Cognitive Dispositions in the Psychology of Peter John Olivi

  • Juhana Toivanen
Part of the Historical-Analytical Studies on Nature, Mind and Action book series (HSNA, volume 7)


This chapter discusses Peter John Olivi’s (1248–1298) conception of the role of dispositions (habitus) in sensory cognition from metaphysical and psychological perspectives. It shows that Olivi makes a distinction between two general types of disposition. Some of them account for the ease, or difficulty, with which different persons use their cognitive powers, while others explain why people react differently to things that they perceive or think. This distinction is then applied to Olivi’s analysis of three different psychological operations, where the notion of disposition figures prominently; estimative perception, perceptual clarity, and the perception of pain and pleasure. The chapter argues that Olivi uses cognitive dispositions in an interesting way to explain individual differences between persons, and that they reveal the dynamic nature of his conception of human psychology.


History of philosophy Medieval philosophy Philosophical psychology Perception Peter John Olivi Disposition Internal senses Cognitive psychology Individuality 


Primary Literature

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juhana Toivanen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of ScienceUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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