The Faculties: A History

Paperback | July 14, 2015

EditorDominik Perler

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It seems quite natural to explain the activities of human and non-human animals by referring to their special faculties. Thus, we say that dogs can smell things in their environment because they have perceptual faculties, or that human beings can think because they have rational faculties. Butwhat are faculties? In what sense are they responsible for a wide range of activities? How can they be individuated? How are they interrelated? And why are different types of faculties assigned to different types of living beings? The six chapters in this book discuss these questions, covering a wide period from Plato up to contemporary debates about faculties as modules of the mind. They show that faculties were referred to in different theoretical contexts, but analyzed in radically different ways. Some philosophers,especially Aristotelians, made them the cornerstone of their biological and psychological theories, taking them to be basic powers of living beings. Others took them to be inner causes that literally produce activities, while still others provided a purely functional explanation. The chapters focus on various models, taking into account Greek, Arabic, Latin, French, German and Anglo-American debates. They analyze the role assigned to faculties in metaphysics, philosophy of mind and epistemology, but also the attack that was often launched against the assumption thatfaculties are hidden yet real features of living beings. The short "Reflections" inserted between the chapters make clear that faculties were also widely discussed in literature, science and medicine.

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It seems quite natural to explain the activities of human and non-human animals by referring to their special faculties. Thus, we say that dogs can smell things in their environment because they have perceptual faculties, or that human beings can think because they have rational faculties. Butwhat are faculties? In what sense are they ...

Dominik Perler is Professor of Philosophy at Humboldt-Universitat, Berlin. He previously taught at Oxford and Basel and has had visiting appointments at UCLA, Tel Aviv, Wisconsin-Madison and Princeton. He is Member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Arts and Science. His research focuses on medieval and early modern philosophy.

other books by Dominik Perler

The Faculties: A History
The Faculties: A History

Kobo ebook|Jun 30 2015

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 8.11 × 5.51 × 0.91 inPublished:July 14, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199935270

ISBN - 13:9780199935277

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Table of Contents

Dominik Perler: Introduction1. Claus Corcilius: Faculties in Ancient PhilosophyHelene P. Foley: Reflection: Faculties and Self-debate2. Taneli Kukkonen: Faculties in Arabic Philosophy3. Dominik Perler: Faculties in Medieval PhilosophyVerena Olejniczak Lobsien: Reflection: Faculties and Imagination4. Stephan Schmid: Faculties in Early Modern Philosophy5. Johannes Haag: Faculties in Kant and German IdealismRebekka Hufendiek and Markus Wild: Reflection: Faculties and Phrenology6. Markus Wild and Rebekka Hufendiek: Faculties and ModularitySaskia K. Nagel: Reflection: Faculties and Neuro-EnhancementBibliography