107

I think part of the problem is: Science doesn't prove anything. Science, at its core, is simply a method of generating testable hypothesis that explain events, which are valued because of their use in predicting future results. Let me give an example. Based on observations, science came up with a theory for an orbital period, correlating orbital speed and ...


33

This is an excellent question, and deserves more discussion than I can really provide here, but I'll try to give a simple and clear delineation between the two fields. Metaphysics is a very broad field, and metaphysicians attempt to answer questions about how the world is. Ontology is a related sub-field, partially within metaphysics, that answers ...


24

Like you, I think most uses of the terms 'probable' and 'random' are just epistemic, i.e. they relate to how much information we have. We say of a toss of a coin that it is random, and that there is a probability of (approximately) one half of it falling heads, but this just reflects the information we possess. Tell me more about the force and vector of the ...


22

I would like to argue that the topic (especially the search for proof for it) is rather useless. With a search for evidence, this topic is very similar to the topic of the search for evidence that God exists - which is, naturally, an assumption that brings the term "God" into a field it simply cannot exist in. You can't search for an ontological evidence for ...


16

In the absence of context, this is definitely a semantic debate. Is anyone who ever played a note on a musical instrument a musician? Is anyone who has ever written a word on paper a writer? Clearly not, for most intended purposes of those terms. When we speak of someone as "a philosopher", we are usually intending someone whose dominant activity has ...


16

Attempts to show that God exists by looking at nature such as the Kalam Cosmological Argument can only assert "generic theism", as you rightly point out. If the argument holds, then how does anybody know anything about this god/God? The answer is revelation or prophecy. When theologians talk about revelation, they are talking about ways that God ...


14

I propose that we cannot know whether we are living in a simulation. One of the ways to detect a simulation supposedly is to detect errors from the inside. But there is no reason whatsoever to believe that our version of the universe has anything to do with the real reality. Every last single piece of our physics etc. could be artificial, hand-picked by our ...


13

Metaphysics generally covers topics such as cosmology (space and time), determinism and free will, mind and matter, ontology (being, existence, reality), necessity and possibility, identity and change, among others. Ontology is just one of those subtopics of metaphysics; it focuses on the categories of being and whether things can be said to exist or not. ...


13

Introductory remarks This is subject to debate and there is no definite answer. The general consensus is that no definite set of properties can possibly be given and if it is done, these sets are relative to the end they serve and the historical as well as the cultural context, i.e. we live in a "post-essentialist world" (Ramsey 2013) when it comes to the ...


10

I'm going to posit, admittedly without any research whatsoever about those who've preceded these thoughts, that an "invention" is a kind of "discovery," and that whether a thing qualifies as an invention is—yup, you saw it coming—subjective. For example, we might say that the wheel was "invented" on grounds of (1) non-naturality (originality), ...


10

Philosophy comes from the Greek words philo (loving) and soph(ía) (wisdom). Philosophers are thus—in a very liberal sense—simply "lovers of wisdom". However, I would imagine virtually everyone loves wisdom; at least in some way we all want to be "wise", and thus the term would apply to everyone and not really be of any real value. In the modern sense, it is ...


10

I believe it is impossible. I recommend you read (if you haven't already) Descartes' meditations where he famously concludes I think therefore I am - http://www.sacred-texts.com/phi/desc/med.txt: Archimedes, in order that he might draw the terrestrial globe out of its place, and transport it elsewhere, demanded only that one point should be fixed and ...


10

I tend to share your puzzlement. A lot of contemporary metaphysicians seem to have an outdated view of physics, not only about determinism but also about locality or mereology. (This was criticized by Ladyman and Ross in "everything must go".) I think the main reasons are the following: Generally, philosophers are not trained in physics (except ...


10

I'm a medievalist. I don't know of any discussion of angels dancing on pinheads, probably because literally every medieval theologian (at least in the Christian tradition) would have regarded angels as immaterial beings. So they don't occupy space (or at the very least, not in the same way bodies do). Aquinas argues in Summa Theologica I q. 52 a. 3 ("...


