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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
56k views

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
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
30 votes
19 answers
9k views

Is Alzheimer’s disease evidence for the non-existence of the soul?

As Alzheimer's disease kills off neurons, a person's personality and cognitive abilities gradually fade away. Doesn't this suggest that the self or "soul" is simply an emergent property of ...
Mathematician prime'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
28 votes
12 answers
5k views

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 ...
yters's user avatar
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23 votes
14 answers
6k views

Is willful ignorance about one's own mortality escapism?

I don't mean if someone is dying of cancer and they refuse treatment or something -- I'm saying if a healthy person who is unhappy obsessing over his own inevitable death one day chooses to ignore ...
sangstar's user avatar
  • 987
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
18 votes
17 answers
19k views

If you place a pencil in an opaque box and close the box, does the pencil exist? [closed]

I’m trying to explain to my friends about things existing. I gave them this question: if you place a pencil in an opaque box and close the box, does the pencil exist? They say yes and I ask how do ...
Xavier Moody-Wusik's user avatar
17 votes
5 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
  • 307
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 ...
user avatar
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
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
  • 7,399
14 votes
7 answers
3k views

What does "everything" mean?

For starter, I'm not a student in philosophy, but mathematics. I only have a general knowledge in logic and set theory, all in the context of mathematics. My question comes from a doubt I got while ...
Alessandro Nanto's user avatar
14 votes
4 answers
2k views

Proving that man is not born with certain skills?

I was arguing with my father about the nature of the human mind. I believe that a man is not born with a predetermined skill, such as painter or composer, and that through hard work and dedication, a ...
bitmoe's user avatar
  • 241
13 votes
7 answers
4k views

Could it be possible that the universe doesn't exist?

Could it be possible that the universe doesn't exist? That nothing exists, not even you or me? And by not existing, I mean totally not existing, as in not even existing as a computer simulation, or a ...
just a lil kid'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
12 votes
5 answers
3k views

Is faith just a consolation for the common folk?

In reading Dostoevsky, I stumbled upon the perplexing question of faith being a mere consolation. And in spite of considering myself a believer, I still agree to this statement to a certain extent. ...
dreamerinavoid's user avatar
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
  • 351
11 votes
6 answers
2k views

Why isn't existence a predicate?

According to SEP There are two sets of reasons for denying that existence is a property of individuals. The first is Hume and Kant's puzzlement over what existence would add to an object. What is ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
11 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
  • 323
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
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
4 answers
2k views

Does Dissociative ego disorder challenge Descartes‘ „cogito-argument“?

In the 17th century Descartes set out for a new start in philosophy. Applying the method of systematic doubt he searched for a philosophical statement whose truth stands firm and cannot be questioned ...
Jo Wehler's user avatar
  • 34.7k
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
9 votes
2 answers
215 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
  • 4,841
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
8 votes
10 answers
4k views

What is the point of Human Existence?

I have no experience in formal philosophy, so I apologise for the crudeness and generalism of everything I say here. The Issue-: Every time I try to motivate myself by logically connecting the ...
NithilanRavikumar'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
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
1 answer
910 views

Looking for a specific joke about arguments for Meinongianism

I remember reading a book (or a paper) some time ago, that had a line somewhat like this: There are good arguments for Meinongianism. They just don't exist. Now, I find this very funny and find ...
snofelet's user avatar
  • 113
8 votes
7 answers
810 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
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
8 votes
8 answers
408 views

Is there a difference between things that can't be interacted with and things that don't exist?

Suppose there is a magical kingdom that is hidden somewhere over the rainbow and can never be reached by anything, most people would say that such a place might as well not exist. However, the same ...
user289661's user avatar
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
  • 81
7 votes
7 answers
3k views

Should X, if there’s no evidence for X, be given a non zero probability?

There may be no evidence that a fairy is sitting on a table. Many argue that one cannot prove a fairy doesn’t exist. Thus, many decide to attach an (infinitesimal) probability to it existing, as many ...
user avatar
7 votes
8 answers
2k views

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?
Matas Vaitkevicius'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
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
5 answers
3k views

How to disprove "I'm entitled to my opinion"

Background There is an article in The Conversation that attempts to disprove the notion that people are "entitled to their opinions." That is, people have a right to believe whatever they ...
Daniel's user avatar
  • 173
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
7 votes
9 answers
1k views

How does being come into being? How does existence come into existence?

So, the universe was created by the big bang. And the big bang was created by some stringy things, or branes or whatever. But what created those strings? And what created the thing that created them? ...
dtech's user avatar
  • 230
7 votes
1 answer
7k views

Quine's "to be is to be the value of a bound variable"

Quine's definition "to be is to be the value of a bound variable" seems uncontroversial and in fact quite natural as it's compatible with modern approaches to the semantics of natural language. My ...
Atamiri's user avatar
  • 475
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the logical structure of this argument by a Hindu philosopher about causation?

The Khandana Khanda Khadya is a work by the 12th century Hindu philosopher Sri Harsha which in some sense sets out to disprove epistemology - it seeks to show that all putative means of knowledge, ...
Keshav Srinivasan's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
317 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 ...
Aleksei Averchenko's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
638 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
  • 4,997
6 votes
10 answers
3k views

How does a thought imply there is a thinker in "I think therefore I am"?

How does Descartes say a thought necessarily means there is a thinker? In my opinion, "I think therefore I am" is egocentric because could really stem from an illusion of the thoughts ...
Guillaume Derex's user avatar
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
5 answers
1k views

Does the concept of existence entail the concept of death?

Does the concept of existence entail the concept of death? I am asking this because many philosophers have tried to prove the existence of god (Descartes through the Meditations) by saying that he ...
Elizabeth's user avatar
  • 163
6 votes
6 answers
791 views

Question Regarding Holes

What even are holes? Are they something or nothing? Do they even exist? Sure, you might think me saying that holes do not exist is idiotic but think about it. The existence of holes doesn't make sense ...
Kamran Noor's user avatar
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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