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Questions tagged [terminology]

The study of terms and their use.

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46 votes
12 answers
5k views

Why is the question "Is there free will?", and not, “What is free will?"

I'm a layperson interested in the problem of free will. I recently started reading one of the popular introductory textbooks to the subject. I'm halfway through, and while the book did describe a few ...
Ram Rachum's user avatar
45 votes
6 answers
16k views

Is there a term for the belief that "if it's legal, it's moral"?

Sometimes I hear arguments that seem to appeal to the fact that something is morally permissible because it is legally permitted. For example: Abortion is moral because it's legally permitted. ...
Thunderforge's user avatar
30 votes
5 answers
4k views

What does it mean for a book or a theorist to be "post-modernist" as opposed to "modernist"?

I'd like a succinct comparison of the two "-isms", though I know this is a tall order.
unusualhabit's user avatar
30 votes
1 answer
22k views

Difference between implication/conditional and logical entailment?

What is the difference between the implication/conditional truth function and the notion of logical entailment? My naive understanding as a computer programmer is that the conditional is a function ...
user's user avatar
  • 457
25 votes
2 answers
11k views

What is the difference between "reductio ad absurdum" and "proof by contradiction"?

What is the exact difference between reductio ad absurdum and proof by contradiction? Wikipedia used to state that: Reductio ad absurdum (Latin: "reduction to the absurd") is a form of argument in ...
loudandclear's user avatar
22 votes
4 answers
24k views

What, if anything, is the difference between ethics and moral philosophy?

Are the terms 'Ethics' and 'Moral Philosophy' different in extension as terms in philosophy? Some Departments of Philosophy have courses with titles like "Introduction to Ethics" and others with ...
vanden's user avatar
  • 1,662
22 votes
1 answer
15k views

How can we reason about "if P then Q" or "P only if Q" statements in propositional logic?

When you have a propositional sentence of the form P ⊃ Q  — which we might read as "if P, then Q" — how can you tell when it is true, or false, based on the truth-values of P and ...
Niel de Beaudrap's user avatar
20 votes
4 answers
18k views

What are some methods of defining things?

In my experience, many definitions define an object/idea by merely listing it's characteristics. For example: Avocado a large, usually pear-shaped fruit having green to blackish skin, a single ...
Hugo's user avatar
  • 311
20 votes
9 answers
4k views

Interpret Bayesian probability as frequentist probability?

It is usually said that the Bayesian probability is a subjective concept, quantifying one's degree of belief in something, while the frequentist probability is the the fraction of certain outcomes ...
D.F.J.'s user avatar
  • 303
17 votes
6 answers
42k views

What are the differences between sentience, consciousness and awareness?

Dictionary definitions such as this one often seem to use the terms sentience, awareness, and consciousness as if they are synonymous with each other. Is this really the case? If not, how do they ...
coleopterist's user avatar
15 votes
15 answers
2k views

Can we know that something exists even if we can't explain or define it?

Can a person know that something like "free will" must exist even though an exact definition in words, using language, cannot be provided, and in the absence of a complete theory that ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 6,037
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
  • 261
15 votes
10 answers
948 views

How is "time" defined in modern philosophy?

We know the definition of "time" of Augustine of Hippo: "If no one asks me, I know: if I wish to explain it to one that asketh, I know not" (Conf.). What is time? Philosophically, what can be ...
villamejia's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
12k views

How do quantifiers work in predicate logic?

Predicate logic is somewhat like propositional logic, except that where propositional logic only works on the level of whole sentences (e.g. A = "Socrates is mortal", B = "All ...
Niel de Beaudrap's user avatar
15 votes
8 answers
5k views

When and why do we say that two things are the same?

In a preceeding question I have asked about the foundations of rational reasonning. It seems the concept of identity plays a key role. However "identity" is not observed in the real world: our mind ...
robin girard's user avatar
15 votes
5 answers
3k views

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
14 votes
5 answers
9k views

Term for people who believe God once existed but then disappeared?

Reading Wikipedia, I learnt Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God, of the divine or the supernatural is unknown or unknowable. Comment: Am I correct if I say an agnostics would say: &...
Severus Snape's user avatar
14 votes
4 answers
9k views

What is the difference between dogma and an axiom?

