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I am writing a scientific essay and I need to name the whole, unknown universe, including both the reality (that we perceive) and the rest, the things we know and don't know or will never know.

The word "universe" is already taken. I thought there might be some other professional term to name what I have on my mind (and, as you can see, have problems to express even in a descriptive way).

  • In passing, I might note that universe isn't an exclusive term -- it includes the contents of your mind/consciousness as well as physical objects, etc. – Joseph Weissman Mar 26 '12 at 12:48
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    This is one of those things that just needs to be carefully defined; no term has just one meaning to everyone, and in making persuasive arguments it's important to make sure everyone's on the same page. So while you've settled on "cosmos", and commando seems to prefer "reality", I would be hesitant to use either in any setting without strictly making it clear what I mean. In other words, if you plan on using the word "cosmos" from now on to refer to what you wrote above, just keep in mind that not everyone will interpret the word in the way you do. :) – stoicfury Mar 26 '12 at 15:30
  • I think I suggest u nomenclature as "Unpredictable Universe"..:) – Goti Mar 27 '12 at 6:35
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I'm no expert, but I think you unwittingly named it yourself: Reality.

A short excerpt from Wikipedia:

In philosophy, reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined. In a wider definition, reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible. A still more broad definition includes everything that has existed, exists, or will exist.

All of those definitions will likely work for you, although the latter two may be more useful. Admittedly, this definition is not very detailed, but I think it covers "the whole, unknown universe, including both the reality (that we perceive) and the rest, the things we know and don't know or will never know" when using the definition "everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible." Please tell me if this is inadequate.

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My tongue-in-cheek advice: "Everything" seems to be the word you are looking for!

There is however an old philosophical question behind this easy answer, i.e. if you want to include the things that do not exist as well, it gets complicated.

Another word might be: "Ontology". It usually refers to the philosophical study of concepts like being, existence, or reality as such. Example:

"Ontology is the discipline which…"

It is also used in another sense to speak of 'what there is', e.g.

"The ontology of a theory…"

refers to the objects (or relations or whatever) that the theory postulates or that one is committed to when believing a theory. In this second sense it might be a word which you can (ab)use in a sentence like

"I am not speaking only about the things we observe, but about the whole ontology [of the universe/cosmos]…"

Disclaimer: As a philosopher I would strongly discourage such an (ab)use of philosophical terms - it still sounds pretty impressive though ;)

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