A non-physical entity is an entity or being that lacks a physical/material body or physical/material characteristics. Non-physical entities may be considered hypothetical, actual, or fictional. The spelling nonphysical is also used.

Various usesEdit

In philosophy, religion, or esotericism, the concept of non-physical entities may refer to deities, spirits, and so on, which are entities that either lack a body or possess a subtle body only, and are generally considered belonging to a supra-physical plane of existence. In religion or theology, an example of a hypothetical might be a deity that is no longer conventionally believed in. Non-physical entities may also refer to concepts whose existence is considered in philosophical arguments, such as the common hypothesis that the universe exists in mind only, and is not physical.

In fiction, a common example may be an imaginary being or a spirit-like being. Analytic philosophy may also refer to an imaginary being.

In the philosophy of mathematics, numbers, spaces, sets, and so forth are considered to be existent and yet not physical.

In computer science and information science, in an ontology, entities can be classified as physical (composed of matter) or non-physical (abstract concepts).


In philosophy, propositions, meanings, statements, etc., can be defined as non-physical entities.[1]Template:Rp

In the substance dualism branch of philosophy, persons are considered non-physical entities attached to physical bodies.[2]

Ontology Edit

Main article: Wikipedia:Ontology

In Ontology – the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence, or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations – theorists deal with questions concerning what entities exist or can be said to exist, and how such entities can be grouped. Entities (i.e., beings) are often classified as physical (corporeal), nonphysical (such as a spirit or soul), or a combination of both (for example, tripartite human, consisting of body, soul, and spirit).


Main article: Wikipedia:Abstract object

In the philosophy of mathematics certain existent yet not physical conceptions can be considered non-physical entities, for example numbers, functions, and sets.[1]Template:Rp These are nomally referred to as abstract objects.

Ontology (information science)Edit

Main article: Ontology (information science)

In computer science and information science, an ontology is used to formally represent knowledge as a set of concepts within a domain, and the relationships between those concepts, which can then be used to reason about the entities within that domain. Entities can be categorized or classified as tangible/physical, intangible/non-physical, or both. Tangible/physical may be defined as things composed of matter (e.g., planets, furniture, or persons), and intangible/non-physical may be defined as things that cannot be touched, such as abstract concepts (e.g., mathematical concepts, alphabets, and literary works). Examples of entities that are both tangible and intangible at the same time are a printed book, a thumb drive, and a person. They are physical, but also contain intangible knowledge and information that is independent of and transcends the physical media upon which the information is placed. The distinction between physical and non-physical may occur at the highest level of the upper ontology, as in SUMO[3] and Wikipedia:Cyc,[4] or not occur at all, as in OCHRE.

See alsoEdit



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