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Title: Psychology - an elementary text-book
Author: Ebbinghaus, Hermann
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                        AN ELEMENTARY TEXT-BOOK


                          HERMANN EBBINGHAUS


                       TRANSLATED AND EDITED BY

                               MAX MEYER

                     IN THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI

                            BOSTON, U.S.A.

                     D. C. HEATH & CO., PUBLISHERS


                           COPYRIGHT, 1908,
                         BY D. C. HEATH & CO.


The present book is a free translation of Ebbinghaus’s “Abriss der
Psychologie” (Veit & Co., Leipzig, 1908). It is intended primarily to
serve as a text-book for college students, but it should appeal also to
the general reader. It will commend itself through its brevity and the
excellent proportions of the material selected. The translator became
interested in this book because of the fact that the author has
succeeded in keeping entirely free of all fads, and has presented only
that which is generally accepted by psychological science; on the other
hand, he has given to the highest constructive processes of the human
mind, religion, art, and morality, the attention which they deserve
because of their tremendous importance for human life.

In some places the original text has been somewhat condensed,
particularly in the description of the anatomy of the nervous system in
section 2. Section 4 of the original has been omitted, since its
contents seemed to be sufficiently emphasized in the other sections of
the book. The numbers of the following sections differ, therefore, from
those of the German text. The translator regards this as insignificant,
since his intention is not to aid his brother-psychologists in making
themselves acquainted with Ebbinghaus’s views,--for this end they are
referred to the German original,--but to furnish an elementary text-book
for the English-speaking student. Wherever there was any doubt as to the
comprehensibility to the American student of any application or
illustration of the laws discussed by the author, the translator has
unhesitatingly sacrificed the interest of the professional psychologist
to that of the beginner-student. In a few places he has made slight
additions to the original; for instance, figures 7, 8, and 9 are his own
property. But he has decided to abstain from enumerating all changes,
since this would be of interest only to the professional psychologist.
In no case are his additions opposed to the author’s views.

The questions added to each section are not exercises to be worked out
by the student or puzzles to be solved by the general reader. They are
intended to serve as an aid to the intelligent perusal of the book, by
directing the reader’s attention to the essential contents of each

M. M.




A SKETCH OF THE HISTORY OF PSYCHOLOGY                                  3



§ 1. BRAIN AND MIND                                                   27

§ 2. THE NERVOUS SYSTEM                                               30
      1. The Elements of the Nervous System                           30
      2. The Architecture of the Nervous System                       34
      3. The Anatomy of the Nervous System                            38
      4. The Nervous System and Consciousness                         41

      BRAIN AND MIND                                                  43
      1. The Brain a Tool of the Mind                                 44
      2. The Brain an Objectified Conception of the Mind              47



_A._ _The Elements of Mental Life_

§ 4. SENSATION                                                        50
      1. The Newly Discovered Kinds of Sensation                      50
      2. The Other Sensations                                         57
      3. Temporal and Spatial Attributes                              65
      4. Sensation and Stimulus                                       69

§ 5. IMAGINATION                                                      78

§ 6. FEELING                                                          81

§ 7. WILLING                                                          85

_B._ _The Fundamental Laws of Mental Life_

§ 8. ATTENTION                                                        87

§ 9. MEMORY                                                           93

§ 10. PRACTICE                                                        99

§ 11. FATIGUE                                                        102

_C._ _The Expressions of Mental Life_

§ 12. PERCEPTION AND MOVEMENT                                        105

§ 13. THOUGHT AND MOVEMENT                                           108



_A._ _The Intellect_

§ 14. PERCEPTION                                                     114

      1. Characteristics of Perception                               114
      2. Illusions                                                   120

§ 15. IDEATION                                                       123

§ 16. LANGUAGE                                                       128

      1. Word Imagery                                                128
      2. The Acquisition of Speech                                   130
      3. The Growth of Language                                      135
      4. The Significance of Language                                139

§ 17. JUDGMENT AND REASON                                            142

      1. Coherent Thought                                            142
      2. The Self and the World                                      145
      3. Intelligence                                                148

§ 18. BELIEF                                                         152

_B._ _Affection and Conduct_

§ 19. COMPLICATIONS OF FEELING                                       162

      1. Feeling Dependent on Form and Content                       162
      2. Feeling Dependent on Association of Ideas                   164
      3. Irradiation of Feeling                                      167

§ 20. EMOTIONS                                                       168

§ 21. COMPLICATIONS OF WILLING                                       173

§ 22. FREEDOM OF CONDUCT                                             176



§ 23. EVILS OF KNOWLEDGE                                             183

§ 24. RELIGION                                                       189

§ 25. ART                                                            196

§ 26. MORALITY                                                       204

CONCLUSION                                                           210

INDEX                                                                213



Multipolar Cell Body                                                  30

Pyramidal Cell Body                                                   31

Dendrites of a Nerve Cell of the Cerebellum                           31

Various Types of Cell Bodies                                          32

Longitudinal Section of a Nerve Fiber with Stained Fibrils            32

Terminal Arborization of Optical Nerve Fibers                         33

Diagram of Nervous Architecture: Reflex Arches connected by a
Low Nerve Center                                                      36

Diagram of Nervous Architecture: Lower Nerve Centers connected
by a Higher Center                                                    36

Diagram of Nervous Architecture: Higher Nerve Centers connected
by a Still Higher Center                                              37

Frontal Section of the Right Cerebral Hemisphere                      39

Sections of the Cerebral Cortex                                       40

Localization of Peripheral Functions in the Cerebral Cortex           41

Color Pyramid                                                         59

“A Burnt Child fears the Fire”                                       111

Two Possibilities of Perception                                      120

Varieties of Perception                                              121

Visual and Kinesthetic Control of Voluntary Action: the Former

Intact, the Latter Lost                                              175


                        AN ELEMENTARY TEXT-BOOK




Psychology has a long past, yet its real history is short. For thousands
of years it has existed and has been growing older; but in the earlier
part of this period it cannot boast of any continuous progress toward a
riper and richer development. In the fourth century before our era that
giant thinker, Aristotle, built it up into an edifice comparing very
favorably with any other science of that time. But this edifice stood
without undergoing any noteworthy changes or extensions, well into the
eighteenth or even the nineteenth century. Only in recent times do we
find an advance, at first slow but later increasing in rapidity, in the
development of psychology.

The general causes which checked the progress of this science and thus
made it fall behind the others can readily be stated:--

“The boundaries of the Soul you cannot find, though you pace off all its
streets, so deep a foundation has it,” runs a sentence of Heraclitus,
and it hits the truth more fully than its author could ever have
expected. The structures and functions of our mental life present the
greatest difficulties to scientific investigation, greater even than
those presented by the phenomena, in many respects similar, of the
bodily life of the higher organisms. These structures and processes
change so unceasingly, are so fleeting, so enormously complex, and
dependent on so many factors hidden yet undoubtedly influential, that it
is difficult even to seize upon them and describe their true substance,
still more difficult to gain an insight into their causal connections
and to understand their significance. We are just now beginning to
recognize the full force of these difficulties. Wherever in recent years
research in any of the many branches of psychology has made any
considerable advance,--as in vision, audition, memory, judgment,--the
first conclusion reached by all investigators has been, that matters are
incomparably finer and richer and fuller of meaning than even a keen
fancy would previously have been able to imagine.

There is, besides, a second obstacle. However difficult it may be to
investigate the nature and causal connections of mental phenomena,
everybody has a superficial knowledge of their external manifestations.
Long before these phenomena were considered scientifically, it was
necessary for practical human intercourse and for the understanding of
human character, that language should give names to the most important
mental complexes occurring in the various situations of daily life, such
as judgment, attention, imagination, passion, conscience, and so forth;
and we are constantly using these names as if everybody understood them
perfectly. What is customary and commonplace comes to be self-evident to
us and is quietly accepted; it arouses no wonder at its strangeness, no
curiosity which might lead us to examine it more closely. Popular
psychology remains unconscious of the fact that there are mysteries and
problems in these complexes. It loses sight of the complications because
of the simplicity of the names. When it has arranged the mental
phenomena in any particular case under the familiar designations, and
has perhaps said that some one has “paid attention,” or has “given free
rein to his imagination,” it considers the whole matter explained and
the subject closed.

Still a third condition has retarded the advance of psychology, and will
probably long continue to do so. Toward some of its weightiest problems
it is almost impossible for us to be open-minded; we take too much
practical interest in arriving at one answer rather than the other. King
Frederick William I was not the only person who could be persuaded of
the danger of the doctrine that every mental condition is governed by
fixed law, and that in consequence all of our actions are fully
determined--a doctrine fundamental to serious psychological research. He
believed that such a teaching undermined the foundations of order in
state and army, and that according to it he would no longer be justified
in punishing deserters from his tall grenadiers. There are even to-day
numerous thinkers who brand such a doctrine dangerous. They believe that
it destroys all possibility of punishment and reward, makes all
education, admonition, and advice meaningless, paralyzes our action, and
must because of all these consequences be rejected.

In a similar way the discussion of other fundamental questions, such as
the real nature of mind, the relation of mind and body in life and
death, becomes prejudiced and confused on account of their connection
with the deepest-rooted sentiments and longings of the human race. In
recent years this has been the case especially in connection with the
question of the evolution of mental life from its lower forms in the
animals to its higher in man. What ought to be taught and investigated
on its own merits as pure scientific theory, as the probable meaning of
experienced facts, comes to be a matter of belief and good character, or
is considered a sign of courageous independence of spirit and
superiority to superstition and traditional prejudice. All of this is
quite comprehensible when we consider the enormous practical importance
of the questions at issue. Yet such an attitude will scarcely be of much
help in finding answers most correct from a purely objective standpoint;
it rather discourages the advance of research along definite lines.

Nevertheless, as we have stated in the beginning, psychology has now
entered upon a positive development. What favorable circumstances have
made it possible to overcome, at least in part, the peculiar opposing

There are many; but in the end they all lead back to one: the rise and
progress of natural science since the sixteenth century. However, this
has made itself felt in two quite different ways; the force of the first
wave was increased to its full magnitude by a closely following second
wave. First, natural science served--if we overlook the hasty
identification of mind and matter which had its origin in natural
science--as a shining and fruitful example to psychology. It suggested
conceptions of mental life analogous to those conceptions which had been
found to make material processes comprehensible. It led to attempts at
employing methods similar to those which had proved valuable in natural
science. This influence was especially active in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries, and lasted into the nineteenth. Later a more
direct influence began to make itself felt: an actual invasion by
natural science of special provinces of psychology. Natural science, in
the course of its further development, was led at many points into
investigations which lay as well in the sphere of psychology as in its
own prescribed paths. When it attacked them and worked out beautiful
solutions for them, psychologists also received a strong impulse not to
stand aside, but to take up those problems themselves and pursue them
independently for their own quite different purposes. So it was in the
nineteenth century, especially in its second half.

Let us discuss more in detail a few particular results of this twofold
general influence.

As the first important fruit of that indirect advancement through
analogy, may be instanced the idea of the absolute and inevitable
subjection to law of all mental processes, which I have just said forms
the foundation of all serious psychological work. This was a familiar
idea as far back as the later period of ancient philosophy, but was
afterwards repudiated by the theological representatives of philosophy
and psychology in the Middle Ages. To be sure, they always felt more or
less attracted toward this view on account of the doctrine of the
omnipotence and omniscience of God. For if God is almighty, then there
can be no event in the future, either in the outer world or in the heart
of man, which does not depend entirely on him; and if he is also
all-knowing, or if in the eternity of God the human differences of past
and future altogether disappear, then the future must be already known
to God, and in consequence be fixed unalterably. But in spite of this
argument, these medieval thinkers felt bound to affirm a spiritual
freedom (that is, a merely partial determination) under the pressure of
popular psychological and ethical thought and in consequence of their
contemplation of the holiness and justice of God. For how could God have
willed the sinful deeds of man, or have caused them, even indirectly?
Or how could he punish men for doing things which they were compelled to
do by unalterable laws which he himself had made? Although, so it was
argued, man had his origin in God, he was nevertheless not absolutely
bound by the divine within him; he could turn away from it voluntarily,
that is, causelessly.

The influence of the rising natural science led to the opposite answer
to the question as to whether the basis of our responsibility is
spiritual freedom or universal causation. Hobbes and Spinoza became the
champions of universal causation, presenting their answer to the
question with a clearness and incisiveness imposing even to-day. Leibniz
too adopted it, but took care not to offend those holding to the other
view. It has never been lost again from psychology. These men teach that
the phenomena of the mental life are in one respect exactly like those
of external nature, with which they are indeed closely connected: at any
moment they are definitely fixed through their causes, and cannot be
otherwise than as we actually find them. Freedom of action in the sense
of causelessness is an empty concept. It follows from this that one can
properly mean by freedom of action only that there is no compulsion from
without, that the action of a thing or being is determined only by its
own nature, its own indwelling properties. We say of water that it flows
along freely if it is not checked by rocks or dams; or of a horse, that
it runs about freely, if it is not tied up or locked in a stall. We can
in this sense call the good deeds of a person or his living together
with other people his own free action, if it springs from his own
deliberations and desires and is not coerced by force or threats.
Nevertheless all these manifestations, the flowing, the running about,
and also the good actions, are alike the regular effects of definite

What constantly prevents men from recognizing this causality and leads
them to a belief in a misinterpreted freedom, is solely their ignorance.
Out of the multitude of motives for their actions they see, in most
cases, only a single one; and if the action which takes place does not
correspond with it, they are convinced that the decision occurred
without cause. “A top,” says Hobbes, “which is spun by boys and runs
about, first towards one wall then towards another, would think, if it
perceived its own motion, that it moved about by the exercise of its own
will, unless it happened to know what was spinning it.” In the same way
people apply for a job or try to make a bargain and think that they do
this by their own wills; they do not see the whips by which their wills
are driven. In order to understand correctly the thoughts and impulses
of man, we must treat them just as we treat material bodies, or as we
treat the lines and points of mathematics. The pretended dangers of such
a conception of things disappear, as soon as we face them without
prejudice and try to understand them. The conception may be misused,
especially by people of immature mind, but “for whatever purpose truth
may be used, true still remains true,” and the question is not, “what is
fit to be preached, but what is true.”

Supported by this view of a universal determination of mental activity,
there has arisen the idea of a special determination, likewise copied
from natural science. The coming and going of our thoughts is ordinarily
considered as an unregulated play, defying calculation. That order rules
even here, that the train of thought is governed by similarity to the
mental states just present, or by a previous connection with these
mental states, was clearly recognized and expressed even in the times of
Plato and Aristotle. Yet this had remained merely the knowledge of a
curiosity; no theoretical use whatever was made of it. Now it was
brought into connection with newly recognized physical facts. This
determination of the trains of thought depends, according to Hobbes, on
the fact that our ideas are connected with material movements within the
nerves and other organs, and that these movements, when once started,
cannot immediately cease, but must gradually be consumed by resistance.
The laws of association are to him in the spiritual sphere, what the law
of inertia is in the physical. To Hume, a hundred years later, they
depend on a kind of attraction, an idea suggested by Newton’s law of
gravitation. And since inertia and attraction had been recognized as the
most important and fundamental causes of material processes, it was a
natural thing to regard the laws of association, which had been compared
with them, as the fundamental phenomena of mental life, and to derive
from them as manifold and important consequences as had been done in the
case of the physical world. So arose the English associational
psychology. It attempted to explain the traditional faculties of the
mind, such as memory, imagination, judgment, and also the results of
their combined activity (for instance, the consciousness of self and of
the outer world) as natural and, so to speak, mechanical effects of the
laws of association governing the processes of mind. No doubt this
attempt, appearing also in a somewhat different form in the
sensationalism of France, represents, in spite of its one-sidedness, a
very great advance over the psychology of the past.

