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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In the following is Hobbes paraphrasing Aristotle?

In Hobbes Leviathan, chapter II: The imagination he writes: That when a thing lies still, unless somewhat else stirs it, it will lie still forever, is a truth no man doubts of. But that when a thing ...
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Can mathematics actually define 'one'?

Is there is difference between being singular and first? It appears to me that there is - though both notions can be described by the figure of '1'. Here what I mean by singular - it has no ...
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Who else besides Spinoza has described how to resolve Descartes separation of thought and matter?

Descarte famously divided thought from matter and placed them in separate realms. Spinoza put them together by placing them within God as the two modes - thought and extension - that are visible to ...
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What is the evidence that subjectivity is objectifiable?

Ray Brassier, a British Philosopher in this interview says: My claim is not that science has succeeded in explaining consciousness, but only that considerable progress has been made, and that the ...
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Is there an influence of Buddhist thought in Leibniz's Monadology?

In his Monadology Leibniz writes: each portion of matter can be conceived as like a garden full of plants, or like a pond full of fish. But each branch of a plant, each organ of an animal, each ...
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Is the anthropic principle in physics falsifiable?

The Anthropic Principle states that the fundamental physics of the universe must allow the possibility of conscious life in the universe - as that is an observable fact. It's often qualified as ...
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What is Ontological Commitment?

What is Ontological Commitment? I can infer some understanding from its usage in philosophical texts, but I would like to have a definitive answer to be able to confidently use the notion on my own. ...
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Aristotle on the actuality of the soul - problem understanding 'de anima'

In Aristotle's de anima passage 413a - 5 it is said that the actuality of some parts of the soul is the actuality of the parts of the body This is supposed to argue that soul is not separable ...
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Can a principle of continuity underlie the adage 'nothing from nothing'?

In physical terms, continuity refers to smooth change of something through time. To go from nothing to something surely is a non-smooth event, a discontinuous change. So if continuity is to be ...
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Can one ask for more than they deserve?

I would appreciate if answers can cite the individuals or religious-paradigm that derive the answer. The concept of being 'deserving' suggested an availability, if not a right, to something. '...
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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 are the most basic assumptions one has to make in order to conduct science?

I often wondered: What are the most basic assumptions I have to make before I can even start thinking about life, universe and the rest? So far I have boiled them down to three: There is a world, a ...
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what was Plato's view on noumenon?

The relation between objects in the world is established by pure concepts existing a-priori: 1) These concepts belong to a world of absolute concepts away from the mind - Plato 2) These concepts ...
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Can there be an infinite chain of causes/effects? [duplicate]

One of Aristotle's premises for proving that God exists is that there cannot be an infinite chain of causes and effects, hence there must be one cause which had no previous cause (i.e. God). Does ...
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For the modal realist, do possible individuals (and worlds) exist necessarily?

For David Lewis's Modal Realism, do the worlds and individuals that inhabit them exist necessarily? In a sense, the answer is "no". For an individual to exist necessarily would be for it to have a ...
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Is discreteness an emergent property?

The Riemann zeta function is a continuous function which encodes the properties of the primes; string theory, a proposed theory of particles, considers continuous objects; through QM discreetness of ...
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Are there mathematical properties a mathematical object might have only contingently?

It is generally assumed that mathematics is necessary, such that any mathematical theorem is necessarily true. This can be read as a de dicto necessity such that for any mathematical proposition p, []...
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What is the difference between an Ordinal number and a Cardinal number?

I'm trying to understand the real difference between an Ordinal and a Cardinal, especially in relation with transfinite cardinals. The stuff on Wiki is a bit too complicated. Can anyone make it simple ...
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Is Scruton correct in characterising the Transcendental World of Kants?

Scruton in his Sexual Desire, a philosophical investigation says we must distinguish the world of human experience from the world of scientific observation. In the first we exist as agents, taking ...
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Can sheaf-theory help interpret Quantum Mechanics?

The Copenhagen interpretation posits a boundary in the World between the observer and the non-observer (that is the rest of the World). There is knowledge (Observables measured) associated with each ...
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Has there been any success in using modal logic to interpret Quantum Mechanics?

Quantum Mechanics rather famously has problems in interpretation - straightforward realism doesn't appear to work. Is there any work with modal logic that throws light on this question? The SEP has ...
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Modal Logic: a question concerning accessibility

I’m reading a lot about modal logic lately, right now Lewis “On the Plurality of Worlds” and Priests “Introduction to Non-classical Logics”. It is postulated that the different worlds have nothing to ...
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Is there a One True Set Theory?

From the description of Category Theory in nlab: Category theory is a structural approach to mathematics that can (through such methods as Lawvere's ETCS) provide foundations of mathematics and (...
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Is the mathematical notion of a “standard model” a metaphysical or a (purely) epistemic distinction?

When doing mathematics and providing models that satisfy a given theory, we differentiate between standard and non-standard models. Now, assume you are a platonist and believe that the objects ...
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What is the difference between “discordia concors” (harmonious discord) and “concordia discors” (discordant harmony)?

I am reading some literature on Shakespeare, and the critic has referred to marriage as a concordia discors, "a discordant harmony". In a footnote, she states: I use "concordia discors" throughout ...
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Can Arithmetic recreate the transfinite hierarchy of Set Theory?

