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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 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 ...
Willie Betmore's user avatar
3 votes
4 answers
588 views

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'...
enrijaja's user avatar
14 votes
6 answers
9k views

Is the idea that "Everything is energy" even coherent?

There are many New Age websites claiming Everything is energy. Does this even make sense in philosophy of physics and metaphysics? How can something be "made out of energy"? As far as I ...
ArAj's user avatar
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70 votes
28 answers
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Why is there something instead of nothing?

The "something" means the whole Universe (known and unknown). It would include all the multiverses and such. It could be represented as the “reality” version of the set of all sets, which is ...
Geoffroy CALA's user avatar
21 votes
4 answers
2k views

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 ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

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 ...
L.M. Student's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
741 views

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 ...
Sue K Dccia's user avatar
18 votes
7 answers
2k views

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 ...
Conifold's user avatar
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4 votes
6 answers
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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 ...
Sayaman's user avatar
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21 votes
16 answers
4k views

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 ...
present's user avatar
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14 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
ymar's user avatar
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30 votes
8 answers
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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 ...
eflorico's user avatar
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17 votes
7 answers
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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 ...
Sindyr's user avatar
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11 votes
10 answers
2k views

What makes something mathematics?

Dictionary.com definition of math: (used with a singular verb) the systematic treatment of magnitude, relationships between figures and forms, and relations between quantities expressed symbolically. ...
Tdonut's user avatar
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5 votes
10 answers
780 views

How could Occam's razor possibly be used metaphysically?

Occam's razor, or the law of parsimony, states that the simplest explanation for any given data is most likely the correct one. Some have attempted to use Occam's razor in a metaphysical sense, to ...
Peter E's user avatar
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0 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
john's user avatar
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12 votes
5 answers
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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'...
Eric's user avatar
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10 votes
7 answers
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Strawson on Free Will: What are the most persuasive challenges to his position?

There are arguments against free will and moral responsibility which rely on strict causal determinism and/or determinism modified by quantum randomness. Criticisms of these views raise doubt as to ...
Futilitarian's user avatar
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9 votes
12 answers
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Is non-physicalism reasonable?

My question has two components: Reasonableness. What does it mean for a position to be reasonable? What conditions does a position have to meet to be regarded as reasonable? Physicalism. Wikipedia ...
Mark's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
Sylvester Stallone's user avatar
2 votes
6 answers
4k views

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-...
user202315's user avatar
23 votes
9 answers
27k views

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 ...
Pete1187's user avatar
  • 557
15 votes
8 answers
6k views

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 ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
559 views

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 ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
591 views

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 ...
christo183's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
Keshav Srinivasan's user avatar
4 votes
7 answers
427 views

What is the nature of reality? Metaphysics: so the answer will "explain the essence of things and the principles that organize existence" [closed]

That's the whole question. Per the Stack Exchange -> Philosophy -> Metaphysics Tag Page Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the essence of things, of the fundamental ...
Alistair Riddoch's user avatar
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
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2 votes
3 answers
749 views

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 ...
viuser's user avatar
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22 votes
16 answers
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Is knowledge non-physical?

What is the fundamental nature/ontology of knowledge? Is knowledge a physical state? Is knowledge a specific arrangement of physical particles in a brain, a book, a solid-state drive, a GPU, etc.? Or ...
Mark's user avatar
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19 votes
7 answers
2k views

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 ...
Harshavardhan's user avatar
19 votes
13 answers
12k views

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 ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
15 votes
15 answers
4k views

Is the surprising applicability of mathematics to the physical world a brute fact, or something crying out for a theistic explanation?

William Lane Craig proposed the following argument for God's existence: For those who are unfamiliar with the argument for God from the applicability of mathematics to the physical world, here is a ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 5,399
14 votes
1 answer
774 views

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 ...
Jecko's user avatar
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12 votes
8 answers
6k views

Is watching an amputated limb regrow proof of the supernatural?

A typical challenge skeptics present when confronted with claims of alleged miracles is "why won't God Heal amputees?". But, would that do the job? Consider the following thought experiment: ...
user avatar
9 votes
7 answers
1k views

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 ...
nir's user avatar
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8 votes
7 answers
838 views

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 ...
cortez1403's user avatar
4 votes
6 answers
287 views

What is the thing which evolves?

I felt puzzled when I heard about the "Ship of Theseus paradox". If we change any part, the whole is not the same as before. But evolution needs a small change. So: If A evolves to B., what ...
Shriman Keshri's user avatar
2 votes
7 answers
503 views

The passing of time

Did the passing of time come before everything else? As in, how long was there "nothing"? And if we can put a time on that, wouldn't time itself be something? And if so, is time the thing that "...
Krisuss's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
479 views

Why does the sense of self change between going to sleep and waking up? [closed]

During the day one can become more and more awake because of activities that connect to the higher sense of self, especially hen one is a practitioner of self-realization: meditation, all types of ...
user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
123 views

Relationship between real quantities and numbers [closed]

Is there a definition of the relationship between real quantities and the numbers we relate to them, generally we use 'numbers' as mathematical objects with a 'proper' nouns, but we associate them ...
Confused's user avatar
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35 votes
16 answers
17k views

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 ...
TheLast Cipher's user avatar
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
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15 votes
6 answers
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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 ...
James Tauber's user avatar
15 votes
10 answers
2k views

How much philosophy should a physicist know?

I began to read Hawking's recent book 'A Grand Design' some time ago and noticed that he savages philosophy. He says '...philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
13 votes
10 answers
5k views

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 ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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10 votes
5 answers
2k views

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....
Canyon's user avatar
  • 1,956
9 votes
2 answers
922 views

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 ...
davidlowryduda's user avatar
9 votes
5 answers
7k views

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.
Sydney Maples's user avatar
9 votes
6 answers
2k views

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 ...
Neil Meyer's user avatar
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