Just as associationism corresponds to the explanatory natural science of
Galileo and Newton, the empirical psychology of the German
enlightenment corresponds to the descriptive science of Linnæus and
Buffon. But aside from a few exceptions, such as Tetens, its work must
be regarded as a failure. To be sure, its intention is also to explain
mental phenomena, to comprehend them first by careful introspection, and
then to find by analysis the simplest faculties from which they have
sprung. But its actual accomplishment does not go beyond a mere
description of the occurrences offering themselves to first observation.
And the results reached teach impressively that description is an
unfruitful task unless, as sometimes of late, it is made to include also
explanation. The numerous different expressions of mind, already
distinguished by popular psychology, are only arranged in certain groups
beside and above each other, and the explanation consists in presenting
each expression as the effect of a special faculty. Thus we obtain a
great multitude of complicated mental performances, inwardly related to
each other, which are made to stand on a footing of equality and perfect
independence, for example, perception, judgment, reason, imagination,
and also abstraction, wit, symbolism, and so on. Like mere little
_homunculi_ in the large _homo_, they act now in harmony, now in
opposition. The poetic faculty, for example, “is a coöperation of
imagination with judgment.” In connection with reason, imagination
produces foresight. “Wit often does harm to judgment, and leads it to
false verdicts.... Judgment must therefore be constantly on its guard
against wit.” The advancement in this case did not result from a
development of these views, but from their overthrow. But the opposition
raised was turned also against associationism.

Of the defects of associationism this is the greatest: it gives no
explanation of the phenomenon of attention. The peculiar fact that of a
great number of conscious impressions or ideas simultaneously offered to
the mind, only a few can ever be carried through and become effective,
is not to be explained on the basis of the associative connection of
ideas. The associationists pass over this important fact either with
complete silence or with a very insufficient treatment, and thus put a
weapon into the hands of their opponents. The mind seems, in fact, in
the case of attention to mock at all attempts at explanation and to
prove itself, quite in the sense of the popular conception, a reality
separable from its own contents--standing face to face with them, and
treating them capriciously now in one way, now in another.

It is the chief service of Herbart to have recognized a weak point here,
and to have attempted to remedy it. “The regularity of the mental life,”
he is convinced, “is fully equal to that of the movements of the stars.”
Physical analogies guide him in his attempt at explanation. He regards
ideas as mutually repellent structures, or, as it were, elastic bodies,
assigned to a space of limited capacity, forced together and made
smaller by mutual pressure, but never annihilating each other. If
several ideas are simultaneously called forth, they become conflicting
forces, on account of the unity of the mind, in which they are compelled
to be together, and on account of the opposition which exists among
them. In this struggle their clearness suffers and their influence on
consciousness is impaired. However, they do not perish, but become, to
the extent that they suffer, latent forces.

As soon as the opposing factors lose their strength these latent forces
emerge again into full consciousness out of the obscurity in which they
have been buried. After making some further simple assumptions as to the
strength of these interferences, Herbart concludes that two ideas are
sufficient to crowd a third completely out of consciousness. To his
great satisfaction he thus gains from the consideration of a simple
mechanism “a solution of the most general of all psychological
problems.” By this problem he means the fact that of all the knowing,
thinking, wishing, which at any moment might be brought about by the
proper causes, only a very small part plays a significant rôle, while
the rest is not really lost. That is, he means the fact of attention.
But this principle of the mutual interference of ideas is not the only
one he uses. The second principle upon which his theory is based is that
of association. With these two weapons he takes up the fight against the
faculty psychology, and carries it to a successful end. He believes that
all those activities traditionally placed side by side, even feeling and
desire, can be made comprehensible as results of the mechanics of ideas.

Yet Herbart seeks by still another means to “bring about a mental
science similar to the natural science: ... by quantitative methods and
the application of mathematics.” We find here and there before this time
the idea of advancing psychology by such means. The brilliant results
produced in natural science by measurement and calculation readily
suggested the idea that something similar might be done for psychology.
But the philosophical thinkers interested in psychology did not find the
right tools; they justified their inability by asserting that such an
undertaking was impossible. The most famous is the denial by Kant that
mathematics can be applied to the inner mental life and its laws,
because time, within which the mental phenomena would have to be
represented as occurring, has but one dimension. To be sure Herbart is
not actually the pioneer in this field: he never gave a single example
of how a measurement of a mental process was to be taken. However, he at
least recognized that the mental life is open to quantitative treatment,
not only with regard to time, but also in other respects. And in
attempting to solve problems quantitatively, through the statement of
numerical assumptions and their logical development to their
consequences, he so strongly emphasized a side of the matter which had
previously been wholly neglected, that more correct ways of clearing it
up were soon found.

A strong and enduring influence was exerted by Herbart, yet the further
progress of psychology did not occur along the path marked out by him.
Many of his general assumptions, particularly those upon which his
calculations are based, were entirely too vague to appear probable
merely because a few of their consequences agreed with experience.
Besides, a strong opposition had arisen against the intellectualism
supported by him and by the associationists,--against the almost
exclusive regard for the thinking and knowing activities of the mind. If
mental life is really nothing but a machinery of ideas, a coöperation
and opposition of masses of ideas, what is such a thing as religion? Is
it a small complex of true and rational ideas, to which is added a large
complex of superstitious fables, invented, or at any rate cultivated, by
priests and princes, in order to keep men under their authority? So low
a valuation of religion is scarcely possible. Or, what is art? Are the
lyric poems of Goethe or the symphonies of Beethoven really only
institutions for the conveyance of knowledge through the senses, as the
name _esthetics_ indicates, or for the unsuspected instilling of ideas
which make men more virtuous or more patriotic?

Certainly one thing which stands in the center of all mental life seems
entirely incomprehensible as the result of a mere mechanics of ideas,
that is, that unity of mind without which we could not speak of
personality, of character, of individuality, without which we could not
call one man haughty and another humble, one good and another bad, one
noble and another base. Because of this weakness in the theory numerous
great thinkers, Rousseau, Kant, Fichte, Schopenhauer, raised their
voices to insist upon the significance of the life of feeling and will
as well as of the life of ideas, even to give to the former the first
place, as the expression of mind’s most real inner being. Thus
intellectualism was opposed by what we now call voluntarism.

This transferring of the conceptions of natural science to psychological
research, in spite of the mighty impulse it gave to psychology, was not
without its disadvantage. The first brilliant advances in natural
science were in the province of physics, especially of mechanics. It is
no wonder, then, that psychologists, in their gropings after something
similar, turned first to mechanical-physical processes. Inertia,
attraction, and repulsion, as we have seen, aggregation and chemical
combination, were the categories with which they worked. No wonder,
either, that facts were often distorted and their comprehension made
difficult. For if mind is a machine, it is certainly not such a machine
as even the most ingeniously constructed clock or as a galvanic battery.
It is bound up with the organic body, especially with the nervous
system, and on the structure and functions of the nervous system its own
existence and activity somehow depend. So, if one wishes to use material
analogies and to make them fruitful for the comprehension of mental
structures, they must be taken from organic life, from biology rather
than from physics and chemistry. We may find phenomena comparable to
individuality and character, to the mind’s feeling and willing, in the
unitary existence of every plant and animal organism, in the peculiar
determination of its instinct of life and in the many special branches
into which this instinct ceaselessly unfolds. And indeed the
specifically mechanical categories gradually disappeared from psychology
during the nineteenth century, and made way for the biological
categories--reflex, inhibition, practice, assimilation, adaptation, and
so on. Especially that great acquisition of modern biology, the theory
of evolution, was at once seized upon by psychologists, and was utilized
for gaining an understanding of the processes as well in the mind of the
individual as in human society.

But side by side with such advances, springing from analogy and
adaptation, there arose in the nineteenth century another and more
direct influence of natural science, as previously mentioned. In its
natural progress scientific research came to touch upon psychological
problems at several points, and since it laid hold of them and followed
them out for its own ends, it immediately became a pioneer for

The first and at the same time the strongest of these impulses came from
the advance of the physiology of the senses. In the fourth decade of the
nineteenth century remarkably active and fruitful work in this field
began. Physiologists and physicists vied with each other in accurate
study of the structure and functions of sense organs. Naturally they
were not able to stop at the material functions in which they were most
directly interested. They could not forbear to draw into the circle of
their investigations those mental functions mediated by the
physiological functions and explainable on a physiological basis. The
eye, especially, attracted scores of investigators, both because it is
very richly endowed with dioptric and mechanical auxiliary apparatus and
because it is particularly important on account of the delicacy and
diversity of its functions. Yet cutaneous sensations and hearing were
not neglected.

Johannes Müller, E. H. Weber, Brewster, and above all--especially
versatile, far-seeing, and inventive--the somewhat younger Helmholtz,
are only a few of the most noteworthy representatives of this class of
research. They brought to psychology results such as it had never known
before--results resting on well-conceived and original questions as to
the nature of things, and on skillful attempts at arranging the
circumstances for an answer, that is, on _experiment_ and when possible
on exact _measurement_ of the effects and their causes. When Weber in
1828 had the seemingly petty curiosity to want to know at what distances
apart two touches on the skin could be just perceived as two, and later,
with what accuracy he could distinguish between two weights laid on the
hand, or how he could distinguish between the perception received
through the muscles in lifting the weights and the perception received
through the skin, his curiosity resulted in more real progress in
psychology than all the combined distinctions, definitions, and
classifications of the time from Aristotle to Hobbes. The surprising
discovery of hitherto unknown sense organs, the muscles and the
semicircular canals, was made at that time, although not thoroughly
verified until later. That discovery meant not only an increase of
knowledge, but also a widening of the horizon, since the most
conspicuous peculiarity of these organs is that they do not, like the
others, bring to our consciousness external stimuli in the ordinary
sense, but processes on the inside of the body.

One result in particular of these investigations in the physiology of
the senses became the starting point of a strong new movement. The
course of biology in the second quarter of the nineteenth century was
toward methodical and exact study of empirical facts, and away from
speculation in the philosophy of nature. But for some time this exact
study and this speculation were often to be found combined in the same
men. Fechner was one of these. On the one hand he was a speculative
philosopher, a follower of Schelling’s philosophy of nature, a disciple
of Herbart in his attempt at applying mathematics to psychology. So we
find him speculating as to what might be the exact relations between
body and soul, seeking for a mathematical formulation of the dependence
of the corresponding mental and nervous processes. One October morning
in 1850, while lying in bed, he conceived a formula which seemed to him
plausible. In spite of this speculative tendency he was a physicist of
scientific exactness, accustomed to demand a support of facts for such
plausible formulas, ready to attack problems not only with his mind, but
also with his hands. In following up his speculations he came across
some of the results of the work of Weber. By the use of more exact
methods and by long-continued series of experiments he carried Weber’s
investigations farther, at the same time utilizing the observations of
others to which no one had before paid any attention. He succeeded in
formulating the first mathematical law of mental life, Weber’s law as he
called it, according to which an increase of the external stimulus in
geometrical progression corresponds to the increase of the mental
process in arithmetical progression. (We shall discuss this law in §
4.) He classed together all of his speculations, investigations,
formulations, and conclusions as a new branch of knowledge,
Psychophysics, “the scientific doctrine of the relations obtaining
between body and mind.”

Fechner’s work called forth numberless books and articles, confirming,
opposing, discussing it, or carrying its conclusions still further. The
chief question which they discussed, the question whether the law
formulated by Fechner was correct or not, has gradually lost its
importance, and made way for other problems. Quite aside from this
question, which originally formed the center of interest, Fechner’s work
has made itself felt in three different ways. Herbart’s mathematical
fiction of the combat among ideas had made such an impression upon the
thinkers of the time, that--incredible as it may seem--as late as 1852
Lotze confessed that he would prefer it to formulas found by experiment.
For this fiction Fechner substituted a scientific law derived from
actual measurement of physical forces. Further, he gave to these facts
their proper place in a broad system, showed their significance for the
deepest psychological problems, and thus compelled even those
psychologists who had affiliated themselves with philosophy and had
previously remained unaffected by the physiology of the senses, to take
notice of the new movement in their science. And finally, he worked out
a methodical procedure for all psychophysical investigations, which was
far superior to the methods then employed by psychologists and which
continues to be of great use for the study of sensation and perception.

At about the same time, in the sixties, psychology received a third kind
of impulse. Although weaker than the two just mentioned, it contributed
not a little toward increasing the number of psychological problems to
which experimental methods could be applied.

In the year 1796 the Reverend Nevil Maskelyne, director of the Greenwich
observatory, noticed that the transits recorded by his assistant,
Kinnebrook, showed a gradually increasing difference from his own,
finally amounting to almost a full second. He suspected his assistant of
having deviated from the prescribed method of observation, the so-called
eye and ear method, and of having substituted some unreliable method of
his own. He admonished the young man to return to the correct method and
do better in the future. But his admonition was in vain, and he found
himself obliged to part with his otherwise satisfactory assistant.
Kinnebrook lost his position on account of the deficient psychological
knowledge of his time. It was not until two decades later that Bessel
discovered that such differences between the results of observations by
different individuals were quite general and normal, and that in
Kinnebrook’s case they were only unusually great. They depend on the
manner of giving attention to both the sound of the pendulum and the
sight of the moving star, which naturally differs in different

At first this question of the so-called personal equation remained a
purely practical astronomical problem. But a few decades later it gave
rise to two classes of investigations of psychological importance, both
of the experimental kind. The first was an investigation of a
comparatively simple problem--the duration of the mental processes.
Among such processes measured were the simple perception, the
discrimination of several perceptions, the simple reaction to them, the
reproduction of any suggested idea, the reproduction of a specific
suggested idea, and so forth. Not only was the duration of these
processes studied, but also their dependence on differences of
stimulation, the accompanying circumstances, the individual differences,
the subject’s trend of thought. The second class of investigations was
concerned with the more complex mental processes of attending and
willing. As examples may be mentioned inquiries into the attention of a
person confronted by a multitude of impressions, a study of the order in
which the several impressions are perceived, a determination of the
largest number of impressions perceptible as a mental unit, and research
into the causal relations between ideas and actions.

A more recent contribution of natural science to the advancement of
psychology has come from investigations in the physiology and pathology
of the central nervous system since the discovery about 1870 of the
so-called speech center by Broca, and of the motor areas of the brain
cortex by Fritsch and Hitzig. Some have placed a rather low value on
this contribution and, noticing the errors and immature conceptions of
this or that investigator, have arrived at the conclusion that
psychology can learn nothing worth mentioning from the work of these
men. This, it seems to me, is a great mistake.

Quite aside from innumerable details, psychology owes to the
investigations made in recent years concerning the physiology of the
brain two fundamental conceptions. In the first place it has come to be
generally recognized that the search of centuries for the exact seat of
the soul in the brain--for the point where mind and body come into
interaction--is without an object. There is no seat of the soul in this
sense; the brain is the embodiment of almost absolute decentralization.
Our mind receives the impressions of the external world by means of
widely separated parts of the brain, as different sensations, according
to the peripheral organs stimulated. And our mind controls our actions
by means of widely separated parts of the brain according to the local
differences of the muscle groups which are called into action. All the
parts of the brain are connected, but they function in relative
independence, without being controlled from a single point. Now, it is
clear that insight into this fact is of no little significance for our
conception of the nature of mind.

