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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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91 votes
22 answers
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Could 'cogito ergo sum' possibly be false?

I've heard it postulated by some people that "we can't truly know anything". While that does seem to apply to the vast majority of things, I can't see how 'cogito ergo sum' can possibly be false. ...
Jez's user avatar
  • 2,039
2 votes
2 answers
401 views

Is there anyway to prove things happen/exist if I'm not aware of them?

I don't even know how to properly ask this, but how can one prove things happen without them knowing? Things only exist for me when I'm aware of them, either by direct contact (I see it, I feel it etc....
yyyyyyyan's user avatar
  • 123
5 votes
5 answers
847 views

If everything ends one day why don't we end it today?

Is there any doctrine that gives the reason why to wait till the end of the world? I'm 18 and not depressed. I am not asking about the purpose of life. I'm asking why should we fulfill the purpose of ...
Ha'Penny's user avatar
  • 151
8 votes
4 answers
2k views

What are the counterexamples to Kant's argument that existence is not a predicate?

Kant argued that considering existence as a predicate is wrong. A predicate is a feature or characteristic of an object. But logically, existence adds nothing to the characteristics of that object, ...
RhaegarTagaryan's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
460 views

What is existence and what kinds of it can be distinguished?

Existence, for instance of a human being, need not be restricted to the material body. Also the influence exerted on the environment can be considered a part of their existence. A discussion with ...
Hilbert7's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
8k views

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 ...
Danijel's user avatar
  • 287
12 votes
5 answers
6k views

How should we understand the teletransportation thought experiment?

Please read the short story here:Beam me up First, I'd like to to know whether there is anything inherently inconsistent about this teletransportation idea? Is there fundamental reasons which say it'...
Eric's user avatar
  • 323
3 votes
2 answers
835 views

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 ...
Tom Lynd's user avatar
  • 163
3 votes
4 answers
352 views

What is "Nothing"? [closed]

What is "nothing" and how can a Universe be entirely created out of "nothing"? The moment we give "nothing" a description or definition, it becomes something. The ...
NamesLano's user avatar
0 votes
5 answers
845 views

Can omnipotent beings exist? [duplicate]

Through an omnipotent being, all things are possible. Can such beings exist? For example, can the Flying Spaghetti Monster be omnipotent? Prior discussion: This question is supposedly relevant, but ...
Corbin's user avatar
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23 votes
16 answers
47k views

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 ...
Saul's user avatar
  • 458
15 votes
8 answers
4k views

Can one prove a negative existential claim?

A major concern in epistemology is just what we can know about existential claims, that is, claims about the existence (or lack of) something. Suppose for example that I assert the following: The ...
commando's user avatar
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7 votes
6 answers
7k views

Does anything you can think of exist?

Descartes famously says "I think therefore I am." Does it follow that anything I can think of exists?
LeoW.'s user avatar
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7 votes
6 answers
1k views

How is existence in presentism reconciled with relativity of simultaneity?

There is a famous question by Einstein which was reported by his biographer, the physicist Abraham Pais, and which expresses his concern with quantum physics: We often discussed his notions on ...
nir's user avatar
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6 votes
6 answers
7k views

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 ...
Trylks's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
322 views

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, ...
draks ...'s user avatar
  • 768
5 votes
4 answers
3k views

Descartes vs Buddha - Was Descartes wrong?

Descartes imagined an Evil Demon to suggest that the external world could be a complete illusion. This Evil Demon would have the power to trick all your senses. This idea is similar to the Buddhist ...
user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
1k views

Has the instinct of survival a philosophical equivalent?

Descartes' fundamental truth (cogito, ergo sum) would help me accept without any doubt that I do exist. So, I accept that I do exist without any doubt. But there's another truth that --for me-- seem ...
RodolfoAP's user avatar
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0 votes
5 answers
3k views

If all of us are going to die one day why should we care about the feelings and emotions of others?

We are taught to care for others' feelings and emotions. We must exercise certain deeds hailed in holy texts. Why do such things matter when we all will die one day?
user12737's user avatar
0 votes
4 answers
119 views

Why do some philosphers including Russell paraphrase this sentence?

To say “Pegasus doesn’t exist” is to say “it is not the case that there is exactly one x which is a flying horse of Greek mythology”. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nonexistent-objects/ “Pegasus ...
user avatar
10 votes
8 answers
3k views

In what sense if any could something without mass or energy exist?

I have long been interested in physics as (working toward) a description of absolute truth and, as a consequence, have had a number of discussions with people with religious and metaphysical beliefs ...
AdamRedwine's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
2k views

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 ...
Kyle's user avatar
  • 91
8 votes
10 answers
4k views

What's the reason to live in this life?

I'm scared of life too much. What will happen after this life ends? Even in this life, what is happening? Are we just some animals who have higher consciousness and are interacting with each other? ...
Srijan's user avatar
  • 205
7 votes
4 answers
2k views

Descartes' Demon

This week I've been given to study from my highschool teacher Descartes' Demon argument but I have several doubts I fully understand it ,but let me put this in clear order : 1) I understand that ...
Jean Leroi's user avatar
6 votes
5 answers
5k views

What does it mean for something to exist?

When we say something exists, what do we mean by X? Specifically, my question is about whether there's something more primitive than saying something exists. In mathematics, existence is asserted by ...
Zetaman's user avatar
  • 89
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Are "to exist" and "to have being" the same?

I recently read an introduction about ontology. A section was about the debate whether to exist and to have being is the same. One position says (attributed to Meinong), that some things exist and ...
Metaphysiker's user avatar
6 votes
5 answers
4k views

Is there a philosophical principle stating that everything that can be imagined can possibly / must necessarily exist?

