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Questions tagged [existence]

Ontological and metaphysical questions about the study of existence, being and the structure of reality.

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Do some things not exist? [closed]

Quod sic: The Statue of Zeus no longer exists (it was destroyed by fire in the 5th century A.D.) Therefore, there is something (the Statue of Zeus) that does not exist. Contra: How can there be ...
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Could a philosophical zombie conclude “cogito ergo sum”?

Could a philosophical zombie conclude "cogito ergo sum"? Assume a philosophical zombie which is a hypothetical being that is indistinguishable from a normal human being except in that it lacks ...
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Why does human race has to survive and continue to exist? [closed]

For some questions in philosophy and ethics, the ultimate answer is the welfare and continuation of the human race. Nations are spending millions of dollars on space programs in case of a global ...
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3answers
857 views

Why do we have a problem about understanding the concept of the “empty set”?

   The title seems quite bit more generalized, but I'm saying about the philosophers and mathematicians in the past who discussed about the concept of nothing, or the empty set. I'm ...
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4answers
636 views

Is the universe just a mathematical construct?

Consider some continuous mathematical function. You can define it as a set of initial conditions and a set of rules to extend it to the rest of its domain. For instance, for a linear function, y = mx +...
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Can I have thoughts about fictional characters?

For: I can be thinking about Frodo. I can think, e.g. that Frodo was the character introduced in the second chapter of LOTR, or that Smeagol was the hobbit who fell to his doom at the end of the book. ...
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6answers
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Do thoughts exist? How about ideas?

Do thoughts exist? (Yes, I know it depends what I mean by 'existence' but I want that to be included in any answer; another way to phrase my question would be, can you define 'existence' with a ...
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Are there any other things like 'Cogito ergo sum' that we can be certain of?

Are there any other things we can be certain of? Are there any 'hooks' that can be hooked into 'I think therefore I am', that one could be 100% certain are truthful as 'I think therefore I am' itself?
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What does it mean for an object to exist?

In many cases, we ask questions if something already exists! Many times, I ask myself, What does the term even mean? What does it mean to exist? What are common answers to this question and where ...
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2answers
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The inability to imagine general nonexistence [duplicate]

After reading the question regarding "Why is there something instead of nothing?" I stumbled over the first part of "Sauls" answer: Before anything else one should be aware of the instrument used ...
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4answers
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What is the meaning of “meaning of life” and why do people seek it?

One of the oldest questions is "What is the meaning of life?". But what does the concept of "meaning of life" actually mean? What does it mean for something to be the "meaning of life"? And why is it ...
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Considering the universe has a limited timespan, how would god fit into this? [closed]

Let's consider the universe to have an existence that is temporally limited (i.e., it will eventually implodes on itself or falls apart). Now, let's consider that there is a god in that universe. ...
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If the universe came from “nothing”, why is it assumed that there is no life after death?

I've been thinking today about the Big Bang theory and how I've heard people claim that before the big band there was "nothing". And that when we die, there is nothing. No more life, etc. But is that ...
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1answer
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Illogical part of universe

This question is based on many assumptions: That since universe could not appear out of itself and could not be created by someone there has to be a other part of 'universe' (I am not sure if ...
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1answer
221 views

What is the analytic-synthetic dilemma concerning existence?

Reading a paper on Descartes I found the following summary of criticism: Stuart Hampshire, on the one hand, emphasizing the indubitability required of the principle by Descartes, concludes that ...
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12answers
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What arguments would support a secular pro-life position?

I've been thinking about the pro-life position (by "pro-life" I mean the position that abortion should be illegal. I.e. on par with murder) for awhile, and it is normally presented as a religious ...
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11answers
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Death: A finite ending?

From the viewpoint of an atheist, when you die, you cease to exist. Your brain has grown old, and can no longer sustain the trillions of electrical signals that constituted who you once were. ...
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3answers
363 views

Existence of abstract objects for a physicalist

Let's say I'm a physicalist. Usually then, I will think of abstract objects as mental constructs, which are dictated by mental states, which, as a physicalist will say, are manifestations of physical ...
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2answers
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What does Spivak mean exactly in her paper “can the subaltern speak”?

What does G. Spivak mean by epistemic violence in her essay "Can the subaltern speak"? What I understand by her paper is that intellectuals in Europe and western countries control the kind of ...
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5answers
355 views

Where do things come from? [closed]

Nothing is...not for long anyway.Everything is in a state of flux and this implies that every object has a story behind it.However,the possible options for stories of origin are not satisfactory: 1.We ...
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2answers
455 views

Could our universe simply be abstract mathematical existence?

Say we imagined a mathematical model so detailed that it completely describes a universe like our own. Now if we simulated such a universe on a futuristic supercomputer then obviously the beings ...
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4answers
1k views

How do the meanings of *to exist*, *to be*, and *real* differ?

What definition of to exist, of to be, and of real preponderates contemporary philosophy? How do the terms differ from one another?
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4answers
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What theory suggests that the world is an illusion?

I recently had a conversation wih a man who thought that nothing actually exists. He believed that we are only imagining everything and thus are the product of some kind of illusion. Could you ...
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1answer
681 views

“cogito ergo sum” and then…?

After his ever so famous "cogito ergo sum", Rene Descartes' second (deep?) thought was something like "God exists" (according to my literature). I think he brought this up mainly due to historical ...
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Is Suicide Courageous or Cowardliness? [closed]

Another good question which the movie Cloud Atlas presents by a gay love story, which ends tragically. Robert Frobisher commits the deed, sadly, but in his very last letter he wrote: My dearest ...
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3answers
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How can we represent 'nothing' or 'nothingness' in predicate logic?