In the second place it is only through the work of these neurologists
that psychologists have come to realize how enormously complicated are
even those mental functions which have always been regarded as
comparatively simple. That the speech function, for example, involves
consciousness of sound, of movement, and sometimes of sight, may be
recognized immediately, and has been recognized. That our images of
things are directly nothing but revived sense impressions of various
kinds, visual, auditory, olfactory, and so on, and that our skill in
handling things depends upon our experience obtained through running our
fingers over them, is also recognized. But that all these images are
more than abstractions, that they have a concrete significance even
though the subject may not be aware of them, has been recognized only
after the study of pathological cases, where, in consequence of peculiar
lesions of the brain a dissociation has occurred among those factors
which usually work together harmoniously, and where some of them are
perhaps entirely lost. It was not until these pathological facts were
known that psychology was able to give a definite formulation to certain
of its problems. It then became clear that many former problems which
took their origin from those popular simplifications, will, judgment,
memory, or from the seeming simplicity of ideas and movements, were
perfect nonsense, considering the actual complexity of the facts. Now,
after having learned how to formulate its problems, psychology can at
last hope to understand the phenomena of mental life.

The study of the brain has also had an indirect influence upon
psychology through the strong impulse which it gave to psychiatry. The
knowledge gained in the study of the abnormal mind gave a new insight
into the processes of the normal mind. And since psychiatrists most
often came into contact with the highly complex mental states, such as
emotion, intelligence, self-consciousness, the impulses which they gave
to psychology were a happy supplement to those other influences which
concerned chiefly sensation and perception.

       *       *       *       *       *

During the last decades of the nineteenth century all these buds of a
new psychology were--first by Wundt--grafted on the old stem and so
united into an harmonious whole. They have rejuvenated the apparently
dying tree and brought about a strong new growth. The psychology of the
text-book and the lecture room has become a different science. The most
conspicuous sign of this new conception of the science of the mind is
the establishment of numerous laboratories exclusively devoted to
psychological research.

In earlier times psychology was but the handmaid of other interests.
Psychological research was not an end in itself, but a useful or
necessary means to higher ends. Usually it was a branch or a servant of
philosophy. Men took it up particularly in order to understand the
foundations of knowledge, or how our conceptions of the natural world
originated, and this again in order to draw metaphysical or ethical
conclusions, to settle the controversy between idealism and
materialism, to answer the question as to the relation of body and mind,
to derive rules for a rational conduct of life, often also with the mere
purpose of confirming views springing from some other source. Others
took up the study of psychology with a practical aim, for example, in
order to find out how to make the most of their lives, or how to improve
their memories. It is, to be sure, greatly to be hoped that psychology
will not entirely lose its connection with philosophy, as natural
science has unfortunately done. At no time, indeed, has the practical
importance of psychology, its great usefulness in education, psychiatry,
law, language, religion, art, been more strongly felt, or given rise to
more numerous investigations than at present. But it is now recognized
that, here as elsewhere, it is more fruitful for the true and lasting
advancement of philosophical ends, instead of always thinking of
advancing them, to forget them for the time, and to work on the
preliminary problems as if these preliminary problems were the only ones
existing. And so psychology, formerly a mere means to an end, has come
to be regarded as a special science, to which a man can well afford to
give his full time and energy.

A few data may illustrate what we have just said. Until the last decades
of the nineteenth century psychology has not been able to support a
journal of its own. A few attempts in this direction were made in the
eighteenth century, when two psychological periodicals were started; but
neither published more than a few volumes. Even in the middle of the
last century magazine articles of psychological content were rare enough
and appeared only in philosophical, physiological, or physical journals.
During the last thirty years a complete revolution has taken place in
this respect, more remarkable than in any other branch of science.
First at longer intervals, then in quick succession, numerous purely
psychological journals were founded in the principal civilized
countries, of which none thus far has been compelled to retire on
account of lack of either contributors or readers. We count at present
at least fifteen, six of them in German, four in English, three in
French, one in the Italian language, and one representing the
Scandinavian peoples. And there is an equal number of periodical
publications of single investigators and institutions, and also numerous
writings of psychological importance published in philosophical,
physiological, psychiatrical, pedagogical, criminological, and other


     1. How old is the science of psychology?

     2. What do you know about its early growth?

     3. What are the difficulties besetting psychology?

     4. What is the origin of popular psychology?

     5. Why is psychology so much hampered by prejudice?

     6. State the two ways in which psychology has been influenced by
     natural science.

     7. How was psychology influenced by medieval theology?

     8. Who were the opponents of theological psychology?

     9. What does freedom of action mean?

     10. What kind of ignorance is the cause of the belief in absolute

     11. How did the associational psychology originate?

     12. What is meant by the faculty psychology?

     13. What does psychology owe to Herbart?

     14. What is voluntarism?

     15. Why are mechanical explanations of mental life inadequate?

     16. From which science can psychology obtain the most fruitful

     17. Which science gave in the earlier part of the nineteenth
     century the strongest direct impulse to psychology?

     18. What is psychophysics and who is its author?

     19. What is meant by the personal equation?

     20. What experimental investigations were suggested by the personal

     21. How did the study of the physiology of the brain influence

     22. Is psychology a special science?




As we all know, the processes of our mental life stand in the closest
relationship with the functions of the nervous system, especially with
the functions of its highest organ, the brain. Local anemia, that is, a
lack of blood in the brain, causes fainting, a cessation of
consciousness; on the other hand, during mental work the blood pressure
in the brain is higher than usual and metabolism is increased. Narcotic
or poisonous drugs, as alcohol, caffein, and morphine, which influence
mental activity, do this by means of their effect on the nervous system.
Aside from such experiences, there are two special groups of facts upon
which our knowledge of this relationship is based.

First the dependence of mental development on the development of the
nervous system. This is most conspicuous when man and animals are
compared. It is somewhat obscured, however, by the relation of the size
of the brain to the size of the animal. The larger animal has as a rule
the larger brain. Therefore the brain of man can be compared only with
the brain of such animals as are of nearly the same size. When such a
comparison is made, man is found to be no less superior in nervous
organization than in intelligence. His brain is about three times as
heavy, absolutely and relatively, as that of the animals most nearly
approaching him, the anthropoid apes; eight to ten times as heavy as
the brain of the most intelligent animals lower down in the scale, for
instance large dogs. Similar relations between brain weight and
intelligence are found in the human race itself. Of course, we cannot
expect that this relation will always be found in a comparison of only
two individuals. The conditions are too complex for such a regularity to
exist; but it is easily demonstrated when averages of groups of
intelligent and unintelligent men are compared. We do not expect,
either, that in every individual case physical strength is exactly
proportional to the weight of the muscles, although no one doubts that
strength depends on the weight of the muscles.

The second of the facts upon which our knowledge of the relationship
between mental life and nervous function is based, consists in the
parallel effects of disturbances of their normal condition. Diseases or
injuries of the brain are, as a rule, accompanied by disturbances of the
mental life. On the other hand, mental disturbances can often be traced
to lesions or structural modifications in the brain. This cannot be done
in every case; but the actual connection is none the less certain. It is
often very difficult to decide whether or not any mental abnormality
exists. Expert psychiatrists have for weeks at a time observed men
suspected of mental disease without being able to pronounce judgment.
Equally difficult is the discovery of material changes in the brain and
its elements. Much progress has been made in recent times in this
respect; but it is still far from easy to recognize the more delicate
changes in nervous structure resulting from disease. Certain
abnormalities may never become directly visible although they involve
disturbances of function, for instance, abnormalities in the nutrition
of the nervous elements or changes in their normal sensitivity. No
wonder, then, that for many mental diseases, as hysteria, corresponding
material lesions are not yet known. But the correctness of our thesis is
so strongly secured by the enormous number of cases in which it has been
demonstrated, that no one doubts that it applies also to those cases in
which, often for good reasons, its demonstration has thus far been

Of much importance is the particular form of this relationship between
brain function and mental life. Popular thought attributes the chief
classes of total mental activity to special parts of the brain. Judgment
is thought to have its seat behind the thinker’s high forehead. The
occipital part of the brain is, according to the medieval philosophers,
the organ of memory. And so Gall’s phrenology met with ready acceptance
from the public at large, which was delighted to learn that musical
ability, mathematical talent, religious sentiment, egotism and altruism,
and many other character traits had their special organs in the brain.
But anatomists and physiologists have not been able to admit the
plausibility of this doctrine.

Yet popular thought has, on the other hand, always emphasized the unity
of mind. Those who regard its unity as the chief characteristic of mind
have for centuries sought for the single point in the brain where the
mind can be said to have its seat. If it were distributed all through
the brain, would it not be possible to cut the mind into pieces by
simply cutting the brain?

That both these views of the relation between brain and mind are
inadmissible has become certain. Since about forty years ago the truth
in this matter has been known. But to understand it clearly it is
necessary first to familiarize ourselves with the construction of the
nervous system.


     23. What do we learn from a comparison of brain weight and

     24. What is the relation between nervous pathology and mental

     25. Is phrenology admissible?

     26. What view concerning the relation of brain and mind is
     suggested by the unity of mind?


1. _The Elements of the Nervous System_

[Illustration: FIG. 1.--MULTIPOLAR CELL BODY.]

The number of elements making up the nervous system is estimated at
about four thousand millions. It will help us to comprehend the
significance of this number if we understand that a man’s life devoted
to nothing but counting them would be too short to accomplish this task,
for a hundred years contain little more than three thousand million
seconds. These elements are stringlike bodies, so thin that they are
invisible to the naked eye. They are generally called _neurons_. Within
them different parts are to be distinguished. The part which is most
important for the neuron’s life is a spherical, bobbin-shaped,
pyramidal, or starlike body, called the ganglion cell or cell body,
located usually near one of the ends of the long fiber of the neuron,
but sometimes nearer the middle of the fiber. The length of the fiber
varies from a fraction of an inch to several feet. The fiber may be
compared with a telephone wire, inasmuch as its function consists in
carrying a peculiar kind of excitatory process.

[Illustration: FIG. 2--PYRAMIDAL CELL BODY.

_a_, Nerve fiber with collaterals.]


At both ends of the neuron are usually found treelike branches. When the
cell body is located near one of the ends of the fiber, many of these
branches take their origin from the cell body and give it the pyramidal
or starlike appearance illustrated by figures 1, 2, and 4. These
branches are called dendrites, from the Greek word for tree, _dendron_.
How wonderfully complicated the branching of a neuron may be is
illustrated by figure 3. In addition to the dendrites a neuron possesses
another kind of branches, resembling in character the tributaries of a
large river, entering into it at any point of its course. These are
called collaterals (lowest part of figure 2).


_1_ and _2_, Giant pyramidal cell bodies; _n_, nerve fiber.]


_a_, Medullated sheath.]

The ganglion cells have a varying internal structure, which may be made
visible to the eye when the cells have been stained by the use of
different chemicals. They are found to contain small corpuscles with a
network of minute fibrils between them, as shown in figures 1 and 4. The
nerve fibers, too, in spite of being only 1/40 to 1/500 mm. thick,
permit us to distinguish smaller parts (fig. 5). The core consists of a
bundle of delicate, semi-fluid, parallel fibrils, the axis-cylinder.
This is surrounded generally by a fatty, marrow-like sheath, and in the
peripheral parts of the system this sheath is again inclosed in a
membrane. Certain fibers attain a considerable length, for example,
those which end in the fingers and toes, having their origin in the
spinal region of the body.

The treelike branches of the main fiber and of the collaterals, if far
away from the cell body, are sometimes called the terminal arborization,
from the Latin word for tree, _arbor_ (fig. 6). The treelike branching
has most probably a functional significance of great importance. It
enables the endings of different neurons to come into close enough
contact to make it possible for the nervous processes to pass over from
one neuron into another neuron, without destroying the individuality,
the relative independence of each neuron.


Wherever large masses of neurons are accumulated, the location of the
ganglion cells can be found directly by the naked eye. The fibers are
colorless and somewhat transparent. Where they are massed together, the
whole looks whitish, as is the case with snow crystals, or foam. The
ganglion cells, however, contain a dark pigment, and where many of them
are present among the fibers, the whole mass looks reddish gray.
Accordingly one speaks of white matter and gray matter in the nervous

The nature of the excitatory process for the carriage of which the
neurons exist is still unknown. It is certain, however, that this
process is not an electrical phenomenon. Electrical changes accompany
the nervous process and enable us to recognize its presence and even to
measure it; but they are not identical with the nervous process.
Probably it is a kind of chemical process, perhaps analogous to the
migration of ions in the electrolyte of a galvanic element, the lost
energy being restored by the organism. Two facts are especially
noteworthy. The velocity of propagation has been found to be about 60
meters per second in the human nervous system. In the lowest animals
propagation is often considerably slower. It is clear, therefore, that
it is an altogether different magnitude from the velocities found in
light, electricity, or even sound.

A second fact is the summation of weak stimulations. The second one
produces a stronger effect than the first, the third again a stronger
effect, and so on. It also happens that a number of successive stimuli
produce a noticeable effect, whereas one of these stimuli alone, on
account of its weakness, would produce none. On the other hand, if
strong stimuli succeed one another, the effect becomes less and less
conspicuous. The neurons are fatigued, as we say, and require time for

2. _The Architecture of the Nervous System_

The elements of the nervous system just described are combined into one
structure according to a surprisingly simple plan, in spite of its
seeming complexity. This apparent complexity results chiefly from the
enormous number of elements entering into the combination. The purpose
of the nervous architecture may be briefly described thus: The
conductivity of the nervous tissue is employed to _bring all the sensory
points of the living organism into close connection with all the motor
points, thus making a body capable of unitary action out of a mere
accumulation of organs, each of which serves its specific end_. Walking
along and meeting an obstacle, I must be able first to look about and
find a way of pushing it aside or climbing over it, and then to push or
climb. This is impossible unless my eyes are connected with the muscles
of the head, the arms, the legs. Perhaps I am inattentive, or it is
dark, so that I run against the obstacle with my feet or my body. In
this case it is necessary that the sensory points of my skin be
connected with all those muscles. Hearing a call, I must be able to turn
my head so that I may hear more distinctly the sound I am expected to
perceive; but I must also be able to move my tongue and the rest of my
vocal organs in order to answer, or, as the case may require, my arms
and legs in order to defend and protect myself. Thus the ear and all
other sensory points of the body must be closely connected with all the
motor points.

It is plain, then, that the simplest kind of nervous system must consist
of three kinds of neurons: sensory (often called afferent), motor (often
called efferent), and connecting neurons. To improve the working of such
a system, the afferent and the efferent neurons, and especially the
connecting (associating) paths, are developed by the introduction of
additional neurons, serving to cross-connect the primary chains of
neurons. Figure 7 illustrates the architecture of an exceedingly simple
nervous system of the most rudimentary kind.

A perfection of the system is brought about by a superstructure built on
essentially the same plan. Figure 8 is a diagram illustrating this. The
points _S´_ and _M´_ correspond to the points of the same names in
figure 7. But several systems (three in the diagram) like that of figure
7 have been combined by connecting neurons in exactly the same manner in
which the combination was effected in figure 7. In this higher system
(nerve center, we should call it) the points _S´´´_ and _M´´_ have a
significance comparable to that of _S´_ and _M´_.


(From Psychological Review, 15, 1908.)]


(From Psychological Review, 15, 1908.)]

Several of these larger systems (three in the diagram) are combined
again by means of connecting neurons in exactly the same manner as
before. This is illustrated by figure 9. The points _S´´´_ and _M´´´_
have a significance like that of _S´_ and _M´_, _S´´´_ being nearer to
sensory points of the body than to motor points, _M´´´_ being nearer to
motor points. This system of connecting neurons represents again what we
may call a higher nerve center--higher still than those which are
combined in it.


