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 the idea of a causal chain physical (or even scientific)?

I am aware that the idea is venerable, going back through Lucretius to the Stoics and Epicurus, and even to Aristotle with his prime mover argument. But isn't this a pre-scientific notion? The ...
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Why is there something instead of nothing?

A simple but fundamental question. The "something" means the whole Universe (known and unknown), it could be represented as the reality version of the set of all sets, which is itself debated. It ...
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What are the differences between philosophies presupposing one Logic versus many logics?

I was wondering in light of the historical developments of logic since ancient Greeks and well into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: What kind of a philosophy assumes only one Logic, and what ...
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How do defenders of libertarian freewill reconcile it with constraints imposed by the laws of physics?

Libertarian freewill is the position that we have some measure of metaphysical freewill. Per this position, a free agent at a given point in time is able to freely select a course of action among ...
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According to the major theories of concepts, where do meanings come from?

In all our intellectual pursuits, we use concepts like "atoms" for a structure or "ingredients" for a recipe. We all have to use them. For example, consider the concepts 'existence'...
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Does Tegmark's Mathematical Universe hypothesis allow existence of alternative mathematics?

Tegmark's mathematical multiverse hypothesis assumes that all mathematical structures exist as universes But do you know whether his hypothesis also allows/accept universes described by other types ...
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Why am I this particular human being?

Some philosophers dismiss this as a question about a tautology: when Alice asks "Why am I Alice?", this is equivalent to her asking "Why is Alice Alice?", which is not an interesting question. But ...
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How can the physical world be an abstract mathematical structure a la Tegmark?

This is Tegmark's short formulation of the "mathematical universe" (paraphrased by detractors as "reality made of math"), and he goes out of his way to stress that he means the "is" literally:"Whereas ...
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How does one know one is not dreaming?

How does one know one is not dreaming? How could one logically demonstrate to a skeptic that one is "really" there, awake and not just dreaming the entire situation/world around him? Specifically ...
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Is it possible for something to have no cause?

Bertrand Rusell writes in his essay "Why I Am Not A Christian": There is no reason why the world could not have come into being without a cause; [...] Warren Rachelle, however, states in his ...
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What counters are there to Spinoza's argument that acts of free will create infinite regress?

My 16-to-21-year-old self was very preoccupied with free will. When I was 21 years old I rejected the notion as ill-defined as both my reason and my inner experience told me that my will was caused ...
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Math Universe Hypothesis

Can someone please explain in simpler terms what does this:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematical_universe_hypothesis, mean? Does this mean tegmark says for example: humans have corresponding math ...
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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'...
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Philosophy - Does the block universe theory of time mean that life will repeat after death?

I have suffered severe anxiety, sadness, regret, and depression since I was 13, I had 2 trapped-feeling panic attacks when I was 13 I am now 17 and fighting off frequent urges to have a trapped-...
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Does True Randomness actually exist? [duplicate]

I tend to think of randomness as a lack of complete information when it comes to knowing something. If we look at the history of probability theory it centers on a lack of knowing the exact outcome of ...
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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 ...
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What do necessity and possibility mean in Aquinas' Third Way argument for the existence of God?

In his famous Summa Theologica, the Scholastic theologian Thomas Aquinas presents Five Ways to demonstrate the existence of God. Here is Aquinas' Third Way, the argument from contigency: The third ...
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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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Are arguments based on conceivability refuted by ideas from fantasy and sci-fi?

There are several arguments in metaphysics which are based on "conceivability": The ontological argument for God's existence. Hilary Putnam's Twin Earth argument for semantic externalism (the idea ...
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How would you know if nonobservable entities exist?

Nonphysical entities cannot be observed. Therefore such entities cannot be verified by observation. How could statements like "God exists" be even considered true? Why would anyone appeal to the ...
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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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Does compatibilism imply that a chess program has free will?

I am puzzled by compatibilism and am trying to understand what it means using a test example. Given that a typical chess program generates several choices, evaluates them with a goal of winning and ...
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Does causality always require time?

For empirical facts, it seems obvious that causality requires a time flow for the concept to make sense: A causes B implies that A happened before B. Is it ever possible to have a causal ...
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Can we know the fundamental nature of space and time?

