Questions tagged [ontology]

Ontology is the study of the nature of being, existence or reality as such, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations.

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188
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29answers
27k views

Was mathematics invented or discovered?

What would it mean to say that mathematics was invented and how would this be different from saying mathematics was discovered? Is this even a serious philosophical question or just a meaningless/...
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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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8answers
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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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13answers
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Do numbers exist independently from observers?

Do numbers have an objective existence? If life had not evolved on planet earth would there be numbers or are numbers an invention of human minds? Are there any relevant works that discuss this? (I ...
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15answers
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Does a negative claimant have a burden of proof?

I have often heard it said that the burden of proof is on the positive claimant but not on the one making a negative claim. A person claiming, "God exists" has a burden of proof but not a person ...
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12answers
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How can one differentiate nonexistent entities?

How is it possible for things that do not exist to not be the same? How can one differentiate nonexistent entities? How can I know the difference between ghosts and werewolves if neither exist?
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15answers
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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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4answers
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Where is the weakness in the ontological proof for God's existence?

I read the ontological proof for God's existence. As much as I understood, it says that if you consider that existence is part of essence, then the most complete essence should also exist. Now, I see ...
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7answers
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What is Philosophy? [closed]

What is a comprehensive definition of Philosophy? Alternatively, is it impossible to define Philosophy? This is a pseudo-meta question, but it seems like it belongs here.
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14answers
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Are we living in a simulation? The evidence

I am not questioning whether the simulation topic is outside science. I am asking what evidence there is or could be to resolve whether we are or not. Living in a simulation has been a topic for ...
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6answers
7k views

Are there any philosophical arguments to disprove or weaken solipsism?

My philosophy professor once told our class: The only people who believe in solipsism are infants and madmen. I was inclined to agree at the time. Yet years later, I have still not encountered any ...
21
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10answers
598 views

Is the truth a privative?

A privative is the absence of something, and as such doesn't exist. So cold is a privative, as it is merely the absence of heat. This question is inspired by this answer about a single noun for an ...
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13answers
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Is Nothing actually imaginable?

It's possible to imagine something, for example a table, we see one everyday and can bring it in front of our minds eye (although it's a moot point whether we can see it - I certainly don't). But of ...
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9answers
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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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11answers
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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 ...
15
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2answers
837 views

What are the connections between philosophy and semantic web?

I worked with semantic web technology, and got interested in philosophy out of it. In semantic web, concepts such as semantics, ontologies, and logical inferences are fundamental to understand the ...
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3answers
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What does “physical” mean to philosophers?

A childish question (literally) - My 8 year old asked me this morning: "Dad, what does 'physical' mean?" - and I found myself at loss for an ordinary language answer. Every answer I could come up ...
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8answers
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Is everyone considered a “philosopher”?

Is every person who has ever questioned what they did or what they are going to do a philosopher? Does this idea fall under philosophy in any way, or is it merely a semantic debate?
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10answers
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Does Santa Claus exist?

Consider the following reasons why the answer could be "yes": Plato-ish: The Santa Clauses in the children's minds, as well as the Santa Clauses you meet in the malls are the projections of the Santa ...
14
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3answers
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What essential properties make us human?

(Correct me if I am wrong) In ontology, essentialism is the belief that object O has property P, property P is therefore an ESSENTIAL property if there is something else which is not property ...
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4answers
974 views

How can the physical world be an abstract mathematical structure?

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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11answers
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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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4answers
961 views

Why do modern materialists tend to favor determinism?

There seems to be no logical link between matter and determinism (or ideal and indeterminism for that matter). And libertarian free will was first articulated by a materialist, Epicurus, and is ...
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7answers
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Could it be possible that the universe doesn't exist?

Could it be possible that the universe doesn't exist? That nothing exists, not even you or me? And by not existing, I mean totally not existing, as in not even existing as a computer simulation, or a ...
12
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7answers
663 views

Are infinities in physics (or in any other materalist philosophy) actually possible?

Aristotle made a distinction between infinities that were in potential (dunamis) and in actuality (energia); and stated that actual infinities did not obtain in the physical world. This is the basis ...
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8answers
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Does claiming something exists imply that the number 1 exists?

The number 1 is used in language when we make claims of existence concerning distinct well-defined objects. It seems then that to say the number 1 does not exist would imply that nothing exists at all....
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3answers
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What is put on what (the mayo or the eggs) and why?

What are some branches of philosophy that could be used to analyze the question "did I put mayo on my eggs, or eggs on my mayo?" I understand that the question itself is very weak, but I am just ...
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4answers
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Are all concepts polar ?

