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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Why does Searle think that consciousness is “obviously” physical?

One response to Searle's Chinese room argument is that the room has a virtual mind. From Wikipedia's article on the Chinese room: "Minsky argues, a computer may contain a "mind" that is virtual in ...
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What is the difference between Ontology and Knowledge Representation (KR)?

This was originally posted in CrossValidated, but marked as off-topic and it was suggested that I post this question here (even though it is related to programming and machine learning). From my ...
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Is a top-down set theory possible?

There are two classical paradoxes associated with set theory; and that is the existence of the Universal set and the Russell set. The usual set theory takes the notion of element as basic; these are ...
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Explain Hilary Putnam's argument against Cartesian skepticism

Hilary Putnam, in "Reason, Truth And History", attempts to argue against Cartesian (or hyperbolic) doubt, by proving that a 'brain in a vat' cannot actually think that it is a brain in a vat. Part ...
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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 ...
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Is all meaning just comparison/measurement? (Reference request)

I've had an idea and I'm almost certain it might not be a novel one, so I'd like some pointers to read more about it. Maybe some philosophers/writers already explored the subject and elaborated it a ...
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What is the name of the position that is skeptical about the existence of categories created by the mind?

Is there a name for skepticism about the existence of categories (or properties) and objects that the mind may create to classify the "real world"? In other words thoughts, concepts, and so forth may ...
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According to modal realism, how many possible worlds are there?

Modal realism tells us there is an infinity of possible worlds, but how many are there exactly? Is it countable infinity ℵ₀, uncountable infinity 𝖈, or some other, bigger uncountable infinity?
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Philosophers who use formal systems to make arguments about the world, and their detractors

I was given a photocopy of an article: "In Defense of Alain Badiou" by Robert Michael Ruehl, published in Philosophy Now. The article is behind a paywall, but here's the idea that caught my attention: ...
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What's the difference between 'things' and 'rules'? [closed]

As I understand the world - there are 'things' which are everything and 'rules' which modify them. An example I'll give is this - let's say I'm free-falling from a plane. Then a thing is my view of ...
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About existence and related terminology

Is there a difference between when a person says 'I exists.', compared to the same person saying ' I'm existing.'? Is the person saying at the one time 'I exist.' saying he exists at a certain moment ...
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How do different types of knowledge and memory relate?

At first glance it seems that "knowledge" has many more categories than "memory". However once one starts sorting, it quickly becomes apparent that certain kinds of memory will accommodate several ...
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Is this a limit of naive atomism? [closed]

If I define every thing as a whole made of its parts, these parts should be things as well – but made of what? If every part is composed by smaller ones, we fall in a regress that leads to ...
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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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Isn't biocentrism just a simple deduction from subjectivism?

I havent actually read his book, but as he's described it, I thought that he was just sharing his view on subjectivism. Biocentrism, as Robert Lanza says, is: ..."the view that life creates ...
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What is the basis for attributing discontinuity to space-time?

Speaking of the discrete orbits of electrons, Bertrand Russell asks the following: "Do we know that, between one orbit and the next, other orbits are geometrically possible? Einstein has led us ...
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How does Parmenides' argument against the reality of change work?

Garrigou-Lagrange, in his work entitled Reality, a synthesis of Thomistic thought (which can be found online), when discussing act and potency according to Aristotle, states that this distinction is ...
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What is the Ontological Status of History?

Where does history exist? I think it's tempting to say it exists in the mind; however, historical events are not dependent on the mind for their existence. Surely a historical event still exists, even ...
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What philosophical term lies behind locality?

Locality is: the principle of locality states that an object is only directly influenced by its immediate surroundings. The first classical theory violated it: In the 17th Century Newton's law of ...
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What are the Main Objections to Being and Nothingness?

I am currently in the process of reading Being and Nothingness. In the interest of getting through it, I have not been fully challenging Sartre's theory as I go along. Can someone point to the main ...
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Aristotle on the actuality of the soul - problem understanding 'de anima'

In Aristotle's de anima passage 413a - 5 it is said that the actuality of some parts of the soul is the actuality of the parts of the body This is supposed to argue that soul is not separable ...
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How can categories be derived deductively?

In a book on Aristotle's metaphysics I read a passage on the differences between his and Kant's categories. It says that the concept of categories, in both Aristotle's and Kant's case, wasn't ...
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How to account for the identity of books or theories? Inquiries into qualitative identity

I'm looking for articles or books that discuss how we account for qualitative identity. The distinction between qualitative and numerical identity is often drawn, but then the discussion tends to veer ...
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Identification and identity

One's identity is routinely associated with one's body, and most will readily make the claim that they are their body. Their body is the referent for their identity. I'm having a bit of a problem ...
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Motivations for Mathematical Platonism

From what I gather, for realists who are especially fond of a good old-fashioned Mathematical Platonism incorporated in their ontology, there seem to be two ways of getting at it. The first seems to ...
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Difference between Carnap and Quine's views

Could someone explain to me, in easy language, what the main differences are between Carnap and Quine's views regarding internal / external questions and realism? Quine called Carnap a Platoist, yet I ...
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Are Graham Harman's concealed real objects “inaccessible” or merely “not fully accessible in a given moment”?