Can arithmatic when codified by the first-order Peano Axioms recreate the transfinite (cardinal) hierarchy of Set Theory (ZFC)? I suspect not, simply because we have no formal means of creating a set ...
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Is Parmenides a Dualist?

It's commonly understood that Parmenides denied the reality of change. That the world we perceive is an illusion. But is Parmenides better understood as the SEP indicates: Both Plato and ...
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Is there any evidence that any philosophers in Antiquity viewed space itself as a something?

In Lucretious poem De Natura, he has They [atoms] move through the void In contemporary usage a vacuum is the the removal of all matter from space, it stems from Latin adjective vacuus for empty or ...
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Are Douglas Hofstadter's views on consciousness taken seriously by philosophers?

I'm reading "Godel, Escher, Bach", and Hofstadter's idea that consciousness emerges out of strange loops born out of experience. Now, I know nothing about the philosophy of consciousness at all. But ...
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Why do Deleuze and Guattari turn the Id into an It?

In the opening chapter "Desiring Machines" of Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus (the first volume of Capitalism & Schizophrenia) the authors write: It is at work everywhere, functioning ...
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What was the impact of the discovery of non-euclidean geometry on Kantian thought?

This is mainly a historical question. In Gary Hatfields introduction to Kants Prologomena, he says: After the discovery of non-Euclidean geometry, Kant’s claims for the synthetic a priori status of ...
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Is Kant the first Western philosopher to distinguish between representation and reality?

My limited understanding of Kant is that he distinguishes between noumena 'things in themselves' from mental representations of them as intuition. Is he the first Western philosopher to make this ...
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What would a quantum interpretation without ontology be like?

Luboš Motl keeps insisting quantum mechanics invalidates ontology, and has made ontology obsolete, just like phlogiston. What would metaphysics without ontology look like, where words like "existence" ...
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What is the Difference between a Non-Existent Object and an Abstract Object?

Meinongianism Claim: Existence is a property that some objects possess and some don't; there "are" non-actual or non-existent objects (such as Santa Clause, possible worlds, and perhaps even ...
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Can anything truly be simultaneous?

I was looking at a discussion about simultaneous causation and something that came up was that all physical processes take time. So nothing can truly be simultaneous. And yet, we have philosophers ...
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Does modal realism dispense with Occams razor or embodies it?

Modal realism posits the reality of all logically possible worlds. This seems to radically dispense with Occams razor by allowing the reality of all logically feasible explanations. But on reflection ...
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Does going from a singular to existential statement make it non-scientific for Popper?

In "The Logic of Scientific Discovery" (section 15) Popper argues that an 'isolated' (a term he introduced in the English translation, which seems to be used in a very vague way) purely existential ...
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devolving or self-limiting omnipotence

A being that is omnipotent should have within its own scope of power possess the ability to deprive self of this omnipotence; limit own power, either permanently or for a time; alternatively to ...
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Is 'Transcendental' originally a philosophical concept or a theological one?

I had understood 'transcendental' to be religiously inspired terminology and in fact exclusively so, so it came as a surprise to me that it had a philosophical side to it - as a term it was introduced ...
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What is multiplicity for Deleuze?

The SEP explains in its introduction to Deleuze that "Deleuze conceived of philosophy as the production of concepts, and he characterized himself as a “pure metaphysician.” In his magnum opus ...
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Enlightenment and Creation. Your analysis? [closed]

For all the eastern philosophies and many other religions, the goal of life is enlightenment, which means insight or awakening to the true nature of reality. Would it not have been easier to not ...
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Does physicalism *prove* that the universe is self-subsistent?

I've often heard/read people (Hawking, Dawkins etc) making out that Physics or Physicalism proves that there is no God, or no need for one. Yet it seems to me that it's an assumption that is ...
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Why is there a God rather than nothing? [closed]

Theists ask, "Why is there something rather than nothing?" How would they answer the question, "Why is there a God rather than nothing?" Is this a valid objection to theism?
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Is the idea of dividing the universe into particles anything more than a convenience?

In theory, we speak of a particle as having properties. In reality, the measurement of any property is just an interaction between the target to be measured, and the measuring apparatus, where the ...
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Distinction between 'essence','substance', 'being', 'existence' and 'entity'?

They're all important notions in Philosophy. They seem different but are easily mixed up. Substance can mean essence but also existence. Entity seems to be a special being. So my question: What's the ...
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What is the real world, mathematically?

Part and parcel of Plato's Platonic Realism is his theory of Forms or Ideas, which refer to his belief that the material world as it seems to us is not the real world, but only a shadow or a poor copy ...
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What's the difference between “emergence” and “reductionism”?

Isn't a system, which emerged from simpler system also reducible to the simpler system? More general, is emergence the reverse term to reducitionism?
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Platonic Forms and Deleuzian Ideas

After presenting a paper before members of The French Society of Philosophy titled The Method of Dramatisation, Gilles Deleuze was posed a number of questions by those in attendance. The crux of the ...
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What does it mean for a naturalist to claim that forces/actions “exist”?

tl;dr: How can forces (e.g. gravity) be said to "exist" or be true ? I've had this question for so long, I assume it stems from a basic misunderstanding about naturalism or metaphysics, so please set ...
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What is Kant’s strategy to overcome Humean skepticism without having recourse to the metaphysical excesses of rationalism?

I understand that by metaphysical excesses, he meant supernatural entities, such as God, or the soul, to explain things in the phenomenal world. Also, to my understanding, Hume's skepticism boils ...