The Theory of Beauty in the Classical Aesthetics of Japan

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 11/20/2015

To the yearning seekers of blossoms
With pride, would I offer
A delight of the eye,
The green from under the snow
In a mountain village in springtide!

The 'mystery' of Japanese aesthetics comes from the fact that there is a peculiar kind of metaphysics, based on a realization of the simultaneous semantic articulation of consciousness and the external reality, structurally comprising within itself, as an organic whole, the metaphysical, ethical, and aesthetic experiences of the Japanese, dominating the whole functional domain of the Japanese sense of beauty.

It tries to create an associative network of semantic articulations, i.e. a non-temporal 'space' of semantic saturation, bringing into being a global view of a whole (a "field"), in which the words used are observable all at once which is impossible except within the framework of an extremely short poem like waka (31 syllables) and haiku (17 syllables). In a "field" thus constituted, time may be said to be standing still or even annihilated in the sense that the meanings of all words are simultaneously present in one single sphere. Instead of a linear, temporal succession of words, in which each succeeding word goes on obliterating, as it were, the foregoing word.

There are two most important points to be remarked about this spatial, non-temporal image of reality. The first is that, unlike in the reality imaged as the empirical field of causal sequence, there is not supposed to be any priority-posteriority relationship between the things and events which arise therein. Nor should there be any pivotal centers seen around which the things and events would coagulate and tum and at which the relational continuum of co-existence would terminate. That which sustains this image of reality is an awareness of diversity and manifoldness in the form of accidental coincidences, accidental correlations, correspondences and contrasts among things converging into a universal existence with its inner metaphysical dynamics, rather than the awareness of their temporal-causal sequence. In such a perspective, even what is ordinarily considered temporality would appear in a completely different light, for it would then appear identified simply as a perpetual 'inconsistency-transiency' (mu-jo).

As an aesthetic idea it is a feeling of aesthetic harmony fermented in and induced from contemplative awareness. This inner harmony, first projected onto the empirical dimension of things and events. The human reality in this sense may be structurally represented as a sort of existential 'field' that is actualized between the subject and object as its two poles. It would only be natural that the 'field' constituted in this way should have validity only for human existence. To express the same thing from its reverse side, human existence emerges and disappears together with the 'field', that is, human existence cannot maintain itself apart from the 'field'. Or we must say rather that human existence consists precisely in the act of constantly and ceaselessly producing the 'field'. Consequently it would be a sheer impossibility for man to go over the limits of this 'field' and step out of it while remaining at the same time a human being.

The first level of the contemplative 'field' comes into being when the cognitive focus of the subject-which ordinarily is directed toward the outer world unilaterally and one pointedly-begins as it were gradually to become enlarged and diffused until it transcends itself in the sense that it turns into a synchronically multiple awareness directed toward the entire 'field', which is replete with a particular dynamic tension arising from the very co-existence of all things in the all-comprising focal point of such an awareness in one single nontemporal dimension.

At the second level of the contemplative 'field', there no longer exists the vivacious beauty of the phenomenal world. The internal and the external, the subjective and the objective, the perceiver and the perceived, the field and the awareness of the field, the contained and the contaner: whichever of these pairs of opposing units we might posit as the ultimate realms of articulation, we invariably witness primordial poles of reality, almost fused into one another, leaving, however, their faint traces of articulate boundaries, constituting between them a harmonious equilibrium, like a silver bowl and snow heaped therein reflecting each other in an illuminating saturation of silvery light. Such is the whole reality and such is also the whole width of consciousness, and between the two is maintained a state of perfect equilibrium. There is nothing else. This is the whole that IS.

The transition from the second to the third level of the contemplative 'field' may figuratively be represented as a process by which an image of a physically visible extension gradually changes into an image of unfathomable depth. At this stage, hqwever, the never-reconcilable polarity between 'being' and 'not-being' loses its validity as a rationally immutable law. Here, for the first time, is opened a transcendental realm which makes it possible for an ambivalence between these two, 'being' and 'not-being', to be realized. All that have been articulated in recognizable forms fall into the depths of the darkness of night.

But once we reach the fourth level, we witness something beyond imagination. Quite contradictorily, the unfathomable darkness itself becomes suddenly transformed into a boundless dazzling light. However, this abysmal darkness can be at the same time the brilliance of the sunlight. The darkness and brilliance in this case are freely transmutable into one another, because neither of them is an outcome of the articulating activity of the mind. They are rather two forms of the self-manifestation of the primordial Nothingness, the non-articulated, comprising in itself all possible things. The 'mysterious singularity' is beyond the reach of all verbal expressions and indeed absolutely transcends all the activities of the human mind.

On the basis of the awareness of the essential structure of human existence, one may still cherish the intention to transcend its inherent limitations and go beyond them. Such is the nature and motivation of the Japanese form of contemplation. The same idea may also be expressed in a different way by saying that the supreme objective of contemplation consists in man's making an unremitting effort to intend, and approach as closely as possible, the undetermined whole, the nonarticulated Reality which lies beyond human existential reality. Even if by this effort he is able to catch only a brief and passing glimpse of a very narrowly limited aspect of the non-articulated, the attempt is still made. These poets and artists gaze intently at the invisible beyond the visible. They exert themselves to go beyond their sensuous limitations.

In the traditional terminology of Japanese thought, the nonarticulated is called Nothingness (mu), while the articulated is called 'being' (yil or u). In the metaphysical view of the Japanese, it is this very Nothingness as the non-articulated whole that is to be considered the sole Reality. The articulated is thus none other than the dimension of 'being' as the empirical field of life produced by the activity of the 'existential' articulation of human consciousness. This dimension of 'being' which has emerged out of Nothingness as its ground, is brought back to the vision of the original Nothingness through contemplative experience, dissolving its own phenomenal coagulations that have been produced by articulation. The inner strcuture of the aesthetics which we have analyzed so far is, as has been seen, based on a metaphysics having Nothingness as its ultimate goal to be reached, by actually realizing an exquisite organic whole of spatial equilibrium in its serene timelessness.


In waka it is usually the case that self-expression is almost necessarily interwoven with Nature-description. In fact waka could be defined as a self-expression through Nature-description. The inner domain of semantic associations linked with, and substantiated by, the associations of empirically articulated things in external Nature as related to human existential experiences. Thus Nature, actually envisaged by the poet, constitutes in itself a kind of Nature-'field' where the inner existential phenomenal activity of his Subjectivity, his inner 'field' of contemplative Awareness, finds its proper locus for externalization, where he can get into the most immediate and intimate contact with his own inner Self (the non-articulated).

As a result, the units of semantic association actualized in waka assume an evocative significance against the background of this vast, universal totality of the associative networks of Nature interlinked with human affairs. We may observe furthermore the peculiar fact that the associative network of natural things and events shows a remarkable tendency to go on dilating itself into the vastness of rarefied infinity. Consequently we hardly find a waka-poem, a tiny linguistic 'field' of 31 syllables as it is, devoid of a feeling of the cosmic amplitude of Nature, whether its main subject be love or grief.


Yugen, the first component of the word yugen, usually connotes faintness or shadowy-ness, in the sense that it rather negates the selfsubsistent empirical solidity of existence, or that it suggests insubstantiality. Gen, the second component of the word, means dimness, darkness or blackness. It is the darkness caused by profoundity; so deep that our physical eyesight cannot possibly reach its depth, that is to say, the darkness in the region of unknowable profoundity. It may be sufficiently clear from what has just been said that yugen is not a mere aesthetic idea but rather a complex one closely and fundamentally related to the awareness of existence. For we observe in it an inherent tendency which, if developed, would almost exclusively be directed toward a metaphysical awareness.

The beauty of yugen is faint, delicate, suggestive because it is based on the awareness of insubstantiality and delimitation of the human existential field. It is a beauty of spiritual aspiration and yearning motivated by the desire to have sensuous images of the non-articulated, non-sensuous reality of eternal silence and enigma in the midst of the phenomenal world. As we sometimes experience, even the empirical world in which we live, observing things and events coming into and going out of existence, becomes transformed before our eyes into a field, intangible and mysterious, in which things and events assume a tinge of yugen, losing the empirical solidity of self-subsistency, wafting as it were in the air, thus pointing to the presence of the primordial, non-articulated reality underlying them.


The beauty of Nature as a positive aesthetic value, they thought, was not to be appreciated at the momentary height of its full actualization so much as in its transient process of subsiding, or even in its vestiges left after its nullification.

The idea of wabi thus metaphysically understood seems to show quite an obvious characteristic in its structure. It refers first of all to a peculiar metaphysical or existential region which is to be located as it were somewhere between the phenomenal and pre-phenomenal or the articulated and non-articulated whole. This structure observed in its dynamics of involvement and evolvement to and from Nothingness is the sole fundamental basis of the aesthetic idea of wabi.

The phenomenal things and events when viewed in terms of wabi, i.e. a particular metaphysics of Nothingess, naturally come to show quite a characteristic inner configuration as a temporal reflexion of the inner dynamics of the non-temporal structure of Nothingness. That is to say, the process of inner dynamics of evolvement and involvement finds its analogy in the phenomenal movement and changes which, though outwardly indistinct and invisible, are going on steadily, leaving their traces accumulated in the depths of the phenomenal things, as may be visualized by the example of a growth ring of a tree.


In the world of haiku, Nature (and also human affairs) is not simply perceived, recognized and described. It must be 'grasped' on the spot by the poet in its dynamic momentum and immediate experiential actuality, as a phenomenal drama in which the existential whole of the creative-cognitive subject encounters the external world dialecticly. Each event of the subject-object encounter takes place once and for all, lasts only for a moment, ends once and for all, and 'disappears, leaving no trace behind', into Nothingness, the non-phenomenal, non-articulated whole. In each of the actual occurrences of dialectic encounter there are realized illuminating correspondences between the subject and object in their phenomenality. Both the creative-cognitive subject and the cognized object disclose their own phenomenal aspects to each other moment by moment in their limitless varieties and variegations. A certain phenomenal aspect ofthe creativecognitive subject illumines outward a certain particular aspect of the cognized object, which in its turn steers the self-illuminating focus upon another particular aspect of the cognitive subject itself, thus continuing indefinitely, and each phase of this illuminating correspondence forms the potential poetic 'field' of the event itself. The cognitive subject and the cognized object are merely the two poles constitutive of the energy 'field' of the phenomenal, existential event, which the linguistic 'field' of haiku tries to represent with its centripetal dynamics.

