University of California Los Angeles Avicenna Question

Hello, I have a philosophy paper about Avicenna. PLEASE ANSWER QUESTIONS 1, 2, and 4 ONLY. Below I will attach some documents with notes that may be useful. Please message me if anything!

Check List

1. General Advice to Consider

You wrote this paper in your natural voice and didn’t mimic a sort of academic/formal way of writing

you set your imaginary reader as a smart non-philosophy major such as your high school history teacher or your brilliant physicist grandma. (this should be taken with a grain of salt though)you minimized theuse of jargons, and, when they are used, they are (mostly) from the course material and you tried to define them.

2. Introduction

I avoid clichéd starters, e.g., “Since the beginning of time, philosophers have pondered…” and “The dictionary defines ‘virtue’ as…”I have given the reader a brief road map of what to expect in my paper.I have a thesis statement that tells the reader the main objective of my paper.

I have stated my thesis clearly and succinctly.

All of my sentences are precise and necessary for the advancement of my thesis.

3. Body of the Paper

I start each paragraph with a topic sentence, i.e., a sentence that highlights the point of the paragraph.If I have provided a quotation or paraphrase,

it is properly cited.I have explained the idea(s) presented.I have explained the importance of including it.

My argument is valid.I provide strong evidence for each premise in my argument.All of my sentences are precise and necessary for the advancement of my thesis.

4. Conclusion

I have briefly restated my thesis and outlined how my argument supports the thesis.I have not raised any new issues regarding the points discussed in my paper. All of my sentences are precise and necessary for the advancement of my thesis.

5. Revision

I have proof-read my paper twice.There are no grammatical errors.I have included all the information relevant for responding to the prompt, e.g., for every question in the prompt, I have explicitly provided an answer.I have included my student ID number but not my name.I have formatted my paper according to instructions (e.g., page-limit, font, line-spacing, etc.)All of my sentences are precise and necessary for the advancement of my thesis.

04162021 Phil 104 Discussion Section (Jungsuk Lee)
-Quiz (reviewing the last one and taking the new one)
-Any questions re: the material from this week’s lectures?
-Some basic vocab to delve into Av’s account of aql/understanding/intellect/nous

Meaning (ma’nā): what can be meant/signified by linguistic or mental signifier.

N.B. perceptible meaning we have seen last time is a narrower notion.
Conceptualization (Taşawwur) vs. Assent (Taşdīq)

Assent: any judgment that what some statement says is true.
Conceptualization: any understanding of a meaning.

While conceptualization can include understanding of what a thing is
and (what’s meant by) a question or command or statement, an
assent can be given only to what’s said by (so probl. meant by?) a

conceptual (?) priority of conceptualization over assent: assent
presupposes conceptualization–i.e., you need to first conceptualize a
statement in order to assent to it or not.

All knowledge is either conceptualization or assent, but not all
conceptualizations and assents amount to knowledge.
Q. seeming ambiguity in meaning (cf. Frege), and worry about the overlap
between meaning and conceptualization.
Av. understanding of the concepts of essence, existence, universal, form, thing

meanings of ‘being’, ‘thing’, and ‘necessary’ are imprinted in the soul in a
primitive manner (i.e., those concepts are primitive):

they cannot be understood in terms of more basic concepts; what they
mean can only be elucidated by understanding relationships between

a soul lacking the concepts of being and thing would be incapable of
understanding rational discourse.
Essence vs. Existence: what it is to be an X vs. if X exists or not.

Essence/quiddity/māhiyya=whatness that would be defined by a true
definition of what an X is=the formal cause whose presence in sth
makes it an X.

Every thing has both an essence and an existence, and every
existence is a thing and has an essence

But, if X is a thing, either the X exists in the world or it exists in
minds (i.e., as a meaning signified by minds). (mental
existence vs. extramental existence)

it can have both, though.
A mind’s conceptualization of meaning can constitute either
a) an individualized concept, whose very content rules out its being
truly predicated of distinct individuals at the same time (e.g., the
concept of Adam Crager, the concept the present king of France)

Q. are the two examples same in nature, though?
b) a universal concept, whose very content does not rule out its being
truly predicated of distinct individuals at the same time (e.g., the
concept of human being)

But it is possible that it happens to be predicated of only one

Av: the correct conceptualization of what ‘God’ means requires that a) God’s
essence has extramental existence and b) monotheism is true.

