Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On by Ian Leslie

By Ian Leslie

The most recent from Ian Leslie, the writer of Born Liars a Globe and Mail best a hundred ebook, is an engaging examine the human attribute of interest — our striking capability to get pleasure from studying, studying, and figuring out.

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6 These treatises include several different types of publications. Some of these may be characterized as compendia, concise textbooks, in which the material is arranged in a more or less systematic manner. Such are Usingen’s Parvulus philosophie naturalis (1499) and his later expositions on natural philosophy in the early years of the sixteenth century. The last one of these, called Compendium philosophie naturalis (1517), was reprinted as late as 1543 for the use of university teaching at Erfurt.

As he said in the Sixth Replies, “no falsity can occur” in the purely physiological processes he there labels as the “first grade of sense” (AT 7:438). Error proper depends on the concept of judgment, and arises with minds (for him, as for many others). Nonetheless, to retain plausibility, Descartes’ machine psychology must accommodate maladaptive responses by the sensory-motor systems of his mindless machines. And indeed, we normally think of machines as things that can be broken, as things that may function properly or improperly.

Lutrea’s and Usingen’s exercitia contain the most elaborate discussions concerning questions of philosophical psychology at the late medieval University of Erfurt. Their arguments derive from an accumulated tradition of Buridanian natural philosophy, collecting as large a number of arguments as possible and often presenting such extensive terminological divisions that they far exceed the needs of the question at hand. With such a high standard of sophistication, it is no wonder that there were considerable difficulties in continuing the inherited tradition of disputation exercises at the University of Erfurt in the early sixteenth century.

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