In the creative actuality of haiku, there should not be any interval even by a hair's breadth between the state of mind and the cognitive perceptual act. The first and faintest stir of the inner reality (bi) emerges from the thing, it activates the creative emotion of the poet (as an instantaneous sensation), which becomes crystallized on the spot into a poetic expression. There is a remark by the Master concerning the composition of verses: 'Crystallize the first flash of things perceived into words while your mind remains still illumined by its reminiscence.' In other words, the state of mind is most immediately connected with the cognitive act of perception itself with absolutely no intervention of inner activity of semantic articulation, resulting in the immediate descriptive expression of it, thus completing the whole process of the creative-cognitive 'event' of haiku. Thus what he describes or expresses should be superbly natural, with no arbitrary intricacy in itself. As the late Master once remarked: 'In the art of haiku a poem should always be composed in tune with the creative momentum'. He should, leaving at this stage no longer even a trace of doubt and vacillation in his mind, express instantaneously and with immediacy things that occur to his mind, without allowing, so to speak, any discrepancy even as a hair's breadth between his inner self and the writing desk, with a spirit comparable to that of "felling a giant tree down to the ground".

The old pond,
A frog flops in,
The water sound.

The faint sound of water which in itself has not even a trifle aesthetic meaning or which aesthetically makes no sense, by being recognized by the cognitive-creative subject. It is in this sense that in haiku the state of mind is linked immediately and directly with sensation and sense perception while in waka it is the inner activity of semantic articulation which is incorrigibly associated with the state of mind. The plainness, mundaneness or even vulgarity of haiku-expression- in contrast to the sophistication of the aesthetic idealism of waka-assumes an important significance only in this structural framework of haiku as an existential-aesthetic experience. What is implied thereby is that in this particular case the nonphenomenal Whole, the unknowable, is not to be found in the horizontal extension of the semantic articulation, and it is ontologically posited in an entirely different dimension. Accordingly its presence is only indicated by the very absence of phenomenal articulation. What is actualized 'here and now'. This inner state which is beyond the reach of all verbal expression, and in which there is no room for cogitation, and indeed which transcends all the activities of human mind-that precisely is the state of'myo' (the mysterious singularity). Myo (mysteriously singular) refers to a state beyond words, where the activity of the mind utterly disappears without a trace. The artistic state now transcends and is perfectly free from all fixed value-ideas, such as right-and-wrong and good-and bad in the ordinary sense of the words.

The Code of the Samurai: A Modern Translation of the Bushido Shoshinshu of Taira Shigesuke

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 11/10/2015

One who is supposed to be a warrior considers it his foremost concern to keep death in mind at all times, every day and every night, from the morning of New Year’s Day through the night of New Year’s Eve.

As long as you keep death in mind at all times, and realize that the life that is here today is not certain on the morrow, for a knight, life is here today, uncertain tomorrow. Therefore he realizes everyday that he has this one day to serve, so he does not become bored or neglect any of his duties. Then when you take your orders from your employer, and when you look in on your parents, you will have the sense that this may be the last time-so you cannot fail to become truly attentive to your employer and your parents. This is why I say you also fulfill the paths of loyalty and familial duty when you keep death in mind.

In contrast to this, when you think you will be on the job forever, then trouble starts. You get bored, so you become inattentive and lazy. If people comfort their minds with the assumption that they will live a long time, something might happen, because they think they will have forever to do their work and look after their parents-they may fail to perform for their employers and also treat their parents thoughtlessly. Since no one takes personal responsibility for taking care of them, tasks pile up and there is nothing but snafus. These are all mistakes that come from counting on having time in the future.

The process of cultivating the practice of doing right begins with fear of being disrespected by those close to you, starting with your family and servants, then advances to refraining from doing wrong and deliberately doing right for fear of incurring the shame of being censured and ridiculed by society at large. Anywhere forbidden by the regulations of his employment, or disliked by his parents, he will avoid going even if he wants to. He will give up even those things that are hard to give up, just to avoid displeasing his employer and parents.

While it goes without  saying that an attitude of hardness and strength is considered foremost in the way of the warrior, if strength is all you have you will seem like a peasant turned samurai, and that will never do. You should acquire education as a matter of course, and it is desirable to learn things such as poetry and the tea ceremony, little by little, in your spare time. If you have no education, there is no way for you to understand the reasons of things past or present. Then no matter how smart or cunning you may be, in actual practice dealing with events you will run into many obstacles.

How to deal with a knight who is corrupting your overlord

Now even if the whole establishment hated the knight in question, who makes up the tax rolls, denouncing him as a devil in the house and an enemy of the overlord, with nine out of ten testifying to his iniquities, seeing no alternative but to take the matter to court and argue their case verbally with-out dirtying their hands, the problem would hardly be resolved privately—the overlord's whole organization could be investigated by the central government, and if things grew worse it could become a public scandal and a cause for government action. Throughout history, there has never been a case where a baron who was unable to manage his establishment and therefore had to resort to the central government actually had the matter resolved that way and maintained his own position. Just as in the metaphors of killing an ox to straighten its horns, or burning down a shrine to catch a mouse, when the overlord loses his position the personnel of the whole establishment, major and minor, are all disenfranchised.

In this case, the logical thing to do is to seize the villain, that devil of the house, that enemy of the overlord, and do away with him as you will—run him through, or strike off his head—and then when that is done satisfactorily you immediately disembowel yourself, committing suicide. Then there will be no government inquiry, and the overlord's position will not be affected. Thus the personnel of the establishment will be secure, and the country will be peaceful. In this way you become a role model for knights of latter days—loyal, dutiful, and courageous—a hundred times better than one who kills himself to follow his overlord in death.

Virtual Box Images Deployment

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 10/07/2015

zip files and ovf file

Select File->Import Appliance and choose SampleAppv207_OBI_11. file. Select ‘Next’. In Appliance Import Settings screen, go to the Virtual Disk Image property. Change the path to a desirable location where you’d like to create the deployed disk image files and click on Finish. It might take about 45 mins to import. After completing import, you may delete the unzipped .ovf and .vmdk files because you have created the new vbox and vmdk files.

vdi(ORACLE Virtual Box) or vmdk(VMWARE) disc image files

Select New -> Oracle Linux (64-bit) -> use existing Harddisk and spicfy the vdi or vmdk image file location, Once finished you can't delete the vdi or the vmdk file because you need it as you have created only vbox file.

Note: Oracle VM VirtualBox can open VMware native virtual machine hard drive files in .vmdk format. But VMware can't open VirtualBox .vdi files.

توماس كون ضد بوبر

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 9/10/2015

يعتبر توماس كون واحد من أهم فلاسفة العلم الذى ينادى بنظرية مختلفة تماما عن بوبر فيلسوف العلم الأشهر فى تفسير التقدم العلمى. وربما يرجع ذلك لأن كون هو من أعمدة "اللا واقعية" على العكس من بوبر "الواقعى". تنادى المدرسة الواقعية بأن العلم ما هو إكتشافات متتالية للحقيقة المطلقة فى كوننا وتلك الحقيقة مطلقة بمعنى أنها واحدة لأى عالم يتأمل فى الكون. وبالتالى فالعلم هو إكتشاف وليس إختراع، وأستكمل بوبر هذا الخط فى إعتبار أن أى شذوذ فى الملاحظات أو النتائج العلمية لا تستطيع النظرية الحالية تفسيره، يجعل النظرية خاطئة وفى حاجة للتصحيح الفورى بتغيير النظرية كلها أو على الأقل تغيير فرضية من فرضياتها وبإستمرار تلك السلسلة من التخطئة (Falsification) والتغيير، نقترب تدريحيا من الحقيقة المطلقة فى الكون وهو ما يسميه بوبر بأن لعبة العلم مفتوحة دائما. ويمكن تلخيص موقف بوبر من النظريات العلمية، أنه يفترض دائما أن النظرية العلمية خاطئة من الأساس حتى يتم إثبات ذلك وتغييرها بالنظرية الأفضل. ومن أهم نتائج هذه الأطروحة، أن أعتبر بوبر لغة العلم واحدة، فالمصطلحات التى تستعملها ميكانيكا نيوتن كالكتلة أو السرعة يمكن مقارنتها بنفس المصطلحات فى النسبية العامة وأن أى تغيير فى التعريف هو أساسا نتاج التغيير فى النظرية للأفضل.

لكن توماس كون يرى العكس من ذلك تماما والذى نشر كتابه  "بنية الثورات العلمية" عام 1962 أى بعد 30 عام من بوبر. فالمدرسة "اللا واقعية" التى ينتمى لها كون، ترى أن العلم إختراع نسبى وليس إكتشاف لحقيقة مطلقة، وبالتالى فالعلم ما هو إلا عدسة يستعملها كل شخص بفهمه وبطريقته الى تختلف من شخص لأخر وبالتالى فالمصطلحات العلمية تختلف من شخص لأخر وبالتالى من صاحب نظرية لصاحب نظرية أخر إذا فلغة العلم ليست واحدة بل تختلف من شخص لأخر أو على الأقل من نظرية لأخرى بل والأخطر أنه وفق تلك النظرة، لا يمكننا من مقارنة نظرية بأخرى بسبب إختلاف لغة العلم بينهما. وفى غياب حقيقة موضوعية مطلقة فى الكون وإبدالها وجهات بنظرات نسبية للعالم وبالتالى فكل النظريات صحيحة وفق نظرتها النسبية للعالم. والجدير بالذكر أن فكرة غياب حقيقة موضوعية مطلقة فى الكون ورؤيته للنظريات العلمية أنها وجهات نظر نسبية، قد جعل المجتمع العلمى يهاجم كون وأطروحته بأنها مهينة للعلم. من السهل أن نلخص تتابع النظريات العلمية فى منهج كون كالتالى:

1) العلم يتكون من مجموعة من الأفكار والإفتراضات التى تنتج نموذج معين (paradigm)، وعند قبول المجتمع العلمى الحالى لهذا النموذج فإن إفتراضاته تعتبر من الثوابت الأرسوذكسية التى من المحرم التشكيك فيها. وأى نجاح لهذا النموذج فى تفسير الكون، يعتبر بمثابة درع له فى نفوس العلماء الذين يكبرون فى وسط هذا النموذج، ضد أى شذوذ فى الملاحظات أو النتائج العلمية، مما يجعلهم يقضون معظم حياتهم العلمية فى إيجاد حلول للشذوذ فى الملاحظات أو النتائج العلمية بتقوية النموذج وتكبيره وويسمى كون هذه العملية "العلم الطبيعى" (Normal Science).