My understanding of axioms is that they are self evident truths that require no proof, which in my mind is similar to a dogmatic belief in the sense that dogma is a set of beliefs or doctrines that ...
jazzdawg's user avatar
  • 243
14 votes
3 answers
1k views

What Precisely Does "Semantics" Mean?

What do logicians mean when they refer to the notion of "semantics"? I don't find the definition "the connection between words and meaning of those words" to be that satisfactory here. Informally, ...
Harold W's user avatar
  • 179
13 votes
1 answer
10k views

What is a straight-forward method for distinguishing pragmatic from utilitarian action or thought?

In common parlance, pragmatic and utilitarian are very similar ways of doing things. In philosophical traditions, Utilitarians and Pragmatists are very different. In terms of understanding an action ...
mfg's user avatar
  • 867
12 votes
7 answers
4k views

How does "if p, then q" compare to "p only if q"?

How do the statements if p then q and p only if q compare
Marsha's user avatar
  • 129
12 votes
7 answers
7k views

In simple terms, what is the difference between logic in mathematics and philosophy?

I want to understand the difference between mathematical and philosophical logic. I actually thought they were the same till I read this post. Concisely speaking, what is the difference between how a ...
Babu's user avatar
  • 2,188
12 votes
5 answers
3k views

What is an existentialist?

When watching this speech by the Atari founder, he says (at 09:19): If you're a true existentialist [...] you want to have an interesting life. Thus, if someone says he or she is an existentialist,...
Michael's user avatar
  • 223
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is an attribute, as used in Spinoza's Ethics?

In Spinoza's Ethics, the definitions of Part 1. include a supposedly all important term: Attribute, defined by Spinoza in the following: "IV. By attribute, I mean that which the intellect ...
WillDurrant420's user avatar
11 votes
7 answers
6k views

What is a "demon"?

The term demon appears in several thought experiments: Maxwell's demon, Laplace's demon, Descartes' demon, maybe others. What is this term supposed to mean? For example, I understand the term oracle: ...
kutschkem's user avatar
  • 2,620
11 votes
9 answers
6k views

Are humans and other animals machines?

It has been said that biological organisms are one kind of machine, albeit highly complex ones. But is this really true? To answer this question, one needs a precise definition of "machine". ...
user107952's user avatar
  • 7,192
11 votes
11 answers
9k views

Does philosophy belong to empirical science or formal science?

According to Wikipedia, science can be divided into empirical science (such as natural science and social science) and formal science (such as mathematics, logic, statistics). I was wondering if ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 507
11 votes
10 answers
2k views

Is it possible to define "the supernatural"?

From a naturalistic perspective, it is possible to argue that the supernatural not only doesn't exist, but cannot even be defined. The reasoning goes that anything which "appears" to be supernatural, ...
LightCC's user avatar
  • 1,026
10 votes
7 answers
2k views

Is the dichotomy between natural and unnatural defensible?

Are not the dictionary definitions of natural and unnatural inconsistent? Why wouldn't whatever humans create (e.g. money, plastic bags, books, internet, laptop, lamp, buildings, airplanes, etc) be ...
ActualCry's user avatar
  • 1,979
10 votes
5 answers
823 views

Why would definition not be proposition?

I've read in one mathematics book that any definition is not a proposition. Why is it so? What definition of proposition makes the former into the latter? EDIT: There is well-known analytic-syntactic ...
Oleksandr Bondarenko's user avatar
10 votes
9 answers
71k views

What exactly do 'objective' and 'subjective' mean in contemporary philosophy?

I'm pretty new to philosophy and I just have a quick question in regards to about how people use the terms 'objective' and 'subjective'. Does objective value mean anything that is independent of one'...
James's user avatar
  • 101
10 votes
2 answers
33k views

What is the difference between intension and intention?

What is the difference between intention and intension? If one intends to do something is this intent part of the concept of intension?
user128932's user avatar
9 votes
12 answers
4k views

Is attacking an argument because it's machine generated an ad hominem fallacy?

I really want to say rejecting a line of reasoning because ChatGPT created it would be an ad machina argument. (Note, I'm interested in the case where the rejection is made without any consideration ...
BCS's user avatar
  • 201
9 votes
4 answers
740 views

Is there a term for the belief that what is popular in society defines what is moral?