Is there a philosophical notion that stipulates or proposes one of the following statements? Everything that can be imagined could also possibly exist. Everything that can be imagined must necessarily ...
tigrefurry's user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
1k views

"I think, therefore I am" - How does "I" establish "I" before "I" can "think"?

The famous Cogito ergo sum opens with "I" can think, therefore "I" am. How does "I" establish "I" before "I" can "think"? in other words how did "I" establish "I" before it could think in the first ...
user1983's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
197 views

What sort of thought is nihilism?

The basic question for nihilism (as I understand) is "Why do I exist?" As they try to deny it. I was wondering that this is not a well defined concept. The argument is as follows, I exist ...
theseeker's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
430 views

Can our universe be a simulation without simulator?

I have a deviating understanding of the simulation hypothesis. If I look at our universe as simulation, then it seems to me irrelevant whether this simulation is actually executed or not. In my ...
user3123061's user avatar
0 votes
5 answers
807 views

General question about our universe, mathematics and physics: Why is 1+1=2?

Although everyone is surely wondering about this question, I am asking it here though: Why is 1+1=2? Why is our universe build up like in that way, that such a formula is always working? (I know the ...
aprogrammer's user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
625 views

The meaning of life [closed]

What's the purpose of our existence? :) Religions say that without the made-up gods humans have no purpose to live. Is meeting your maker the ultimate reason to live?
Alex's user avatar
  • 105
35 votes
12 answers
2k views

How can one differentiate nonexistent entities?

How is it possible for things that do not exist to not be the same? How can one differentiate nonexistent entities? How can I know the difference between ghosts and werewolves if neither exist?
Niklas Rosencrantz's user avatar
29 votes
15 answers
19k views

Being alive today: the most improbable coincidence?

Think about it; modern humans have been around for at least a couple hundred thousand years. Yet, your mind, your soul, your very awareness, happens to be "alive" today. If time is a flow, moving ...
R_K's user avatar
  • 407
15 votes
15 answers
2k views

Can we know that something exists even if we can't explain or define it?

Can a person know that something like "free will" must exist even though an exact definition in words, using language, cannot be provided, and in the absence of a complete theory that ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 5,369
15 votes
14 answers
2k views

Why do things have a front and a back?

This question was asked by my three year old niece and I couldn't think of a good answer.
Ronan Cremin's user avatar
12 votes
16 answers
8k views

Can we logically prove that anything exists?

Suppose I want to prove that negative numbers exist. Well, I could easily do that using a mathematical proof. However, all I would be doing is adding another logical object to a list of known logical ...
user34467's user avatar
  • 121
10 votes
2 answers
10k views

How well did Aristotle feel his belief in the eternity of the universe was established?

In the Middle Ages, Aristotle's belief that the world was eternal posed a major theological challenge for the many people who held a religious belief in Creation. Moses Maimonides, in his Guide for ...
Yirmeyahu's user avatar
  • 313
10 votes
4 answers
2k 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?
Hal's user avatar
  • 1,230
9 votes
2 answers
212 views

Does fictional discourse pose special difficulties for logic?

Natural language is context-dependent, like the statement “My uncle is a plumber”, which is true or false depending on who asserts it. There has been lots of discussion about fictional entities and ...
viuser's user avatar
  • 4,831
8 votes
4 answers
52k views

What is objective morality?

It has been argued by some that God is a necessary and sufficient condition for objective morality. I can't accept this, because I don't even know what the analysis of moral objectivity is. It seems ...
user7348's user avatar
  • 241
8 votes
7 answers
790 views

Unperceived Existence

My daughter is at university reading neuroscience. One of her modules this year is philosophy and she is struggling with this question. "Do we infer the unperceived existence of what we perceive ...
Owen Brookes's user avatar
8 votes
10 answers
2k views

Can existence be justified as ‘better’ than non-existence?

I’m relatively new to philosophy. Been doing some soul-searching, and asked myself ‘is good empirically better than evil’. Found a thread on here, where people pointed out that science cannot really ...
Reefkeeper27's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
28k views

What is the meaning of "predicate" in this definition?

I have trouble understanding the article on existence in this Philosophy dictionary. Instantiation in reality, or actual being. Kant pointed out that existence is not a predicate. What is the ...
saber tabatabaee yazdi's user avatar
7 votes
8 answers
9k views

Consciousness without thoughts or feelings?

I have noticed that I can sit in a room around people and be consciously aware ... but have no thoughts at all. People often say that your "mind is always thinking", but I can literally stare at a ...
user8787's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
628 views

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 ...
nir's user avatar
  • 4,836
6 votes
3 answers
354 views

How to denote the idea of nothingness in formal terms?

I was thinking about the question "Why is there something rather than nothing?" , and have read about some theories that existence is the case because non-existence is logically impossible So, I ...
SmootQ's user avatar
  • 2,419
6 votes
13 answers
5k views

Is reincarnation inevitable?

My reasoning: Suppose the universe is infinite in spacetime (both space and time have no bounds). In this spacetime, a cyclic appearance of particles occurs (cyclic big bangs). When I'm alive I ...
user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
646 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 ...
user132181's user avatar
  • 1,108
6 votes
2 answers
446 views

Existence vs tertium non datur

This is my first question here, sorry if it turns out to be a duplicate. Mathematical constructivism states that contradicting the non-existence of something won't imply its existence. Does it mean ...
András Hummer's user avatar