2) تستمر العملية السابقة حتى يظهر شذوذ معين فى الملاحظات أو النتائج العلمية، لا يستطيع النموذج الحالى تفسيره. ولكن حجم هذا الشذوذ يترك تقديره لنفوس العلماء فى المجتمع العلمى، فالعلماء القدامى سيدافعون عن النموذج القديم لأنهم تربوا عليه وعلى إفتراضاته وسيدعون أن الشذوذ كان نتيجة خطأ فى القياس أو أنه سيتم إضافة إفتراض جديد للنظرية يفسر ذلك الشذوذ كما أعتادوا أثناء مرحلة العلم الطبيعى، أما العلماء الشباب فسيسارعون للبحث عن نموذج جديد لتفسير كل ما فسره النموذج القديم بالإضافة إلى تفسير للشذوذ الذى فشل فى تفسيره النموذج القديم.

3) نصل لمرحلة الكارثة (crisis)، عند وجود العديد من الحالات الشاذة والتى لا يستطيع النموذج تفسيرها، فيحدث إن المجتمع العلمى يتقبل التغيير فى صورة النموذج الجديد (paradigm shift)، وعزو كون التغيير لسبيين: إما أن سيطرة العلماء القدامى ضعفت على المجتمع العلمى بسبب الوفيات أو الإحلال والتبديل بالعلماء الشبان أو أن الكارثة كبيرة جدا لدرجة تغيير أن العلماء القدامى مضطرين لتغيير رأيهم. نلاحظ أن كون يتحدث عن أسباب الثورات العلمية كأسباب إجتماعية ونفسية وكصراع بين العلماء القدامى والعلماء الشباب بالأساس مما يتناسب مع نظرته اللا واقعية ونتائجها الإجتماعية.

Kuhn Vs Pooper

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 9/08/2015

Anti-realists believe that science is just a set of statements, it is a tool for humans to see the world, that’s why it cannot be objective and lead us to an ultimate goal as Popper told in his theory. By that logic, science depends on the individual, it is subjective; so it changes from person to person, no certainty for a single, neutral one. This is the reason why anti-realists treat science as invention instead of discovery.

Kuhn rejects progress in science and the method of falsification. To Kuhn, science is made up of a set of ideas, assumptions and worldviews taken as given and not subject to testing (paradigms), and scientific communities gathers around those paradigms, to form what he called  Normal Science. In fact, the Paradigm as conceived by Kuhn is a sort of fundamentalist orthodoxy about how the world is. A whole generation of scientists grows up with a set of common assumptions and they exhibit strong resistance to any data that might call the central Paradigm into question. Kuhn states that scientists spend most (if not all) of their careers in a process of puzzle-solving. Their puzzle-solving is pursued with great tenacity, because the previous successes of the established paradigm tend to generate great confidence that the approach being taken guarantees that a solution to the puzzle exists, even though it may be very hard to find. Kuhn calls this process normal science. Normal Science is to Kuhn the process of elaboration of the Paradigm or central theory in ever more detail, so during the normal science periods, there is progress.

If an unexpected result occurs, this causes an anomaly. This can block the theory anymore, and uncertainty starts. As a paradigm is stretched to its limits, anomalies — failures of the current paradigm to take into account observed phenomena — accumulate. Their significance is judged by the practitioners of the discipline. Some anomalies may be dismissed as errors in observation, others as merely requiring small adjustments to the current paradigm that will be clarified in due course. Some anomalies resolve themselves spontaneously, having increased the available depth of insight along the way. But no matter how great or numerous the anomalies that persist, Kuhn observes, the practicing scientists will not lose faith in the established paradigm until a credible alternative is available; to lose faith in the solvability of the problems would in effect mean ceasing to be a scientist.

Once we reach a time of crisis (many unexplained analomis), it is a crisis, and radical changes occur. But in practice, Kuhn thought theories might only be replaced when the old guard dies out and a new generation replaces them who are not so invested in the old way of looking at things. The paradigm is sunk, and the system is replaced, a paradigm is changed by revolution. Scientific revolution is the phase in which the underlying assumptions of the field are reexamined and a new paradigm is established. In any community of scientists, Kuhn states, there are some individuals who are bolder than most. These scientists, judging that a crisis exists, embark on what Thomas Kuhn calls revolutionary science, exploring alternatives to long-held, obvious-seeming assumptions. Occasionally this generates a rival to the established framework of thought. The new candidate paradigm will appear to be accompanied by numerous anomalies, partly because it is still so new and incomplete. The majority of the scientific community will oppose any conceptual change, and, Kuhn emphasizes, so they should. To fulfill its potential, a scientific community needs to contain both individuals who are bold and individuals who are conservative. There are many examples in the history of science in which confidence in the established frame of thought was eventually vindicated. It is almost impossible to predict whether the anomalies in a candidate for a new paradigm will eventually be resolved. Those scientists who possess an exceptional ability to recognize a theory's potential will be the first whose preference is likely to shift in favour of the challenging paradigm. There typically follows a period in which there are adherents of both paradigms. In time, if the challenging paradigm is solidified and unified, it will replace the old paradigm, and a paradigm shift will have occurred. For Kuhn the scientific ideal is whatever has emerged as the dominant scientific community.

Two paradigms are incompatible and incommensurable which means two are not measurable by the same standards, values, langauage, terms and have no common basis for comparison according to Kuhn. As the people, especially the scientists would create different paradigms which are subjectively expressed and have its own language and worldview. The language of the theories that belong to Newton and Einstein are different from each other, they do not represent the same things. So these two theories are incompatible. Karl Popper will deny this quotation according his point of view and theories.

According to realism, science displays a process of discovery which means scientists deal with the things that already exist and one can discover those existing things that have not been realized before. Therefore, science is objective; as the scientists only discover the theories not inventing them. That’s why, the realists believe that the scientific improvements guide to a neutral, real truth common for everyone. The theory is used, and if it is falsified, then the new theory is build. If that latter theory is also falsified then a third one comes. The process continues like that as a chain which leads the scientific progress. So the realists and Karl Popper conclude that the scientific progress is a continuous process. In addition, this progress concludes a neutral language that means the same thing for everyone, same understanding for what is happening.

Kuhn sees the dominant paradigm as foundational, at least until it reaches a crisis. Popper on the other hand, insists we hack away at the very plank we are standing on to see if it holds up. Any scientific theory to Popper is always in the state of being not yet disproved.


Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 7/24/2015

Jankelevitch said about the limitations of language: “There are not enough keys on the keyboard of language to be able to describe all the endlessly subtle nuances of thinking and passion. Therefore we have to speak beyond words and induce misty clouds, a twilight zone, a halo around those words where ambivalence simmers and the powers of desire grow.” And then he ponders about the “logic” of music and the music can evade rational discourse and thus be highly ambivalent: “Music uses tones without inner meaning, that way staying perpetually new and accessible. Therefore music is made to be played, not to be spoken about!”. In other words, the lived experience of the moment that escapes our understanding engenders in us a desire to understand what we cannot grasp but only intimate. Jankelevitch uses words to dance around a point without extension, an instant without interval, a tangency without touch. Whether in his analyses of charm, charity (love or forgiveness). Each of these ideas, which are difficult to locate and thus identify, represents "an animating and mobilizing principle". They do not have an essence, are not phenomena, or potential objects of cognition. They move us; they awaken, quicken, and enlighten concrete human life. In other words, they are almost nothing, but they are not nothing. They are in between being and nothingness. Like Plotinus, one of his main influences, Jankelevitch establishes a kind of immanent transcendence in which humans have something in them that is greater than themselves even if they do not know what it is. It is something in them but also something that is radically other than them, which remains irreducible to them .

المواقف والمخاطبات لمحمد بن عبد الجبار النفري

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 7/01/2015

قال لي قصرت العلم عن معيون ومعلوم.
وقال لي المعيون ما وجدت عينه جهرة فهو معلوم معيون، والمعلوم الذي لا تراه العيون هو معلوم لا معيون.
وقال لي كل نطق ظهر فأنا أثرته وحروفي ألفته فانظر إليه لا يعدو لغة المعيون والمعلوم وأنا لا هما ولا وصفي مثلهما.
وقال لي فعلك لا يحيط بي وأنت فعلي.

وقفني في ما لا ينقال وقال لي به تجتمع فيما ينقال.
وقال لي إن لم تشهد ما لا ينقال تشتت بما ينقال.
وقال لي ما ينقال يصرفك إلى القولية والقولية قول والقول حرف والحرف تصريف، وما لا ينقال يشهدك في كل شيء تعرفي إليه ويشهدك من كل شيء مواضع معرفته.
وقال لي الحرف يعجز أن يخبر عن نفسه فكيف يخبر عني.
وقال لي لا يعرفني الحرف ولا ما في الحرف ولا ما من الحرف ولا ما يدل عليه الحرف.
وقال لي انظر إلى الحرف وما فيه خلفك فإن إلتفت إليه هويت فيه وإن التفت إلى ما فيه هويت إلى ما فيه.
وقال لي إذا خرجت عن الحرف خرجت عن الأسماء، وإذا خرجت عن الأسماء خرجت عن المسميات، وإذا خرجت عن المسميات خرجت عن كل ما بدا وإذا خرجت عن كل ما بدا قلت فسمعت ودعوت فأجبت.
وقال لي الأفكار في الحرف والخواطر في الأفكار وذكرى الخالص من وراء الحرف والأفكار واسمي ومن وراء الذكر.
وقال لي العبارة حرف ولا حكم لحرف.
وقال لي كلما اتسعت الرؤية ضاقت العبارة.
وقال لي إذا تعرفت إليك بلا عبارة خاطبك الحجر والمدر.

يا عبد لو كشفت لك عن علم الكون وكشفت لك في علم الكون عن حقائق الكون فأردتني بحقائق أنا كاشفها أردتني بالعدم فلا ما أردتني به أوصلك إلي ولا ما أردته لي أوفدك إلي.
يا عبد أنا الذي لا تحيط به العلوم فتحصره، وأنا الذي لا يدركه تقلب القلوب فتشير إليه، حجبت ما أبديت عن حقائق حياطتي بما أبديت من غرائب صنعتي وتعرفت من وراء التعرف بما لا ينقال للقول فيعبره ولا يتمثل للقلب فيقوم فيه ويشهده.
يا عبد إذا رأيتني رأيت منتهى كل شيء.
يا عبد لست لشيء سواي فتكون به.