I have observed a number of people who believe, either explicitly or implicitly, that what is popular in a person’s society is what is moral. For instance, someone might say: Polls say that 90% of ...
Thunderforge's user avatar
9 votes
8 answers
13k views

What is the difference between an 'idea' and a 'concept'?

What is the difference between an 'idea' and a 'concept'? Has a distinction between the two terms been settled and accepted by most modern philosophers?
Hal's user avatar
  • 1,230
9 votes
5 answers
2k views

Defining terms in philosophy?

I always enjoyed philosophy, but I never thought to ask this question when I was still taking philosophy classes. So, I thought this was a good way to see what "philosophy" people think of this. When ...
user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
863 views

Is there a philosophical term or theory that defines or describes the idea of 'epiphany'?

I am new to the philosophy stack exchange, so please let me know if I need to clarify this question further. I am curious if there is a distinction made in philosophical fields between a typical step-...
cheepychappy's user avatar
9 votes
5 answers
27k views

What is the difference between Functionalism and Structural-Functionalism?

I don't know if I should ask this here because the question is more like a sociology one. Anyway, I will give it a try, since most of the sociologists are also philosophers, so maybe I'll be lucky ...
sfrj's user avatar
  • 193
9 votes
3 answers
1k views

What are the philosophical implications of Tarski's truth definition?

I am a Math student currently taking my Master's Degree, and last semester I took an introductory course on Mathematical Logic. One of the subjects we covered there was Tarski's truth definition; and ...
essay's user avatar
  • 193
8 votes
5 answers
3k views

What's the right term in logic for this phenomenon?

The statement "My mother is my parent" is always true, however, the opposite statement "My parent is my mother" is not always true because my father is also my parent. What's the ...
brilliant's user avatar
  • 272
8 votes
8 answers
2k views

Is Taoism a philosophy?

I find some of the individual ideas in Taoism comforting when applied to my own life (e.g. effortless action, non-attachment, acceptance, duality), but I don't really know what Taoism is as an all ...
jacob's user avatar
  • 181
8 votes
5 answers
60k views

What is the difference between Philosophy and Theology?

In attempting to wrap my mind around the basic vocabulary, concepts, and methods of philosophy, I find myself wondering what the difference is between a philosopher and a theologian. Theology (link ...
LightCC's user avatar
  • 1,026
8 votes
3 answers
542 views

What does it mean for an axiom to be logical?

I have recently been hearing the phrase logical axiom being thrown around in reference to the philosophy of mathematics and I'm having a hard time understanding what one might mean when they are using ...
Michael Harper's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

What did Gödel mean by "positive property" in his ontological argument?

In his ontological proof, Gödel states (Axiom 1) If a property is positive, then its negation is not positive. What does he meant by this term? I have come across authors who replace this notion ...
user avatar
8 votes
12 answers
3k views

How To Distinguish Between Philosophy And Non-Philosophy?

Surely not all thinking or intellectual effort is philosophy, right? Where to draw line between philosophy and all other thinking? What, if any, feature is present only in philosophy?
Atif's user avatar
  • 1,074
8 votes
2 answers
373 views

Recursive definitions. Am I sane?

"The difference between me and a madman is the madman thinks that he is sane. I know that I am mad." ~ Salvador Dalí There are many terms defined in a recursive manner, e.g.: A person A is sane if ...
Be Brave Be Like Ukraine's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
4k views

In Aristotle, What does it mean for something to be predicated?

I am studying Aristotle's views on substance, and in the narratives of his work, the term 'predicated' is used with great frequency, though not at all defined. In Googling the meaning of 'predicated', ...
user2901512's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
434 views

When/How does an issue become "Philosophical" in nature?

I find this site very interesting, because the questions and answers span such a wide range of issues. However, I often struggle to see how some of the matters discussed fit into the category of "...
Vector's user avatar
  • 489
8 votes
2 answers
256 views

What is the term for an argument where denial of the proposition can be used as evidence of the proposition's truthfulness?

I've seen this used enough times that there's probably a formal name for it, but I don't know what it is. For example, from Catch-22: "I think I'm going crazy." "Only a sane person is capable ...
Mason Wheeler's user avatar
7 votes
11 answers
5k views

Can you explain clearly the difference between race and ethnicity?

I have tried to look it up but most definitions usually don't make the difference crystal-clear. Many results on Google give overlapping definitions. What my understanding is is that race is rooted in ...
chanzerre's user avatar
  • 129

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