2 Emended grammar and syntax
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Metaphysics today, as a special sub discipline of philosophy considers a really large number of important topics. For instance, all of the following are live metaphysical questions:

  • The Mind/Body Problem: How is it possible that we have subjective experiences (like the feeling of seeing readthe colour red, or understanding a poem) given that the other things we observe in nature have only objective, physical properties (like mass, or charge)? Are minds something non-physical? If so, how do they manage to cause physical events in my body, such as moving the muscles of my arm?
  • Laws of Nature: What are laws of nature and are there really any such things, or are the regularities scientists discover in nature merely contingent counterfactual dependence? Why is the gravitational constant and other constants in the laws of nature just what they are? Is it metaphysically possible that those constants could have been different? If so, then why did the constants in the actual world get just the precise values they have?
  • Time: Do the past and future exist? Is it metaphysically possible to travel backwards in time without generating logical paradoxes? What are space and time, really? Are they objects or sets of relations between objects or what? Is time just like a dimension of space that you can travel back and forth in, or does have a privileged direction (Time's Arrow)? Is it possible for there to be more than one dimension of time?
  • Identity over time: How is it possible for one thing to remain the same over time when its parts are changing all the time? (The Ship of Theseus). What is "the object" really? Is the whole object present at a single instant of time, or is "the object" really a four-dimensional entity only one of whose 'time-slices' is ever present at a particular instant.?
  • Universals: What are abstract objects like numbers or blueness? Do such things "exist" and why or why not? What is the difference between abstract objects and concrete ones?
  • Vagueness: One grain of sand is not a heap, but by adding grains, I get a heap. Is there a definite number at which the heap begins to be a heap?
  • Identity: Is identity (the relationship everything bears to itself) a necessary relation, or a contingent one? Is identity an "absolute" relation that we can understand as simply holding between two objects, or do ascriptions of identity require a stroll term "relative" to which the identity holds?

Now at first glance this collection of questions might look like a grab bag. And to some extent that is correct--the only single feature all of these questions share is their very high level of generality. However, there are important systematic connections between the various questions. For example, if you believe objects are actually four dimensional entities extended in time as well as space, then you should hold that at least the past is just as real as the present. Studying the systematic interrelations between these questions is just as important as coming up with new arguments and objections about the questions individually. So, there actually is a more cohesive body of study here than might appear at first glance.

Metaphysics today, as a special sub discipline of philosophy considers a really large number of important topics. For instance, all of the following are live metaphysical questions:

  • The Mind/Body Problem: How is it possible that we have subjective experiences (like the feeling of seeing read, or understanding a poem) given that the other things we observe in nature have only objective, physical properties (like mass, or charge)? Are minds something non-physical? If so, how do they manage to cause physical events in my body, such as moving the muscles of my arm?
  • Laws of Nature: What are laws of nature and are there really any such things, or are the regularities scientists discover in nature merely contingent counterfactual dependence? Why is the gravitational constant and other constants in the laws of nature just what they are? Is it metaphysically possible that those constants could have been different? If so, then why did the constants in the actual world get just the precise values they have?
  • Time: Do the past and future exist? Is it metaphysically possible to travel backwards in time without generating logical paradoxes? What are space and time, really? Are they objects or sets of relations between objects or what? Is time just like a dimension of space that you can travel back and forth in, or does have a privileged direction (Time's Arrow)? Is it possible for there to be more than one dimension of time?
  • Identity over time: How is it possible for one thing to remain the same over time when its parts are changing all the time? (The Ship of Theseus). What is "the object" really? Is the whole object present at a single instant of time, or is "the object" really a four-dimensional entity only one of whose 'time-slices' is ever present at a particular instant.
  • Universals: What are abstract objects like numbers or blueness? Do such things "exist" and why or why not? What is the difference between abstract objects and concrete ones?
  • Vagueness: One grain of sand is not a heap, but by adding grains, I get a heap. Is there a definite number at which the heap begins to be a heap?
  • Identity: Is identity (the relationship everything bears to itself) a necessary relation, or a contingent one? Is identity an "absolute" relation that we can understand as simply holding between two objects, or do ascriptions of identity require a stroll term "relative" to which the identity holds?

Now at first glance this collection of questions might look like a grab bag. And to some extent that is correct--the only single feature all of these questions share is their very high level of generality. However, there are important systematic connections between the various questions. For example, if you believe objects are actually four dimensional entities extended in time as well as space, then you should hold that at least the past is just as real as the present. Studying the systematic interrelations between these questions is just as important as coming up with new arguments and objections about the questions individually. So, there actually is a more cohesive body of study here than might appear at first glance.