يا عبد كيف تأيس مني وفي قلبك متحدثي.
يا عبد بيتك مني في الآخرة كقلبك مني في الدنيا.
يا عبد ابن لقلبك بيتاً جدرانه مواقع نظري في كل مشهود وسقفه قيوميتي بكل موجود وبابه وجهي الذي لا يغيب

وقال لي إن خرجت من قلبك عبد ذلك القلب غيري.
وقال لي إن خرجت من قلبك أنكرني بعد المعرفة وجحدني بعد الإقرار.
وقال لي إن وقفت بين يدي لأنك عبدي ملت ميل العبيد، وان وقفت بين يدي لأني ربك جاءك حكمي القيوم فحال بين نفسك وبينك.

مدخل إلى فلسفة العقل - (2) السلوكية

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 6/01/2015

اتكلمنا المرة الى فاتت على فلسفة العقل وتقسيماتها لمدرستين أساسيتين , المثنوية (Dualism) و الأحادية (Monism) , وتناولنا المثنوية بالتفصيل من خلال استعراض أفكار 5 فلاسفة هم الى كونوا أفكارها وهم افلاطون وارسطو وديكارت وليبنتز ومالينبراخ. حنتكلم انهارده عن الأحادية المادية وبدايات فلسفة العقل الحديثة فى القرن العشرين. 

لحد بدايات القرن العشرين كانت أفكار ديكارت هى المسيطرة على فلسفة العقل لحد 1901, لما العالم الروسى بافلوف (Pvalov) وصل الى الاستجابة الشرطية (respondent conditioning) , بتجربته الشهيرة عن الكلاب عام 1901 , من المعروف عن الكلب أنه عند تقديم الطعام له يسيل لعابه كرد فعل طبيعي. بافلوف قام بإسماع الكلاب صوت جرس قبل تقديم الطعام وكرر العملية دية عدة مرات. ثم قام بإسماع الكلاب صوت الجرس بدون تقديم طعام. صوت الجرس وحده تسبب في إسالة لعاب الكلاب توقعا منها أن الطعام قادم. وبالتالى فى علاقة شرطية بين المؤثرات وردود الأفعال على المستوى الفسيولوجى.

الفكرة دية دخلها عالم النفس الأمريكى واطسون (John B. Watson) لعلم النفس الى طبق الفكرة دية على الإنسان من خلال تجربته الشهير "ألبرت الصغير" (Little Albert) وفيها وضع لعبة  أطفال, فأر مطاط أمام طفل صغير فلم يخف منه وأخذ يلعب به. فى المرجلة الثانية وضع أمامه طفل مطاط ولكن كلما أقترب الطفل من الفأر , كان واطسون يصدر صوتا عاليا مخيفا من وراء الطفل فكان الطفل يخاف ويثبت فى مكانه, وتكررت العملية عدة مرات حتى أصبح الطفل لا يقترب أبدا من الفأر اللعبة , فى المرحلة الثالثة كلما قرب واطسون الفأر المطاط من الطفل , كان الطفل يبكى خوفا. طبعا التجربة دية كانت مثيرة للجدل جدا لكن ما اراد واطسون اثباته تحقق , أن الانسان على المستوى الشعورى والعقلى يتعامل سلوكيا من خلال الاستجابة الشرطية.

وبكده بدأ علم النفس السلوكى(Behaviorism) الى اتطور على يد سكينر (Skinner) , الى من خلال تجربته "الحمامة المؤمنة بالخرافة" (superstitious pigeon) , بين أن الانسان من خلال سلوكه بيكون أفكار كتير تصل لدرجة الأفكار الخرافية. التجربة عبارة عن قفص فيه  حمام جائع , وسكينر بيقدملهم الطعام عن طريق باب صغير بيفتح أوتوماتيك خلال فترات زمنية متغيرة. سكينر أكتشف ان الحمام ربط تقديم الطعام الاوتماتيكى ده بسلوكهم لحظة تقديم الطعام , يعنى لو حمامة كانت بتلف حوالين نفسها ساعة تقديم الطعام , كلما جاعت كانت بتلف حوالين نفسها تانى , لو حمامة كانت بتخبط منقارها فى القفص ساعة تقديم الطعام , فبرضه كلما جاعت كانت بتخبط راسها فى القفص برضه. وكأن فى علاقة بين السلوك وفتح باب الطعام , سكينر من التجربة دية ذهب لابعد من كده وقال ان السلوك ده عند البشر كمان فالانسان بيعمل بعض التصرفات الى بيظن انها بتجيب حظ حسن قبل ما يشرع فى عمل ما , أنه مثلا يحك ايده فى بعض او لاعب الكورة الى بيلمس النجيلة وهو نازل الملعب وهكذا. سكينر كمان وصل ان ممكن فكرة الدين تكون نشأت نتيجة سلوك الانسان ده.

بكده أصبح سلوك الانسان هو المؤشر على الحالة النفسية والفكرية للانسان وهو ناتج عن المؤثرات الخارجية. يبقى لو لغينا الحالات النفسية الداخلية  من المعادلة، حنلاقى ان المعادلة اتحولت الى مؤثرات خارجية داخلة للانسان = سلوك خارج من الانسان. الفكرة دية اتنقلت لفلسفة العقل مع الفلسفة الوضعية (Positivism), المدرسة الوضعية قائمة على مبدأ (Verificationism) وهو ان معنى الجملة قائم على قدرتى على التأكد منها , فلو معنديش قدرة انى اتأكد من مع معنى الجملة فالجملة عبارة عن وهم. أهم فلاسفة الاتجاه كان جلبرت رايلى (Gilbert Ryle) ويعتبر كتابه (The Concept of Mind) هو أول عمل فى فلسفة العقل الحديثة, الكتاب بالاساس كان هجوم على ثنوية ديكارت بالاساس وانتصار للسلوكية مستندا على فلسفة اللغة وأفكارها لفيتجنشتاين (Wittgenstein) بأن مشاكل الفلسفة دية مبنية على أخطاء لغوية واننا لو ضححنا لغتنا فمشاكل الفلسفة حتختفى من تلقاء ذاتها. رايلى بناء على الكلام ده قال ثنوية العقل والجسم , دية مشكلة لغوية لأننا بنتكلم عن العقل والجسم كأنهم "حاجتين" مختلفتين بس فى بعض الضفات المتشابهة بينهم.

الكتاب بيشرح مفهوم يعتبر خطأ لغوى اسمه "التصنيف الخاطئ" (Category Mistake) , يعنى مثلا الجملة الى بتقول "بعد انتهاء المعركة, غطى المقاتلين التراب والمجد" , هل التغطية بالتراب زى التغطية بالمجد؟ أكيد لا , ده خطأ لغوي اننا نضع الاتنين فى نفس الجملة او تحت نفس التصنيف, يمكن ينفع فى الأدب , بس مينفعش فى الفلسفة, بس سهل اننا ندركها. مثال تانى من كتاب رايلى , شخص طلب أنه يشوف جامعة أوكسفورد , وبعد ما لف على المبانى والمكتبة والمعامل والطلبة والاساتذه , سأل هل جميل جدا , بس فين الجامعة؟ الاجابة حتبقى ان كل الى شافه ده هو الجامعة. طب هو سأل ليه فين الجامعة؟ عشان هو مصنف "الجامعه" على أنها من نوع "مبنى" فكان مستنى مبنى واحد اسمه الجامعه. 

طب لو طبقنا مفهوم التصنيف الخاطئ ده على العقل والجسم , حلاقى اننا بنعتبر انهم حاجتين مختلفتين فعلا وتحت نفس التصنيف يعنى فى صفات متشابهة مشتركة بينهم, فبنقول مثلا "ألم العقل غير ألم الجسم" , ده خطأ فى التصنيف وافترض ان العقل بيتألم شبه الجسم بس المختلف نوع الألم. مثال أخر "الذاكرة موجودة فى العقل والقلب موجود فى الجسم" , هل كلمة موجودة بالاستعمالين السابقين واحدة؟ أكيد لا. طب لو فتحت الجسم حلاقى القلب ولو فتحت العقل حلاقى الذاكرة ؟ أكيد لا. بس بإنى اقول الجملة دية فأنا بفترض ان فيه وجه تشابه بين الاتنين وده الخطأ فى التصنيف. طب لو صححنا اللغة بتاعتنا وفهمنا ان العقل والجسم مش حاجتين مختلفتين بينهم تشابه فى بعض الصفات, دول حاجة واحدة بس واحنا لغويا بنخطئ وبنتعامل على انهم اتنين. وبالتالى ثنوية ديكارت الى بتعتبر العقل والجسم شيئين منفصلين وبتقول فى روح داخل جسم "Ghost in the shell" هى خطأ ناتج عن خطأ لغوى. الصح من وجهة نظر رايلى انى مكلمش عن العقل لان مفيش عقل بالاساس, مفيش غير جسم ينتج عنه سلوك. وبالتالى اى سؤال او كلام عن العقل ده وهم , مجرد خطأ لغوى وبكده المشكلة من اساسها اختفت.

لو طبقنا الكلام ده على الانسان , ايه الى يخلينى أتأكد ان الى قدامى فرحان او حزين؟ هل عندى القدرة انى اشوف حالته النفسية الداخلية؟ أكيد لا وبالتالى فالحالة النفسية الداخلية وهم زى ما قلنا. طب ايه المؤشر الى ممكن أعرف بيه ان الانسان ده فرحان او زعلان وأقدر فى نفس الوقت أتأكد منه؟ الاجابة كانت من سلوكه , مثلا انه مبتسم او عابس.

طبعا اى حد وهو بيقرأ الكلام ده ووصل للنقطة الى فاتت , أكيد كون مجموعة من الاعتراضات على الفكرة دية ف على سبيل المثال وليس الحصر: 
  1. يعنى ايه الحالات النفسية الداخلية دية وهم؟ اومال احنا بنحس بايه ساعة الفرح او الحزن؟ 
  2. هل السلوك دايما بيعبر عن العقل ؟ يعنى لو انا حزين , مش ممكن أمثل انى مبسوط وسلوكى يبقى عكس الى انا حاسس بيه؟ 
  3. لو مفيش حالات نفسية داخلية , وان لاى مؤثر خارجى سلوك خارجى, ايه الى يفرق بين شخصين لما يتفرجوا على فيلم درامى , أن واحد يتأثر ويبكى وواحد ميتأثرش؟ أكيد فى حالة داخلية مختلفة عند الاتنين.

