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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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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
28 votes
17 answers
17k views

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 ...
CriglCragl's user avatar
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Did Kant come to believe that we have access to things-in-themselves after all?

Kant's position on things-in-themselves is often described Socratically, of them we know only one thing, that they are. However, in an old but apparently still popular history of philosophy book I ...
Conifold's user avatar
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19 votes
7 answers
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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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8 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
15 votes
8 answers
10k views

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?
Dynamic's user avatar
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4 answers
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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, ...
RhaegarTagaryan's user avatar
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5 answers
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Is the hallucination hypothesis always the best explanation?

Suppose there are two persons A and B. A attests to having witnessed some extraordinary event, e.g. A claims to have had an extraordinary religious experience with an other-worldly entity. Let's say ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Is Reality an intersection of Incompatible Ontologies?

Empiricists do not ask questions about the ontological status of mathematical or logical structures. Idealists don't explain how Ideas are developed, or how technological advancement in general takes ...
christo183's user avatar
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46 votes
15 answers
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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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9 answers
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To what extent do we choose our beliefs?

Are we free to choose our beliefs? Or is our belief in a proposition something that is thrust upon us by the weight of the evidence we have in favor and against the truth of it? For example, is it ...
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27 votes
12 answers
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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 ...
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23 votes
9 answers
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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 ...
Pete1187's user avatar
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2 answers
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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
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16 answers
3k views

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 ...
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19 votes
13 answers
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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 ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
19 votes
18 answers
6k views

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 ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
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3 answers
4k views

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 P it is ...
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15 votes
5 answers
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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 ...
Alexander S King's 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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2 votes
7 answers
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Can we know anything about the "outside", if we are in a simulation?

Please note this question isn't about "simulation" as such. It is cast in this way to illustrate a particular sub-to-super ontology relationship: Given that all we see or seem, are the product of ...
christo183's user avatar
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Any good theories on the nature of time in which time is not fundamental?

I've noticed that most of the very successful formulas in physics, once you break them down, contain several references to quantities of time. And it has really begun to bother me that once you start ...
Thor's user avatar
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2 answers
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How is conceptual irreducibility of the mental possible given a physicalist ontology?

In 'Mental Events' Davidson wrote "...mental events are mental only as described". Many have taken this and other of his remarks as showing that he holds that the anomalousness and irreducibility of ...
Alan McKay's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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35 votes
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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 ...
TheLast Cipher's user avatar
29 votes
4 answers
5k views

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 ...
Saeed Neamati'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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14 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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10 votes
6 answers
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What does Kant mean by "Existence is not a predicate"?

What does Kant mean by "Existence is not a predicate"? How does that invalidate the ontological arguments? and how can he show that it's not a predicate? By predicate, I think he means a "property"...
FNH's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
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How does Putnam reconcile having referents in language with rejection of realism?

Putnam is known for changing his mind often, but he seems to hold two views of linguistic meaning and reference simultaneously, combining which seems paradoxical. One is Quine's inscrutability of ...
Conifold's user avatar
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6 votes
8 answers
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How is existence in presentism reconciled with relativity of simultaneity?

New 2024 Note - this is an old question from 2016 that I forgot about - for a new version with a possible solution take a look in Presentism in Light of Relativity — It's About Time I Asked This Here. ...
nir's user avatar
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5 votes
6 answers
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Does knowledge require consciousness?

Does knowledge require consciousness for the entity that knows? In other words, is it the case that only conscious entities can know things? I was led to ask this question by considering whether or ...
user107952's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
322 views

If there is life, then there is more complex life as well?

Researchers in Switzerland have developed an Altruism algorithm that shows how altruism in a swarm of entities can, over time, evolve and result in more effective swarm behaviour. For an ant colony, ...
draks ...'s user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
554 views

Can knowledge exist without structure?

For reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/knowledge-analysis/ https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/knowledge-how/ https://plato.stanford.edu/...
christo183's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
547 views

How is the concept of "beyond word" viewed in many school of thoughts?

This is my review on the concept of "beyond word": Taoism and Buddhism seems to share that wisdom can't be grasped intellectually. In Zen practice, the koans are presented as nonsensical questions so ...
Ooker's user avatar
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4 votes
9 answers
831 views

Do multiverse theories undermine intelligent design arguments mathematically?

It is well known that the probability of life arising in a universe of our sort is vanishingly small. Theists have used this fact to argue that life is designed by God. However, if there are an ...
Frank McCain 's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
884 views

Are the concept of time and space apriori to natural language or are they just references within natural language?

Are the concept of time and space apriori to natural language or are they just references within natural language? Time and space are fundamental concepts to existence and ontology. Natural languages ...
Sayaman's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
434 views

How does one bring mind and matter into a single ontology that accounts for subconscious mind?

How does one define mind and matter coherently... do these categories even make sense in a single framework? I can refer to my consciousness and the contents of my consciousness as "mind", this leaves ...
Ameet Sharma's user avatar
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1 vote
4 answers
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Has the instinct of survival a philosophical equivalent?

Descartes' fundamental truth (cogito, ergo sum) would help me accept without any doubt that I do exist. So, I accept that I do exist without any doubt. But there's another truth that --for me-- seem ...
RodolfoAP's user avatar
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0 votes
4 answers
121 views

Why do some philosphers including Russell paraphrase this sentence?

To say “Pegasus doesn’t exist” is to say “it is not the case that there is exactly one x which is a flying horse of Greek mythology”. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nonexistent-objects/ “Pegasus ...
user avatar
66 votes
9 answers
81k views

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 "...
wajed's user avatar
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17 votes
16 answers
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Why can't numbers be 'used up'?

I was speaking with a young student who has been learning about addition and subtraction (essentially functions, but he doesn't know that yet) with the idea of a 'number machine' and he could not ...
Confused's user avatar
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17 votes
4 answers
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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 ...
Conifold's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
12k views

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 ...
Conifold's user avatar
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10 votes
15 answers
3k views

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, ...
asmani's user avatar
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8 votes
3 answers
857 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 ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
8 votes
9 answers
720 views

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 ...
Casey's user avatar
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8 votes
8 answers
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Can mathematics and physics be thought of as branches of philosophy?

I think that they can be viewed like that, with some suitable definition of philosophy. Then mathematics could be defined as one of the branches of philosophy in which theories are built on ...
Grešnik's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
259 views

If P is a property, then is (not P) a property?

For a proposition, such as: P: Socrates is a man Then not P is also a proposition: Not P: Socrates is not a man But do the same goes for properties? One can argue in the following way: red ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers
784 views

Are there philosophies that call for things which are not mind nor matter?

Physicalism is the idea that everything is matter. Idealism is the idea that everything is made up of a mental substance. Dualism claims that there are both matter and mind in the universe. It ...
Cort Ammon's user avatar
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