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 is res in res cogitans or res extensa?

Substance is that which has no dependent relation on any other; and unlike an atom, is infinitely differentiable - it has parts; and those parts thus distinguished have relations amongst themselves; ...
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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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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/...
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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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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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Indirect Realism – what are the main objections?

In dialog with others about philosophy, I have generally assumed that the basis of epistemology is a settled question – I. E. that the Locke/Russel/Popper approach, that our worldview is a hypothetico-...
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Can something be both objective and subjective to me at the same time?

Many of us understand subjectivity as the opposite of objectivity; that they are mutually exclusive concepts. Evidence for that is all around; for example, take Wiktionary: subjective (adj.): ...
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How many different usages of being is there in this short paragraph of Heidegger?

Quite close to the beginning of Being and Time, [SuZ p. 7] in what might be taken as the preamble and introduction; Heidegger writes the following: Regarding, understanding, grasping, choosing and ...
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Does category theory solve Benacerrafs problem adequately?

In 1965, Benacerraf published a paradigm-changing article What numbers could not be which stimulated structuralism in the philosophy of mathematics. The article argued that it wasn't possible to ...
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Quine's “to be is to be the value of a bound variable”

Quine's definition "to be is to be the value of a bound variable" seems uncontroversial and in fact quite natural as it's compatible with modern approaches to the semantics of natural language. My ...
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How does “is” work?

What is the difference between an object K and the thing which satisfies ( is an extension of', 'is an instance of' ) the property P ( or 'universal', 'predicate' , 'qualia', 'concept' ) : P(...
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If materialism is true, then what accounts for pleasure and pain?

[I went and wrote a long answer to a question that was in the interim deleted, so rather than waste that, I thought I'd do my best to reproduce it here. Credit to Micheal Lee for the original, some ...
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Badiou, Deicide & the return of the Transcendent

Badious philosophy is predicated on Set Theory, in its incarnation as the materialist set theory ZFC. He calls mathematics the very site of ontology. Nietszche famously declared the death of God (in ...
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Sentences and reality

Would sentences have meaning even if humans did not exist? For example, would "the earth is round" have meaning if humans did not exist? Would it be true?
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Is it possible to be 100% certain of the existence of reality?

I don't really understand why some philosophers claim that it's impossible to be absolutely certain of anything except my own consciousness. Isn't that absurd? Personally I believe that this kind of ...
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Is nothing an entity?

An entity cannot not be and the definition of nothing is not being. Can we include "nothing" among the abstract entities or should we differentiate nuances of nothing, eg. the mathematical nothing, ...
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What distinguishes between saguna and nirguna Brahman?

Not knowing any Sanskrit, but knowing a little philosophy and some Bengali I'd translate nirguna as nir-guna (no qualities); and this in the phrase: nirguna Brahman A term used in several places ...
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Is there a poset based/category theoretical definition of God?

As a current atheist, who was a former theist, I feel that God is not a logically incoherent concept. However, many definitions of God, especially those that involve omnipotence, omniscience etc. are ...
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What is Ontological Commitment?

What is Ontological Commitment? I can infer some understanding from its usage in philosophical texts, but I would like to have a definitive answer to be able to confidently use the notion on my own. ...
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The Indispensability Argument and Impure Set Theory

Assume for the sake of this question that mathematics is reducible to set theory in such a way that the only mathematical objects there really are, are sets. Suppose further that the Indispensability ...
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How does Epictetus define personhood?

In the Enchiridion, Epictetus says: “Our master is anyone who has the power to implement or prevent the things that we want or don’t want. Whoever wants to be free, therefore, should wish for nothing ...
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Is this event undetermined?

You toss a coin in an ideal, perfectly isolated box. If nothing and no one will ever check what face it shows, is this event objectively undetermined? (My guess is yes – if the isolation is perfect ...
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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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Metaphysically, what comes before the cognitive ability to make distinctions?

Descartes, for example, makes the distinction between body and mind by recognizing the body as an idea born from 'extension' and the mind as an idea born from 'consciousness'. He further recognizes '...
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What would be the difference between property and kind?

