A Review Of Catherine Z. Elgin’s ‘Fiction As Thought Experiment’

Dictionary.com defines scientific experiments as “tests under controlled conditions that are made to demonstrate a known truth, examine the validity of a hypothesis, or determine the efficacy of something". In "Thought Experiments", by Roy Sorenson, Sorenson points out that “the aim of any experiment is to answer or raise its question rationally (Sorenson, 205). As…

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Avicenna On Self-Awareness (Floating Man Argument)

Avicenna believes intellectual progress is made through finding the linking, or middle terms, of syllogistic arguments. A thought experiment is not in itself a syllogism, but it can prompt one to reflect more effectively and help trigger and intuitive insight of that elusive middle term. More modestly, a thought might just guide one towards the…

Avicenna On Mental Existence – “Metaphysics” I.5.12

In Cure “Metaphysics” I.5.12 Avicenna writes: Concerning what is said—namely, ‘A thing is that about which information is given’—this is true. But when, in addition to this, it is said ‘A thing may be absolutely nonexistent’, this is a matter that must be looked into. If by ‘nonexistent’ is meant the nonexistent in external reality,…

A Review of Lawrence Shapiro’s Multiple Realizability Thesis

The multiple realizability thesis (MRT) is the idea that the function of certain kinds of objects can manifest itself in a number of different ways. In Multiple Realizations, Shapiro points out that in order to properly understand the MRT, one must first distinguish between the two different kinds of objects: natural kinds and non-natural kinds.…

Virtue in Plato’s ‘Protagoras’

In Plato’s Protagoras, Socrates and Protagoras discuss whether or not virtue, or "the ability to live the best possible life" (Taylor, Introduction), can be taught.  Protagoras begins the dialogue by asserting that virtue is something that can be taught and that he is capable of teaching it.  Socrates takes the position that virtue is something…

A Review of John Searle’s ‘Minds, Brains, and Programs’

In Minds, Brains, and Programs, John Searle puts forth an argument against the view that understanding is a computational process. Searle uses an example involving a monolingual man locked in a room manipulating Chinese symbols to demonstrate his argument. In this example, Searle is in a room receiving certain Chinese symbols; he matches them with…

A Review of John Searle’s ‘The Logical Status of Fictional Discourse’

In The Logical Status of Fictional Discourse, John Searle claims an assertion is “a type of illocutionary act that conforms to certain quite specific semantic and pragmatic rules” (Searle, 322). This means there are strict rules that must be abided by when the act of communication itself is the intended action – not just a means to an end. Furthermore, Searle states that…