Some Metaphysical Questions

Some thought provoking metaphysical questions from Philosophy 4360/5360 handout

“(1) Is there anything that must be true of absolutely everything that exists?
(2) Must anything that exists have intrinsic properties?
(3) What are properties? Are they universals, or tropes, or . . .?
(4) Must anything that exists stand in some relation to something else?
(5) Must anything that exists be completely determinate, or can there be vague objects?
(6) Can there be things that exist that are not in time?
(7) Is there anything that is not part of the spatiotemporal world?
(8) What are the truthmakers for mathematical statements?
(9) What are numbers?
(10) Can there be necessarily existent entities?
(11) What is it for something to be an actual entity?
(12) Is everything that exists an actual entity?
(13) What are the truthmakers for statements of logical possibility?
(14) Do merely possible worlds exist?
(15) What sorts of things are possible worlds?
(16) Is change really possible?
(17) Can there be things that are in principle unobservable?
(18) Can one make sense of a non-reductionist view of theoretical entities?
(19) Can there be aspects of reality that are in principle unknowable?
(20) Why is there something, rather than nothing?
(21) Could the world contain only dispositional properties?
(22) Can there be pure dispositional properties – that is, properties that have no categorical basis?
(23) What is time?
(24) Is time real, or an illusion?
(25) Could time be cyclic?
(26) Can there be time without change?
(27) Is space real, or an illusion?

(28) Is space itself an entity, or is it reducible to spatial relations between objects and events?
(29) What are laws of nature?
(30) Do laws of nature govern the occurrence of events in time?
(31) Are there laws of nature?
(32) What is causation?
(33) Is causation real, or an illusion?
(34) Could a cause succeed its effect?
(35) Could a cause and its effect be simultaneous?
(36) Are causal facts supervenient upon non-causal facts?
(37) Do causal relations between events presuppose causal laws?
(38) Is the world a deterministic one?
(39) What are persisting substances? Are they bundles of properties, or properties plus a substratum, or . . . ?
(40) What constitutes “identity over time”?
(41) Do objects perdure, or endure?
(42) Does the physical universe depend upon the existence of an immaterial creator?
(43) Is there a necessarily existent being upon which the contingent world depends for its existence?
(44) Could there be a person who was not in time?
(45) Can persons be analyzed in terms of person-stages?
(46) Is the self a bundle of experiences?
(47) Is the self a bundle of powers?
(48) Do humans involve immaterial souls?
(49) Do humans involve any properties that are not reducible to the properties that characterize the inanimate world?
(50) What is consciousness?
(51) What is intentionality? What is it for a mental state to be ‘about’ something?
(52) Could consciousness be a purely physical phenomenon?
(53) Could intentionality be a purely physical phenomenon?
(54) Are humans free?
(55) Is freedom compatible with determinism?
(56) Do humans possess libertarian free will?
(57) Is there such a thing as agent-causation?”

(Tooley, Some Metaphysical Questions)


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