The question says it all. I'm at lost for how to do this edit: what had motivated this was Heidegger's "What is Metaphysics." This was my first stab at philosophy of a continental persuasion and ...
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Theseus Ship and Aristotle's cause

I'm referring to this page as a primary source of information. I don't get what Artistotle wants to show here. Or I didn't get the main idea he wanted to express. Let's take another example from ...
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3answers
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What step in this argument is the least valid?

I know this is not a totally formal argument, and it is not mine, I just tried to distill it as much as I could to find where the weakest point is. Please help me if you want. It goes like this: H (...
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2answers
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Does existence precede quiddity? [closed]

Is there an undisputed argument for the existence of God as, for instance, Avicenna's and Mulla Sadra's metaphysical argument, which state that "existence is ontologically prior to essence"? Some of ...
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Defenses of Descartes's rationality in regards to “cogito” fallacy?

What philosophers and in what writings, if any, have attempted to explain or defend Descartes's rationalism in respect to the "cogito ergo sum" fallacy pointed out by philosophers like Russell, and ...
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5answers
443 views

Is it necessary/possible to prove that facts exist?

I am having a debate with someone on the internets. He claims that there are no such things as facts absent interpretation. For example, if I see a ball dropping, it's not a fact that a ball is ...
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2answers
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what lies beyond absurdity?

What should I read to break out of the endless loop that brings me back to the absurdity of (my?) perceived reality? (I'm not talking on a human scale but on an endless time scale) If the question has ...
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Eastern philosophy for a Western audience

I have been listening to and reading a lot of Alan Watts material on Eastern philosophy which I find to be greatly edifying literature. I am having difficulty finding information on who is currently ...
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1answer
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A discussion of consciousness and existence

Consider the following three scenarios: 1) Two clones with the same memories, feelings, etc. are in a room. Clone A is killed by Clone B. Clone B immediately loses all memories of Clone A and the ...
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If there is life, then there is more complex life as well?

Researchers in Switzerland have developed an Altruism algorithm that shows how altruism in a swarm of entities can, over time, evolve and result in more effective swarm behaviour. For an ant colony, ...
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Is a pile of ants a, more or less, intelligent being?

Due to the definition of life an ant colony acts and reacts like a life form. There is even a "Ant colony optimization" Example Algorithm... Does this mean that the whole pile of ants, not its ...
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1answer
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If there is anything that could behave like a god, is it then a real god? [closed]

Let's assume that the our universe's physics allows time travel. This is my main assumption! Let's further assume that there is an quite intelligent, invulnerable being, that found a way to achieve ...
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Is our existence perfect?

The definition of "Perfect" is having all of the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics. Simply put, when something is perfect, it is as good as it can possibly be. ...
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1answer
735 views

According to Marx and the Material Theory of History, what is the definition of consciousness?

It's important to note that I'm not referring to class consciousness, or other types of political consciousness. I'm just wondering how he explains the ability of conscious beings to experience ...
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1answer
85 views

If a being creates a given concept, can this concept be used to describe the being or prove something about it?

Given an abstract definition of a being "A" and a concept "B". Can a being "A" be defined or described in terms of a concept "B", if it was "A" who gave rise to "B" ? In other words, can "B" be used ...
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1answer
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Is it possible to show that something does not exist?

I am aware that I could show that something does not exist with the knowledge of an implication. If B is true if A exists, then A does not exist if B is false But if we have no implications, is it ...
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5answers
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Nothingness cannot be. Does that imply something must be?

Nothingness doesn't be, that's the definition of nothingness (at least in this question) that what is not, does not exist. If there was no Universe, if there was nothing, nothingness would be, that ...
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11answers
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Can something come out of nothing or not? Why?

In our current state of affairs it is safe and reasonable to assume something exists - be it a universe, pure conciousness, illusion or other designations. If some readers nevertheless claim something ...
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2answers
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Is a void where the laws of physics hold actually a void?

I don't have much background in Cosmology, but an argument I've heard is that the universe sprang into existence from the void via a quantum fluctuation. That is both spacetime & its matter/energy ...
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4answers
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Would matter without any living individual also exist?

Suppose that everything that is considered as living individual suddenly dies out. What would happen to matter if now there is nobody who can think about it?
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3answers
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How does indefinability affect existence?

If something cannot be defined using outside references, does that mean that such a thing does not exist? For example, Totality (supposed to mean absolutely everything including this statement) ...
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5answers
359 views

Is there any reality or substance in matter and energy without God?

Substance {Gk. ουσια [ousia]; Lat. substantia} "What a thing is made of; hence, the underlying being that supports, exists independently of, and persists through time despite changes in, its ...
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2answers
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What is value of a philosphical argument/theory when a conclusion can never be reached?

I have seen several questions and discussions recently on this forum concerning p-zombies, whether or not what we call consciousness is a tangible entity or merely an illusion or elaborate scheme ...
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Does nihilism deny that any objective value ever existed or just now?

I read that the viewpoint of nihilism denies the existence of objective values and meaning. But does it also say that the values never existed, never can or will exist or just that these values don't ...
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1answer
258 views

How to express Kant's notion of existence on first-order logic according to Ayer?

In Language, Truth, and Logic, Ayer writes: [As] Kant pointed out, existence is not an attribute. For, when we ascribe an attribute to a thing, we covertly assert that it exists. However, I can't ...