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"Beyond Existence: Philosophical Inquiries into the Nature of Ordinary Objects"

"Navigating Ontological Realms, Sorites Sequences, and the Enigma of Composition"

By Med KarimPublished 3 months ago 3 min read
"Beyond Existence: Philosophical Inquiries into the Nature of Ordinary Objects"
Photo by Federica Campanaro on Unsplash

Do the entities we commonly refer to as chairs truly exist, or are they mere illusions in the tapestry of our perception? The examination of such questions delves deep into the realms of ontology, the philosophical exploration of existence. Philosophers often categorize chairs as ordinary objects, those mundane yet essential items we encounter in our daily lives—spoons, buckets, rocks, and the like. While their existence may seem self-evident, probing into the nature of these seemingly mundane objects unveils intriguing ontological complexities.

The skepticism surrounding the existence of ordinary objects extends beyond a mere contemplation of the authenticity of reality. Philosophers grapple with the profound possibility that our perceptions could be manifestations of a dream or illusions projected into our minds within a simulated reality, with our bodies serving as mere conduits of energy.

Beneath these layers of skepticism lies a profound ontological inquiry. Regardless of whether an object is composed of real or simulated atoms, the fundamental question emerges: Can something truly be "made of" another substance? Consider, for instance, an origami crane and a piece of paper. Initially perceived as distinct entities, a closer examination reveals an intricate relationship known as constitution. In this scenario, the paper constitutes the crane, illustrating a one-to-one relationship between the two.

However, there exists another mode of "being made of" known as composition. Unlike the constitution's one-to-one relationship, composition involves a many-to-one dynamic, where an object is composed of numerous fundamental subatomic particles—electrons, quarks, strings, or various fields. Philosophers term these ultimate constituents simples, entities devoid of substructure or parts.

The possibility arises that the universe might consist of simples, or it could be a gunky reality with an unending chain of increasingly smaller substructures. On the contrary, a universe where everything is part of something larger, with no conclusive composite, is termed a junky universe, presenting a labyrinth of ontological possibilities.

The philosophical stance that ordinary objects exist and are reducible to smaller components is known as ontological reductionism. This position posits that wholes are nothing more than the sum of their constituent parts. However, the intricate relationship between objects and their components challenges this reductionist notion, suggesting that being "made of" is distinct from merely "being" those components.

Defining existence becomes pivotal in this discourse. If we agree that something exists when there is more than zero of it, then chairs undeniably exist. However, the properties associated with these objects, such as being dry and salty, fall under the category of properties that characterize them. The very essence of what it means to "be" a chair becomes a nuanced exploration of existence.

The inventory of nouns in language raises further ontological questions. Are these nouns a reflection of the universe's inventory, or have we, as language users, created these categories? For instance, the existence of islands is readily accepted, given their presence in dictionaries and observable reality. On the other hand, the concept of incars—cars in garages—poses an intriguing challenge to traditional notions of existence. The debate extends to trogs, objects comprising a tree and the nearest dog, raising questions about the subjective nature of defining what truly exists.

This philosophical exploration delves into mereology, the study of parts and wholes. Mereological universalism contends that there exists an answer to the special composition question, asserting that any assortment of entities, however peculiar or dispersed across time and space, constitutes a singular entity. This perspective challenges eliminativism, which dismisses certain composites while acknowledging others.

In conclusion, the debate about the nature of reality and the existence of ordinary objects raises profound questions about the relationship between language, perception, and the inherent properties of entities. Whether the universe is objectively composed of distinct entities or a product of human imposition remains a fundamental ontological inquiry, showcasing the intricate interplay between philosophy and the nature of existence itself.


About the Creator

Med Karim

"When you have a dream, you've got to grab it and never let go."

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