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The Inner Cathedral: Mental Architecture In High Scholasticism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a brief survey of Aristotles criteria for identifying and distinguishing mental faculties. It focuses on the mainstream mediaeval view, and provides a clear expression by Thomas Aquinas. The chapter also analyses the dissenting views of John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham. Mediaeval philosophy of mind was concerned with issues pertaining to mental architecture. Mediaeval mental architecture has a great deal of structure. In fact this bit of architecture, appropriately, looks like nothing so much as a vast inner cathedral. Each region of this inner cathedral is marked off by the intersection of distinctions and covers a specific and unique domain of psychological experience. The factor that brought the inner cathedral to ruins is eliminating the gap between the sensitive and the intellective souls, on the side of the intellect. The chapter explains why the mainstream mediaeval view was discarded by Descartes.

Keywords: Aristotle; Descartes; inner cathedral; John Duns; Mediaeval philosophy; mental architecture; Scotus; Thomas Aquinas; William of Ockham



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