faculty psychology


faculty psychology
The theory that the mind is divided into separate powers or faculties, such as intelligence, memory, perception, etc. The notion that these faculties were associated with distinct spatial locations in the brain gave rise to the pseudo-science of phrenology, in which bumps on the skull could be read to determine psychological characteristics. Although faculty psychology was discredited by the evident interaction of such capacities as perception and memory, a successor is the view common in cognitive science, that the tasks the mind and brain perform may usefully be broken down into ‘modules’, so that we can model the one complex system in terms of the organization of co-operating sub-systems. But the grain is much finer in the modern view: for example, a skill such as facial recognition may be considered as having many components, and certainly not involving just one faculty of ‘memory’. The term is sometimes encountered as a derogatory description of the belief in certain distinctions, e.g. between judgement and feeling, or belief and attitude.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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