وده الى حصل فعلا فى الخمسينات من القرن العشرين على يد تشومسكى وأخرين , فالمدرسة دية خرجت تماما من فلسفة العقل بعد انهيار المدرسة الوضعية على يد كوين (Quine) وبوبر (Popper) وده أدى لظهور المدرسة التانية فى القرن العشرين وهى (Physicalism) الجسمانية.

مدخل إلى فلسفة العقل - (1) المثنوية

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 6/01/2015

فلسفة العقل بتدرس طبيعة العقل والوعى وعلاقتهم بالمادة. العقل هو ما يمكن تسميتهم عند المؤمنين بالأديان الروح , من أول أفلاطون الى هو كان أول من تحدث فيها ولحد الأن , فى مدرستين أساسيتين:
  1. المثنوية (Dualism) , وهى بتقول ان العقل والمادة , حاجتين مختلفتين تماما فى عالمين مختلفين تماما.
  2. الأحادية (Monism) , وهى بتقول ان العقل والمادة حاجة واحدة بس , بس احنا بننظر لهم على انهم حاجتين وهما , وتحت المدرسة دية بنلاقى المادية الأحادية(Materialism) , الى بتقول مفيش حاجة اسمها روح او عقل , ده المخ البشرى المادى هو سبب الوعى والإدراك زى اى كمبيوتر. وكمان بنلاقى المثالية الأحادية (Idealism) ودية عكس المادية فبتقول , مفيش فى العالم ده غير الارواح وبيتهيألنا اننا بنشوف مواد بس هى فعليا غير موجودة.فكرة المثالية الأحادية دية فى فلسفة العقل , ظهرت مع بيركلى فى القرن ال16 وانتهت. 
خلينا نقول اننا عندنا مدرستين أساسيتين , المثنوية و الأحادية المادية. حنبدأ مع 5 من فلاسفة ما قبل القرن العشرين فى فلسفة العقل , عشان ندى مقدمة سريعة , لأن الى حصل فى القرن العشرين كان تطور ضخم جدا جدا مقارنة بكل القرون الى قبله. حنركز مع افلاطون وارسطو وديكارت وليبنتز ومالينبراخ , والخمسة كانوا من أنصار المثنوية.

أفلاطون قال ان فيه روح منفصله تماما عن الجسم لدرجة انها لا تفنى بموت الجسم , فكان مؤمن بنوع من تناسخ الأرواح وكمان ان فى علاقة بين كل الأرواح الى فى العالم , لدرجة انه قال فكرة مشابهة لوحدة الوجود بتاعت سبنوزا ، ان العالم له روح واحدة بتكون من كل الارواح الى عايشه فيها (Anima mundi).

أرسطو أخد نفس منهج استاذه استاذه فى الثنوية , بس غير بعض الأفكار زى مثلا أن الروح بتفنى بموت الجسم وان فى 3 درجات للأرواح مقابلة للإنسان والحيوان والنبات. وان روح الإنسان هى الأعلى لانها عندها مقدرة التفكير المنطقى.

نوصل لديكارت , صاحب النشأة الفعلية لفلسفة العقل. ديكارت منهجه معتمد على الشك , فبدأ بإنه شك فى كل حاجة , شك فى حواسه لانه بيحلم والأخلام غير موجودة فعليا وكمان بسبب الخدع البصرية, فرفض الحواس كمصدر للمعرفة , وبالتالى شك فى وجود جسمه كمان لانه بيلاحظ وجوده بالحواس , ووصل فى الأخر الى انه شك فى وجود عقله وعند النقطة دية وقف. لو انا بشك فى عقلى , والشك نوع من التفكير , والتفكير لازم له عقل مفكر , يبقى لازم فى عقل موجود , ولو أنا صاحب التفكير ده , يبقى أنا عقلى موجود. وهنا وصل لمبدأ الشهير (Cogito) , "انا افكر اذن انا موجود".طب لو انا مقدرش أشك فى عقلى بدون تناقض منطقى زى ما شفنا فى الفقرة الى فاتت ولكنى اقدر اشك فى جسمى بدون تناقض, يبقى عقلى غير جسمى. وده اول أثبات قوى للثنوية. ديكارت أضاف اثبات تانى هو أن الجسم بيتميز بخصائص زى الأمتداد المكانى وانى أقدر أحس بيه على عكس العقل الى مالوش إمتداد زمانى وخارج نطاق الحس. يبقى العقل غير الجسم وده تانى اثبات لديكارت للثنوية.نوصل للمشاكل الى بعترف بوجودها ديكارت والى بتنقض فكرة الثنوية:
  1. ازاى العقل الغير مادى بيأثر فى الجسم المادى بأنه يخلق أفعال الجسم؟ و ازاى العالم المادى يأثر فى العقل الغير المادى بأنه يغذيه المدخلات الحسية الى تخليه يفكر افكار غير مادية ؟ (mind-body problem) ودية أهم مشكلة لحد الأن. حل ديكارت أن العقل والمخ بيتفاعلوا مع بعض فى الغدة الصنوبرية فى المخ , طب ليه ديكارت أختار الغدة دية بذات؟ لأن المخ كله عبارة عن نصين متماثلين يمين وشمال , بس الغدة دية فى النص بالظبط فهى واحدة بس وملهاش مقابل  , ديكارت كده محل المشكلة لان معنى ان الروح بتأثر فى جزء من المخ , ان لها جانب مادى وبكده وقع نظريته كلها.
  2. لما شخص بيتخبط فى دماغه , تأثير الخبطة دية لو وصل للمخ بيؤثر على العقل , بانه يفقد الذاكرة او يفقد القدرة على الكلام مثلا , المثال ده بيقول ان العقل والمخ شئ واحد , ازاى ده يتفق مع الثنوية ؟
  3. العقل أثناء النوم , النتيجة الطبيعية لكلام ديكارت , "أنا أفكر اذا انا موجود" , ان الانسان لا يفكر اثناء نومه , يبقى الانسان غير موجود أثناء نومه. نظرية ديكارت مبتفسرش غياب الوعى أثناء النوم.
  4. العقل فى الحيوان , الحيوانات عندها عقل بمعنى انها بتقدر تستوعب حواسها وبتحس بالألم وغيره من النشاطات العصبية العقلية , بس معندهاش عقل مفكر منطقى ولا عندها لغة , وده خلى ديكارت يقول ان الحيوانات معندهاش أرواح او عقول. مشكلة نظرية ديكارت هنا انها مش بتقدم درجات للوعى.
فضلت النظرية دية بمشاكلها لفترة طويلة , وحاول فلاسفة كتير تصحيحها من افكارهم عن حرية الارادة لان الارادة ظهرت كمشكلة فى العلاقة بين العقل والمادة , زى ليبنتز مثلا الى حاول يثبت الثنوية بالمنطق , فحط مبدأ ان لو شيئين خصائصهم واحدة تماما , يبقى الشيئين دول شئ واحد وده عرف بقانون ليبنتز , واذا كان خصائص العقل غير خصائص الجسم يبقى دول حاجتين مختلفتين. وان ربنا زى صانع الساعة , رتب كل أحداث الكون بحيت تتناسب مع ارادة أصحابها , يعنى لما انت توقع كوباية وتنزل تتكسر , فربنا وهو بيخلق الكون , كان واضع فى الكوباية دية انها فى لحظة الحدث ده تنفصل عن بعضها وعشان كده انها بنشوفها بتتكسر. طبعا الفكرة دية مستمدة من موقف ليبنتز الجبرى وبالتالى مفيش حرية إرادة.

فيلسوف أخير اسمه مالينبراخ , نقل من الفلسفة الاسلامية وخصوصا كلام الغزالى فكرة ان العقل والمادة بيحتاجوا لوسيط بينهم , خارج عن الاتنين ويقدر يتعامل مع الاتنين وهو الله , وبالتالى الله بيخلق أفعال العباد. بس الحل ده ملاقاش قبول عند الناس لإنه بيفتح باب هل أفعال الشر خلقها الله بارادته؟ ونوصل لحل فى الإسلام بإختلاف المشيئة الربانية بين مشيئة كونية وبين مشيئة شرعية و المشيئة الكونية زى قوانين الفيزياء كده وفيها ما يحبه الله كالطاعات وما يبغضه كالمعاصى والشر فيها من تأثير المفعولات مش من الأفعال.

الحلول دية برضه ملقتش قبول عن الفلاسفة الغربيين مع بدايات عصر العلم التجريبى المادى وانهيار أفكار الميتافيزيقا الحسية وظهور المادية فى صورتها الأحادية وفى مدارسها الثلاثة السلوكية (Behaviourism) والجسمانية (Physicalism) والوظيفية (Functionalism) و أخيرا (Property dualism) الى جناقشهم المرة الى جاية. سيبكم من الأسامى المعقدة دية  , كل فيلسوف لازم يدورله على تعابير معقدة تشير لأفكاره , عشان يبان ان افكاره قوية وصعبة , بس لو كملت بعد التسمية حتلاقى الافكار بسيطة وجميلة. الفيزيائين عندهم قانون غير مكتوب كده , لو المعادلة مش جميلة , يبقى غالبا فيها غلطة 

The Demon's Sermon on the Martial Arts

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 5/22/2015

When the famous warrior Minamoto no Yoshitsune was a young boy going by the name of Ushiwaka-maru, his father, Yoshitomo, was assassinated by the Taira clan. Taira no Kiyomori, head of the Taira, allowed the child to survive on the grounds that he be exiled to the temple on Mount Kurama and become a monk. But one day in the Sojo-ga-dani Valley, Ushiwaka encountered the mountain's tengu, Sojobo. This spirit taught the boy the art of swordsmanship so that he might bring vengeance on the Taira.

Accept Everything, resistance is suffering

It revolves around the Buddhist sentiment that attachment to one’s status in life whether rich or poor, famous or infamous is the source of suffering. "But rather, following good and bad fortune or prosperity and decline as one meets them, and calming enjoying oneself in the midst of creation and change: this is the greatest happiness under heaven". So "If I'm blown by the wind, I'll tumble along following the wind. If the winds stops, I'll stop too. And won't act contrary to things. just don't fight things and be happy with what you encounter". "I just entrust my body to the Creator and don’t intrude my own willfulness while I’m here. This is knowing the general drift of the Way." because "a person who worries over something he can do nothing about is an extraordinary fool."

In one section a dying man is talking with his family priest and says: "The ten thousand things are born from emptiness and return to emptiness." No need for sorrow of passing of anything.