Can you please point me to an argument by a notable contemporary philosopher arguing why we may know the fundamental (metaphysical) nature of space and time? In a recent answer to a question I wrote ...
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How does Quine answer the metaphysician's charge that scientism is self-refuting?

General scientism seems to hold that due to the predictive powers of our scientific methods, such methods are preferred to other methods of knowledge, such as metaphysics (radical scientism claiming ...
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What's the "opposite" of emergence?

What do you call the phenomena that occurs when smaller entities are observed to have properties the wider whole do not have, properties or behaviors which emerge only when only the constituents are ...
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Why is there only one Categorical Imperative?

I am currently reading Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. In section 2, he says: There is therefore only a single categorical imperative, and it is this: act only according to that ...
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Fundamental idea on proving God's existence with science

I think that proving God's existence or any deity from any culture with the rigors of science is fundamentally absurd. The popular arguments usually involve space-time and the big bang theory. (I ...
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How can something non-physical exist?

One sees arguments for the existence of non-physical entities such as God, qualia, Plato's forms, objective ethical truths, etc... But what does it mean for something non-physical to exist? It ...
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Is the simulation hypothesis outside of science?

On the question of the simulation hypothesis (i.e. that reality is a simulation), a friend of mine once remarked he didn't accept it on the grounds of Ockham's razor. To me (with my admittedly ...
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Is there a cogent argument against the principle of sufficient reason?

As far as I can see, there are no significant arguments against the principle that all events have a cause, which is to say the principle of sufficient reason. (It's important to note that the ...
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Should multiverse theories be rebranded as meta physics?

I answered a question here with a quote with the following quote from Cosmologist George Ellis. “Similar claims [about a multiverse] have been made since antiquity by many cultures. What is new is ...
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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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What are some real-life applications of metaphysics?

Metaphysics seems to be a field that is almost purely abstract. However, I am also interested in knowing how metaphysics has impacted the real world, if at all.
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How can Hegel call philosophy a science?

At the tail end of Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason Gardner discusses Kant's influence on his successors. He claims---and I'm paraphrasing here---Hegel wanted his metaphysics to be scientific, i.e....
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Are there philosophers who examined the reasons for believing in the existence of other people?

While I am familiar with Descartes and the oft-quoted idea, I think therefore I am, I am not familiar with any philosophy that actively sought to rationalize that anybody else exists. Are there ...
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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 ...
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What do philosophers make of intractable metaphysical controversies?

In philosophy metaphysical debates are quite popular - all the "-ism"s are fighting one another. And many give good insights for every side of every debate. This seems like it can't be stopped, ever, ...
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How does Kant justify the introduction of the noumenon?

Kant introduces the notion of the noumenon in his critical philosophy; he also later demonstrates in his system that solipsism isn't possible. Is the introduction of the noumenon essential to this ...
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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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Can a non-falsifiable belief ever be justified (besides for tautologies)?

Probably thanks to Popper, a scientific theory would never be taken seriously if it wasn't as least in some way falsifiable. Without getting into the nitty-gritty of the many theories of justification,...
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What is the practical use of philosophy? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How is philosophy useful? Examining the practical, impactful, real-life benefits of getting a degree in philosophy What is the practical use of philosophy? How could ...
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Can knowledge exist without structure?

For reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/knowledge-analysis/ https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/knowledge-how/ https://plato.stanford.edu/...
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What's so speculative in rationalists metaphysics?

From Loux's: Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction. The metaphysical theories of the rationalists, by contrast, were anything but conservative. In their hands, metaphysics results in ...
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What would happen to the soul as the form of the body, according to scholastics, under massive changes to the body?

Aristotle (and later the Scholastics) considered the soul to be the form of the body. But back then, though many changes of the living body could obviously be observed (considered to be “accidental ...
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What is the difference between metaphysics and ontology?

I know that ontology is a sub-field of metaphysics. But I can't see the difference between them. I mean ontology is defined as "The study of being and existence", and metaphysics is defined as "...
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Why does the universe obey scientific laws?

As far as anyone is aware, the universe consistently acts according to predictable laws (and scientific inquiry exists to determine those laws). Is there any metaphysical reason for this? Is such a ...
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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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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 ...
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What are some criticisms of Epicurus' "death is nothing to us"?

Epicurus famously asserted that death should not be feared, with roughly the following argument: When we die, we no longer exist; Since we no longer exist, we can feel neither pain nor pleasure. ...

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