Metaphysics today, as a special sub discipline of philosophy considers a really large number of important topics. For instance, all of the following are live metaphysical questions:

  • The Mind/Body Problem: How is it possible that we have subjective experiences (like the feeling of seeing the colour red, or understanding a poem) given that the other things we observe in nature have only objective, physical properties (like mass, or charge)? Are minds something non-physical? If so, how do they manage to cause physical events in my body, such as moving the muscles of my arm?
  • Laws of Nature: What are laws of nature and are there really any such things, or are the regularities scientists discover in nature merely contingent counterfactual dependence? Why is the gravitational constant and other constants in the laws of nature just what they are? Is it metaphysically possible that those constants could have been different? If so, then why did the constants in the actual world get just the precise values they have?
  • Time: Do the past and future exist? Is it metaphysically possible to travel backwards in time without generating logical paradoxes? What are space and time, really? Are they objects or sets of relations between objects or what? Is time just like a dimension of space that you can travel back and forth in, or does have a privileged direction (Time's Arrow)? Is it possible for there to be more than one dimension of time?
  • Identity over time: How is it possible for one thing to remain the same over time when its parts are changing all the time? (The Ship of Theseus). What is "the object" really? Is the whole object present at a single instant of time, or is "the object" really a four-dimensional entity only one of whose 'time-slices' is ever present at a particular instant?
  • Universals: What are abstract objects like numbers or blueness? Do such things "exist" and why or why not? What is the difference between abstract objects and concrete ones?
  • Vagueness: One grain of sand is not a heap, but by adding grains, I get a heap. Is there a definite number at which the heap begins to be a heap?
  • Identity: Is identity (the relationship everything bears to itself) a necessary relation, or a contingent one? Is identity an "absolute" relation that we can understand as simply holding between two objects, or do ascriptions of identity require a stroll term "relative" to which the identity holds?

Now at first glance this collection of questions might look like a grab bag. And to some extent that is correct--the only single feature all of these questions share is their very high level of generality. However, there are important systematic connections between the various questions. For example, if you believe objects are actually four dimensional entities extended in time as well as space, then you should hold that at least the past is just as real as the present. Studying the systematic interrelations between these questions is just as important as coming up with new arguments and objections about the questions individually. So, there actually is a more cohesive body of study here than might appear at first glance.

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Metaphysics today, as a special sub discipline of philosophy considers a really large number of important topics. For instance, all of the following are live metaphysical questions:

  • The Mind/Body Problem: How is it possible that we have subjective experiences (like the feeling of seeing read, or understanding a poem) given that the other things we observe in nature have only objective, physical properties (like mass, or charge)? Are minds something non-physical? If so, how do they manage to cause physical events in my body, such as moving the muscles of my arm?
  • Laws of Nature: What are laws of nature and are there really any such things, or are the regularities scientists discover in nature merely contingent counterfactual dependence? Why is the gravitational constant and other constants in the laws of nature just what they are? Is it metaphysically possible that those constants could have been different? If so, then why did the constants in the actual world get just the precise values they have?
  • Time: Do the past and future exist? Is it metaphysically possible to travel backwards in time without generating logical paradoxes? What are space and time, really? Are they objects or sets of relations between objects or what? Is time just like a dimension of space that you can travel back and forth in, or does have a privileged direction (Time's Arrow)? Is it possible for there to be more than one dimension of time?
  • Identity over time: How is it possible for one thing to remain the same over time when its parts are changing all the time? (The Ship of Theseus). What is "the object" really? Is the whole object present at a single instant of time, or is "the object" really a four-dimensional entity only one of whose 'time-slices' is ever present at a particular instant.
  • Universals: What are abstract objects like numbers or blueness? Do such things "exist" and why or why not? What is the difference between abstract objects and concrete ones?
  • Vagueness: One grain of sand is not a heap, but by adding grains, I get a heap. Is there a definite number at which the heap begins to be a heap?
  • Identity: Is identity (the relationship everything bears to itself) a necessary relation, or a contingent one? Is identity an "absolute" relation that we can understand as simply holding between two objects, or do ascriptions of identity require a stroll term "relative" to which the identity holds?

Now at first glance this collection of questions might look like a grab bag. And to some extent that is correct--the only single feature all of these questions share is their very high level of generality. However, there are important systematic connections between the various questions. For example, if you believe objects are actually four dimensional entities extended in time as well as space, then you should hold that at least the past is just as real as the present. Studying the systematic interrelations between these questions is just as important as coming up with new arguments and objections about the questions individually. So, there actually is a more cohesive body of study here than might appear at first glance.