10

Trying to prove, scientifically, that God exists is probably a bit pointless but it's not necessarily absurd. As with most of science. there's no requirement to try to find a theory of everything in one go. One could, for example, focus on attributes commonly attributed to gods and test for those. You've raised Creation, but there are others. An ...


9

You're reading Descartes out of context; he doesn't just say "cogito ergo sum" and go home, he says it in the course of an argument. I'm not going to rehearse all of the steps of the argument here-- the Meditations on First Philosophy are readily available, and easy to read-- but in broad strokes, he's asking: what do we know indubitably? Is there any kind ...


9

Based on your last paragraph, you might be interested in Thomas Nagel's The View From Nowhere. In that, he argues that it is impossible to achieve a completely objective perspective--- what he calls the View From Nowhere. This isn't directly related to your first paragraph, but something you might enjoy. As to your first paragraph, you might find this book ...


9

All knowledge is subdivisions for a more convenient representation. I am not sure what you mean by artificial. That you are a person, and distinct from the air in the room you inhabit, is in some sense artificial, but it would be ludicrously inconvenient to not make that distinction. Likewise with particles. Of course you can play all sorts of other ...


9

I generally take characters on shows to be a different instance of the same person, that is, the name doesn't matter, but in the context of the show the actor is that same actor but in the context of the parallel universe developed for the show. Let's use object orientated because that is freakishly easy notation for this problem. (Consensus Reality).(Wil ...


9

The question refers to ontology. The classification matter or mind is a strong simplification. Popper advocated a tripartition with world 1: physical objects and events world 2: mental objects and events world 3: objective knowledge and ideas created by the human mind. Popper describes his three worlds e.g., in Chapter P2, of Popper, Karl; Eccles, John: ...


9

First, I agree with the claim stated in the currently most upvoted answer that the natural sciences do not prove things in the way that the formal sciences, like logic, math, and computer science, prove things, and that the natural sciences cannot give us 100% certainty. However, as an answer to the OP I think the answer falls a bit short. As I see it, we ...


9

Does thinking imply existing? Descartes argues yes: it is impossible for anything to think which does not exist. Does existing imply thinking? Most people would say no. Most would say that a rock exists, and the rock does not think. Therefore it is possible for something to exist which doesn't think. As such, the basic claim doesn't go both ways. ...


8

Congratulations, you've found one of the major problems with Anselm's Ontological argument. We can easily say "Imagine a perfect circle", as we have a clear notion of what the essential properties of a circle are, and can recognize the actual circles we come across daily as approximations of some imputed ideal. If, on the other hand, we say "Imagine a ...


8

Heidegger famously argued for precisely this. He points out that the Greek word for truth, ἀλήθεια (Aletheia), grammatically relies upon the use of a privative; it literally means unconcealedness (with the privative use of "un-".)


8

Santa Exists (axiomatic) Thesis - Santa does not exist; anti-thesis - Santa does exist; Synthesis - Santa does exist in some possible world, and hopefully ours. (Hegel & Lewis) Santa exists in the best of all possible worlds. This is the best of all possible worlds. Hence Santa exists in this world (Liebniz in an Aristotelian syllogism). Santa does ...


8

Your question is an interesting one, and it actually gets at some really fundamental and difficult stuff. In modern philosophical parlance featureless objects are known as 'bare particulars' and there is a literature on them. See http://tedsider.org/papers/bare_particulars.pdf for a recent article. E. Allaire also has an older paper that I think gets ...


8

Most physicists don't accept infinities for a very obvious reason: such infinite physical objects are not quantifiable! That is, we can't measure them or even prove that they are infinite. Through the history of physics, infinities were raised in formulas, and usually in these cases the formulas were thrown away, considered as incomplete, or they kept ...


8

TL;DR: No, he did not! To be precise, things-in-themselves may be objects of thought, i.e. abstract concepts of the realm of logic, and therefore concepts of transcendental philosophy as logically necessary conditions of the possibility of experience. But they cannot be objects of knowledge, i.e. things that are particular objects of experience subsumed ...


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