Thus we may conceive any number of systems, one still higher than the
other. And we may understand how it is possible that simpler mental
functions may enter into a combination, forming a unitary new function,
without completely losing their individuality as functions of a lower
order; for combinations of simple functions represented by _direct_
connections into complex functions are brought about only by mediation
of higher connecting neurons which represent the _less direct_
connections of sensory and motor points. The most manifold associations
are made possible. A practically inexhaustible number of different
adaptations is structurally prepared, so that the most complicated
circumstances and situations find the organism capable of meeting them
in a useful reaction. This type of nervous system is the property of the
highest animals and of man. The lower type of nervous system is
represented by the reflex arches of the so-called spinal and subcortical
centers. The higher type is represented by the cerebrum and cerebellum,
which during a process of evolution covering hundreds of thousands of
years have gradually been developed to serve as the highest centers of
the nervous system.

3. _The Anatomy of the Nervous System_

The most prominent part of the nervous system is that inclosed within
the skull and the vertebral column. The spinal cord runs all through
this column up to the skull. Entering into the skull, it thickens and
forms what is called the bulb (medulla oblongata). It then divides into
several bodies, which are referred to as the subcortical centers,
because they are located below the cortex, which is the surface layer of
the cerebrum, or large brain. These subcortical centers contain the
central ends of neurons which are links of chains of afferent neurons
coming from the higher sense organs and from the sensory points of the
skin and the internal organs. Chains of efferent neurons, on the other
hand, take their origin in the subcortical centers, reaching at their
peripheral ends the motor points of the body, that is, the muscle fibers
of our skeletal muscles and of the muscle tissues contained in the
alimentary canal and the other internal organs.

Above and partly surrounding the subcortical centers are the large brain
and the cerebellum or small brain. The ganglion cells of the neurons
contained in the cerebrum and cerebellum are all located near the
surface or cortex. There seems to be a peculiar advantage--not yet
perfectly understood--in having the gray matter spread out over the
surface of the cerebrum and cerebellum in as thin a layer as possible.
To this end the surface of the cerebrum is much increased by the
formation of large folds, separated by deep fissures (see figure 10).
In the cerebellum the folds are more numerous and exceedingly fine, and
they do not have the appearance of being the product of fissuration. The
surface of the cerebrum is estimated to be equal to a square with a side
eighteen inches long. Without the fissures the surface would be only
about one third of this. The mixture of ganglion cells and fibers making
up the gray matter of the brain is illustrated in figures 11 and 12.
Both are sections of the cortex of the cerebrum. In figure 11 the cell
bodies alone are stained and thus made visible; in figure 12 the fibers
alone are stained.


From what has been said thus far it is clear that certain areas of the
cortex must be connected with certain groups


Only the cell bodies are stained.]


Only the fibers are stained.]

of sensory points or motor points of the body much more directly than
with others. This is confirmed by histological, pathological, and
experimental investigations. For the eyes and the ears, for the muscles
of arms and legs, hands and feet, even the several fingers and toes, the
corresponding areas of the cortex--that is, the areas with which there
is direct connection--are definitely known. Figure 13 conveys an idea of
the relation between certain parts of the brain and the sensory and
motor organs of the body.


4. _The Nervous System and Consciousness_

We have already touched on the question as to the relation between the
nervous system and consciousness. It is evident that no single point of
the nervous system can be regarded as the long-searched-for seat of the
soul, since no single point is structurally or functionally
distinguished from all others. But it does not follow that mental
functions are localized in different parts of the brain according to
the popular conception of judgment, memory, will, and so on, each
depending on a special part of the brain. There is no more truth in the
similar assertions of phrenology. Localization of function in this sense
is impossible. Judgment is not a mental function which can be separated
from memory and attention. No more separable from each other are such
functions as religious sentiment, filial love, self-consciousness. The
sensational, ideational, and affective elements of these functions are
to a considerable extent the same.

Localization of mental functions really means this:--Since there is a
division of labor among the sensory and motor organs of the body, and
since each of these organs is most directly connected with certain areas
of the cortex and much less directly with the other areas, it is to be
expected that certain states of consciousness will occur only when
certain areas of the cortex are functioning. It is but natural that the
province of the cortex most directly connected with the eyes serves
vision, including both visual perception and visual imagination; that
the province of the cortex most directly connected with the ears serves
audition. Who would expect anything else? In the same sense, the
sensations of touch, of taste, and so on, are localized in the brain.
The same rule holds good for movements. When our limbs move in
consequence of some thought concerning them, the areas of the cortex
which are most closely connected with them must function, while other
areas may remain inactive. Activity of our vocal organs, in the service
of our mind, can occur only by the influence of that province of the
cortex which is most directly connected with the muscles of the vocal
organs. But how varied are the thoughts which may bring about action of
the vocal organs! On the other hand, how diversified may be the
movements by which a mother may react upon the crying of her child! In
either case it may be right to say that our mind is localized in the
brain as a whole--not, of course, equally in every infinitesimal
particle, but distributed through the brain in a manner comparable to
the distribution of the roots and branches of a tree.


     27. To what kind of things are the neurons comparable?

     28. How many neurons does the nervous system contain?

     29. What kinds of branches does a neuron possess?

     30. What are white matter and gray matter?

     31. How does the velocity of a nervous process compare with other
     velocities in nature?

     32. What is the general function of the nervous system?

     33. Can you draw a diagram illustrating the architecture of a
     simple and of a more complex nervous system?

     34. How can simpler nervous functions enter into a combination
     without completely losing their individuality?

     35. What is meant by subcortical?

     36. What is meant by afferent and efferent neurons?

     37. How large is the surface of the brain?

     38. What is meant by sensory and motor areas of the cortex?

     39. Where is the seat of the soul?


How the functional relation between the mind and the nervous system
should be explained, is a question discussed for centuries and variously
answered. But all the answers are essentially either the one or the
other of these two: (1) Either the brain is a tool of the mind, or (2)
it is an objectified conception of the mind itself.

1. _The Brain a Tool of the Mind_

Popular thought, supported by desires common to all human beings,
readily accepts the view that mind is essentially different from matter,
that its laws are in every respect different from the laws of material
nature, and that the brain, being a part of the material nature, is
simply the special tool used by the mind in its intercourse with nature.
Consider what a contrast seems to exist between logical certainty and
the mere probability derived from more or less deceptive sense
impressions, between voluntary attention and sensual desire, between
religious inspiration and ordinary perception, artistic creation and
everyday work. Nevertheless, these highest as well as the lowest
activities of the mind need a tool with which they can get into
communication with the world; and this tool, says popular thought, is
the brain. By means of this tool the mind can take possession of the
world and shape it at will. This explanation of the functional relation
between the mind and the nervous system agrees well with the facts above
discussed concerning brain weight and intelligence, and nervous
pathology and mental abnormality. That the magnitude, the architecture,
the normal condition of a tool have an influence on the task performed,
is plain enough. Many a piece of music can be played on a large organ
having a great variety of stops, whereas its performance on a small
instrument would be impossible. Raffael might have deserved the name of
a great painter if born without arms, but the world would never have
known it.

The facts of localization of function, however, do not agree so well
with this tool conception of the brain, which always leads us back again
to the theory that the mind takes hold of its tool at a single point. If
the mind can suffer or produce _this_ change only here, _that_ change
only there, it is difficult to see why we should regard it as an
altogether separate entity. Some have pointed out, as an analogy, that
truth too is everywhere, and because of its absolute unity, everywhere
in its totality, without being bound to space and time. I must doubt,
however, if truth is present where such analogies are worked out, for
nothing can be less clear than the assertion that truth has unity. Mind
is not everywhere in its totality, neither in the brain nor in the whole
world. It is partly here, partly there; as seeing mind it is in the
occipital convolutions of the brain, as hearing mind in the temporal
convolutions. Thus we are forced, if we regard the brain as the mind’s
tool, to regard the mind as an entity possessing spatial form. If we
reject this conclusion, we must also reject the premise that the brain
is the mind’s tool.

There are two other difficulties of very considerable importance. One of
them is compliance with the principle of the conservation of energy. If
mind is an entity independent of the brain, if the brain is a tool which
mind can use arbitrarily, without having to obey the laws of the
material world, there would be a serious break in the continuity of
natural law, and the principle of the conservation of energy would
suffer an exception.

Until recently it was, not probable, but at least possible, that this
principle of the conservation of energy was not strictly correct when
applied to conscious beings, especially to man. But in recent years
direct experiment has proved that it applies to the dog, and even to
man. In an animal performing no gross muscular work the energy supplied
by the food is completely transformed into heat, which is absorbed by
the animal’s surroundings. Rubner has found as the result of very exact
measurements that the heat produced by an animal during several weeks
is within one half of one per cent (that is, within the probable error)
equal to the quantity of chemical energy received from the food. One
might think that it would be rash to apply conclusions reached by
experimenting on a dog to man, whose mental life stands on a much higher
level. But even this objection has been removed by Atwater. He performed
similar experiments on five educated persons, varying the conditions of
mental and muscular activity or relative rest. The result is the same.
Taking the total result, there is absolute equality between the energy
supplied and the energy given out; in the human organism, mind has thus
been proved to be subject to the laws of the natural world.

The second difficulty spoken of consists in the fact that, accepting the
view which regards the brain as the mind’s tool, we cannot well avoid
regarding the mind as a kind of ghost or demon, similar to the demons
with which the imagination of primitive peoples populates the
universe--gaseous and usually invisible men, women, giants, or dwarfs.
Mankind has always felt strongly inclined to believe in the existence of
such demons, and is still fond of making them the subjects of fairy
tales and similar stories. But the more mature experience of the last
centuries of human history has eliminated them from our theories of the
actual world and assigned them their proper places in tales and
mythology. Winter and summer, rain and sunshine, even the organic
processes in the heart or the spinal cord are understood only by
excluding from the explanation the assumption of such demons. The same
is by analogy true for the processes in the brain, for the brain is not
likely to be an exception to the rule. It is more difficult, of course,
to determine directly whether such a demon exerts his influence in the
inaccessible cavity of the skull than it is on the street or even in a
haunted house. But no assertion is entitled to be regarded as true
merely because we cannot go to the place in question and observe that it
is false. Why not assert that heaven is located on the back side of the
moon and hell in the center of the sun, merely because no one can see
with his own eyes that they are not there? We must make only those
assumptions which, considered from all points of view, have a high
degree of probability, not those which flatter our vanity or appeal to
us as the fashionable belief of the time. Now, it does not seem probable
that our brain is the residence of a separable demon, no matter whether
we attribute to him the power of changing at will the total amount of
energy contained in our body, or conceive his activity, as some
psychologists do, as a new form of energy added to the mechanical,
thermal, electric, chemical, and so on,--requiring only an additional
transformation of energy and not breaking down the principle of its

2. _The Brain an Objectified Conception of the Mind_

If we cannot regard the brain and the mind as two independent entities,
scarcely any other conception of them is possible except as a single
entity of which we may obtain knowledge in two ways, an objective and a
subjective way. _Mind_ knows itself directly, without mediation of any
kind, as a complex of sense impressions, thoughts, feelings, wishes,
ideals, and endeavors, non-spatial, incessantly changing, yet to some
extent also permanent. But _mind_ may also be known by other minds
through all kinds of mediations, visual, tactual, and other sense
organs, microscopes and other instruments. When thus known by other
minds, mind appears as something spatial, soft, made up of
convolutions, wonderfully built out of millions of elements, that is, as
brain, as nervous system. By mind and brain we mean the same entity,
viewed now in the aspect in which mind knows itself, now in the aspect
in which it is known by other minds.

Suppose a person is asked a question and after some hesitation replies.
In so far as this act is seen, heard, and otherwise perceived (or
imagined as seen, heard, or otherwise perceived), it is a chain of
physical, chemical, neurological, etc., processes, of material processes
as we may say. But that part of the chain of material processes which
occurs in the nervous system may not only be known by others, but may
know itself directly, as a transformation of perceptual consciousness
into thought, feeling, willing. The links of these two chains of
material processes in the brain and of mental states should not be
conceived as intermixed and thus forming one new chain, but rather as
running parallel--still better as being link for link identical. The
illusion that one of these chains brings forth the other is caused by
the fortuitous circumstance that they do not both become conscious at
once. He who thinks and feels cannot at the same time experience through
his sense organs the nervous processes as which these thoughts and
feelings are objectively perceptible. He who observes nervous processes
cannot at the same time have the thoughts and feelings as which these
processes know themselves. Those objective processes, however, which go
on outside of the nervous system, in particular those outside of the
experiencing organism, in the external world, precede or follow mental
states as causes generally precede their effects and effects follow
their causes. There is no objection to speaking of a causal relation
between material processes of this kind and mental states.

Whatever explanation of the functional relation between brain and mind a
person may accept, he need not constantly be on his guard lest he be
inconsistent. We speak of the rising and setting sun without meaning
that the earth is the center of the universe and that the sun moves
around it. So we may also continue to speak quite generally of the
material world as influencing our mind, and of the mind as bringing
about changes in the material world.

Our view of the relation between body and mind leads to the further
conclusion that, as our body may be distinguished from its parts without
having existence separate from its parts, so our mind may be
distinguished from the several states of consciousness without having
existence separate from them. Mind is the concept of the totality of
mental functions. As self-preservation is the chief end of all bodily
function, so self-preservation is the chief end of mental life.


     40. Do the facts of comparative anatomy and of localized function
     agree with the view that the brain is the mind’s tool?

     41. Is mind subject to the law of the conservation of energy?

     42. Is mind a demon interfering with the laws of nature?

     43. What is the cause of the illusion that nervous processes bring
     forth mental states, or that mental states bring forth nervous

     44. Why is it correct to regard certain events going on outside of
     the organism--and even in the organism, but outside of the nervous
     system--as effects or as causes of certain mental states?

     45. Is there any objection to distinguishing our mind from the
     several mental states?





1. _The Newly Discovered Kinds of Sensations_

We shall discuss first the simplest facts of mental life, later their
complications. It has often been objected that such a treatment is not
in harmony with the fact that we are more familiar with the
complications than with the simpler facts. But we are also more familiar
with our body than we are with muscle cells, nerve cells, and blood
corpuscles, and yet we do not object to beginning the study of biology
by a study of the structural elements and their chief properties. No one
understands this to mean that the cells of various kinds existed first
separately and were then combined into the body which consists of them.
No one should believe that the simple mental states existed separately
and were then combined into those complications with which we have
become familiar in everyday life. Simple mental states are abstractions.
But we cannot hope to understand the complexity of mental life without
using abstractions.

Through the sense organs our mind receives information about the
external world. The traditional classification of the sensations divided
them into five groups. But the distinction of five senses has been
found to be insufficient. At least twice as many must be distinguished.

When psychologists tried to explain all human knowledge in terms of
experience, they met with some difficulty in the description of our
experience of solid bodies. Tactual sensation was found to be
insufficient for this explanation, since it informs us only of the
side-by-side position of things, that is, of only two dimensions. It was
soon recognized that the movements of our limbs were important factors
in this experience, and the question was asked: How do we perceive the
spatial relations of our limbs and the resistances offered to changes in
these spatial relations, that is, to movements? The first answer to this
question was, that the muscles, being obviously a kind of sense organ
which gives us the familiar sensations of fatigue and muscular pain, are
also capable of sending in definite groups of afferent nervous processes
according to their conditions of contraction and tension. This answer
was quite true, as far as it went; and about 1870 the sensory neurons of
muscles were actually discovered. The tendons connecting the muscles
with the bones were also found to contain sensory neurons.