"The common man hasn't cut yet through the root of confusion of life and death. This always lies concealed and acts as a cover over his spirit. When a thought stirs even a little, what has been concealed arises, emotions, attachments and desires". "When there is something in the mind, the chi is obstructed and your body can't respond with harmony".

“When you gamble for tiles, you are skillful. When you gamble for your belt buckle, you begin to hesitate; and when you gamble for gold, you get confused. Your skill is the same, but you get cautious because you value something outside yourself. When you do this you become awkward inside."

"The moon in the water, is a metaphor for when you can move and respond with no-mind, though there is a reflection, the moon reflects itself without thought. reflected in ten thousand streams or not, this doesn't add to the moon or subtract from it".

"Technique is cultivated by means of chi and chi uses the mind as a vehicle to put form into use. As you become skillful in the technique, the chi harmonizes. And when this has completely penetrated the mind and no more doubts remain, technique and principle become one, your spirit is settled, and practical application is completely unobstructed. The technique responds to the circumstances naturally". "Simply, without thinking, without doing anything, move by following your natural perception and your movement will have no form. And when you have no form, there is nothing in heaven and earth that could be your opponent"

تهذيب الأخلاق لابن مسكويه

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 5/21/2015


فإن تشوقها إلى ما ليس من طباع البدن وحرصها على معرفة حقائق الأمور الآلهية وميلها إلى الأمور التي هي أفضل من الأمور الجسمية وإيثارها لها وإنصرافها عن الأمور واللذات الجسمانية يدلنا دلالة واضحة إنها من جوهر أعلى وأكرم جدا من الأمور الجسمانية. لأنه لا يمكن في شيء من الأشياء أن يتشوق ما ليس من طباعه وطبيعته ولا أن ينصرف عما يكمل ذاته ويقوم جوهره فإذا كانت أفعال النفس إذا إنصرفت إلى ذاتها فتركت الحواس مخالفة لأفعال البدن ومضادة لها في محاولاتها وإراداتها فلا محالة إن جوهرها مفارق لجوهر البدن ومخالف له في طبعه.

وأيضا فإن النفس وإن كانت تأخذ كثيرا من مبادىء العلوم عن الحواس فلها من نفسها مباد أخر وأفعال لا تأخذها عن الحوس ألبتة وهي المبادىء الشريفة العالية التي تنبني عليها القياسات الصحيحة. وذلك إنها إذا حكمت إنه ليس بين طرفي النقيض واسطة فإنها لم تأخذ هذا الحكم من شيء آخر لم يكن أوليا. وأيضا فإن الحواس تدرك المحسوسات فقط وأما النفس فإنها تدرك أسباب الإتفاقات وأسباب الإختلافات التي من المحسوسات وهي معقولاتها التي لا تستعين عليها بشيء من الجسم ولا آثار الجسم. وكذلك إذا حكمت على الحس إنه صدق أو كذب فليست تأخذ هذا الحكم من الحس لأنه لا يضاد نفسه فيما يحكم فيه ونحن نجد النفس العاقلة فينا تستدرك شيئا كثيرا من خطأ الحواس في مبادىء أفعالها وترد عليها أحكامها. من ذلك أن البصر يخطىء فيما يراه من قرب ومن بعد أما خطأه في البعيد فبادراكه الشمس صغيرة مقدارها عرض قدم وهي مثل الأرض مائة ونيفا وستين مرة يشهد بذلك البرهان العقلي فتقبل منه وترد على الحس ما شهد به فلا يقبله. وأما خطأه في القريب فبمنزلة ضوء الشمس إذا وقع علينا من ثقب مربعات صغار كحلل الأهواز وأشباهها التي يستظل بها فإنه يدرك بها الضوء الواصل إلينا منها مستدير افترد النفس العاقلة عليه هذا الحكم وتغلطه في إدراكه وتعلم إنه ليس كما يراه وتخطأ البصر أيضا في حركة القمر والسحاب والسفينة والشاطىء ويخطأ في الأساطين المسطرة والنخيل وأشباهها حتى يراها مختلفة في أوضاعها. ويخطىء أيضا في الأشياء التي تتحرك على الإستدارة حتى يراها كالحلقة والطوق ويخطىء أيضا في الأشياء الغائصة في الماء حتى يرى أن بعضه أكبر من مقداره ويرى بعضها مكسورا وهو صحيح وبعضها معوجا وهو مستقيم وبعضها منكسرا وهومنتصب.

فيستخرج العقل أسباب هذه كلها من مباد عقلية ويحكم عليها احكاما صحيحة وكذلك الحال في حاسة السمع وحاسة الذوق وحاسة الشم وحاسة اللمس. أعني حاسة الذوق تغلط في الحلو تجده مرا عند الصد أو أشبهه وحاسة الشم تغلط كثيرا في الأشياء المنتنة لا سيما في المنتفل من رائحة إلى رائحة فالعقل يرد هذه القضايا ويقف فيها ثم يستخرج أسبابها ويحكم فيها أحكاما صحيحة.

والحاكم في الشيء المزيف له أو المصحح أفضل وأعلى رتبة من المحكوم عليه وبالجملة فإن النفس إذ علمت أن الحس صدق أو كذب فليست تأخذ هذا العلم من الحس ثم إذا علمت أنها قد أدركت معقولاتها فليست تعلم هذا العلم من علم آخر لأنها لو علمت هذا العلم من علم آخر لاحتاجت في ذلك العلم أيضا إلى علم آخر وهذا يمر بلا نهاية فإذا علمها بأنها علمت ليست بمأخوذ من علم آخر البتة بل هو من ذاتها وجوهرها أعني العقل وليست تحتاج في إدراكها ذاتها إلى شيء آخر غير ذاتها ولهذا ما قيل في أواخر هذا العلم. إن العقل والعاقل والمعقول شيء واحد لاغيرية شيء يتبين في موضعه. فأما الحواس فلا تحس ذواتها ولا ما هو موافق لها كل الموافقة.

وقد تبين للناظر في أمر هذه النفس وقواها أنها تنقسم إلى ثلاثة أعني:
  1. القوة التي بها يكون الفكر والتمييز والنظر في حقائق الأمور
  2. والقوة التي بها يكون الغضب والنجدة والإقدام على الأهوال والشوق إلى التسلط والترفع وضروب الكرامات
  3. والقوة التي بها تكون الشهوة وطلب الغذاء والشوق إلى الملاذ التي في المآكل والمشارب والمناكح وضروب اللذات الخسية
وهذه الثلاث متباينة ويعلم من ذلك ان بعضها إذا قوي أضر بالآخر وربما أبطل أحدهما فعل الآخر وربما جعلت نفوسنا وربما جعلت قوى لنفس واحدة والنظر في ذلك ليس يليق بهذا الموضع وأنت تكتفي في تعلم الأخلاق بأنها قوى ثلاث متباينة تقوي إحداهما وتضعف بحسب المزاج أو العادة أوالتأدب.

  1. أما الحكمة فهي فضيلة النفس الناطقة المميزة وهي أن تعلم الموجودات كلها من حيث هي موجودة وإن شئت فقل إن تعلم الأمور الإلهية والأمور الإنسانية ويثمر علمها بذلك أن تعرف المعقولات أيها يجب ان يفعل وأيها يجب أن يغفل.
  2. واما العفة فهي فضيلة الحس الشهواني وظهور هذه الفضيلة في الإنسان يكون بأن يصرف شهواته بحسب الرأى أعني أن يوافق التمييز الصحيح حتى لا ينقاد لها ويصير بذلك حرا غير متعبد لشيء من شهواته،
  3. وأما الشجاعة فهي فضيلة النفس الغضبية وتظهر في الإنسان بحسب إنقيادها للنفس الناطقة المميزة واستعمال ما يوجبه الرأى في الأمور الهائلة أعني أن لا يخاف من الأمور المفزعة إذا كان فعلها جميلا والصبر عليها محمودا.
  4. فأما العدالة فهي فضيلة للنفس تحدث لها من إجتماع هذه الفضائل الثلاث التي عددناها وذلك عند مسالمة هذه القوى بعضها للبعض وإستسلامها للقوة المميزة حتى لا تتغالب ولا تتحرك لنحو مطلوباتها على سوم طبائعها ويحدث للإنسان بها سمة يختار بها ابدا الإنصاف من نفسه أولا ثم الإنصاف والإنتصاف من غيره وله.
الأقسام التي تحت الحكمةْ:  الذكاء. الذكر)عدم النسيان). التعقل. سرعة الفهم وقوته صفاء الذهن سهولة التعلم. وبهذه الأشياء يكون حسن الإستعداد للحكمة فأما الوقوف على جواهر هذه الأقسام فيكون من حدودها. وذلك أن العلم بالحدود يفهم جواهر الأشياء المطلوبة الموجودة دائما على حال واحد وهو العلم البرهاني الذي لا يتغير ولا يدخله الشك بوجه من الوجوه.الأقسام التي تحت الحكمةْالذكاء. الذكر)عدم النسيان). التعقل. سرعة الفهم وقوته صفاء الذهن سهولة التعلم. وبهذه الأشياء يكون حسن الإستعداد للحكمة فأما الوقوف على جواهر هذه الأقسام فيكون من حدودها. وذلك أن العلم بالحدود يفهم جواهر الأشياء المطلوبة الموجودة دائما على حال واحد وهو العلم البرهاني الذي لا يتغير ولا يدخله الشك بوجه من الوجوه.

Property Dualism

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 5/15/2015

Property dualism asserts that an ontological distinction lies in the differences between properties of mind and matter, and that consciousness is ontologically irreducible to neurobiology and physics. Although the world is constituted of just one kind of substance — the physical kind — there exist two distinct kinds of properties: physical properties and mental properties.It asserts that when matter is organized in the appropriate way (i.e., in the way that living human bodies are organized), mental properties emerge therefore it could be affected by any rearrangement of matter.


Whilst Cartesian dualism argues that there is a two-way interaction between mental and physical substances, not all forms of dualism agree. Epiphenomenalism argues that mental events are caused by - or are a by-product of - physical events, but that the interaction is one-way: mental events cannot affect physical ones. One of the curious side effects of this theory is that it implies that decision making is not a mental event. Apart from flying in the face of most common sense attitudes.