I am reading Graham Harman's "Quadruple Object", but having difficulties in following the connection he makes between the Real Object and the Sensual Qualities. He starts forming his quadruple ...
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Where does Plato give a rationale for order?

I recall reading somewhere, now forgotten, that Plato in one of his books suggested that the reason for order in the universe is that meaning can happen - there can be no possibility of meaning where ...
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Are there any proofs of the necessity of a mind-independent “reality”?

Are there any classic proofs of the necessity of a mind-independent "reality," along the lines of Anselm's proof of God?
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What is the difference between Dasein and consciousness?

In Heidegger's Being and Time he probes the question of Being, and not of beings; he probes it by querying that being for which Being is a problem. This being he names Dasein = da sein = being there. ...
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What philosophers and schools have considered 'transcendental' economic values?

Background Settle a bet- more likely; enrich a debate. A friend of mine (a philosophy PhD with a penchant for economics) and I have been arguing for some time on the same topic. He is a libertarian ...
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Platonism and causality

The Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy states that - "Because abstract objects are wholly non-spatiotemporal, it follows that they are also entirely non-physical (they do not exist in the physical ...
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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 ...
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What were Plato's views on substance?

Forms are Plato’s substances, for everything derives its existence from Forms. In this sense of ‘substance’ any realist philosophical system acknowledges the existence of substances. Probably the ...
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A Ground or Foundation of Morality

I am currently reading the very fascinating paper Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law by Arthur Allen Leff. It seems that the thrust of his paper is that there is no "naturalistic" way of grounding or ...
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Sum ergo cogito?

Following Descartes but in the opposite direction: I exist. Something has made the assertion in the previous sentence and must have thought it to do so. Therefore my thoughts exist. Combining with ...
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Are there token events?

The type/token distinction appears to be generally explained in terms of objects. A given Honda Accord is, e.g., a token of of the type "Honda Accord". However, the literature I have read seems to do ...
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Can randomness be random?

In mathematics, a true random number generator it's impossible, because any formula defines a process that, however complex, is not random. A random event must be unrelated to any cause or condition, ...
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How does 'having an idea of something' differ from 'mental existence'?

Source: pp 38-39, Philosophy: A Complete Introduction (2012) by Prof Sharon Kaye (MA PhD in Philosophy, U. Toronto) Perhaps the problem lies in Anselm's twofold conception of existence. Anselm ...
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What is the name of the position which claims that “everything that is possible, exists”?

Question. What is the name of the following position? Everything that is possible, exists. Thus, in particular, every possible universe actually exists, as a concrete reality. I don't mean ...
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Why are human beings and their creations not considered “nature” or “natural”?

I read about how the human being is nature nature (which it is), about global warming (which can be a myth), the production of certain commodities (oil, sugar, PET bottles, glass) etc. I was ...
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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 ...
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Spinoza's proof of God

Proposition 11. God, or a substance consisting of infinite attributes each of which expresses eternal and infinite essence, necessarily exists. His argument is such: If God didn’t exist then by ...
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What is a modern particle in philosophical terms?

A classical particle is in spacetime and has a continuous motion within it. Properties such as electrical charge and mass inhere within it. This description in its qualitative essentials is no ...
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Did a single question in ontology find an answer?

Wikipedia lists some basic issues of ontology, which are roughly the same question: "What can be said to exist?" "What is a thing?" "Into what categories, if any, can we sort existing things?" ...
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Question about the Argument of Recollection from Plato's Phaedo

Under the argument of recollection, what would the answer to the following scenario? A young child has not learned a single thing about geometrical shapes. If a person were to draw a triangle and ...
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Is being something and not any other thing a necessary and sufficient condition of existence?

Is being something and not any other thing a necessary and (the only) sufficient condition of existence? I'm working on something close to the idea of Apoha, but in an ontological sense. I suppose ...
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Has the universe no identity?

1) A thing has an identity if there's something else delimiting and defining it. 2) The universe (intended as the totality of things) has necessarily no identity, because being the totality of things,...
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Have David Wolpert's findings really “slammed the door” on scientific determinism?

I recently read an article describing how mathematician/physicist David Wolpert's research closed the door on scientific determinism. I have huge doubts about the implied conclusion, considering the ...
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Can an idea be a being?

According to a friend, anything that exists is a being. A rock, a rainbow, a dream, an idea. I am ready to buy into the first three, but the last is difficult for me. Is he correct?

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