What are Philosophical Problems?
Philosophy clarifies our thought process and refines the basic concepts that we use to understand reality. Like other sciences, it works on problems – it is driven by questions that cannot be answered easily, or that are unanswerable. If these questions, like the mind-body problem, cannot be answered (yet?), one may still be able to build a theory that illuminates the problem itself. Philosophy therefore also has a system-building function, and it moves between explanation and understanding, or between cause and meaning.
I have compiled a list of what I consider to be the real philosophical problems – not just plays with definitions, or questions about imaginary concepts, such as whether God exists.
- Thinking and reality: what is the relationship?
- The mind-body problem, or: what is consciousness in relation to physical reality?
- The nature of mathematical objects: What are numbers, geometrical objects, sets?
- Demarcation problem: how can we distinguish between empirical sciences and mathematics, logic, or metaphysics?
- Is there an actual infinity?
- What are values?
- Signs and objects: what enables the signifying relationship?
- What is a thing? What is self-identity? How does something or someone stay itself throughout change? Why Am I still the same person after 10 years of life?
- What is change? The relationship between actuality, potentiality, possibility, necessity, or impossibility?