Biological Naturalism

Emergentism is the idea that increasingly complex structures in the world give rise to the "emergence" of new properties that are something over and above (i.e. cannot be reduced to) their more basic constituents.  Applied to the mind/body relation, emergent materialism is another way of describing the non-reductive physicalist conception of the mind that asserts that when matter is organized in the appropriate way (i.e., organized in the way that living human bodies are organized), mental properties emerge.

Searle holds that the brain is, in fact, a machine, but the brain gives rise to consciousness and understanding using machinery that is non-computational. On the level of neurons (Micro Level), which we search, there is no emergence of consciousness, but on the scale of the whole brain (Macro Level), consciousness emerge. If neuroscience is able to isolate the mechanical process that gives rise to consciousness, then Searle grants that it may be possible to create machines that have consciousness and understanding. However, without the specific machinery required, Searle does not believe that consciousness can occur.

Anomalous Monism or Eliminative Materialism or Predicate Monism

According to which there can be no strict psycho-physical laws which connect mental and physical events under their descriptions as mental and physical events. However, all mental events also have physical descriptions. It is in terms of the latter that such events can be connected in law-like relations with other physical events. Mental predicates are irreducibly different in character (rational, holistic and necessary) from physical predicates (contingent, atomic and causal). Eliminative materialists maintain that such intentional predicates as believe, desire, think, feel, etc., will eventually be eliminated from both the language of science and from ordinary language because the entities to which they refer do not exist. The only argument that Davidson gives for this point is that mental phenomena, like beliefs and desires, are subject to constraints of rationality, and rationality has “no echo in physics.”

Step 1: There are causal relations between mental phenomena and physical phenomena.
Step 2: Wherever there are events related as cause and effect they must fall under strict, deterministic causal laws.
Step 3: But there are no such strict deterministic causal laws relating the mental and the physical. In Davidson’s terms, there are no psycho-physical laws.
Step 4: Conclusion. All so-called mental events are physical events.

The first principle follows from Davidson's view of the ontology of events and the nature of the relationship of mental events (specifically propositional attitudes) with physical actions. Davidson subscribes to an ontology of events where events (as opposed to objects or states of affairs) are the fundamental, irreducible entities of the mental and physical universe. His original position, as expressed in Actions and Events, was that event-individuation must be done on the basis of causal powers. He later abandoned this view in favour of the individuation of events on the basis of spatio-temporal localization, but his principle of causal interaction seems to imply some sort of, at least, implicit commitment to causal individuation. According to this view, all events are caused by and cause other events and this is the chief, defining characteristic of what an event is.

Ted Honderich has challenged the thesis of anomalous monism, forcing, in his words, the "inventor of anomalous monism to think again". To understand Honderich's argument, it is helpful to describe the example he uses to illustrate the thesis of AM itself: the event of two pears being put on a scale causes the event of the scale's moving to the two-pound mark. But if we describe the event as "the two French and green things caused the scale to move to the two-pound mark", then while this is true, there is no lawlike relation between the greenness and Frenchness of the pears and the pointers moving to the two-pound mark.

Honderich then points out that what we are really doing when we say that there is "no lawlike relationship between two things under certain descriptions" is taking certain properties and noting that the two things are not in relation in virtue of those particular properties. But this does not mean they are not in lawlike relation in virtue of certain other properties, such as weight in the pears example. On this basis, we can formulate the generalization that Honderich calls the Nomological Character of Causally-Relevant Properties. Then we ask what the causally relevant properties of the mental events which cause physical events are.


Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 5/13/2015

Dualism, is the view that that there are two separate and distinct substances that make up a human being: mind and body. In religious terms, the mind is sometimes equated with the soul.

Monism, because it describes a belief in one substance, can be used in two distinct ways:

To describe the view that only matter, or the physical body, exist (materialism).
To describe the view that only mind, or spirit, exist (idealism).

Platonic Dualism

Aristotle shared Plato's view of multiple souls and further elaborated a hierarchical arrangement, corresponding to the distinctive functions of plants, animals and people: a nutritive soul of growth and metabolism, that all three share; a perceptive soul of pain, pleasure and desire, that only people and other animals share; and the faculty of reason, that is unique to people only. In this view, a soul is the hylomorphic form of a living organism. Thus, for Aristotle, all three souls perish when the living organism dies. For Plato however, the soul was not dependent on the physical body; he believed in metempsychosis, the migration of the soul to a new physical body

Substance Dualism

Descartes concluded that the mind was a completely distinct substance from matter because:

  1. Matter is measurable, has dimensions, can be sensed, divided, destroyed and altered. Mind, however, can almost be defined as the opposite of this, it is invisible, without dimensions, immaterial, unchanging, indivisible and without limit.
  2. Descartes cannot doubt the existence of his mind, but can doubt the existence of his body. Since what I cannot doubt cannot be identical to what I can doubt (by Leibniz's Law), mind and body are not identical and dualism is established.

Descartes’ response was to suggest that the two substances meet in a part of the brain called the pineal gland. His reasons for choosing this seem to have been that the gland in central (unlike the other parts of the brain which are bilateral – mirrored on each side) and that it does not occur in animals. This latter fact was understood by Descartes as relating to the presence of a soul in humans and not in animals, whom he considered mere machines. However, modern research has also found a similar gland in mammals and lower vertebrates.


  1. How can conscious experiences like your pain exist in a world that is entirely composed of physical particles and how can some physical particles, presumably in your brain cause the mental experiences? (This is called the “mind-body problem.”).
  2. How can the subjective, insubstantial, nonphysical mental states of consciousness ever cause anything in the physical world? How can your intention, not a part of the physical world, ever cause the movement of your arm? (This is called the “problem of mental causation.”) 
  3. No one has ever succeeded in giving an intelligible account of the relationships between these two realms.
  4. Argument from brain damage, in instances of some sort of brain damage, it is always the case that the mental substance and/or properties of the person are significantly changed or compromised. If the mind were a completely separate substance from the brain, how could it be possible that every single time the brain is injured, the mind is also injured? Indeed, it is very frequently the case that one can even predict and explain the kind of mental or psychological deterioration or change that human beings will undergo when specific parts of their brains are damaged.
The correlation and dependence argument against dualism begins by noting that there are clear correlations between certain mental events and neural events (say, between pain and a-fiber or c-fiber stimulation). Moreover, as demonstrated in such phenomena as memory loss due to head trauma or wasting disease, the mind and its capacities seem dependent upon neural function. The simplest and best explanation of this dependence and correlation is that mental states and events are neural states and events and that pain just is c-fiber stimulation.

Searle says:
Notice that these arguments still leave dualism as a logical possibility. It is a logical possibility, though I think extremely unlikely, that when our bodies are destroyed, our souls will go marching on. I have not tried to show that this is an impossibility (indeed, I wish it were true), but rather that it is inconsistent with just about everything else we know about how the universe works and therefore it is irrational to believe in it.


Following Descartes’ death, some philosophers – such as the Frenchman, Nicholas Malebranche (1638 – 1715) – recognised this problem and tried to address it whilst still holding to the dualist view. Malebranche’s suggestion was that neither body nor mind were causally related, but were in fact connected by divine interaction. So, whenever we wish to lift an arm, for instance, God must intervene to cause the body to obey (similarly, whenever the body feels pain, God must cause that sensation to occur in the mind). But problems arise: if God is responsible for all seeming causal interactions, is he also responsible for evil deeds? This would make him the unwitting agent in murders, crimes, etc.


Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 5/12/2015

Some people said that the fact that neurons were either firing or not firing was an indication that the brain was a binary system, just like any other digital computer. Thus came the idea, mental states are computational states of the brain. But when we consider the computational operations, the manipulation of symbols in accord with formal rules, a computing machine performs, we‘abstract’ it from its underlying base, i.e whatever the hardware structure and the software operating this hardware, calculations are always the same. For example, a Function like showing a character moving from point X to Y, is realized by (Software (Windows+Game Engine) and Hardware) and Android and iPhone and so on. So in theory, same calculations (functions) can be done on whatever hardware. This is known as "multiply realizablity". So, pain, for example, is unlikely to just be C-fiber stimulation (or some other appropriate brain state), because octopuses and other such creatures can probably feel pain, despite their not having C-fiber stimulatory capacity. This led to the development of functionalism, which promised to unify physically different phenomena under the banner of causal (functional) similarity.

But what is the relation between functions (computations) and the underlying brain, neurons and synapses (software and hardware)? A functionalist prefers to say that computational processes are ‘realized’ in material systems but not dependent on them. The functionalist’s point is just that higher-level properties such as being in pain or computing the sum of 7 and 5 are not to be identified with,‘reduced to’, or mistaken for their realizers (the lower material level). Individual neurons are not conscious, but portions of the brain system composed of neurons are conscious. We may compare the brain with other organs, such as the eye. The individual parts that make up the eye all serve the function of seeing. For instance, the parts of the eye allow us to see, but the individual state of each part is not what we mean by "seeing".

Various reasons against reductive versions of physicalism have led many to accept some form of “nonreductive physicalism”, the view that despite everything being dependent on the physical, it is not the case that mental properties are identical to physical properties. Minds are not identifiable with brains; but neither are minds distinct immaterial substances mysteriously linked to bodies. Minds are functional states characterizable by their place in a structured large causal network, it has a particular role or a job description which is its function, if it responds to causal inputs (stimuli and mental states like believes and desires and other functional states) with particular kinds of output (other mental states and other functional states and external behavior), like a finite state machine.

Pains, for instance, might be characterized by reference to typical causes (tissue damage, pressure, extremes of temperature), their relations to other states of mind (they give rise to the belief that you are in pain, and a desire to rid yourself of the source of pain), and behavioral outputs (you move your body in particular ways, groan, perspire). Consider your being in pain as a result of your grasping the handle of a cast iron skillet that has been left heating on the stove. Here, you being in pain is a matter of your being in a particular state, one that stands in appropriate causal relations to sensory inputs, to output behavior, and to other states of mind. These other states of mind are themselves characterizable by reference to their causal roles. Another example is, to say that Jones believes that it is raining is to say that he has a certain state, or process going on in him that is caused by certain sorts of inputs (external stimuli—for example, he perceives that it is raining); and this phenomenon, in conjunction with certain other factors, such as his desire to stay dry, will cause a certain sort of behavior on his part, the behavior of carrying an umbrella.

