Psychology down the Ages - Vol. 1

By C. Spearman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI
FACULTIES OR CHAOS?

§ 1. Voices in Opposition. § 2. Inconsistency of Opponents. § 3. Faculties and Common Sense. § 4. Hypothesis of "Mannikins". § 5. Alleged Violation of Psychic Unity. § 6. Assumed Concomitance. § 7. Claim to Finality. § 8. Upshot.


§ 1. Voices in Opposition

Since the doctrine of faculties has been conceived on such diverse and even conflicting lines, it may not unnaturally be regarded at least with suspicion. And indeed we have already encountered some strong antagonism to it in certain particular cases. For instance, the faculty of intellect was contemptuously rejected by Aristippus, for the reason that no such thing can be actually observed. Again, the claims of "intelligence" to constitute a faculty measurable by a single value were challenged on the ground that it includes abilities in large variety (Chapter VI).

However, in addition to all such attacks on any particular faculty, or faculties, there has been emphatic and even violent opposition to the theory of faculties in general. Demur has been made to the whole notion of deriving the endlessly numerous and varied mental experiences of the psyche from a small number of hidden principles.

Even in ancient times, strong objection was taken by Aristotle to the view--which possibly he attributed to Plato--that the psyche possesses "parts". The

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