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Questions tagged [definitions]

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20
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5answers
2k views

What was Cantor's philosophical reason for accepting the infinite but rejecting the infinitesimal?

I have begun inquiring recently into mathematical aspects of Georg Cantor's theory of transfinite numbers and sets, which he developed between the years of 1874 and 1897. Throughout his theory, Cantor ...
20
votes
14answers
4k views

What is a straight line?

I am not a philosopher; I am an engineer with a reasonable grasp of mathematics. This question has been bothering me for a long time, and I have asked a variation of it to a mathematical community. ...
14
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4answers
7k views

Does Aristotle ever explicitly refer to man as a “rational animal”?

Did Aristotle every explicitly refer to man as a "rational animal" (ζῷον λόγον ἔχον)? The internet is riddled with uncited claims to this effect: that "rational animal" was an explicitly stated ...
13
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7answers
2k views

Please explain to a beginner: what is metaphysics?

As I understand it, most or all of philosophy can be put into the three main branches of philosophy: Epistemology, Metaphysics, and Axiology. A devotee of reason, I have great affinity for, and ...
11
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4answers
6k views

Are all concepts polar ?

Do all concepts operate in pairs such that in order to define one member of the pair we need to specify its opposite ? For instance, we cannot define 'nothing' without understanding - being able to ...
10
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11answers
1k views

What makes something mathematics?

What classifies something as math? Is "math" simply performing operations with a certain set of axioms in mind? Is "math" anything that involves numbers? What about mathematical logic? Google ...
10
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7answers
2k views

Why did we define vacuous statements as true rather than false?

I have been trying to understand why implications about the empty set are treated as "true". It seems to me intuitively that vacuous statements should be false. For example consider the sentence: ...
8
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7answers
700 views

Is it possible to define “the supernatural”?

From a naturalistic perspective, it is possible to argue that the supernatural not only doesn't exist, but cannot even be defined. The reasoning goes that anything which "appears" to be supernatural, ...
8
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3answers
757 views

In Aristotle, What does it mean for something to be predicated?

I am studying Aristotle's views on substance, and in the narratives of his work, the term 'predicated' is used with great frequency, though not at all defined. In Googling the meaning of 'predicated', ...
8
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7answers
679 views

What is the meaning of Spinoza's first three definitions?

I've just started reading Spinoza's Ethics and I'd like to have delucidations about his first three definitions. Definition one: By that which is self-caused, I mean that of which the essence ...
6
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4answers
502 views

Why is “the problem of criterion” problematic?

If I understand it correctly, the problem of criterion is essentially that you can only identify knowledge if you have the criteria for knowledge, but that you can only have the criteria for knowledge ...
6
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4answers
157 views

Definitions and choice

My specific question that I want answered is: Among definitions, how do we choose which one is the best? When it comes to definitions of abstract concepts, it seems like we can define things willy-...
5
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5answers
1k views

What is “limited free will”? [closed]

I have heard that humans have a limited or constrained free will, especially when biological limitations are brought up. However, Merriam-Webster dictionary says: Limited 1a: confined within ...
5
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3answers
216 views

Which physical phenomena are not objects?

I come from the world of OOP programming and I find OOP terms convenient to describe everything that has properties or fields and possibly some actions that may be applied to its properties/fields. ...
5
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1answer
3k views

What does *substantive* in the term 'substantive normative claim' mean?

In Sharon Street's paper, "Nothing "Really" Matters, but That's Not What Matters", she uses the phrase substantive normative-claim: I take it that this is because Parfit is thinking of the claim ...
5
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2answers
216 views

How does constructive empiricism differ from instrumentalism?

Constructive empiricism is the belief that science aims to give theories which are empirically adequate (i.e. agree with observables), and accepting a theory means believing that it is empirically ...
4
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2answers
1k views

“pleasure” vs “happiness”

With regards to the field of philosophy, are there any notable precise definitions of "pleasure" and "happiness"? How does "pleasure" compare to "happiness" and vice-versa?
4
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2answers
141 views

Aristotle's meaning of 'present in subject'

I've been reading the entry of Aristotle in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. "[Aristotle] says: ‘By “present in a subject” I mean what is in something, not as a part, and cannot exist ...
4
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2answers
210 views

Can you Define Something in Terms of What is True About it?

Is it possible to define something in terms of what is true about it? Suppose for example, the case where in mathematics a definition is given in terms of formal symbols and rules for which strings ...
4
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1answer
780 views

What is the difference between Ontology and Knowledge Representation (KR)?

This was originally posted in CrossValidated, but marked as off-topic and it was suggested that I post this question here (even though it is related to programming and machine learning). From my ...
4
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5answers
1k views

What is the opposite of me (i.e., my consciousness)?

In a thread on this site, somebody says that everything that can be defined, must have an opposite. Then what is the opposite of me? I can define me using my consciousness: I am my concsiousness. ...
3
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6answers
553 views

Is the use of inconsistent definitions a logical fallacy?

I am not asking for a defense of or pro/con of the existence of an omnipotent (or multiple omni-x) being, or for the existence of square-circles or any other similar thing. These arguments are well ...
3
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3answers
295 views

What is a logical fallacy that involves arguing according to a different definition of a word?

For example, one person may define capitalism as in private ownership of production and distribution while another may consider that there is no true capitalism until a market free of government ...
3
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2answers
617 views

What is the difference between implicit and explicit definitions?

