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Why The World Does Not Exist (IAI Academy)

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Can reality be described by a single theory? Does our failure to find a theory of everything expose the limits of knowledge, or might the world not exist at all? Philosopher Markus Gabriel explores.

The world might not be what you think. The world has never referred just to the space between heaven and earth, our planet, or the portion of it that we can see and touch. The world is a concept that describes the sphere in which everything exists. The problem is it might not exist itself.

In this course, Professor Markus Gabriel takes a tour de force of metaphysics, ontology and epistemology, from ancient myths, to the pre-Socratics, to Kant, Ferge, and Wittgenstein to explore ideas of existence, reality and being- why they fail, and what it means.

In this course, you will learn:

- Why unicorns might have ‘being’ even if they do not exist.

- How ideas about reality in ancient myth have continued through our language.

- How ancient philosophers first tackled the problems of being and existence.

- A history of ideas about the world- from ‘the totality of objects’ to ‘the domain of all domains’.

- Why we need to believe in a ‘monistic’ reality.

- How Ontological Pluralism and Ontological Realism might be combined to create a new theory.

- Why we should reject metaphysics and embrace the non-existence of the world.


Course Syllabus

- Part One: Coherence and Unity

Why are we driven to search for unity in nature? Can we account for reality without being consistent?

- Part Two: The World and Existence

What does it mean for something to exist? If the world does not exist, what does?