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The Inner Cathedral: Mental Architecture in High Scholasticism

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Mediaeval psychological theory was a “faculty psychology”: a confederation of semiautonomous sub-personal agents, the interaction of which constitutes our psychological experience. One such faculty was intellective appetite, that is, the will. On what grounds was the will taken to be a distinct faculty? After a brief survey of Aristotle's criteria for identifying and distinguishing mental faculties, I look in some detail at the mainstream mediaeval view, given clear expression by Thomas Aquinas, and then at the dissenting views of John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham. I conclude with some reflections on why the mainstream mediaeval view was discarded by Descartes.

Affiliations: 1: University of Toronto

10.1163/156853408X360911
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/content/journals/10.1163/156853408x360911
2008-11-01
2016-08-30

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