B.Russell holds that certain classes of expressions are to be defined contextually, like definite descriptions or incomplete symbols in general, and some others are to be defined explicitly. What is ...
3
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3answers
785 views

What is the origin of Left and Right in politics [closed]

I've read many times that left and right in politics come from the French Revolution. But reading the Dao De Jing, chapter 31, it looks a very similar definition. The left is the place of the "...
3
votes
3answers
48 views

Defining 2 words with respect to each other

I apologize if this is in the wrong forum. I listen to a radio show where the host talks a lot about love & hate. He defines love as 'the absence of hate' and he says that hate is 'the absence of ...
3
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5answers
450 views

How is the modern philosophical definition of life shaped by evidences from natural sciences?

How does philosophy define life? And how does it overlap and contrast with the concepts and nuances of other sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, and how has it been ...
3
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2answers
165 views

Defining logical possibility without circularity

In explaining logical possibility (broad), I tend to say that a thing is logically possible if it exists in some possible world, some possible description of reality, but in what sense is such a world/...
3
votes
4answers
203 views

When would someone not have free will?

I was thinking about free will, and I kind of got confused. What would it look like for someone to not have free will? For example, if someone was paralyzed, they could still control their thoughts. ...
3
votes
1answer
331 views

Question about Hobbes' distinction between Error and Absurdity

I'm reading Chapter 5 of Hobbes' "Leviathan" (On Reason and Science), and I came across his distinction between Error and Absurdity. Since I don't understand it really well, I tried to come up with ...
3
votes
1answer
105 views

Definition of “language” in private language arguments

What is a sensible definition of the term language to use when interpreting private language arguments in general (if possible), or Wittgenstein in particular? Conversely, is rejecting the idea of ...
3
votes
3answers
154 views

Does a definition have a truth value?

Can we speak of true and false definitions, and if so, in what context? Is saying what x is different from saying the definition of x? Would it perhaps be better to say that a statement which affirms ...
3
votes
2answers
156 views

What makes motivations and moral imperatives non-arbitrary?

Please explain what counts as non-arbitrary in the context of motivations and moral imperatives (e.g. thou shalt not kill, create the greatest good for the greatest number, etc.). Dictionary ...
2
votes
5answers
289 views

Does this definition of a soul make sense?

A few years ago I came up with a (perhaps?) novel concept of a "soul" which, to me, seems very robust and meaningful. I have, however, no background in philosophy and would like to know what real ...
2
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3answers
222 views

Must mathematical definitions be formal? If so, why?

Recently on Math SE, I offered the following definition of a "pre-function": A pre-function f from X to Y will be defined as a "function" which in general is not well-defined. This was rejected by ...
2
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1answer
391 views

What are the parts of a definition called?

I would like to know what to call the part of the definition that is defined and the part that defines. For an explanation this would be explanandum and explanans. In the following example the ...
2
votes
2answers
48 views

Can someone expand Rousseau's proper definition of war?

Rousseau, in his 'Of the Social Contract', chapter IV, 'Slavery', puts that: Men, from the mere fact that, while they are living in their primitive independence, they have no mutual relations ...
2
votes
1answer
91 views

What is the difference between object, concept and Gestalt?

Within the context of philosophical writings (i.e. not psychology), what is the difference and relations of the following terms: Begriff Gegenstand Gestalt For example as used by Frege ("Ueber ...
2
votes
1answer
29 views

What does it mean to have an “account” of something?

It seems like many of the papers I've read and the goal of many fields in Philosophy is to come up with an "account" for something. For example, one of the goals of Epistemology is to come up with an ...
2
votes
1answer
92 views

What exactly is “logical justification”?

I read and hear the term "logical justification" and I can't find a definition for it. Is it as pedestrian as it sounds (can be put in the form of logic and makes a valid argument), or is it a term of ...
2
votes
3answers
107 views

Does physicalism imply everything can be defined?

Does physicalism imply everything can be defined at least to a certain extent?
2
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2answers
103 views

Can fitting to a definition be considered to be a fact?

As I understand the event of objects falling down is a fact (due to gravitation, for example). Or water taking the shape of its container. But can someone say that it is a fact that we are "...
2
votes
1answer
892 views

What are factual propositions?

I've been reading up on epistemology, after having studied a bit of logic. Given that, I am in a good (or at least better) position to understand a proposition, and it's properties. One such property ...
2
votes
1answer
176 views

The definition of a possible world

I have a two-part question about the definition of a possible world. I will make the assumption that time is tensed. First of all, is a possible world a complete list of all propositions that are ...
2
votes
6answers
109 views

How is/was “good” (as the contrary of bad) defined? [closed]

As Nietzsche differentiated there are two kinds of good: this question's focus is on the contrary of bad, not the contrary of evil. There are quite a lot of possible ways to define the common term "...
2
votes
1answer
34 views

Need help translating a formal definition into FOL

I need help formally translating the following definition into FOL: "a property F is essential to an object x if and only if x could not have been the object it is without possessing the property F." ...
2
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2answers
113 views

What is this argument called?

What do you call an argument where you try to invalidate criticism of a narrative work (I'm not sure what the correct term is to describe it) by using fact or explanation from the narrative work ...
2
votes
2answers
103 views

What is the meaning of an explanation

I am a software engineer and recently got involved in a community project that aims to teach underprivileged kids. This got me thinking about the term 'explanation'. What I want to ask is- what in ...
2
votes
1answer
94 views

What do you call the output of a truth table?

I know that the value of said output can be either True of False, but what is the actual output called? Another way of phrasing the question is, is what do you call the resolution of a complex ...
2
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2answers
97 views

Is the idea of a multiverse considered metaphysics? [duplicate]

I know that metaphysics has to do with the fundamental nature of reality. I am just not sure if a multiverse is considered fundamental