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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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5
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2answers
957 views

What does Plato mean by 'opposite' in Phaedo?

In Phaedo, Plato (and this dialogue certainly seems to be platonic and not socratic) argues for the transmigration of the soul, in part with a cyclical argument: Let us consider the question ...
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1answer
140 views

Is there an accepted term for the idea that: “an idea's validity is increased with age”

Is there a field or term which can be used to describe conjecture on the notion that: The validity of an idea is related to the length of time it has been debated. Such a field would concern (or, ...
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2answers
87 views

Is there an accepted term for the idea that: “an idea's validity is increased by the number of proponents”

Is there a field or term which can be used to describe conjecture on the notion that: The validity of an idea is related to the number of proponents/opponents of the idea. Such a field would ...
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1answer
442 views

What caused the turns from monism to dualism in Russell and Chalmers?

Why did Chalmers shift from idealism to dualism? And Russell from materialism to neutral monism? Edit: The particulars of Russell is recounted in A.C. Grayling's 'Russell: A Very Short Introduction' (...
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1answer
3k views

Does everything need to have a cause or purpose? [closed]

Is it possible that something has no purpose or cause? In that life has no purpose or no cause, it just exists. The same with the universe. Or everything has a cause or purpose, it's just we don't ...
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3answers
5k views

What is the modern solution to the mind-body problem for those who still hold the mind is separate?

René Descartes gave us the problem of how the mind interacts with the body in its modern formulation. Essentially, he asked how the incorporeal mind was able to influence the material body. He also ...
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1answer
825 views

Understanding atheistic idealism [closed]

Berkeley holds the world together by saying it is God's idea. But how can we explain the shared world of experience in an atheistic idealism like Schopenhauer's?
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7answers
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The eternal return, as thought experiment: what are the consequences?

Nietsche, as others before and after him (its roots, I am told, are in the West Asian tradition) , espoused the idea of an ever repeating clockwork universe, in which all lives are led over and over; ...
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1answer
270 views

Are there many links from ancient philosophers to quantum mechanics? [closed]

After doing some research on Heraclitus, I noticed that a few of his views are very compatible with quantum mechanics. For example, he is paraphrased as writing: Into the same river we both step ...
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4answers
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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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2answers
476 views

Did Aristotle know about non-empirical science?

In Aristotles' Metaphysics the following can be read: Met. I 981a: […] αποβαίνει δ` ἐπιστήμη καὶ τέχνη διὰ τῆς ἐμπειρίας τοῖς ἀνθρώποις. […] but really science and art come to men through ...
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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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482 views

Why is left and right different from up and down? [closed]

If you put a banner in front of a mirror, it flips the left-right axis, but not the down-up axis. Why don't all directions have equal merit in the universe? How does this relate to the time dimension -...
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7answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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Does complexity generate more complexity in nature? [closed]

I'm a computer programmer. There is one thing that I've noticed now for some time, and it has obsessed my mind. Does complexity generate more complexity naturally? To understand the example better, ...
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8answers
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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 ...
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4answers
467 views

Are there borderline cases of existence?

Metaphysical/ontological vagueness, classically understood, can be summed up as the problem of borderline cases of some thing x. Clouds are the standard examples of vague objects. If posit that our ...
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4answers
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How can being able to conceive of something “perfect” imply its existence?

In this question and reading about the ontological argument elsewhere I have discovered that there is (and has been) a lot of discussion about it, and that it was taken very seriously. Can someone ...
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4answers
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How can we have a 'natural existence' for complex numbers? [closed]

For those who don't know what a complex number is, in simple terms, a complex number is the square root of a negative number! For example, the square root of -1 is called a complex number. Those ...
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9answers
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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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1answer
120 views

Do Traditionalists still exist? [closed]

I was wondering if the philosophy of Traditionalism (a la Rene Guenon and followers) still had followers and thinkers writing? If so, who?
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1answer
477 views

Who were Borges's main philosophical influences?

Having read a bit of Borges's poetry, I know that Borges read and admired Spinoza. Having listened to his Harvard lectures about poetry, I know that he had sort of passing acquaintance with some ...
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3answers
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What is a mathematical representation of the physical world?

Possible Duplicate: Was mathematics invented or discovered? To be more precise, does mathematics describe the physical world or does it describe a mental representation of the physical world? If ...
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4answers
371 views

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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6answers
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What are the philosophical implications of The Second Law of thermodynamics?

The Second Law of thermodynamics states that "The entropy of a closed system cannot decrease over time." What are the philosophical implications of this statement, especially wrt to theology and ...
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1answer
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How to characterize Kant's usage of the term “noumena”?

Wikipedia gives an explanation of Kant's usage of the term noumena, part of which reads as follows: By Kant's account, when we employ a concept to describe or categorize noumena (the objects of ...
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1answer
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Representation versus cartography in Deleuze and Guattari?

Can someone help me contextualize and concretize the theme of representation (what they sometimes call "tracing") versus cartography ("mapping," "diagramming," even "meta-modeling", etc.) in Deleuze ...
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2answers
846 views

What does Hegel mean by “Quality”?

In the Science of Logic, Hegel initially presents quality as existent determinateness. He further distinguishes two modes of determining quality in accordance with the moments of existence: ...
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3answers
693 views

If ontology is theory of existence, then what is theory of essence?

Some words in philosophy are usually represented as theory of x. For example, logic is the theory of reasoning, epistemology is the theory of knowledge, ontology is the theory of existence, etc. On ...
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25answers
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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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3answers
1k views

Observable and non-observable entities in explanation

So I've been reading through the Phaedo and have been thinking about Plato and have come up with a question, before I ask the question, I will give some background. Plato's theory of the forms (as I ...
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2answers
514 views

A metaphysical soul without an axiom for such?

Are there any schools of philosophy (or models therein) whose premises non-trivially imply the existence of a metaphysical soul? Or does the concept of a metaphysical soul only exist in practice ...
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2answers
625 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 ...
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7answers
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Why has the philosophy of Bishop Berkeley fallen out of favor in academic philosophy?

I studied George Berkeley as an undergraduate, and though I absolutely loved his work and his philosophy, many of my peers, and even some of my professors, found his philosophy wholly unappealing, ...
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0answers
317 views

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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6answers
944 views

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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3answers
428 views

Can something infinite be absolute? [closed]

Let's say we have an equation that has no end to its result. (Sorry I don't have an example to hand, and the value of Pi is still under question so I won't use that). Can this value be considered ...
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1answer
371 views

What is the name of the view that everything is composed of four elements?

What is the view that everything is ultimately composed of four fundamental elements called?
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3answers
785 views

How is subjective experience of color mapped to the visible spectrum?

Kevin Warwick had a sonar sense implanted and could sense whether an object was close or far. Evidence is accumulating that our brains can make sense of "foreign" information like sonar (consider the ...
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2answers
507 views

Is there any possible world in which 2+2=5?

Gödel's incompleteness theorems show that arithmetic is either inconsistent or incomplete, and that arithmetic cannot prove its own consistency. It is useful to believe that arithmetic is consistent, ...
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1answer
159 views

Modern research on the subjectivity of sense-impressions, species, and Aristotelian conceptions of the world?

In my research on the Philosophy of Data, I've found some remarkable similarities between some peoples' conceptions of data and the Aristotelian idea of Species, the particles of experience/sense-...
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4answers
892 views

What are the most significant responses to Lewis' “On the Plurality of Worlds”?

What are the most significant responses to David Lewis' book On the Plurality of Worlds (1986)? In particular, are there any good critical readings of Lewis' views on modal realism?
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24answers
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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 ...