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Questions tagged [metaphysics]

Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the essence of things, of the fundamental nature of being and the world and the principles that organize the universe. Metaphysics is supposed to answer the question "What is the nature of reality?"

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Is Deductive Reasoning Alien to the Material World?

A quick survey of literature: Goel V. Anatomy of deductive reasoning. Trends Cogn Sci. 2007 Oct https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2685028/ García-Madruga JA, Gutiérrez F, ...
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If we are all just condemned to death, then why should we still live?

This maybe just a question thought while drinking a coffee at a balcony. But it caught me defenseless. Just as how it caught those who committed suicide. With all our efforts to find meaning in life, ...
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Is everything that exists an actual entity?

My professor asked us to think about this question as we go through the unit but I am not sure what the question means. I would greatly appreciate could help me understand the question or give me a ...
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What exactly is the 'potential' that is actualized in Aristotelian metaphysics?

From my understanding, Aristotelian metaphysics uses the concepts of potentiality and actuality to explain change. Since being cannot come from non-being, when change occurs a potential is simply ...
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Why does soul stay separate from the body?

In Plato's Phaedo, Socrates established that death is the separation of soul and body. But he did not give any clue for this separation. What are the factors that lead to this separation? Physical ...
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Why could Wittgenstein say that men had an idea for the law of least action?

Wittgenstein says in the Tractatus: 6.3211 Men had indeed an idea that there must be a 'law of least action', before they knew exactly how it ran. (Here, as always, what is certain a priori proves ...
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Does ontology study “being qua being”?

May I say that ontology studies "being qua being", while the sciences study "entity qua entity" ? I ask this because I don't understand how ontology could study the "entity qua entity", taking into ...
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Explaining the Termination Risk of Simulation Technologies

There is a recent article in Erkenntnis that discusses termination risks related to the simulation hypothesis [1]. That is, if we are living in a computer simulation, are there risks that might ...
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Cyclical Argument in Plato's Phaedo

Can anybody tell me in simple words the major objections to the Cyclical Argument in Plato's Phaedo ?
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Have I contradicted the “law” non-contradiction?

In the 2nd half of the 20th century the American mathematician Haskell Curry and logician William Alvin Howard discovered an analogy between logical proofs and working computer programs. This is known ...
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Time travel and changing the past

Many philosophers argue that time travel is possible without causally affecting the past? Is it even possible to time travel without causally affecting the past. The grandfather paradox is an ...
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Does the adjective “physical” apply only to worlds that obey the laws of physics? [duplicate]

Note: My question assumes a conceptual distinction between minds and the external world, regardless of whether they're actually two different kinds of substances. There seems to be widespread ...
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What would a hypothetical world of continuous matter look like? [closed]

Suppose, instead of molecules and atoms existing, there was only prime matter and types of prime matter. So there would be steel type of prime matter, flesh type of prime matter, etc.... How would ...
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Are there any strong arguments for ideas that cannot be defined by humans? [closed]

I feel like there are no concepts we cannot define, theoretically at least. Is there any argument suggesting the exact opposite? How strong is that argument?
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Would philosophy still exist if there was no life? [closed]

Would philosophy still exist without life? For example, for us humans, philosophy answers big questions and sort of governs society. But is philosophy something that would exist without life? On this ...
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Examples for necessary existence and necessary properties according to current metaphysics?

According to the survey article by Inwagen and Sullivan on metaphysics one subject of contemporary metaphysics are questions on modality. The authors explain „necessity de re“ as the necessary ...
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Is there any philosophy that associates the absolute truth with monism?

I never know what people mean by absolute truth, it sounds like they're referring to a truth above all truths, but there are many truths. So I was wondering if there were a lot of philosophy that ...
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How can we create problems out of nothing (our imagination)? [closed]

How can we create problems out of nothing (our imagination) ? Example 0: The absolute truth is that "I know that I don't know". True or false Example 1: A cat has 20 legs , after walking 10 km it ...
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How can we argue for the uniqueness of a God-like entity?

(I have in mind here, something similar to "uniqueness" proofs in math. I think if we want to name something, we should show both that it exists and is unique.) (By "divine attributes", I mean ...
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How do I keep up with the latest in the cutting edge of philosophy? [duplicate]

I always viewed philosophy to be dead after the arrival of modern science. The last great philosopher in metaphysics was Kant, I believe the others who followed him were made irrelevant by the ...
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Which contemporary philosophers are idealists?

I mean idealism, in that all is mind, as opposed to physicalism. I imagine that they would be more in the continental tradition than the anglo-american analytic tradition.
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Is metaphysical necessity an unambiguous concept, and if so, how do we capture it?

In Nature of Necessity (1974), Plantinga writes: The distinction between necessary and contingent truth is as easy to recognize as it is difficult to explain to the sceptic's satisfaction. ...we ...
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Frustration in studying philosophy

I have a question about why philosophers seem to disagree on virtually everything. I have been reading up on philosophy since I was 16 (now 19) with the goal of finding an end solution to the ...
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Why do the professional mathematicians believe blindly in so meaningless concepts as Infinity? [closed]

To refute such a concept as Infinity (or many infinities) in mathematics doesn't at all require all that big efforts mainly from its own definition in mathematics. To explain this very simple fiction ...
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How is the nature of logical principles commonly defined in contemporary philosophy?

