rather than nothing?” is nonsensical–of course the laws of mathematics exist, for example. The question is whether matter exists independent of form; if it doesn’t, everything that can exist, does exist, since it doesn’t make sense to talk about an idea that could exist but doesn’t. If it can be thought, it’s already an idea. So the question becomes, are there things that exist in some “potential” sense, as mathematical equations perhaps, but that don’t “actually” exist in the world?
Is there something rather than everything?
I get why things in general exist, but why these particular things?
This is what the Aristotelian concept “matter” is supposed to deal with, I suppose, but I’m not sure that it solves the problem. Doesn’t it just reduce our confusion by letting us give it a name? Well, maybe. Can philosophy do anything more than that?