Philosopher E.J. Lowe states that There is a clear difference between saying something like ‘Rover is a dog’, in which we assign Rover, a particular animal, to a certain natural kind or species, ...
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Defining the universe

The etymology of the word universe comes from the Latin words uni, meaning one, and versus, meaning turn and is attested from Late Middle English. It suggests that the universe is 'mortal', having a ...
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Principle of universal connection

I am looking for reflections related to relationships between things, connections, interconnections, in the context of understanding/explaining the essence of things (e.g, in the field of ontology). ...
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Prop. 2, Part I of Spinozas “Ethics”

Spinoza's proof for Proposition 2 of part I of the Ethics, "Two substances whose attributes are different have nothing in common", is confusing. This is the proof: 1, prop 2, demo - Also evident ...
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Does mathematical formalism have an opinion on semantics?

Mathematical formalism regards mathematics as a syntactic matter, where symbols are manipulated according to rules and the symbols need not have any meaning. I am wondering though whether it has ...
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How is 'existence' defined? [closed]

How would you define 'existence'? Is it a requisite for an entity to be able to interact with other entities to be considered as 'existent'? What if there are real objects in the universe which ...
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Does the adjective “physical” apply only to worlds that obey the laws of physics? [duplicate]

Note: My question assumes a conceptual distinction between minds and the external world, regardless of whether they're actually two different kinds of substances. There seems to be widespread ...
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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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Ontologically closed statements

"I think therefore I am" is a much disputed "proof". As an argument, it presupposes many posits. Being more cautious, one might make the claim, "I only know what I feel." Is this an ontologically ...
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Can the correspondence theory of truth really be completely avoided?

Let us assume that 'truth' is a construct of the human mind. In this case truth is defined as some product of the mind's 'verification', and nothing else. What 'makes' a statement true is simply the ...
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What distinguishes species from genus?

In Categories, Aristotle claims that all things that exist are either complex or simple; and the simple things can be classified into ten categories. The first and most basic category includes ...
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Is an electron a bundle of properties?

Classically, particles are described by mass, spin, and charge. Can we consider then that particles are bundles of properties? For all particles which have the same value for these properties ...
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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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Is silence more ontologically fundamental than meaning?

If the structures which enable the emergence of meaning in awareness behave according to principles which do not require meaning to function, this means meaning is inextricably tied to silence or non-...
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What is Hofstadter's ontology for symbols?

I really liked GEB a few years ago, and have been following up with "I am a Strange Loop" recently. In the book, Douglas Hofstadter tries to better explain his concept of symbols and in particular the ...
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Nothing vs something

Could it be that the famous question "why is there something instead of nothing" is misplaced? This question presupposes that nothingness is the opposite of something but, metaphysically ...
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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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Why do we have an expectation of symmetry?

After all there are some indications that we shouldn't: Who first studied "logical (ir)reversibility"? And even the fundamental nature of symmetry is in question: Is symmetry real? ...
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Help wanted - need descriptor for a partcular type/form of argument

I am writing a paper on cognition, and to simplify my discussion I need an adjective or descriptor for particular category of argument as follows: I am arguing for the necessity of a construct with a ...
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Is there a name for the concept that an object can contain its own history?

There is a notion that an object's history is contained within itself. For example, a rock that have been smiled at will be somehow different than a rock that has been frowned on. It has been ...
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Has any philosopher argued our concepts resemble reality along this line?

There are 2 cases. Either (1) Some of our concepts (thoughts) resemble what really exists out there or (2) None of our concepts (thoughts) resemble what really exists out there If we take (1) = p ...
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What are some recommendations for guidebooks or companion-books to Heidegger's “Being and Time”?

I'm looking for a guidebook or some other companion to Heidegger's "Being and Time". Ideally, I'd like to find a book that steps through the entire original work, providing summary and background to ...
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Ontology…Epistemology…and (insert here)

If ontology is a study of being (reality) and epistemology is a study of knowledge, then what would be considered a study of 'doing', or 'action'? I am interested because a statement was made to me ...
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What are the theoretical limits of self-awareness?

Let us sidestep fundamental questions such as whether there is in fact self-awareness. In this, let us define self-awareness in its common form of usage, typically meaning awareness of one’s ...

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