But how can we know the functions of the mind, if we will abstract from its hardware? Imagine you are a scientist confronted with a computing machine deposited on Earth by an alien starship. You might want to know how the device was programmed. Finding out would involve a measure of ‘reverse engineering’. You would ‘work backwards’ by observing inputs and outputs,hypothesizing computational operations linking inputs to outputs, testing these hypotheses against new inputs and outputs, and gradually refining your understanding of the alien device’s program. It seemed to solve all issues, for example, a computing machine can‘crash’ because of a software ‘bug’, or because of a hardware defect or failure. That's why people with mind defects are either due to brain problems or a mental dis-functions like going crazy.

Now the million dollar question everyone is avoiding until now is "How are those Mind functions are realized in the Brain and the nervous system?". How these functions are realized in the underlying software and hardware of a specific type, let's say for example, humans? A functionalist would answer that this is out of his scope of study, because the Black Box's inner workings are the responsibility of the neuroscience. Functionalism made philosophy of the Mind similar to Computer engineering.

The first version of functionalism, machine functionalism, presented by Hilary Putnam in the early 1960’s, machine functionalism argues that mental states, more specifically, are states of a hypothetical machine called a Turing Machine. Turing Machines are automatons which can, in principle, compute any problem and which do so in virtue of what are called ‘system states,’ which are tied to instructions for computational steps (e.g., “If in system state S, perform computation C and then transition into system state S2, and so on). In doing this it uses a computer model which describes the mind as a “multiply realisable”, it is like the calculations and rules that make up a software program that can be run on any machine, or in our case for example, animals and humans. Furthermore, we have a test that will enable us to tell when we have actually duplicated human cognition, the Turing test. The Turing test gives us a conclusive proof of the presence of cognitive capacities. To find out whether or not we have actually invented an intelligent machine we need only apply the Turing test.

To differentiate between this model and behaviourism, this model assumes that the functional states cause (and are therefore not identical with) behaviour while acknowledging the insight (often attributed to Ryle) that the mental is importantly related to behavioural output or response (as well as to stimulus or input). The differences is that functionalism also refers to other mental states; further, these other mental states are interlinked with each other, stimuli, and behavior in a web of causal relations. This allows both an appearance of choice (“Shall I respond in this way?”) and the presence of beliefs independent of any possible behaviour.

The model also differs from identity theory in that it does not matter what the physical cause of the mental state is because a causal role can be defined independently of its physical realization (that is, because functional states are multiply realizable). So, whether my brain state is always the same when I do a particular thing, or whether it is consistent with other people’s or animals when they do, is immaterial because there are any number of different ways in which such an experience might be “realised”. Rather than define pain in terms of C-fiber firing, functionalism defines pain in terms of the causal role it plays in our mental life: causing avoidance behavior, warning us of danger, etc., in response to certain environmental stimuli.


  1. Consciousness remains deeply mysterious on anyone’s view. We have no idea how to accommodate consciousness to the material world, no idea how to explain the phenomenon of consciousness. Chinese Mind Argument: The philosopher Ned Block has argued that a case could be made for creating a mind - according to the functional definition -  on a grand scale where the population of China was fitted with radios which were connected up in just the same way that the neurons in the brain are connected up, and messages passed between them in the same way as between neurons. According to functionalism, this should create a mind; Functionalism relies on the idea that Functional states are “multiply realisable” – an idea which means that, not only may aliens and animals experience pain, but robots and the whole Chinese nation as well. But it is very difficult to believe that there would be a ‘Chinese consciousness’. If the Chinese system replicated the state of my brain when I feel pain, would something be in pain?
  2. We said that you being in pain is a matter of your being in a particular state, one that stands in appropriate causal relations to sensory inputs, to output behavior, and to other states of mind. But if we keep analyzing states of Mind with other states of Mind we end with infinite circular accounts. Solution: The idea is that because the identity of every state depends on relations it bears to other states, we cannot characterize mental items piecemeal, butonly ‘holistically’ – all at once.
  3. Qualia Problem. Solution:You are able to describe your experience as of a spherical red object, but it is the tomato that is spherical and red, not your experience. So the first distinction is between:
    1. Qualities of experiences (seen from third person perspective, like a scientist looking at your brain while you are seeing a tomato) 
    2. Qualities of objects experienced. (Seen from a first person perspective like you seeing a red and round tomato)
    A functionalist might contend that an experience is a matter of your representing a throbbing occurrence in your big toe but nothing in fact throbs. In the state of a tomato, nothing is red or round, only we represent it like this. These are qualities we represent objects as having, but it does not follow that anything actually has the qualities – any more than from the fact that we can represent mermaids, it follows that mermaids exist. What opponents of functionalism describe as qualities of conscious experiences – qualia – are qualities of nothing at all! They are rather qualities we mistakenly represent objects and occurrences as having. Alternatively, to say that your experience possesses such qualities is just to say that you are representing something as having them. Problem: But why do we represent them like this? And why are different conscious experiences have different qualities? And why this representation can be sensed?
  4. Chinese Room Argument: Any theory of mind that includes multiple realizability allows for the existence of strong AI. The appropriately programmed computer with the right inputs and outputs would thereby have a mind in exactly the same sense human beings have minds. The question Searle wants to answer is this: does the machine literally "understand" Chinese? Or is it merely simulating the ability to understand Chinese? Searle calls the first position "strong AI" and the latter "weak AI". This is considered an argument for refutation of functionalism mainly. 

Chinese Room

Searle's Chinese room argument holds that a program cannot give a computer a "mind", "understanding" or "consciousness", regardless of how intelligently it may make it behave. The question Searle wants to answer is this: does the machine literally "understand" Chinese? Or is it merely simulating the ability to understand Chinese? Searle calls the first position "strong AI" and the latter "weak AI". This is considered an argument for refutation of functionalism mainly.
Suppose that I ’ m locked in a room and given a large batch of Chinese writing. I know no Chinese, either written or spoken. Now suppose further that after this fi rst batch of Chinese writing I am given a second batch of Chinese script together with a set of rules for correlating the second batch with the first batch. The rules are in English, and I understand these rules. They enable me to correlate one set of formal symbols with another set of formal symbols, and all that “ formal ” means here is that I can identify the symbols entirely by their shapes. Unknown to me, the people who are giving me all of these symbols call the call the [first] batch “ questions. ” Furthermore, they call the symbols I give them back in response to the [first] batch “ answers to the questions, ” and the set of rules in English that they gave me, they call “ the program. ” Suppose also that after a while I get so good at following the instructions for manipulating the Chinese symbols and the programmers get so good at writing the programs that from the external points of view – that is, from the point of view of somebody outside the room in which I am locked – my answers to the questions are absolutely indistinguishable from those of native Chinese speakers. As regards the [claims of strong AI], it seems to me quite obvious in the example that I do not understand a word of Chinese. I have inputs and outputs that are indistinguishable from those of the native Chinese speaker, and I can have any formal program you like, but I still understand nothing. (Searle, 417 – 18)
Any account of meaning has to recognize the distinction between the symbols, construed as purely abstract syntactical entities, and the semantics, the meanings attached to those symbols. The symbols have to be distinguished from their meanings.  For example, if I write down a sentence in German, “Es regnet,” you will see words on the page and thus see the syntactical objects, but if you do not know German, you will be aware only of the syntax, not of the semantics. A program uses syntax to manipulate symbols and pays no attention to the semantics of the symbols, unlike our thoughts have meaning: they represent things and we know what it is they represent.

If Searle doesn't understand Chinese solely on the basis of running the right rules, then neither does a computer solely on the basis of running the right program. All that is ever happening is rule-based activity (which is not how humans work), so manipulating symbols according to a program is not enough by itself to guarantee cognition, perception, understanding, thinking, and so forth; that is, the creation of minds. Searle's room can pass the Turing test, but still does not have a mind, then the Turing test is not sufficient to determine if the room has a "mind".

Replies on the Chinese Room Argument

The System Reply

The basic "system reply" argues that it is the "whole system" that understands Chinese. While the man understands only English, when he is combined with the program, scratch paper, pencils and file cabinets, they form a system that can understand Chinese.

Searle responds by simplifying this list of physical objects: he asks what happens if the man memorizes the rules and keeps track of everything in his head? Then the whole system consists of just one object: the man himself. But he still would have no way to attach “any meaning to the formal symbols”. The man would now be the entire system, yet he still would not understand Chinese. For example, he would not know the meaning of the Chinese word for hamburger. Searle argues that if the man doesn't understand Chinese then the system doesn't understand Chinese either because now "the system" and "the man" both describe exactly the same object.

But what do we mean by understanding the symbols of a language? is it the link between a word and idea from the memory? Can't a computer do that? We learn rules of manipulation and when to use them, a computer can also learn them. When we hear a word, we try to recall its meaning, a computer can also do that. So it all depends on what one means by “understand”.

The Robot Reply

Some critics concede Searle's claim that just running a natural language processing program as described in the CR scenario does not create any understanding, whether by a human or a computer system. But these critics hold that a variation on the computer system could understand. The variant might be a computer embedded in a robotic body, having interaction with the physical world via sensors and motors (“The Robot Reply”).

The Robot Reply concedes Searle is right about the Chinese Room scenario: it shows that a computer trapped in a computer room cannot understand language, or know what words mean. The Robot reply is responsive to the problem of knowing the meaning of the Chinese word for hamburger—Searle's example of something the room operator would not know. It seems reasonable to hold that we know what a hamburger is because we have seen one, and perhaps even made one, or tasted one, or at least heard people talk about hamburgers and understood what they are by relating them to things we do know by seeing, making, and tasting. Given this is how one might come to know what hamburgers are, the Robot Reply suggests that we put a digital computer in a robot body, with sensors, such as video cameras and microphones, and add effectors, such as wheels to move around with, and arms with which to manipulate things in the world. Such a robot—a computer with a body—could do what a child does, learn by seeing and doing. The Robot Reply holds that such a digital computer in a robot body, freed from the room, could attach meanings to symbols and actually understand natural language. 

Tim Crane discusses the Chinese Room argument in his 1991 book, The Mechanical Mind. Crane appears to end with a version of the Robot Reply: “Searle's argument itself begs the question by (in effect) just denying the central thesis of AI—that thinking is formal symbol manipulation. But Searle's assumption, none the less, seems to me correct … the proper response to Searle's argument is: sure, Searle-in-the-room, or the room alone, cannot understand Chinese. But if you let the outside world have some impact on the room, meaning or ‘semantics' might begin to get a foothold. But of course, this concedes that thinking cannot be simply symbol manipulation.”


The theory is obviously lacking, but In the absence of clear competitors, many theorists have opted to stick with functionalism despite what they admit are gaps and deficiencies, atleast until something better emerges. In this way, functionalism wins by default.