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,…

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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…

A Review of Colin McGinn’s “Can We Solve the Mind/Body Problem?”

In “Can We Solve the Mind-Body Problem?”, Colin McGinn introduces the idea of a property or theory being “cognitively closed” (350) to an individual. This means there are phenomena and knowledge of phenomena that minds do not have the cognitive ability to comprehend. According to McGinn, “A type of mind M is cognitively closed with…

Al-Fārābi

According to Al-Fārābi, “Religion is opinions and actions, determined and restricted with stipulations and prescribed for a community by their first ruler, who seeks to obtain through their practicing it a specific purpose with respect to them or by means of them" (Book of Religion, 1). Religion is an applied ideology that gives its interpretation,…