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HISTORICAL LANDMARKS IN THE THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE All through the ages psychologists have used and misused a great deal of their intellectual capacity to find out just what that capacity is. Although the topics of discussion are very numerous and variegated, they all seem to center around three or four basic problems. The most fundamental of all is the question of whether intellectual knowledge is or is not a physical process. The solution to this problem marks the dividing line between the camps of the materialists and of the mentalists. Even though one rejects the materialistic interpretation of the mind and differentiates between the physical and the psychic, one might yet be inclined to identify the psychic phenomenon of intellectual knowledge with the psychic phenomenon of sensation. We may therefore ask which solutions have been given to the problem, how intellectual knowledge is related to the sensory processes. The third problem concerns the function of intelligence and presents historically two phases. The discussions about the active and passive character of intellectual knowledge were largely confined to the Aristotelean-scholastic family, but although after the Middle Ages scholastics kept on their interminable controversies, the question lost its importance amongst psychologists at large and was replaced by that of the theoretical and practical value of intelligence . I. IS INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDE A PHYSICAL PROCESS? The metaphysical background of the history of intelligence consists in a moving picture featuring the phases of the »perennial batde between the two forms of metaphysical dualism as opposed to the two main forces of monism, spiritualistic and materialistic, because the meaning of human intelligence depends in final analysis on the fundamental question: is man only mind, or is he only matter, or is he both mind and matter? 344 /AiMHS VAN DER VELDT, O.F.M.345 A discussion of spiritualistic monism can be short for the simple reason that this system is thoroughly speculative as it works not with experience but only with aprioristic notions and deductions. By way of illustration we may refer to Hegel's dialectical history of the evolution of the mind, as a typical example of such a procedure . Hegel deduces all the psychic phenomena from the concept of the mind or rather the spirit. With logical necessity the mind develops out of full unconsciousness, while it is immersed in nature, to the lower forms of consciousness like sensation and feeling, to complete self-consciousness, intuition and thought. Such a system might make the impression of a genetic psychology and some of Hegel's followers like C. G. Cams and Mehring have transformed it in that sense, but Hegel himself did not take the evolution of the mind in any biological sense; the phases of evolution are merely a product of his speculative dialectics and occur simultaneously ("gleichseitig in einem Subjecte"). But what occurs simultaneously, is neither the object of history nor of evolution. Hence, even though the phrase, "dialectical history of the evolution of the mind" may sound impressive, it is misleading. The reference to this specimen of purely spiritualistic psychology may suffice to make it clear that in this survey we may omit further references to this type of monism and limit the discussion to a comparison of the materialistic brand of monism with the extreme and moderate forms of metaphysical dualism. The history of the materialistic conception of man covers relatively brief periods of time as compared with the entire history of Western civilization. As a matter of common knowledge, the flourishing periods of materialism are to be found in the first centuries of our Western history, among the Greek atomists, and among some of the stoics and epicureans, and in the last centuries of that history among some of the English naturalists of the last century and the behaviorists of this century. During the many centuries in between these periods there have been scattered materialists, to be sure, but materialism never rose to the height of a more or less commonly accepted system. Early materialism. Since materialism seems to be an "easy" system, it is understandably the product of primitive and immature 346THE THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE thinking. Hence it is not surprising to find it at the beginning of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 344-382
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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