But this cannot be all, for we are able to judge the position of our
limbs even when the muscles are completely relaxed and a limb is moved
by another person. It is further a fact that a weight and the distance
through which it is moved can be estimated with fair accuracy, whether
the arm is sharply bent or straightened out, although the contraction
and tension of the muscles is very different in these two cases. It is
now known with some certainty how these estimations are made possible.
The surfaces of the joints are furnished with nerves. Make a slow
movement of the hand or a finger and attend to the sensation resulting
from it. There is little doubt that the sensation is localized in the
joint. This view is supported by the fact that electrical stimulation of
a joint considerably decreases the accuracy of the estimation of weight
and movement.

The three classes of sensations--muscular, tendinous, and articular--are
customarily grouped together under one heading as _kinesthetic_
sensations, meaning literally sensations of movement. But, as we have
noted, these sensations occur as the result not only of movements of our
limbs, but also of pressure or pull when the limb is at rest. They
always occur together with tactual sensations, but must nevertheless be
strictly distinguished from them.

Soon after this distinction had been recognized, the tactual, or rather
cutaneous, sense was found to consist of several senses. The impressions
of touch, that is, of pressure on the skin, of temperature, and of pain
had always been distinguished; but it had not been known that the areas
of greatest sensitivity for touch are not identical with those for
temperature, and that the sensitivity for pain may be greatly diminished
without a corresponding change in the sensitivity for touch. It was only
about 1880 that these observations were explained, when an anatomical
separation of the neurons serving these different sensations was
demonstrated. If we test the sensitivity of the skin by carefully
stimulating single points, it is found that not every point of the skin
is sensitive, but that the sensitive points are isolated by larger or
smaller insensitive areas. It is further found that the points sensitive
to warmth are different from those sensitive to cold or to pressure or
to pain. This can easily be demonstrated for the cold points by touching
the skin in a number of successive points with a steel pen or a lead
pencil. Generally only the touch is perceived, but now and then an
intense sensation of cold is felt on definite points, always recurring
when these points are touched. It is somewhat more difficult to
demonstrate the points sensitive to warmth. The sensation is in this
case much less noticeable. The points sensitive to touch are on hairy
parts of the skin always close to a hair; on other parts, for instance
the palm of the hand and particularly the finger tips, they are located
so close together that their separateness can be proved only by the use
of very delicate instruments. The same is to be said of the pain points
of the skin. We cannot, therefore, regard the skin as one organ of
sense, but must regard it as containing four classes of organs serving
the senses of warmth, cold, pressure, and pain.

We must be sure, of course, to distinguish between pain, as a sensation,
and the feeling of unpleasantness which almost without exception
accompanies pain. We must further distinguish the sensation of pain from
intense cold, intense heat, strong pressure, dazzling light, all of
which may produce pain as a secondary effect. But the sensation of pain
is quite dissimilar from the sensations of cold, heat, pressure, and
light, to which it is added in consequence of physiological conditions.
The independence of the sensation of pain can easily be demonstrated by
touching the cornea of the eye with a hair. Pain is then perceived
without any touch or temperature sensation. The pricking sensation in
our nose resulting from the breathing of chlorine or ammonia may also be
mentioned as an illustration of the same point. Let us further
understand that pain is not only a cutaneous sensation, but also a
sensation localized in internal organs; for instance, headache,
toothache, colic.

The most interesting discovery of a new sense organ concerns the
labyrinth of the ear. It was made quite unexpectedly. The labyrinth
consists of the inner ear proper, or the cochlea, the system of three
semicircular canals, and between these two organs a pair of small sacs,
each containing a little stone or otolith, built of microscopic lime
crystals. All these organs, being all of the nature of cavities filled
with fluid and communicating, were originally regarded as serving the
sense of hearing, although no one was able to say how. It was observed,
however, that stimulation or lesion of the semicircular canals and of
the sacs did not affect hearing, but resulted in disturbances of the
coördination of the muscular activities in locomotion and normal
position. For more than fifty years these observations remained
unexplained; and even then their explanation was but slowly accepted.

It is now recognized that the semicircular canals and the sacs are not
organs of hearing, but organs informing the organism about the movements
or position of the head, and indirectly of the body as a whole. The
sensations coming from these organs are usually so closely bound up with
kinesthetic and tactual sensations that we have not learned to become
conscious of them as a separate kind. Nevertheless we may perceive them
separately under favorable circumstances. If we close our eyes, turn
quickly a few times on our heel, and suddenly stop, we are vividly
conscious of being turned in the opposite direction. This is a
perception mediated by the semicircular canals. The fluid ring in the
horizontal canal gradually assumes the motion of the body, in
consequence of its friction against the walls; and when the body
suddenly stops moving, the fluid ring continues to move and to stimulate
the sensory neurons for some time. If the body moves in a larger circle,
for example on a merry-go-round or on a street car passing around a
curve, the mind perceives an inclination of the body towards the convex
side of the curve. If we go up in an elevator, we have the impression,
just after the elevator has stopped, of moving a short distance down.
These are sensations of the otolith organs.

The otoliths are slightly movable, one in the horizontal, the other in
the vertical direction. If the body moves through a curve, the otolith
which by centrifugal force is driven outwards stimulates the sensory
neurons in the same manner in which it stimulates them when the body is
inclined. The perception of the body’s position is therefore the same.
If the body is quickly moved up or down, the vertical otolith at first
lags behind, and at the stop, through its inertia, continues to move a
little in the same direction. The result is a brief perception of the
body moving in the opposite direction.

Artificial stimulation or lesion of the semicircular canals or otolith
organs in animals tends to produce certain unexpected reflex movements
of the body which the animal tries to counteract voluntarily, so that
all kinds of unusual movements are observed. If these organs are
destroyed, one source of information about the position and the
movements of the body is lost. This loss is not very serious in man, in
whom it occurs as a result of diseases of the ear; man can obtain his
orientation from visual, kinesthetic, and pressure sensations in spite
of this loss. It is far more serious in aquatic and flying animals.
Pressure differences are of no account when the body has nothing but
water or air on all sides. In a greater depth of water vision is
practically impossible. Under these circumstances the semicircular
canals and the otolith organs are highly important for an animal’s life.
Unfortunately no definite names have thus far been adopted for these
senses. They are frequently called the static sense or the sense of
equilibrium. But these names are of doubtful value, since other senses
too may inform us about our equilibrium.

The enumeration of our senses is not yet completed. What is hunger? What
is thirst? What is nausea? These mental states are certainly similar, in
some respects, to tones and odors. They are sensations. There is the
difference, however, that we do not project them into external space,
but think of them as characteristics of our own body’s condition. How is
consciousness of these sensations brought about? No doubt, in a manner
similar to that of the mediation of such sensations as odors and tones:
through the stimulation of sensory neurons and the propagation of
nervous processes toward the motor points of the body. The place of
stimulation must be somewhere in our organs of nutrition, and thus these
organs must be regarded also as a kind of sense organ. That the sensory
function can be attributed to an organ in addition to another function
has been proved by the example of the skin, muscles, and joints. The
same may be said of other organs, for instance the lungs giving us the
sensation of suffocation.

We possess, therefore, a large number of organs whose primary function
is of an active kind, but which also give information as to the
condition of those active functions. The sensations resulting from them
are as independent of each other as tones are of color or taste. But
they do not permit of as many subdivisions as the sensations of the
so-called higher senses. For the emotional part of our mental life they
are of the greatest significance. Since we do not project them into the
external world, but think of them as significant of the functions of our
internal organs, they are rightly called by the common name of _organic

2. _The Other Sensations_

Besides the cutaneous sensations four classes were known to the older
psychology: sensations of color, sound, odor, and taste. The relation of
these sensations to the corresponding stimuli comprises a vast number of
problems and theories, but we shall here state merely that which is of
more general interest.

The taste--in the ordinary sense--of a substance is by no means made up
exclusively of taste sensations in the special sense of this term. It is
usually a complex of different sensations which almost invariably occur
together. Only gradually do we learn to analyze this complex into its
elements. Touch sensations of the tongue and palate often enter into the
combination, for instance in a burning or astringent taste. Sensations
of smell are of particular importance in this connection. The different
kinds of meat, of wine, of bread, and of many other foods and beverages
are distinguished almost exclusively by the smell. Aside from these
accompanying sensations, there are only four tastes proper: sweet, sour,
salt, bitter, in all their possible mixtures and relative degrees of
intensity. In a manner comparable to the distribution of cutaneous
sensations, the taste sensations have their end organs at definite
points in the papillæ of the tongue and soft palate. The so-called taste
buds contained in the walls of the papillæ seem to be sensitive
according to the principle of the division of labor, some serving
chiefly this, others chiefly that taste. It is possible that all the
taste buds of the same papilla mediate the same taste sensation, so that
each papilla might be said to be in the service of a particular taste.

The number of distinguishable odors is very large. Gaseous, fluid, and
solid substances, minerals, plants, and animals have usually their
characteristic, although often very faint, odors. As new substances are
discovered or new mixtures of substances invented, the number of odors
is increased. Unfortunately it has thus far been impossible to arrange
this multitude of odors in a system according to a simple plan. Various
groups of related odors have been formed by investigators (for example,
the odor of flowers, fruit, musk, onion, decaying matter). But it is
difficult to include all possible odors in such groups; and the relation
between these groups is still unknown. One reason for this difficulty in
understanding theoretically the sense of smell is the obvious fact that
this sense has degenerated in man. The organ of smell, a spot in the
upper part of each nasal cavity, is of small extent in man compared with
that of animals. Even more superior are the animals to man with respect
to the development of the olfactory nerve center. The degeneration is
the result of a lack of use. Man, walking upright, has but rarely an
opportunity of approaching objects with his nostrils closely enough to
be able to smell them. The animal, searching for food on the ground,
smells unceasingly.

The opposite is true for color sensations. They, too, are numerous,
perhaps a million. But it is easy to group them into a system which
permits us to understand their interrelations. The relations between the
various colors are so simple that they can be symbolically represented
by a geometrical figure, a double pyramid with a four-cornered base,
like the one in figure 14. The vertical axis represents the visual
sensations which are colorless, arrayed so that the brightest white is
at one end, the darkest black at the other, the various grays between.
The base of the pyramids, which is not perpendicular to the axis, but
slanting, represents the series of colors of

[Illustration: FIG. 14.--COLOR PYRAMID.]

the spectrum plus the non-spectral purples, between red and violet, all
arranged in an orderly manner around the axis. The nearer we approach
the axis, the less saturated, that is, the more whitish, or grayish, or
blackish are the colors represented. The most saturated colors are
therefore represented by the peripheral line of the base. The base is
slanted because the most saturated colors are not all of the same
brightness (meaning by this term exclusively lightness as opposed to
darkness). The saturated yellow is much brighter than the saturated blue
and must therefore be located here, symbolically, nearer the point of
white than of black, while blue must be located nearer the point of
black than of white. The figure shows clearly that it is impossible to
deviate from the peculiar brightness of each saturated color without
diminishing the saturation, for we cannot move up or down from any point
of the peripheral line of the base and yet remain within the double
pyramid, without approaching the axis. But if our starting point is a
color of less than the maximum of saturation, we may change the
brightness within certain limits without changing the saturation, for
we may then, to a certain extent, move up and down parallel to the axis.

Some have represented the color system by a double cone, using as common
base a circle. But a four-cornered base represents an additional fact of
experience which is lost sight of in the circular plane. The four colors
red, green, blue, and yellow possess this property: that any one of them
is entirely dissimilar in color tone to any of the other three, while
any given color other than these must resemble just two of these. No
other four or any other number of colors can be found which fulfill
exactly these conditions. In order to represent this fact symbolically,
we ought to give the colors red, green, blue, and yellow distinguished
places in the periphery of the basal plane, and this can be done most
easily by choosing as a base a four-cornered plane.

By the aid of this color system it is easy to understand an abnormality
of our color sense which occurs rather frequently, so-called color
blindness. It is found almost exclusively among men, three per cent of
them being affected, whereas it is very rare among women, although it is
inherited through woman. Instead of three dimensions, two are sufficient
for the representation of the color sensations of such individuals: a
plane which is placed through the points white, black, blue, and yellow.
The color sensations represented by those points of the pyramid which
lie outside the plane just mentioned appear to the color-blind person
yellowish if they are located on either side of the yellow triangle, so
to speak; they appear bluish if they are located on either side of the
blue triangle, and colorless if located exactly on either side of the
axis. There are, however, a large number of minor differences not
included or even expressed incorrectly in the above brief statement; the
color-blind person, for instance, is more likely to see things yellowish
than bluish. Since color-blind people may sometimes confuse such
conspicuously different colors as red and green, they are often called
red-green-blind. That they also confuse greenish blue with violet seems
less remarkable to the normal person than the former fact. In testing a
color-blind person one must not expect to find that he will confuse any
red with any green. Brightness and saturation play here very important
parts, and all kinds of individual differences have been observed.
Nevertheless color-blind people fail to distinguish red and green much
more frequently than people having a normal color sense, and should
therefore be strictly excluded from any service in which the distinction
of red and green is of importance, as in railway and marine signaling.
For the normal person red and green are the ideal colors of signals,
because yellow is not always sufficiently different from white, and a
saturated blue is too dark.

     It is interesting to observe that colors are never simple or
     complex in the sense in which a musical tone is simple and a chord
     is a multitude of tones, or lemonade is a mixture of sour and
     sweet. Any color sensation which is uniform over its area is as
     simple as any other. The colors which, in our color pyramid, are
     located between two of the four fundamental colors red, green,
     blue, and yellow are “mixtures” only in the sense that the mixed
     color _resembles_ two of those four, not that we are conscious of
     two separate sensations in one act of perception.

     Nevertheless we often have to speak of mixed colors and of
     principal colors entering into mixtures. These phrases have many
     different meanings. Most colors which we see in actual life are
     mixtures in a physical sense, mixtures of ether waves, although our
     sense organ does not inform us as to whether they are mixtures or
     homogeneous light. White or gray or purple can never be anything
     but mixtures in this physical sense. In actual life the only color
     which is often simple, homogeneous light, is dark red, for
     physical causes which do not concern us here. But this physical
     complexity is irrelevant for the psychological question as to the
     simplicity or complexity of color sensation.

     Even more confusion has been carried into the psychology of color
     by the fact that in dyeing and painting chemical substances are
     sometimes applied as they occur in nature or come from the factory,
     sometimes they are first mixed together and then applied. The
     painter cannot afford to have an infinite number of color pigments
     on the palette. He selects therefore a small number, at least
     white, red, yellow, and blue. This is for many ends sufficient, and
     he may therefore call these pigments his principal colors, and
     wonder why one should call green a “fundamental” color, since he
     can produce it by mixing blue and yellow. It is indeed no difficult
     task to find people who, like Goethe, are convinced that they are
     able to perceive in the green the yellow and the blue which the
     painter used in order to give us the impression of green.

     Still another difference occurs in the use of the terms simple and
     mixed colors in physiology, with reference to the processes going
     on in the eye and the part of the nervous system connected with the
     eye. It is plain, therefore, that whenever we speak of colors we
     must state in what sense we do this.

Auditory sensations are usually divided into two classes: tones and
noises. They do not often appear separately. A violin tone, for example,
is accompanied by some noise, and in the howling of the wind tones may
be discerned. Both may be perceived in many different intensities, and
both may be said to be low or high. Many thousands of tones may be
distinguished from the lowest to the highest audible. Within one octave,
in the middle region, more than a thousand can be distinguished. The
fact that in music we use only twelve tones within each octave arises
from special reasons: first, the difficulty of handling an instrument of
too many tones; and especially the fact that with a particular tone only
a limited number of others can be melodically or harmonically combined
with a pleasing result.

