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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190
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29answers
28k 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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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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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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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 ...
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16answers
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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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3answers
685 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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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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1answer
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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 ...
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4answers
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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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2answers
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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 ...
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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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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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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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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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859 views

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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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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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
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How is existence in presentism reconciled with relativity of simultaneity?

There is a famous question by Einstein which was reported by his biographer, the physicist Abraham Pais, and which expresses his concern with quantum physics: We often discussed his notions on ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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3answers
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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, ...
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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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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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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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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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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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5answers
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What does it mean for something to exist?

When we say something exists, what do we mean by X? Specifically, my question is about whether there's something more primitive than saying something exists. In mathematics, existence is asserted by ...
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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, ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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3answers
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What is the difference between Derrida's Deconstruction and Heidegger's Destruktion?

Derrida's deconstruction, as far as I understand it, is to critically examine values as embodied in binary situations like signifier and signified where there is an implicit hierarchy of value - one ...
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5answers
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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 ...
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3answers
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Once it happened, an event was necessary?

What would happen to an event in the past, if time itself ceases to exist? Without time, has what existed (such as the writing of this sentence) never happened? A total disappearance of space-time ...
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3answers
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Is Deductive Reasoning Alien to the Material World?

A quick survey of literature: Goel V. Anatomy of deductive reasoning. Trends Cogn Sci. 2007 Oct https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2685028/ García-Madruga JA, Gutiérrez F, ...
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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"...
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6answers
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What does it mean that a claim is a claim of nonexistence?

This question has devolved into a discussion. As I understand the discussion, everything is revolving around the veracity of statement Nonexistence can never be proven. and on what exactly ...
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4answers
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How can one justify Newton's third law?

In one sense it is justified by the overall success if Newtonian Mechanics; still, one can ask are there arguments that can justify it from other principles; ie principle that are * a priori* in ...
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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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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 ...
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2answers
176 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 ...
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3answers
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Should we think twice about dualism?

With the rise of Materialism and Physicalism a dualistic ontology has fallen out of favor. The successes of Science makes makes us comfortable to deny any entity beyond the "Observable Universe". ...
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3answers
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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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5answers
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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 ...
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4answers
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Is it possible to deny that language necessitates ontological commitments?

I am unsure of what I am trying to put my finger on, but it seems like it is an enormous assumption that ontological commitments can be - or should be - necessitated by simply the language that we use....
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3answers
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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 ...
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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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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
249 views

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 ...
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Can there be Creation Ex Nihilo?

In Christian & Islamic Theology, one could argue that there can't be Creation Ex Nihilo since 'before' Creation there was God. In Philosophical Naturalism (which is not Physicalism - it subsumes ...
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1answer
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Epistemological vs. Ontological claims

I'm taking an introductory philosophy course and I find it fascinating. I can't really figure out an assignment though (I'm a bit foggy on what the difference between ontological and epistemological ...