In contemporary philosophy, how exactly is the nature of logical principles defined? For example, the way I've commonly seen logical principles construed are as true propositions which described the ...
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Why are minds not considered part of the external environment?

I will try to be as specific as possible here: philosophers of mind often specify two levels of existence and/or explanation, the mental and the physical, even if they don't subscribe to dualism. ...
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What does Pirsig mean by “Quality”?

I just finished reading Robert M. Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which I understand to be a popular-yet-important book for those looking to enter the realm of philosophical ...
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Why must we choose an intuitionistic explanation over a paraconsistent one, given they are dual?

Given the anti-intuitive results of Quantum Mechanics, it is not surprising that Physicists would look for a deeper reason in the structure of the theory to explain what was then (and still is) ...
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Is it possible to a define human being without reference to metaphysical hypotheses?

Is it possible to define a human being without implying any sort of metaphysical hypothesis? It seems to me that every statement one can make to define a human being must necessarily imply some ...
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Are there any strong reasons to still consider logical monism or a “One True Logic” in light of all the non-classical logics that have been developed?

I know there has always been some debate concerning whether or not a certain logical system (like classical logic) is the correct one, especially when it comes to propositional claims about the ...
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Can time exist without change?

Imagine an event of one second in length, like two hands clapping. Suppose that another interval of time elapses between the clap, a period in which nothing happens in the whole universe (or in all ...
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About the advantages of the propensity perspective on probability

I am wandering what are the advantages of the propensity perspective on probability. Why would it be better to explain probability in physics? Except for the fact that it solves various problems of ...
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5answers
518 views

Is anything real?

What if everything were fake? We are not real. We are all figments of the imagination of a single person's mind generating all the countless different minds with different worlds and different ...
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3answers
3k views

Can something exist without energy?

Einstein showed that energy is matter; for something to exist in a physical sense it must be incarnated as matter. So on the face of it - it seems that the answer should be no. However what about ...
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Why must the first mover be unmovable?

In the first way of Aquinas it is proved that there exists an unmoved mover (or unchanged changer or even better, actualizer which was not actualized). It is often claimed that God is pure act without ...
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Can potentiality be used to dispel Parmenides's monism?

Can we say that beings are different precisely because this being has this potencies and that being has that potencies? Is the (only) thing differentiating two different things their set of potencies? ...
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Apart from nurture, nature and grace is there another ingredient from which humans are made?

Some think we are, say, 70% formed by nurture and 30% nature and since together these make 100% that together they represent the totality of that from which we are formed. Others might argue for ...
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145 views

What do theologians study about? [closed]

I have never seen a word which is as ill defined as the word "God". Consider a group of 10 people, if we ask them what do they mean by God.I am certain all of them will have different definitions. Yet ...
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Does infinity exist in the real world,other than just in mathmatics?

My question is: Does infinity, i.e. infinite numbers,like omega,aleph-null,exists in the real world or just exist in the mathematical theory? For example,if time has no start point,is there a world ...
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Does Reality change when theory change?

I was going to include a caveat to prove a premise: to show that truth has become more subjective and then proceeding from older to newer theories of truth, I would cite a survey showing how ...
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If the universe doesn't exist, can mind still exist?

Nowadays so many cosmologists predict the death of the universe. If someday the universe dies, totally goes into nothingness, will the mind still exist? If mind is some kind of substance, but not ...
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Could reality be a projection of another reality?

I'm new to metaphysics. So, I apologize if this is an established question. I've been asking the question, could reality be a projection of another reality? In geometry, you can project a three ...
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How have philosophers tried to argue for qualia?

What is the difference between the intuition that there is something it is like, qualitative experience, and faith in it? Is it possible to convince someone who doesn't believe there is something it ...
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1answer
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A problem with Modal Logic (necessary truths)

I have this problem with Modal Logic that I am not sure I see which propositions in this logic are necessary besides tautological propositions. I mean metaphysically, something is necessary if it's ...
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What are the best arguments for the defense of the “principle of motion”?

How would someone (I would love to hear how Aquinas and/or Aristotle would) defend the principle of motion (that is, whatever is changed is changed by another or only actual being can actualize ...
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Grandfather Paradox and Can vs Cannot

Varanas and Vihvelin provide responses to David Lewis' 'Can vs Cannot' discussion. Have there been any appropriate counterresponses to these?
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1answer
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John Earman and Time Travel

Time travel and grandfather paradox: Earman suggests in his 1995 paper that physical possibility should be considered similarly with the laws of nature (i.e. logical possibility). Does this mean that ...
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2answers
362 views

Book on Meinong's theory of objects

Could anyone please recommend a book to begin to learn about Meinong's theory of objects and "Meinong's Jungle". I thought a good one might be "Meinong's Theory of Objects and Values" by Findlay (1963)...
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Grounding without fundamental relations

Philosophers from Leibniz to John Heil have proposed the reduction/elimination of relations to non-relational features of their relata; essentially, they seek to formulate an ontology which does not ...
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Is Benatar's “asymmetry of pleasure and pain” wrong?

I’ve some doubts regarding the epistyle of David Benatar's thought, the “asymmetry of pleasure and pain”. In Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence he writes that: Both good ...