Do all concepts operate in pairs such that in order to define one member of the pair we need to specify its opposite ? For instance, we cannot define 'nothing' without understanding - being able to ...
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4answers
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What's the relationship between epistemology and ontology in different traditions?

I'm asking as a relative novice, but have come across the debate in the field of information architecture and classification (and technology studies too). In this field, Aristotle is often quoted as ...
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7answers
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Why is the problem of universals a problem?

Philosopher Gonzago Rodriguez-Pereyra defines the very old and well-known "Problem of Universals" thusly: But what then is the Problem of Universals? As I said, it is usually taken to be the ...
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4answers
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Who does Wil Wheaton represent in “Big Bang Theory”?

Following the aesthetics-challenge my first question on this site: In several episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" Wil Wheaton appears. In the credits it is stated that he plays "himself". But I have ...
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4answers
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What makes a good question?

Most philosophy begins with a question. I'm wondering why certain questions provoke more profound thoughts than others. What characteristics do good questions share with each other? How can we go ...
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2answers
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How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

This question became a symbol for the silly and pointless sophistry of medieval scholastics. But as modern scholarship has shown scholastics was not such a thoughtless desert as some of its ...
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3answers
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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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1answer
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What does the “meaning of Being” mean in Being and Time?

I read Being and Time a few years ago, but it seems to me the question is only partially answered there. He deals with the question of whether Being is "indefinable" very early on [p 4]. He claims ...
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9answers
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Is our Philosophy, the Human Philosophy, the only possible Philosophy which can exist?

What I'm asking is if is there any possibility for a Non-human Philosophy, that is, a Philosophy founded on questions which we can't even conceive. Is possible a Philosophy of questions which only can ...
9
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2answers
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What are the major criticisms of Alain Badiou's claim that mathematics is ontology?

Building on Was mathematics invented or discovered? I would like to know what the major criticisms are of Alain Badiou's claim that mathematics is "the very site of ontology" (in Being and Event.)
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4answers
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How can we take the ontologies of our best physical theories seriously?

It seems to me that numerous features of our best physical theories thus far (most notably in my humble and near-meaningless opinion: the whole notion of renormalization in quantum field theory) ...
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6answers
963 views

Why isn't existence a predicate?

According to SEP There are two sets of reasons for denying that existence is a property of individuals. The first is Hume and Kant's puzzlement over what existence would add to an object. What is ...
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2answers
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What is the purpose of Plato's concept of Form?

Concerning this passage from Phaedo: I mean, for instance, the number three, and there are many other examples. Take the case of three; do you not think it may always be called by its own name and ...
9
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1answer
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Does the Simulation Argument differ in essence from the Evil Genius puzzle?

I recently read an article that suggested we might be able to determine if we are part of a computer simulation run by our descendants. The idea seemed far-fetched, but after looking around, I see ...
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6answers
732 views

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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15answers
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What are the criteria for existence?

What are the criteria for existence, i.e. the answer to "what exists and what doesn't exist?" in modern schools of philosophy? My trial: Something exists if and only if it can affect our senses, ...
8
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5answers
773 views

Do all objects have properties?

Assumption: An object has no properties. I can think of that object as an object with the property that it has no properties, but this is a contradiction to my assumption. Hence all thinkable objects ...
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4answers
728 views

Is Stephen Hawking's denial that gods exists founded on a misunderstanding?

In this days I'm following an interesting scientific TV program and yesterday I watched an interview of Stephen Hawking. He was arguing about the existence of God saying that God does not exist since ...
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4answers
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What are the counterexamples to Kant's argument that existence is not a predicate?

Kant argued that considering existence as a predicate is wrong. A predicate is a feature or characteristic of an object. But logically, existence adds nothing to the characteristics of that object, ...
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9answers
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How does materialism understand affect?

Materialism seems very intuitive to me, so much so that when we speak of 'apparently' non-physical things (ie: belief, awareness, concepts, ideas, sensations), my initial reaction is that there must ...
8
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3answers
682 views

Is Aristotle's resolution of Zeno's paradoxes vindicated by motion in the intuitionistic continuum?

In Physics VIII.8, Aristotle refers to his usual resolution of Zeno's paradox of motion: We should make the same response to anyone who uses Zeno's argument to ask whether it is always necessary to ...
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3answers
514 views

Presentism and simultaneity

Presentism is the position that all that exists, exists in the present. Though one can speak of the past, and of events in the past, strictly speaking (in this position), there is no temporal event ...
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2answers
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How does a realist account for causation between universals and particulars?

With respect to universals nominalists maintain that there are no universals and only particulars exists. Conversely, realists says that there are universals. Here is a sketch of an argument against ...