If X is a thing other than god, then, necessarily, the essence of X exists either
in the world or in minds as a universal concept.

and if the essence of X exists in the world, then it exists either as the
essential form of a single individual or as that of many individuals.

Q1. why no possibility of individualized concept when it comes
to the essence of a thing only with mental existence?

Q2. There’s no individual essential form such as the essence
of Jungsuk. Rather, there can only be the essence of the
human being (a species concept). But why is that so?
-Avicenna’s concept of aql/understanding/intellect/nous

Referents of ‘aql/understanding/intellect/nous’ in classical Arabic philosophy: 1)
rational intelligence, 2) the capacity to develop rational intelligence, 3) knowledge
that consists in the understanding of something, 4) an act of understanding
something knowable/understandable/intelligible. But why the same term for all these
different items?

connection between 1) and 2): 1) is the fulfilment of 2) and 2) is the
potentiality of 1): there is a sense in which we can say even of an infant that it
is a rational being insofar as she is a human being (unlike a cat).

connection between 3) and 4): likewise, that of fulfilment and potential, but at
a different level (recall the distinction between the first and the second

3): the state of having knowledge; 4): the
exercise/expression/use/manifestation of 3). (e.g., having
mathematical knowledge vs. solving a mathematical problem.
But why 1)-2) pair and 3)-4) pair together? answer: the conceptual connection
between 1) and 3)

For Av.: rationality is a special kind of knowledge (so 1) and 3)
connected, being rational or intelligent is a matter of having a certain
kind of knowledge!)

For a human to be rational is simply for her to understand an
abstract body of knowledge consisting of certain basic
concepts and certain basic truths (i.e., consisting of the
“primitive intelligibles/understandables”.

pr. con. : e.g., concepts of ‘thing’, ‘exist’, ‘all’, ‘one’, etc.
pr. tr.: e.g., (A=B &B=C)->A=C, it’s impossible for sth. to
have and lack a property at the same time (a version of
the law of NC), if all A’s are B’s and all B’s are C’s then
all A’s are C’s.

Q. conceptual priority issue between 1) and 3), and 3) and 4).
Av’s distinction of kinds of intellect/understanding

material intellect: amounts to 2) above

habitual intellect: amounts to 1) and 3) above

actual intellect: habitual intellect plus the successful acquisition of
philosophical knowledge.
05072021 Phil 104 Discussion Section (Jungsuk Lee)
-Any questions re: the material from this week’s lectures?
-Discussing the prompt 4 (and other prompts)

Aim and Set-up of the floating person argument:

an exercise whereby one recognizes which entity in the world is one’s soul.

a person born in the state of sensory deprivation (and thereby no memory,
imagination, estimation, and intellect are in operation).

This person is still aware of her self/soul and thereby can assert its existence
(even without being aware of any part of her body and despite her ignorance
of everything else).

So, some special kind of self-awareness is always present in us even before
any perceptual and intellectual experience.
Questions: (1) what is this alleged self-awareness (i.e., some sort of knowledge of
one’s self) supposed to be? (2) why does Av. think that the floating person would
have it?

Going back to Av’s account of perceptual experience:

Despite all the intricate structures and operations of external senses
and senses (i.e., external and internal faculties of apprehension), these
senses themselves, according to Av’s view, cannot explain the fact
that we always experience our perceiving as ours (i.e., perceptual
experience is always experienced from a first-person point of view) (e.g., this
pain is my pain).

Why? (according to Av) because having an experience from a
single, unified vantage point is one thing, while
recognizing/identifying that vantage point and the subject with
that vantage point as my perspective and me respectively is
another! (and this applies not only to perceptual experience but also
to all other experiences–e.g., thinking, desiring, dreaming)

So, having an experience from a first-person point of view
requires recognizing the subject to whom your experience is
presented is you.

