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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179 views

What did William James mean by metaphysics being “an unusually obstinate effort to think clearly”?

In the Principles of Psychology, Volume 1 William James said the following: “Metaphysics means nothing but an unusually obstinate effort to think clearly. The fundamental conceptions of psychology are ...
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What are David Lewis' perfectly natural properties?

I have read a few things on David Lewis either his papers and SEP entry etc. unfortunately I still struggle to understand lots of concepts from this philosopher. First, what are the perfectly natural ...
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Which discipline of philosophy is most interested and relevant to studying the nature of change?

Often as a beginner, I wonder: who studies this idea? Is there a body of literature on 'change', and if so, which discipline of philosophy is most interested in the nature of 'change' and truths ...
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156 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'...
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Kant excerpt from CPR

In the Critique of Pure Reason, under "System of the Principles of the Pure Understanding, Section II Of the Highest Principle of all Synthetical Judgments" Kant writes, 2nd last paragraph: &...
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Why does the flow of life constantly put us in unsolvable situations?

Between the devil and the deep blue sea It is an idiom meaning a dilemma. If you are between a rock and a hard place, you are in a difficult situation where you have to choose between two equally ...
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Kant's 'presumption'

Since I do not have the German translation of Kant's "Prolegomena ...", I'm putting the question here. I'd like to know the German word used by Kant for 'presumption' as used in the ...
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Have philosophers speculated on how chaotic forces meeting together can result in order?

Have philosophers speculated on how chaotic forces meeting together can result in order? This isn't something that can be proven scientifically, and seems to be in the realm of metaphysics. I am ...
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On the Difference between Non-Difference and Dialetheism

Regarding insightful feedback to my answer to Can a category of non-difference exist in Western logic? and in conjunction with alternative responses, I am asking if the following formulation is a ...
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Philosophy of information question on the nature of computation

What is the most general definition of computation, and how does it differ from the more common definitions of it? What is the most general definition of computation and how does it differ from the ...
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272 views

What documented justification is there for using physics to describe the nature of reality?

One of the earmarks of empirical/materialistic research and documentation is its insistence on rejecting and dismissing any subject matter that it deems irrelevant. This has always appeared to me just ...
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Was the notion of mind-body dualism invented, or at least popularized, by Rene Descartes?

This dualism seems so compelling (from a layman’s perspective) that it seems difficult to imagine that Descartes invented or even popularized it. For instance, people kept using words like “soul” to ...
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Is it necessary for something to be observed for it to exist?

Say something was to happen in the universe, so minuscule that no one notices it, and it has no effect on history whatsoever. Is it correct to say that it never happened, because when we say something ...
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What are the strong arguments against the reassembly of the Ship of Theseus?

I've been thinking a lot about the Ship of Theseus puzzle, and I find the most convincing solution to be that the ship that comes from the reassembly of the original parts is in fact numerically ...
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Understanding the Four Causes of Aristotle

I'd like to better understand some concepts from Aristotle's Metaphysics. I'd like to know what does he mean by a "substance" (Ousia), does he just mean anything that exists? Can any ...
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What is the “Factive Turn” in epistemology?

In 1967 Richard Rorty edited/published what I consider to be one of the finest philosophical anthologies of the Twentieth Century. The Linguistic Turn: Essays in Philosophical Method, formally ...
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What are the characteristics of an event according to Whitehead?

Throughout Concept of Nature Whitehead adds different types of characteristics to his most basic concept - events. For example, he talks of objects, the situation of the event in space and time, its ...
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Does Whitehead's physics include atoms?

I know that one of the major points of Whitehead is to criticize the atomistic theory of nature and replace it with events. But can an atom exist as part of an event? What role does electron, protons, ...
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Identity of concepts' intentional content

I have recently read some articles about (lexical) concepts. Philosophers tend to think that, in order for two speakers to be able to communicate successfully, they must associate the exact same ...
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What motivated Whitehead to choose “Cogredience”?

I'm not a native english speaker, so I was not familiar with the term "cogredience" when I first saw it in Concept of Nature. frankly, it seems like its a word Whitehead used in a different ...
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59 views

For Whitehead, is an event theoretical or ontological?

I'm getting to Whitehead in my reading list, and have started with "Concept of Nature". Have not finished it yet, but something disturbs me throughout the book (aside from his god-awful ...
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What is a universe? (taboo the word “exist”)

It seems to me that "universe" and "exist" are defined cyclically. When not talking about many worlds or parallel universes, it's clear what it means to say whether or not a thing ...
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A concept which “shows” why are we limited by speed of light?

These are my thoughts about the above: So, lets say at a given time t, I am in a room, and it has a state, which describes all the info about that state. Assume for simplicity that the room and its ...
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Could something which is, and is uncreated, ever become created? [closed]

If sin [disobeying God's law] is created and God is uncreated and God creates sin, then the sin He creates can never become part of Himself because He Himself is uncreated. [ It's a bit like a cook ...
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Is there anything a supernatural entity (e.g. God) could do to irrefutably prove its existence to humans? [closed]

I just posted a question in which I ask if spontaneously regrowing amputated limbs would constitute a proof of the supernatural, and several of the answers have presented interesting objections. This ...
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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: ...
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Can the statement, “Suicide is Murder” be written as S = M? If so, could it then also be written as “Murder is Suicide” or M = S? Are either logical?

