ALVIN I. GOLDMAN
descriptions and classifications of mental faculties and endowments,processes and contents, acts and operations. A sampling of thisliterature would reveal the following examples of mental or cognitiveclassification, all relevant to knowledge-acquisition.
The Senses, reason, memory, intuition,the active and the passive intellect, the understanding, theimagination, and the will.
Cognitive acts or processes:
Sensing, judging, doubting,imagining, conceiving, intuiting, recollecting, introspecting,comparing, compounding, distinguishing, abstracting,associating, synthesizing, schematizing, and generalizing.
Ideas, impressions, concepts, and cate-gories.
Classifications of contents, e.g., ideas, either in terms of theirintrinsic character or their origin:
Simple, complex, clear,confused, innate, acquired, forceful, lively, vivacious.Analytic philosophers have tended to criticize or miminize the im-portance of philosophical description in the historical writings. It iscommon, for example, to regard the mentalistic dissections of theBritish Empiricists as symptomatic of a confusion, a failure to draw aproper distinction between psychological questions and epistemologicalquestions. D. W. Hamlyn (1967, p. 9): "Epistemology differs frompsychology in that it is not concerned with why men hold the beliefsthey do or with the ways in which they come to hold them." This remark,though characteristic of the analytic approach, is anomalous in itscontext. It occurs in an introductory section of Hamlyn's encyclopediaarticle on the history of epistemology, and the ensuing bulk of the articlemakes it perfectly plain that, historically speaking, epistemologists mostcertainly
interested in "why men hold the beliefs that they do", or"the ways in which they come to hold them". The legacy of LogicalPositivism and the Ordinary Language movement was a bifurcation ofepistemology and psychology. The latter may be concerned with theorigin of ideas; the former should be concerned with their validity,justification, or logical cogency. But even if one accepts this proposeddistinction, it cannot be denied that the
philosophers had athoroughgoing interest in mental or cognitive processes.
concep-tion of epistemology was at least
descriptive, and this descriptivecomponent consisted primarily of the description of mental acts andoperations.