And this means you have awareness of which entity in the
world is you! (cf. the scenario where two gods who know everything
about the world and are in location 1 and location 2 respectively).
and this is the kind of self-awareness the floating person has!
=>the answer to (1)!

Further elaboration on the kind of self-awareness in question:

(usually) inexplicit subconscious, (always) first-order, (completely)
direct immediate awareness of one’s self in the factive and the
strictest sense. (also, primitive=>notice that it is the awareness of
which entity is you rather than what)
Re: question (2): consider the modified thought-experiment by Crager

you begin as a floating-person, but later you start to have perceptual
(and other) experiences. You feel pain as your pain, not just any old
person’s pain; you experience the scent of a flower as your
experience/your smelling, etc.

But if you didn’t already have this primitive self-awareness when
you’re a floating-person, how can you subsequently have this
self-awareness that accompanies all your experiences after the
sensory deprivation ceases?

maybe from either our perceptual or intellectual faculty? Av. says no!

examine the proposal: what it suggests is basically that we first
apprehend the world, and somehow by reflection manages to
abstract away from these apprehensions and realize that all these
apprehensions are my apprehensions. But if you weren’t already able
to tell which entity in the world is you, it would be impossible to do
such abstraction and form the concept of self from your
apprehensions. In other words, you wouldn’t be able to tell which
entity in the world is you simply based on your apprehensions unless
they were given to you as your apprehensions in the first place.
(recall the two gods scenario again) (my thought: knowledge-which
as a precondition for knowledge-what)

which entity in the world you cannot even be taught by an
angel (to generalize, that knowledge cannot be taught by
communication with someone else): for the teaching will already
involve/presuppose the second-person pronoun/concept.

knowledge of which entity in the world is you then should be
given before any experience and thereby innately (innate
knowledge thesis!). Hence, the floating person must have the
kind of self-awareness we’ve discussed.

my complaints: (1) should all knowledge be a form of
awareness? (2) experiencing self vs. experiencing
Assignment 1
DUE: 5/12/2021
Writing Instructions: Writing about 6-8 pages in total (double-spaced, 12pt
font), answer both questions Q1 and Q2, plus your choice of either question Q3 or
question Q4. Be as complete and concise as possible. You do not need to preface
your answers with superfluous introductory remarks: in each of your responses, simply answer the exact questions asked. Grading will be blind. So please put your
student ID number on the first page of your submission and do not include your
name anywhere in your submission.1
Submission Instructions: Upload your submission to TurnItIn. For this purpose,
a link will be set up on the course website.
1. Explain (in your own words and using your own examples) Avicenna’s distinction between ‘assent’ [tas.dı̄q] and ‘conceptualization’ [tas.awwur ]. What
does Avicenna mean when he says that there can be conceptualization without
assent but no assent without conceptualization?
[25 points]
2. Analyze and explain Avicenna’s account of perceptual experience. What psychological systems does Avicenna posit in order to explain perceptual experience? What aspects of perceptual experience are these various psychological
systems supposed to account for? How, on Avicenna’s theory, do our perceptual experiences differ from those of non-rational animals?
[40 points]
3. According to Avicenna: under what conditions will a human being’s faculty
of ‘intellect’ [c aql ] constitute a ‘material’ intellect, a ‘habitual’ intellect, and
an ‘actual’ intellect. What, on Avicenna’s theory, are the respective roles that
the ‘Agent Intellect’ and the ‘cognitive’/‘cogitative’ faculty [al-fikr ] play with
respect to the development of the human intellect?
[35 points]
4. Analyze and explain Avicenna’s floating person thought experiment. What
kinds of awareness does Avicenna claim the floating person would and wouldn’t
have? What aspect of our perceptual and intellectual experiences is the alleged
self-awareness of the floating person supposed to explain?
[35 points]
Collaboration on this assignment is permissible if—and only if—the following two conditions
are met: (i) the collaborating students each write up their own work individually, and (ii) on the
last page of his/her submission, each member of the collaborating group acknowledges every other
member of the group by student number.

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