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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What does it mean for an object to exist?

In many cases, we ask questions if something already exists! Many times, I ask myself, What does the term even mean? What does it mean to exist? What are common answers to this question and where ...
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What does it mean for a naturalist to claim that forces/actions “exist”?

tl;dr: How can forces (e.g. gravity) be said to "exist" or be true ? I've had this question for so long, I assume it stems from a basic misunderstanding about naturalism or metaphysics, so please set ...
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Is the conservation of matter/energy principle and 'quanta' of Physics implicit in Lucretius ontology?

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophys entry on Lucretius has: "First comes, in effect, Lucretius' ontology. Nothing comes into being out of nothing or perishes into nothing. The only two per se ...
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What is the argument posed by Katherine Hayles in “The Condition of Virtuality” as to the relation between matter and virtuality and why?

I am learning in class of the influence new media have on old-aged dichotomies such as matter-mind, subject-object and their like. Our new-media teacher asked us to read the paper "The condition ...
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What should be understood by 'being' in the context of ontology?

I am trying to understand some very basic concepts in ontology and can't figure out if being is used as a noun or a verb. Sometimes it seems some authors use being to refer to (1) that which is, which ...
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Is essentialism compatible with naturalism?

I am not an expert and I cannot understand why essentialism is incompatible with naturalism? Why scientific laws cannot describe essential properties of objects?
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Badiou’s categorization of spheres of Truths

I’ve been reading through much of Badiou’s work for about a year and just finished Being and Event; though there is something I still don’t quite understand. Badiou claims that the four spheres (of ...
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What is the difference between concepts of number and natural number?

When reading an article about Frege on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/frege/#AnaStaNum), in section 2.5 I encountered the following sentence: But though ...
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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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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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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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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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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 there such a thing as philosophical rigour?

Is rigour always related to definitions and axioms? Whatever be the case, can a set of philosophical analyses be rated in terms of rigour?
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Is everyone able to learn philosophy? If not, what kind of person is able to learn philosophy? [duplicate]

Is everyone able to learn philosophy? If not, what kind of person is able to learn philosophy? Does learning philosophy require a certain intelligence or talent? If I start at the age of 18, is it ...
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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 are some good philosophical resources on nonlocality?

Bernard d'Espagnat offers a good treatment of nonlocality as it pertains to physics, in his 2006 On Physics and Philosophy. What I'm interested is whether nonlocality has been observed and discussed ...
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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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Philosophy and Mental Health [closed]

I have heard a story of a Peace Pilgrim, an American pilgrim and ascetic, who managed to heal one sick man through conversation. The man was suffering from general degeneration of health and doctors ...
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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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Why did Nietzsche call Spinoza his 'precursor'?

In a letter Nietzsche made the following comment about Spinoza; "I am utterly amazed, utterly enchanted! I have a precursor, and what a precursor! I hardly knew Spinoza: that I should have turned ...
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What happened to ( aristotelian) substantial forms in cartesian ontology? On which ground ( metaphysical or physical) are they rejected?

In aristotelian philosophy, there are no bare particulars ( contrary to what is the case in Plato, according to P.V. Spade) but internally structured ( substantial) particulars in which 2 "parts"/...
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Does Mitosis division break the Leibniz law of Identity?

Simply put: if 2 cells Mitotically divide, there's almost no difference between them. They're like 2 copied files on my computer. They're identical. Now, doesn't this mean that the law collapsed? if ...
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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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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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Which aspects of consciousness are most often addressed by philosophers of mind?

What are the most discussed parts of consciousness according to philosophers? Epistemologists cite perception, memory, reason, and testimony as frequent objects of philosophical discourse in respect ...

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