Just as the colors, so the tones are a continuum, that is, one can pass
from the lowest to the highest tones without at any moment making a
noticeable change. We refer to this continuum by the word pitch. But
tones also possess what is called quality; that is, they are either
mellow or shrill. This mellowness is to some extent dependent on the
pitch of each tone, for low tones are never very shrill and high tones
never very mellow. But to some extent a tone may be made more or less
shrill and yet retain exactly the same musical value, the same pitch.
This is brought about by the overtones, of which a larger or smaller
number is nearly always added to musical tones. Without being perceived
as separate pitches the overtones influence our consciousness of the
mellowness of a tone--the fewer overtones, the mellower; the more
overtones, the shriller the tone. Each musical instrument has its
characteristic quality of tone, and in some instruments, especially in
organ pipes, the quality is skillfully controlled by the builder, who
“voices” each pipe so that it produces the required number of overtones
of the right intensities.

It was said above that the overtones, as a rule, are not perceived as
separate pitches added to the pitch of the fundamental tone. It is not
impossible, however, to perceive them thus. Those who experience
difficulty in perceiving the overtones as separate pitches may use at
first special instruments, resonators, which are held against the ear
and greatly increase each the intensity of a special overtone. After
some practice one becomes aware of the pitch of an overtone without the
aid of a resonator.

Noises may be classified into momentary and lasting noises. Examples of
the former are a click and the report of a gun; examples of the latter,
the roaring of the sea or the hissing of a cat. Many noises, as thunder,
rattle, clatter, and the noises of frying and boiling, are mixtures of
momentary and lasting noises.

From all we have said it follows that the function of hearing is an
analyzing function, enabling the mind to separate that which has lost
its separate existence when it acts upon the tympanum. Two or three
tones sounding together are usually perceived as two or three tones. In
hearing music we can simultaneously listen to several voices. When two
people talk together we may to some extent follow them separately. This
is obviously an ability of great importance in animal life, since
different objects, characterized by different tones or noises, rarely
separate themselves spatially as the colors of different objects do, but
act upon the sense organ as a single compound.

There are, however, certain exceptions to the analyzing power of the
ear. If two tones differ but little in pitch, they are not perceived as
two, but a mean tone is heard beating as frequently in a second as the
difference of the vibration rates indicates. The ear thus creates
something new, but of course something definitely depending on the
external processes. If two tones not quite so close in pitch are
sounded, one or even several new tones are created, combination tones or
difference tones, the pitch of the new tone being determined by the
difference of the rates of vibration. These difference tones do not seem
to serve any purpose in animal life. They are merely secondary
phenomena, of little practical consequence, but of much interest to the
student of the function of the organ of hearing.

We have seen that the number of classes of sensations is fairly large;
but to state this number exactly is impossible. According as we count
the muscles, the joints, the lungs, the digestive organs as several
sense organs or as a single group, the number of classes of sensations
is larger or smaller. However, it matters little whether we count them
or not. We know that provision is made for everything needed.
Information about the most distant things is obtained through the eye;
information about the things in contact with the body or the body itself
comes through the cutaneous and organic sense organs. Most varied is the
information about things at a moderate distance, obtained through eyes,
ears, and nose combined.

Many of the higher animals surpass man in one or the other respect
through their sensory equipment. Many of the birds (for example, the
carrier pigeons) have a sharper eye; dogs and other animals, a keener
sense of smell. The sense of hearing in man seems to be equal to that of
the higher animals, and the cutaneous sense perhaps superior. In one
respect man is better equipped than his mode of living justifies, that
is, in possessing the semicircular canals and the otolith organs, for
which he has scarcely any use. In another respect he, as well as the
animals, is very poorly equipped, that is, for the direct perception of
the electromagnetic-optic phenomena of physics, only a small range of
which can be perceived as a particular kind of sensations, namely, as

3. _Temporal and Spatial Attributes_

The study of the simple in mental life, as previously mentioned, is
always a study of abstractions. The actual experience even of the
briefest moment never consists of a single sensation. And actual
sensations are always characterized by more than the properties which we
have thus far discussed. Colors always occupy space of a certain size
and shape; tones come from a certain direction; both colors and tones
are either continuous or intermittent, they are perceived simultaneously
or in succession. We naturally inquire into the laws of these spatial
and temporal relations. Unfortunately psychologists have not yet agreed
on a definite answer to the question concerning space and time. The
question is beset with difficulties, partly real, partly imaginary.

Is it possible to perceive temporal relations as sensory qualities as we
perceive colors, tones, tastes, and smells as sensory qualities? We
certainly lack a sense organ of time. But aside from this, it seems
impossible to perceive duration at its beginning, when the end is not
yet known; impossible to perceive it at the end, when its beginning no
longer exists and can only be recalled in memory. It seems equally
impossible to get direct knowledge of a spatial relation. Imagine one
particular point _a_ of the skin or the retina of the eye. If this is
stimulated, our mind receives a definite impression of touch or color,
but no indication of or reference to any other point, since no other
point is stimulated. Let the same be true for the point _b_. How, then,
if _a_ and _b_ are stimulated simultaneously, can the mind receive an
impression of distance between the two points, since there is no such
consciousness in the perception of either of them? If the mere fact of
an objective distance between the stimulated neurons were a sufficient
explanation, then tones too should be localized differently.

Those who took these objections seriously tried to think of some means
by which the objective, but not directly impressive, spatial relations
could become known to the mind. It was suggested that the almost
unceasing movements of the eyes and fingers, the chief organs of space
perception, might have significance in this connection; that perhaps the
kinesthetic sensations of eye and finger movement, being added to the
visual or tactual impressions, made up the consciousness of spatial

All attempts, however, to prove the correctness of this and similar
theories by applying them to the details of special experience, have
failed. While there is no doubt that movements of our eyes and fingers
are of great importance for the development and extension of the spatial
consciousness in the individual as well as in the race, they are not the
source from which springs the individual’s ability to perceive spatial
relationship. The fundamental part of our ability of _spatial_
perception is inborn, just as our ability to perceive light or blueness
or cold is inborn. From this inborn capacity for spatial perception the
individual’s delicate and elaborate sense of space is derived.

The most convincing proof that there is an innate capacity for spatial
perception, is the spatial consciousness of persons born blind, to whom
an operation has given eyesight. The crystalline lenses of these persons
have been as little transparent as ground glass, so that they have been
unable to recognize any outlines of things. Nevertheless, they make
spatial distinctions immediately after the operation for removal of the
lens. Of course they cannot, without further experience, tell that a
round thing is the ball with which they have been familiar through the
sense of touch, or a long and narrow thing a walking stick. But they
immediately perceive the round thing as something different from the
long and narrow thing, without any tendency to confuse them. Spatial
extent is therefore an attribute of visual and tactual sensation as
brightness or darkness is an attribute of visual sensation, and
mellowness or shrillness an attribute of tone; with this difference
only, that spatial extent is not restricted to one sense, but is common
to visual and cutaneous sensations. That this is founded on some kind of
similarity of these senses cannot be doubted. But this similarity is to
be looked for in structural peculiarities of the nerve centers, not in
accessory mental states serving as special agents of spatial

Very much the same is the case with time. Let us admit that the temporal
consciousness of our ordinary life is largely mediated by accessory
sensations and images. Minutes, hours, days, weeks, are not experienced
directly as properties of sense perception, but are extensions of
simpler experiences. But such extensions would be impossible if duration
and succession were not, somewhere in our mental life, direct
experiences. They are direct experiences in some very brief temporal
perceptions occupying, say, only a fraction of a second. The flash of a
lighthouse signal, the quick succession of sounds when a person knocks
at a door, are perceived as having temporal attributes without any
mediation by conscious states acting as agents. The _temporal_
attributes are elements of perception no less direct than the intensity
of the light or of the sound. The same holds for all other sensations.
Time is an attribute common to all. But here, as in space, we cannot
tell exactly in what respect all senses are similar so far as the
nervous processes are concerned. It seems that these processes or their
after effects continue a certain time after the stimulation has ceased.

Another attribute common to all sense impressions is the
belonging-together of sensations, the _unity in variety_, so to speak.
The most striking example is the relationship of tones in harmony and
melody. Tones of certain comparatively simple ratios of vibration belong
together in a higher degree than others. We cannot explain this by
reference to conscious agents mediating the effect. It is a fundamental
attribute of each tonal combination, the conscious effect of our
inherited nature. It is a property of sense, not of thought.

In other cases our consciousness of relationship is indirect, mediated
by other conscious agents; for instance, when I group together
voluntarily four or five adjoining holes of a sieve and perceive them as
a unit. This grouping together would be impossible if the mind did not
possess the native ability to perceive a number of sensational elements
as a unit without altogether losing the consciousness of variety. It is
a mere consequence of our inborn nature when we perceive as such units,
for example, an animal romping among unchanging surroundings, a picket
fence divided into groups by the fence posts, a familiar compound
perfume, a dish made up of several familiar food substances. The same
holds for successive elements. We could never perceive tones or noises
in various rhythm forms if our mind did not possess the native ability
to perceive a number of successive elements of sensation under certain
conditions as a sensory unit.

Our numerical concepts are obviously only abstract symbols for units
containing each a certain variety of elements.

4. _Sensation and Stimulus_

It is most interesting to observe the astonishing _absolute
sensitiveness_ of some of our senses, that is, their ability to respond
to exceedingly small stimuli. It has been a difficult task to design
physical instruments as sensitive to sound as the ear. It has not been
possible, thus far, to surpass the ear. The sensitiveness of the eye to
the faintest light is estimated to be a hundred times that of the most
sensitive photographic plates. Remember what a long exposure is
necessary to photograph things in a rather dark room; but the eye takes
a snap shot, so to speak, of a star of the fifth magnitude, or of a
landscape in diffused moonlight. Man’s organ of smell is far inferior to
that of many animals. Nevertheless a trace of tobacco smoke or musk in
the air whose presence no chemist could detect is easily perceived
through the nose. A gram is about one twenty-eighth of an ounce; a
milligram is one thousandth of a gram. One millionth of a milligram of
an odorous substance is sufficient to affect the organ of smell. Taste
also is sensitive, particularly when supported, as in tasting wine or
tea, by smell. The cutaneous and kinesthetic senses, on the other hand,
are not very sensitive. A weak pressure, a small weight, a slight tremor
of our limbs, a spatial extent, can be detected much more readily by
delicate instruments than by our fingers or our kinesthetic organs.

Very important is the range of perceptibility. Our measuring laboratory
instruments are, as a rule, adapted only to a small range. To weigh a
heavy thing, like a stack of hay, we have to use a balance differing
from that used by the prescription druggist. The watchmaker’s tools are
much like those of the machinist, but neither could use the other’s
tools. Nature cannot well provide separate sets of tools for delicate
and gross work. With our hand we estimate the weight of ounces, pounds,
and hundredweights. The same ear which perceives a falling leaf can be
exposed to the thunder of cannon without ceasing to respond in its
normal way. The eye which perceives a small fraction of the light of a
firefly, can look at the sun somewhat covered by mist, radiating light
many million times as intense. No laboratory instrument has an equal
range of applicability.

This wide range of usefulness is made possible partly by purely
mechanical provisions, partly by a special law of nervous activity
usually called Weber’s law. The iris of the eye with pupil in the center
is a readily changeable diaphragm. The stronger the external light, the
smaller the pupil, and the reverse; so that the eye is capable of
functioning at a stronger and also at a fainter illumination than it
could function if the width of the pupil were of a medium, unchangeable
diameter. The nose can smell faint odors better if larger quantities of
the odorous substances are by sniffing brought into contact with the
organ. Too strong odors are kept away by blowing out the air.

More important, however, than such mechanical devices is the effect of
Weber’s law. If a stimulus is increased, the nervous excitation is also
increased,--not absolutely, but only relatively to the stimulus before
the increase. Suppose an oil lamp of ten candle power needs an addition
of a two candle power light to make me observe that the illumination has
changed. Nevertheless I shall not be able to observe a change of
illumination if to an incandescent gas light of sixty candles two
candles are added. The addition must be in proportion to the stimulus.
Since sixty is six times ten and twelve is six times two, twelve candles
must be added to make me observe the difference in illumination. To an
arc light of two thousand candles four hundred have to be added to
obtain the same result. If a postal clerk is able to recognize that a
letter which he weighs on his hand and which is one twentieth heavier
than an ounce, requires more than the one postage stamp attached to it,
he will probably be found capable of observing in the same manner that
a package of newspapers prepaid for one pound does not have the correct
number of stamps if it is actually one twentieth heavier than a pound.

Another way of speaking of the law is this: If we imagine a definite
stimulus successively increased by such amounts that the change of the
sensation is each time just as noticeable as it was the last time, the
added amounts of the stimulus are a _geometrical progression_. Let us
express the fact that the change of the sensation can always be noticed
_with the same ease_, by saying that the additions to the sensation are
an arithmetical progression. We can then state Weber’s law in these
simple words: If the sensation is to increase in arithmetical
progression, the stimulus must increase in geometrical progression. This
statement is mathematically identical with the most widely adopted
statement of the law, namely, that _the sensation is proportional to the
logarithm of the stimulus_.

The practical result of the law in our mental life is this: The mind is
informed of a further increase in the intensity of the stimulus (however
great this intensity may have become before this last increase) without
having to respond to the absolute intensity of the stimulus with a
correspondingly enormous activity of the animal organism. Thus the mind
is enabled, figuratively speaking, to weigh a stack of hay or a
druggist’s herb on the same balance, to apply the same tool to a watch
or to a railroad locomotive, or at least to perform its work with a much
smaller number of tools than would otherwise be required. In the eye,
for instance, we have, as we see below, only two different kinds of
receiving instruments for faint and for strong light.

     It must be mentioned, however, that Weber’s law does not hold good
     over an unlimited range of intensities of stimulation. If the sun
     were twice as bright, it would not appear brighter to the eye. For
     such extreme intensities the law is no longer valid. Neither is it
     valid for exceedingly low intensities; it makes no difference to
     the eye whether the wall of a dark room is illuminated from a
     distance of three or four yards by the glow of one cigarette or a
     dozen. The logarithmic equation applies only to a certain--quite
     large--range of medium intensities. For this range our
     sensitiveness to change is not only constant, but also greatest.
     Changes in illumination within this range can be perceived as soon
     as the stimulus increases or decreases by about one hundred and

     Weber’s law has still another practical significance. A thing which
     we recognize by the aid of the differences in illumination of its
     parts (as, for example, a stone relief) or by its differences in
     loudness (as a rhythm beaten on a drum) always retains, not the
     same absolute differences, but the same quotients or proportions of
     the different light or tone values, however our distance from the
     thing varies. Weber’s law, then, enables us to perceive the
     identity of the thing although the absolute light or tone values
     have undergone change. If our nervous activities were not regulated
     in accordance with Weber’s law, the relief and the rhythm might
     become unrecognizable at a greater distance, and the relief also at

A further important relation between our mental life and the external
world consists in our much greater sensitiveness to the moving and
changing than to the stable and permanent. A pencil point moved over the
skin under slight pressure gives us a perception of the length and
direction of the line traversed more accurate than the impression
received from the edge of a screwdriver pressed on the skin. On the
peripheral parts of the retina the sizes and distances of things are not
easily perceived; but no difficulty is experienced in noticing a waving
handkerchief or a starting animal. Only the small central part of the
retina is adapted to the perception of the motionless.

