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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Willful Understanding: Avicenna’S Philosophy Of Action And Theory Of The Will, Jon Mcginnis, Anthony Ruffus Jun 2015

Willful Understanding: Avicenna’S Philosophy Of Action And Theory Of The Will, Jon Mcginnis, Anthony Ruffus

Philosophy Faculty Works

In this study, we look at two interpretive puzzles associated with the thought of Avicenna that are still of intrinsic philosophical interest today. The first concerns to what extent, if at all, Avicenna’s deity can be said to act freely. The second concerns to what extent, if at all, humans within Avicenna’s philosophical system can be said to act freely. It is our contention that only through a careful analysis of Avicenna’s theory of action can one begin to assess his position concerning the status of the will and so provide a satisfactory response to these two ...


A Small Discovery: Avicenna's Theory Of Minima Naturalia, Jon Mcginnis Jan 2015

A Small Discovery: Avicenna's Theory Of Minima Naturalia, Jon Mcginnis

Philosophy Faculty Works

There has been a long-held misconception among historians of philosophy and science that apart from brief comments in Aristotle and Averroes, the theory of minima naturalia had to await Latin Schoolmen for its full articulation. Recently scholars have shown that far from sporadic comments on minima naturalia, Averroes in fact had a fully developed and well-integrated theory of them. In this study, I complement these scholars’ important work by considering Avicenna’s place in the history and development of the doctrine of the minima naturalia. There is no study to date that mentions Avicenna in connection with this doctrine despite ...


The Resilience Of Computationalism, Gualtiero Piccinini Dec 2010

The Resilience Of Computationalism, Gualtiero Piccinini

Philosophy Faculty Works

Computationalism—the view that cognition is computation—has always been controversial. It faces two types of objection. According to insufficiency objections, computation is insufficient for some cognitive phenomenon X. According to objections from neural realization, cognitive processes are realized by neural processes, but neural processes have feature Y, and having Y is incompatible with being (or realizing) computations. In this article, I explain why computationalism has survived these objections. To adjudicate the dispute between computationalism and its foes, I will conclude that we need a better account of computation.


Computing Mechanisms, Gualtiero Piccinini Oct 2007

Computing Mechanisms, Gualtiero Piccinini

Philosophy Faculty Works

This paper offers an account of what it is for a physical system to be a computing mechanism—a system that performs computations. A computing mechanism is a mechanism whose function is to generate output strings from input strings and (possibly) internal states, in accordance with a general rule that applies to all relevant strings and depends on the input strings and (possibly) internal states for its application. This account is motivated by reasons endogenous to the philosophy of computing, namely, doing justice to the practices of computer scientists and computability theorists. It is also an application of recent literature ...


Splitting Concepts, Gualtiero Piccinini, Sam Scott Oct 2006

Splitting Concepts, Gualtiero Piccinini, Sam Scott

Philosophy Faculty Works

A common presupposition in the concepts literature is that concepts constitute a singular natural kind. If, on the contrary, concepts split into more than one kind, this literature needs to be recast in terms of other kinds of mental representation. We offer two new arguments that concepts, in fact, divide into different kinds: (a) concepts split because different kinds of mental representation, processed independently, must be posited to explain different sets of relevant phenomena; (b) concepts split because different kinds of mental representation, processed independently, must be posited to explain responses to different kinds of category. Whether these arguments are ...


Scientific Methodologies In Medieval Islam, Jon Mcginnis Jul 2003

Scientific Methodologies In Medieval Islam, Jon Mcginnis

Philosophy Faculty Works

The present study considers Ibn Sînâ's (Lat. Avicenna) account of induction (istiqra') and experimentation (tajriba). For Ibn Sînâ induction purportedly provided the absolute, necessary and certain first principles of a science. Ibn Sînâ criticized induction, arguing that it can neither guarantee the necessity nor provide the primitiveness required of first principles. In it place, Ibn Sînâ developed a theory of experimentation, which avoids the pitfalls of induction by not providing absolute, but conditional, necessary and certain first principles. The theory of experimentation that emerges though not modern, does have elements that are similar to a modern conception of scientific ...