Webster defines murder as the "killing of another person" and suicide as the "killing of oneself." It seems, therefore, that these are mutually exclusive ideas. They simply are not ...
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Are there set-theoretical problems with modal metaphysics?

I'm trying to learn about modal logic and the metaphysics of modality, and there's something that has been bugging me about what I've read so far: are there set-theoretical issues with supposing we ...
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Are there philosophical problems for which there's only a trivial solution?

I can't really think of a philosophical example, but in mathematics, it would be something like 'find the x where f(x) = 0 given that f(x) = x', and the solution would be 'x = 0', which is trivial. Is ...
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Is there a philosophical agreement that the universe is deterministic?

Is there a philosophical agreement that the universe is deterministic? If the universe is not deterministic, then how come every law in the universe seems to be deterministic? What are the possible ...
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159 views

What motivation does an omnipotent god have to do anything? [closed]

For example, every human action is motivated by happiness. So what reason does god have, to do or create things? happiness can't be the only reason, because he can make himself infinitely happy ...
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A material-constitution model of truth

On one end, let there be the correspondence model of truth, that S is true if and only if S corresponds to the appropriate fact. On the other, let there be the identity model, that S is true if it IS ...
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What is the axiological basis of the preference of truth to falsity?

Axiologically speaking, why is truth the preferred logical value by humans? In general, why do we prefer true statements to false ones? What about the value of true makes a statement "right,"...
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161 views

Mathematical universe hypothesis: Why shouldn't all imaginable universes exist?

In his paper on mathematical universe hypothesis, Max Tegmark only responses with a single paragraph to this assumption: The MUH and the Level IV multiverse idea does certainly not imply that all ...
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What is a “local” metaphysics and how does it differ from conventional metaphysics?

A chapter is devoted to each of the eight major philosophers and movements in the Western canonical tradition: the pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, Leibniz, empiricism, Kant, and Hegel. The ...
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Does science require the exclusion of the “infinite”?

And if so, are there any interesting implications? According to the storyline, Galileo launched modern science by declaring the necessity of rendering physical events countable. What is countable must ...
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145 views

Are figures of speech true and false?

I'm thinking about Gilbert Ryle, who I believe analyses category mistakes as figures of speech. An example like the teeth of crows are pearly white seems neither true nor false. But what about this ...
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How is spacetime as a construct defined by philosophers? [closed]

Is spacetime a construct? If spacetime is a construct, is space taken individually a construct, and is time taken individually also a construct, and time and space combined a construct? Does the ...
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If Parfit's objectivism metaphysical?

In On What Matters, Derek Parfit argues that we sometimes have objective reasons to have certain desires or aims. I find this to be a metaphysical claim, and other philosophers (such as Michael Smith) ...
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Difference between Differentia and Quality [duplicate]

No matter how many ways I think of it - just how Socrates is a Man, any differentia is a Quality. So for eg, one much used example is 'rational' - man is a rational animal, where man is species, ...
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Why isn't differentia just quality in Aristotle?

I will make it clear beforehand, that the little bit I know about Aristotle is from Aquinas (secondary material) and Deleuze (Difference and Repetition), so there may be some misunderstandings on my ...
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198 views

Does personal identity/“the self” persist through periods of unconsciousness, such as dreamless sleep?

http://existentialcomics.com/comic/1 I read the above comic, something which turned out to be a mistake because I have just enough understanding of physics, and philosophy to follow its line of ...
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Does This Answer The Two Hard Problems – Why Is There Anything? and How Do We Know It?

Question I imagine that most philosophers, professional or amateur, must have some kind of personal philosophical view of their preferred ontology/metaphysic, even if it is incomplete. This is mine as ...
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How is a computed existence different from a non-computed existence?

How is a computed existence different from a non-computed existence? Because some theorize our world is a simulation, it implies the existence of computed existences and non-computed existence. Did ...
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Responsibility for animals as human and does it undermine true equality?

I have been thinking lately, coming to an interesting point of view, which may not necessarily be mine (not yet sure about that), but still worth to talk about. Unfortunately, I came into heated ...
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What might it mean to “know” another living being? [closed]

Assuming for the moment that life involves change how can one "know" another living being? Indeed if they are changing can one fully know another living being? Who has written about knowing ...
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Who said: “Everything is meaningless, but nothing is chance”?

In the German movie series Heimat 2 (episode 8), the philosophy student Alex says at one point: Everything is meaningless, but nothing is chance [my tentative transcription from German: Alles ist ...
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Can someone explain to me Nozick's argument against epistemic closure?

On the other hand, some epistemologists, including Robert Nozick, have denied closure principles on the basis of reliabilist accounts of knowledge. Nozick, in Philosophical Explanations, advocated ...
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Questions about Marx's second, third, and fourth thesis in ''Theses on Feuerbach''

The question whether objective truth can be attributed to human thinking is not a question of theory but is a practical question. a. What does Marx mean here by ”objective truth,” what is he alluding ...
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What exactly is Time and Space? [closed]

Question description so that anyone can evaluate and answer accordingly I don't know what is the formal process for a theory to get accepted by the science community, please guide me on how to proceed ...

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