chapter  1
4 Pages

Limit, Nature and Alterability of Disposition

DISPOSITION is a habit of the soul,505 necessarily effecting the easy procession of an action therefrom, without need of any reflection or deliberation. 506 In speculative philosophy,lO it has been made clear that those psychical quaiities507 which are quick to decline are called 'states',508 while those slow to decline are known as 'habits'. Thus, habit is one of the psychical qualities, and it is the quiddity 59 of the disposition. As for its 'whyness', 509 i.e. the reason for its existence in the soul, two things are involved: nature and use. 510 We speak of 'nature' when the basic temperamentlill of a person necessitates his being adapted to one state or another: as in the case of the man whose irascible faculty is moved for the least cause, or who is overwhelmed by fear and alarm at a slight sound reaching his ear, or at some mildly disagreeable news512 he hears; in another case, a man will be overcome by prolonged and uninhibited513 laughter at a slight and surprising514 motion; or again, for the slightest cause, a man may become subject to excessive dread and anxiety. 'Use' means that a person first elects an action by deliberation and reflection, then sets about it diligently, 515 until (by repeated application to it and laborious effort) he becomes familiar therewith;516 and once complete familiarity is achieved, it proceeds from him easily and without deliberation, eventually becoming a disposition to him.