The same statement holds for qualitative changes. The eye is not only
more sensitive to that which qualitatively changes than to that which
remains unchanged; it even loses its ability to perceive things if for
a considerable time no qualitative changes occur. We have seen that our
eye can take snap shots under conditions which would make this
impossible for the photographic camera. But for time exposures, like
those used in photographing faint stars, continued for hours, our eye is
not suited. The eye, in such a case, would soon cease to distinguish
anything. The eye completely fixed upon one set of objects soon sees
their lighter parts darker, their darker parts lighter, their colored
parts less colored--more grayish--that is, it sees everything gray on
gray. This is technically called adaptation of the eye. Moving the eye
suddenly, we become aware of this adaptation in peculiar after-images.

Similar adaptations occur in other sense organs. Constant pressure on
the skin, unchanging temperature of not extreme degree, permanent odors,
cease to be perceived. But what is new, what differs from the condition
which was in existence just before, is perceived at once; and because of
the sense organ’s adaptation for something else, as a rule it is seen
with particular intensity. This is obviously the most favorable
equipment for a struggle for life. Nothing is more dangerous in battle
than surprise.

Our present knowledge of the mechanical, chemical, and physiological
laws governing the peculiar dependence of the different kinds of
sensations on special properties of the sense organs--that which is
customarily called a theory of vision, a theory of audition, and so on,
is rather unsatisfactory. Some thirty years ago much seemed to be
perfectly explained which has since become mysterious again. This much
has been learned, that the laws in question are far more complex than
they were believed to be.

Only one statement about eyesight can here be made without fear of
contradiction, that is, that the eye is a double instrument, one part of
the organ serving in daylight, the other at dusk and in twilight. But
this explains only a part of the total function of the eye. The retina
of the eye consists of a great number of elements called rods and cones,
forming a kind of mosaic. Twilight vision is served by the rods, which
contain a sensitive substance called the visual purple. Most of the rods
are in the peripheral parts of the retina, becoming less numerous toward
the center. In the central area there are no rods at all. The only
service of the rods is the mediation of a weak bluish-white sensation of
various intensities, as in a moonlit landscape. Ordinary day vision is
served by the cones, which are the only elements present in the center
and become rare towards the periphery. All the variety of our color
perception depends on the cones. In very faint illumination the colors
of things cannot be perceived, although the things may still be
distinguished from other objects. The rods alone are functioning then;
the cones have “struck work.” Neither can the shape of things be
perceived in dim light with normal definiteness, because the area of
most distinct vision, the central area, contains only cones; reading,
for instance, is impossible at twilight. The astronomer, in order to
observe a very faint star, must intentionally look at a point beside the
star, because of the lack of rods in the central area.

While the human eye normally possesses both rods and cones, certain
species of animals have only one or the other kind of visual elements.
Chickens and snakes possess only cones. This is the reason why chickens
go to roost so promptly when the sun sets. Night animals, on the other
hand, have mostly rods and few cones. This explains why bats come out
only after sunset. In very rare cases human beings seem to possess only
the rods, in cases of total color-blindness. The whole world appears
colorless to them, only in shades of gray. They dislike greatly to be in
brilliantly lighted places. They lack the keenness of normal eyesight
because of the deficient function of the central area of the retina,
which is normally best equipped.

A mechanical theory of hearing was worked out by Helmholtz nearly fifty
years ago. This theory was at first generally accepted, but has in
recent years lost much of its plausibility. The inner ear is a tube
coiled up in the shape of a snailshell in order to find a better place
in the lower part of the skull. Its coiling, of course, has little if
any mechanical significance. The tube is divided into two parallel tubes
by a kind of ribbon, the organ of Corti, containing the endings of the
auditory neurons and also a comparatively tough membrane. Helmholtz made
the hypothesis that the cross fibers of this membrane were under
constant tension like the strings of a piano. The comparison with a
piano was also suggested by the fact that the membrane in question
tapers like the sounding board of a grand piano. As the piano resounds
any tone or vowel, so this system of strings would resound any complex
sound; that is, each of the tones contained in the complex would be
responded to by those fibers whose tension, length, and weight determine
a corresponding frequency of vibration. The analyzing power of the ear
is well explained by this hypothesis, but there are considerable
difficulties left. For instance, the fibers of the membrane, even the
longest, are rather short for the low tones to which they are assumed to
be tuned. And for the assumption of a constant tension of these fibers
there is no analogon in the whole realm of biology, since living
tissues always, sooner or later, adapt themselves and thus lose their

Another theory avoids these difficulties by merely assuming that the
ribbon-like partition of the tube, when pushed by the fluid, moves out
of its normal position only to a slight extent and then resists, and
that therefore the displacement of the partition must proceed along the
tube. If successive waves of greater and lesser amplitude, as we find
them in every compound sound, act upon the tympanum and indirectly upon
the fluid in the tube, the displacement of the partition must proceed
along the tube now farther, now less far, now again to another distance,
and so on. Accordingly, one section of the partition is displaced more
frequently, another section less frequently, others with still different
frequencies in the same unit of time. This theory then makes the
hypothesis that the frequency with which each section of the partition
is jerked back and forth determines the pitch of a tone heard, and
explains thus the analyzing power of the ear. What is chiefly needed in
order to decide in favor of either of these or any other theory is a
large increase in our knowledge through anatomical, physiological, and
psychological investigation.


     46. What are the newly discovered kinds of sensations?

     47. How were they discovered?

     48. What are the cutaneous senses?

     49. What is the objection to speaking of the cutaneous sense as

     50. What is pain?

     51. Of what importance are the labyrinth senses (other than
     hearing) to man and various animals?

     52. What is meant by organic sensations?

     53. What are the four tastes?

     54. How does the sense of smell in man compare with that of

     55. Why is the color pyramid superior to the color cone?

     56. What are the chief symptoms of defective color vision?

     57. What is not meant, and what is meant, by color mixtures?

     58. Why does music use only twelve tones?

     59. What is meant by the qualities of the tones of various

     60. Are there any limits to the analyzing power of the ear?

     61. What is the exact number of classes of sensations?

     62. How does the sensory equipment of man compare with that of the

     63. What do we learn from experiments on blind-born persons who
     have been operated on?

     64. In what experiences is time an attribute of sense perception?

     65. Is tone relationship a property of sense or of thought?

     66. Can you illustrate the absolute sensitivity of our sense

     67. How does the range of applicability of our sense organs compare
     with that of tools and instruments?

     68. Can you illustrate Weber’s law?

     69. What are the practical advantages obtained through Weber’s law?

     70. Illustrate sensitiveness to change and movement.

     71. How is the chief difference in the behavior of chickens and
     bats to be explained?


Mind is influenced not only by that which is present, but also by the
past and--one may say--the future, and by that which exists at another
place. Consciousness of this kind is called imagery. I imagine a lion
and recognize that he looks different from a horse. I recall the room in
a hotel where I have recently spent a night and see that it differs from
my study.

Imagery does not differ in content from percepts. There are as many
kinds of images as there are sensations, and their attributes are the
same. Imagination differs from perception only through its independence
of external conditions in the formation of new combinations out of the
sensory elements which have previously been experienced. Although the
kinds of content of imagery do not differ from those of perception,
imagery differs from perception, as a rule, in such a characteristic
manner that in ordinary life we are not likely to mistake an image for a
percept or a percept for an image. The imagined sun lacks brilliancy.
Its imagined heat does not burn. A glowing match, perceived, surpasses
those images. Only in childhood, in dreams, and in particular
individuals (artists, for example), and under particular circumstances
(like the imaginative supplementing of that of which only parts have
stimulated the sense organ) can imagery come near being compared and
confused with percepts. Generally the difference in _vividness_ remains
great. A second difference is the lack of _details_ of images. As a rule
only a few parts of a rich complex of sensations reappear when an image
takes the place of the original percept. And the selection of these
details is usually most grotesque. A third characteristic of images is
their _instability_, fleetingness. Compared with the persistence of a
percept, an image can scarcely be said to have any definite make-up
since its composition changes from moment to moment. Images come and go
in spite of our desire to keep them. They change like kaleidoscopic

All this has its disadvantages; but also its great advantages. Being at
once pictures and mere abbreviations or symbols of things, images aid
effectively in our handling of things. If they were exactly like
percepts, they would deceive us, as hallucinations do. Their very lack
of details and their fleetingness enable our mind to grasp a greater
multitude of things, to adjust itself more quickly and more
comprehensively to its surroundings.

Independence of external causes and frequent recurrence from internal
causes give to our imagery the character of a permanent possession of
the mind. Not every part of this imagery is actually made use of, since
these parts are too numerous, but every part is always available for
use. This leads to the question as to the nature of the images while
mind is not conscious of them, particularly the nature of their nervous
correlate. Ever since the discovery of ganglion cells and nerve fibers
the naïve conception has readily offered itself that every idea has its
residence in a little group of cells, the idea of a dog in one, the idea
of a tree in another, and so on. Some have calculated the number of
cortical cells which would be necessary in order to provide a sufficient
number of residences for all the ideas acquired by a human being during
a long life. They have found that the cortical cells are numerous

But the matter is not quite so simple. Our ideas, being made up of many
mental elements, overlap. If the idea of a dog has its residence here,
the idea of a lion its residence there, where, then, do we find the idea
of a carnivore, the idea of another kind of dog, the ideas of the
individual dogs known by me, the ideas of other carnivora, the idea of a
mammal, of a vertebrate, of an animal in general? These ideas are
interwoven in such manifold ways that it is difficult to assume that
each should have its separate residence in the brain. It is still more
difficult to apply this theory to the idea of barking, which can be
imitated by man, being natural to a dog; or to the idea of white, which
belongs to some dogs, but also to the clouds, the snow, the lily.

There are also anatomical difficulties. I look first at a dog, then at
a goat. The elements of the retina which are stimulated are largely the
same in both cases. This makes it difficult to understand why the
nervous processes in the former case should all concentrate in one point
of the cortex and in the latter case in an entirely different point. Or
I hear the word _boxwood_ and later the word _woodbox_. The anatomical
difficulty is the same.

The nervous correlates of ideas are obviously much more complicated than
the theory of location in cell groups assumes. There can be no doubt
that the nervous correlate of an idea, even of an elementary image, is a
process going on in a large number of connecting neurons in the higher
nerve centers, often widely distributed, like the meshes of a net. The
individual neurons in question do not belong exclusively to this one
idea, but, entering into numerous other combinations with other neurons,
belong to numerous ideas. The nervous correlate of a latent idea, which
is not conscious but ready to enter consciousness at any time, is not a
material substance stored away somewhere, but a disposition on the part
of neurons which have previously functioned together, to function again
in the same order and connection.


     72. In what respects do images not differ from percepts?

     73. In what three respects are images as a rule distinguishable
     from percepts?

     74. What are the advantages of the characteristics of images?

     75. What is the nervous correlate of imagery?

     76. What is the nervous correlate of a latent idea?


Sensations and their images are closely related mental states. They are
of the same kind. As a third class of elementary mental states the
feelings of pleasantness and unpleasantness are customarily added. But
it would probably be more correct to say that these feelings are mental
states of an altogether different kind, in comparison with which the
distinction between sensations and images disappears. Pleasantness and
unpleasantness never occur apart from sensation or imagery, whereas the
latter states of consciousness may be free from any pleasantness or
unpleasantness. The pleasantness which I experience is always the
pleasantness of something--of the taste of a peach, or of my good
health, or of a message received. However, we must not conceive this
dependence of pleasantness and unpleasantness as similar to the
dependence of color or pitch or spatial extent or duration on the thing
to which these belong as its qualities. Color, pitch, and these other
qualities are essentially determined by objective conditions, the
physical properties of the thing in question. But pleasantness or
unpleasantness is only to a slight extent, if at all, determined by
objective conditions. Honey tastes very much the same whenever we eat
it. A tune sounds very much the same whenever we hear it. But these
sensory experiences are, in consequence of subjective conditions, now
highly pleasant, now almost indifferent, now decidedly unpleasant.

The same colors and straight lines may be combined into a beautiful
design or into an ugly one, the same descriptions of scenery and events
into an attractive or a tedious book. A feeling which is already in
existence may prevent the growth of an opposite feeling. On a rainy day
we are likely to feel as if everything in the world were gray; on a
sunny spring day as if everything were rosy. The grief-stricken or
desperate person experiences a given situation with other feelings than
the person full of joy or hope. A particularly strong factor in our
life of feeling is the frequency of recurrence of a situation. The most
beautiful music suffers from being played at every concert and on every
street, the most delicious dish from being put on the table every day.
On the other hand, a bitter medicine gradually loses its unpleasantness,
an unpleasant situation becomes indifferent to a person whose profession
compels him to face it frequently. As the unchanging is at a
disadvantage in our life of perception, so is the recurrent in our life
of feeling.

The subjective factor which determines what feelings accompany our
perceptions may be defined as the relation of the situation perceived to
the weal and woe of the organism. Pleasantness indicates that the
impressions made upon the organism are adapted to the needs or
capacities of the organism or at least to that part of the organism
which is directly affected; unpleasantness indicates that the
impressions are ill adapted or harmful. Exceptions to this rule may be
explained through the great complexity of the situations by which the
organism is often confronted, and through the complications resulting
from the fact that the organism must adjust its activity not only to the
present but also to the future, and not only in harmony with the present
but also with past experience. Feeling is a reliable symptom and witness
only for the present and local utility or inadequacy of the relation
between the organism and the world. It is not a prophet of the future.
Disease may result from eating sweets, whereas medicine is often bitter.

The addition of feeling to our perceptions and images, because of the
peculiarities just mentioned, brings about great complications in the
make-up of our mental states and increases enormously the task of
classifying and comprehending our states of consciousness. The feelings
accompanying images are originally the same as those which accompanied
the perceptions in question. The memory image of the pain of flogging is
unpleasant because the original pain was unpleasant. But the manifold
connections of the images often result in unexpected feelings. The
memory of an unpleasant experience may become a source of pleasure
through the additional thought that the experience was the result of
some folly of which one is no longer capable. The feeling accompanying a
perception can change in a similar manner. A saturated green, as the
color of a pasture or of an ornament, is pleasant; as the color of a
girl’s cheek it would be highly unpleasant.

Not only are perceptions and images themselves sources of pleasantness
and unpleasantness, but also their relations, spatial, temporal, and
conceptual. The pleasure which we derive from looking at a picture or a
landscape illustrates the dependence on spatial relations. The pleasure
of a symphony or dramatic performance depends largely on temporal
relations. Jokes and puzzles please us chiefly because of their
conceptual, logical relations. It is plain, then, that every complex of
sensations, supplemented by a large number of images, must become a
stage, so to speak, on which countless scores of feelings play their
parts. In so far as their perceptual and ideational bases may be kept
apart, we may count as many of these feelings as we distinguish percepts
or ideas. In so far as all these feelings are either pleasantness or
unpleasantness, we may speak of the feelings as being only two in
number. This may explain to us why such mental states as love, pride,
sentimentality, the joy of the audience in a theater, the interest of
the reader of a biography, appear at once simple enough, unitary
enough, and yet inexhaustibly replete with contents and difficult of
comprehension. This also explains the opposite views of so many writers,
of whom some assert that the number of feelings is infinitely large,
others that there are only two, pleasantness and unpleasantness, which
may accompany an infinite number of sensation complexes. The difference
between these writers is much less than appears from their words.


     77. How are pleasantness and unpleasantness related to sensational
     states of consciousness?

     78. How are pleasantness and unpleasantness related to objective

     79. How does the repetition of an experience influence its
     pleasantness or unpleasantness?

     80. What is the general subjective condition of pleasantness and

     81. Is feeling a prophet of the future?

     82. What difficulties does the existence of feeling cause the

     83. Are there more than two feelings?


Willing is usually mentioned as being a distinct class of mental states.
However, willing is not a special class in the sense in which
perceptions, images, and feelings are called classes. To understand
willing, let us consider certain typical actions of an infant which are
based on inborn nervous connections. What do we mean by the feeding
instinct? We mean unpleasant sensations of hunger and thirst followed by
various movements of arms and legs, of crying, of sucking, until the
unpleasantness of the situation ceases. The movements themselves are
nothing mental. But while they are occurring they become known as
kinesthetic sensations, partly also as visual or auditory sensations.
Two classes of sensations may therefore be distinguished in any
instinctive activity: those which correspond to the sensory phase of the
reflexes in question, and those which result from the reflex movements.
After frequent occurrence of these reflex movements, images of various
parts of the whole satisfying process remain, and these, or some of
them, become conscious even before any of the movements occur. For
example, as soon as hunger is experienced the infant has also an image
of the bottle, of the mother bringing it, of his own movements of
grasping, sucking, and so on. The instinctive act has then been replaced
by an act of will. _Willing, therefore, may be defined as instinct which
foresees its end._

No new kind of mental state can be discovered in willing. There is
nothing but sensations, feelings of pleasantness-unpleasantness, and
images. If we give to such a combination of these three kinds of mental
states the name of willing, we justify this new name by the fact that
such combinations are the most original, the earliest conscious states
which have occurred in our mental life. The first consciousness
accompanies instinctive activity, and immediately a simple form of
willing is made possible. From the genetic point of view, that is, if we
are interested in the growth of our consciousness, willing is the most
elementary form of consciousness. Perceptions, images, and feelings did
not exist separately for some months or years to become afterwards
united into willing. Willing was there when consciousness first awoke.
On the other hand, if we are interested in describing the make-up of our
present mental life,--that is, from the point of view of the
psychologist searching for concepts of mental states,--sensations,
images, and feelings are the most elementary forms of consciousness.

There is no will in the sense of a simple faculty, always remaining
identical with itself, merely changing its direction and now applying
itself to this thing, now to that thing. Will is an abstract word,
referring to that which is common to all states of willing; but, like
all abstractions, it does not possess any real existence apart from the
realities from which it has been abstracted, that is, from the
particular cases of willing occurring in each person’s life. Of course,
there is no objection to using the abstract word _will_ without
explaining each time that it is an abstraction. We need not hesitate to
refer to typical differences between the cases of willing most
frequently observed in one person and those observed in another by
saying that one has a strong will, the other a weak, a vacillating will.


     84. How may willing be defined?

     85. Is willing an elementary kind of consciousness?

     86. Why is it wrong to answer the preceding question simply by yes
     or no?

     87. What is the will?



A ship, under the influence of several forces--the screw, the wind, the
current--follows all of them simultaneously, and the place which it
reaches after a certain time is the same as that which it would have
reached if these forces had acted, each for the same length of time, but
one after the other. External things, whenever they are under the
influence of several forces, are governed by the law of the resultant.
The mind’s mode of response is entirely different. When there are many
things to see, as a crowd of actors on the stage, many things to hear,
as a chorus and orchestra, and in addition some whispered words of our
neighbor, the result is by no means the same as if all these impressions
acted upon our mind successively. If time enough is given, our mind will
successively respond to each of these impressions of sight and hearing.
But if the response must occur quickly and be done with, it is
restricted to a part of the impressions made by the external objects. A
few of these impressions, specially favored by circumstances, affect our
consciousness at the expense of the others. The latter are not entirely
lost for our mind; but they fail to call forth separate responses, they
fuse into a mere background upon which the favored impressions make
their appearance. They are often spoken of as the fringe of the clearly
conscious mental states.

One might call this selective effect the narrowness or focalness of
consciousness; in ordinary life it is called attention. We say that
attention is given to certain contents, and that the others are not
attended to, that they are under the influence of inattention. There is
no similar phenomenon in the whole inorganic world. In our mental life
nothing is more ordinary. I look up and notice many things. But many
more are projected upon my retina without succeeding in becoming
noticed. When reading a book I cannot accomplish everything that I wish
I could. Giving attention to the meaning, I fail to become conscious of
the beauty of style. Looking for typographical errors, I fail to
understand the logical connection of the sentences. For each purpose a
new reading is necessary. Mental work requires the exclusion of piano
music and crying babies. Thinking is not so easy while we are performing
a gymnastic feat or walking at a rapid gait. When we are listening to
difficult music, we shut our eyes. When a momentous question, a
dangerous task, presents itself, we are in danger of losing our head;
that is, being occupied by ideas of the magnitude of the event, we fail
to become conscious of thoughts and memories of the simplest and most
ordinary kind.

The popular view of attention is that it is an independent being,
separate from the contents of the mind. Attention stands at the helm,
and as the mind desires these or those contents, attention changes the
ship’s course. This, of course, is pure mythology. The enhancement and
impairment of impressions to which we refer in speaking of attention and
inattention are not a peculiar activity of mind; they are simply the
effects of peculiar relations existing between the impressions
themselves. A few of these relations may be briefly discussed.

Whatever situation is capable of being a source of pleasantness or
unpleasantness, is also likely to become enhanced in vividness, so that
one may say that the value of an impression for our life of feeling is
one of the factors determining attention. Any remark of a person near
by, although merely whispered and hardly perceived by others, quickly
rises to a high degree of consciousness in my mind if it concerns my
reputation. That which we have experienced frequently, no longer causes
much pleasantness or unpleasantness; and in accordance with this, it is
not likely to be attended to.

This parallelism between feeling and attention is expressed in the word
_interest_. We are interested in those things which conform to our
habits of thinking. Because of this conformity they are useful to us at
the present moment of our life, and therefore pleasant. Because of this
conformity with our habits they become vividly conscious--they are
attended to. What is unrelated to our habits of thinking is not useful
to us at the moment and is therefore indifferent; and being unrelated,
it attracts no attention. Everybody knows how readily the average member
of a political party assents to the assertions made by the party leader,
how readily the adherent of a religious faith accepts instances proving
its correctness, how he unintentionally ignores anything which he cannot
accept without opposition or discomfort.

Another factor determining attention is the relation of a new impression
to the thoughts occupying the mind at the moment when the impression was
made. That which is conscious prepares the path over which everything
related may enter. Ordinarily the ticking of a clock remains unnoticed.
But let the person think of the clock, or of time, and the next tick is
clearly perceived. In order to notice a weak tone in a complicated
chord, or a melody in polyphonic music, it is well to hear the tone or
the melody first in isolation and try to keep it in mind until the chord
or the music is played. A slight difference in the color of two leaves
remains unnoticed; but if we are thinking of a color difference just
before the leaves are shown to us, it becomes at once vivid in our
consciousness. The puzzle pictures common in certain popular magazines
would never convey the intended meaning to us, if we were not invited by
the text to think of various things which they might represent. If we
know beforehand in what order a lecturer will present his arguments to
us, we can pay attention to the lecture much more easily and understand
it better.

Attention is usually accompanied by numerous instinctive muscular
activities, which contribute toward the continuation and toward a
greater distinctness or intensity of the impression. When our visual
organs are stimulated, the head and the eyes turn so that the impression
may be received at the point of keenest vision. If the ear is
stimulated, the head turns so that both ears assume the most favorable
position with respect to the source of sound. When images occupy the
mind, the eyes are directed at an indifferent, uninteresting object, or
they are closed, the lips are pressed together, the limbs assume a
position of rest. All this tends to keep away avoidable stimulation of
the sense organs of the body. These instinctive movements are, of
course, perceived as kinesthetic sensations, as varied forms of strain,
of activity. Thus they give rise to the erroneous view that attention is
a peculiar activity of the mind’s own content. This view is most
emphatically expressed in the phrase “voluntary attention.” It often
happens that we become conscious of the muscular adaptation
characteristic of attention before the mental state to which attention
is given has appeared. For example, we see lightning and at once imagine
the thunder and the muscular adaptions of the ear and other parts of the
body which generally occur when it thunders. Or we hear our teacher’s
voice telling us that he will give an explanation, and we imagine the
strain, the activity of our muscles, which begins as soon as he starts
giving the explanation. This foreseeing of our activities we have above
called willing. _The foreseeing of our attention is the will to give
attention, is voluntary attention._

It is a peculiar fact that vividness of a certain thought or even a
class of thoughts is never much prolonged. Other impressions or ideas
take the place of those which are now focal. Under the most favorable
conditions, the same ideas reappear again and again. This limited
duration of attention is most conspicuous in children and is one of the
greatest obstacles which the teacher has to overcome. Repeated orders to
be attentive are of small value. They tend to call up a general notion
of the matter which is being taught, and thus make it easier for the
ideas presented by the teacher to enter consciousness. But the effect is
not lasting because the very thought of being attentive cannot itself
have a long duration. It is therefore preferable to take into account
the nature of attending, and in accordance with it, to provide a certain
change in the ideas presented--to present the matter in an interesting


     88. What essential difference between mental function and
     mechanical function is referred to by the word _attention_?

     89. Can you illustrate the chief facts of attention and

     90. Can you illustrate the parallelism between the laws of feeling
     and of attention?

     91. How is attention mentally prepared for?

     92. How is attention assisted by special muscular activity?

     93. What causes the illusion that attention is a voluntary activity
     of the mind upon its contents?

     94. What practical problems are connected with the law of the
     duration of attention?


While attention means limitation, memory means expansion. From the
enormous number of impressions calling simultaneously for response, the
mind selects a small group of those related to its present needs. But
the mind may go beyond the limits of that which is presented and
respond to impressions of a former time. We then speak of memory. When I
hear the first verse of a poem which I have previously heard or read
more than once, I continue to hear, in imagination, the following verses
although the reader has stopped. When I see a black cloud drawing over
the sky and the trees bowing under the pressure of the wind, I know that
a thunderstorm is approaching. When I smell carbolic acid or iodoform, I
look for a person wearing a bandage. In every case the mind tends toward
expansion beyond the limits of the data presented at the moment. The
mind thus restores the connections in which the accidentally isolated
object of present interest has been experienced with other objects in
the past.

We refer to this ability of expansion by the term _memory_, to the
actual process of expansion by _reproduction_ or _association_. The
immense importance of memory for life is easily understood. Nature
repeats itself--not without some variations of the accompanying
phenomena; but no group of phenomena, aside from such variations, fails
to recur at frequent intervals. In reproducing what previously existed
under similar conditions, our mind possesses, as a rule, a real
knowledge of what now exists but happens to remain hidden, and of what
is about to occur. Thus our mind adapts itself to those parts of the
world which are for spatial or temporal reasons beyond the reach of our
sense organs.

A special case of reproduction deserves to be mentioned because of its
frequency of application. Two things may possess one common part while
completely differing in other parts: for example, two words that rhyme,
or a photograph and an oil portrait, or either of these and the face of
the original. Let us call the parts of one thing _abcd_, those of
another _cdef_. It easily happens that by mediation of the common parts,
_cd_, the train of thought is carried from _ab_ to _ef_. Thus we may say
that our train of thought is determined, not only by simultaneity of
previous experience, which is often quite fortuitous, but also by
similarity, by essential connection, by relationship.

The possibilities of reproduction are, of course, very numerous in each
case of experience. At present I see before me some books of reference,
on the hill at a distance a house partly hidden by trees, and many other
things. All these have previously been in my mind, each in various
temporal or essential connections with other things. An immense number
of images might therefore be reproduced now in my mind. That as a matter
of fact I do not become conscious of all of them needs no further
explanation. It has been spoken of before when we discussed the
limitation, the focalness of consciousness, that is, attention. We have
also stated some of the rules determining the selection among these many
possibilities. Let us here state these rules more definitely.

Whatever tends to bring about strong feeling, also tends to be
reproduced. A brilliant success, but also a humiliating defeat, are not
easily forgotten. They are always lying in ambush, so to speak, ready
for the least opportunity. As in attention, so here even more, pleasant
thoughts show this tendency more strongly than unpleasant ones. What is
unpleasant is soon repressed. This is illustrated by such facts as the
healing power of time, the painting of the future in glowing colors, the
unfailing belief that advancing age has in the good old time.

A second law governing reproduction may be called the set of the mind.
When a railway train enters a large station, there are many paths over
which it might pass; but its actual path depends on the position which
was given to the switches immediately before the train’s arrival. In a
similar manner the path taken by the mind depends on the set established
just a few seconds or minutes before by the contents of the mind. If
during a conversation in English a French word is unexpectedly
pronounced by some one, the other people, though perfectly familiar with
the French language, may fail to understand it. The French sounds are
unexpected--the track is there, but the switch is not properly set--and
consequently the sounds remain ineffective. A certain book seen on my
desk calls up associated ideas very different from those which are
produced when I see it in the bookstore. The same thought leads to one
conclusion in the dark or in a dream, to another conclusion in daylight
or in the waking state. Every student is familiar with the difficulty of
becoming conscious of the right kind of ideas after having just gone
from one recitation room to another. After a few minutes the new set of
the mind is established, and the difficulty has disappeared.

Many other factors are to be mentioned as influencing the train of
thought. During the last decades many experimental investigations have
been devoted, with much success, to their exact determination. Numerous
methods have been used, some being only slight modifications of the
conditions under which ideas are reproduced in ordinary life, others
being more artificial in order to yield answers to special questions to
which the other methods are not applicable. The common involuntary
reproduction of ideas by words or pictures shown has been used in order
to determine how this reproduction varies with different individuals
under different circumstances, how much time it requires, and so on.
Voluntary reproduction of impressions that have just been made (as used
in school in dictation) has been used by presenting, optically or
through speech, words, syllables, numbers, or pictures and telling the
subject to write down everything remembered. The quantity of the matter
retained, and the number and kind of errors, then permit many important
conclusions. Also whole poems or pieces of prose have been memorized,
and answers have been found to questions as to the length of time
necessary for such memorizing under different conditions, and the number
of additional repetitions needed to make the material learned available
again after a greater number of days or weeks. The acquisition of the
vocabulary of a foreign language or of a set of historical dates has
been developed into a special method of hitting or missing. The material
to be learned has been presented in pairs, and the number of pairs has
been counted of which one element causes the mental reproduction of the
other. By all these methods psychologists have definitely secured many
rules which had been derived from earlier, less reliable experiences.
Many new facts have also been discovered. Let us give a brief account of
the results of this work.

That which has been in consciousness most recently is, other conditions
being equal, reproduced most readily. For some time the memorized
material is reproduced so easily that it seems to have found a permanent
place in our mind. Soon, however, it begins to be forgotten. At first
this forgetting goes on with great rapidity; but it becomes slower and
slower, so that a person retains very little less after thirteen months
than after twelve. Even after twenty years definite traces of a single
former memorizing have been proved to exist. Nothing, therefore, is
likely to be completely lost, although voluntary reproduction has long
since become impossible.

The most important factor contributing toward certainty of reproduction
is frequent repetition, of course with attention, for without attention
no memorizing is possible. The experimental investigation of the
influence of repetition has yielded, among minor ones, two particularly
interesting results. One of them justifies an educational practice which
had already been adopted by teachers because it seemed to be advisable.
In order to memorize any material we should not try to force the desired
end by accumulated repetition without pause. It is much more economical
to devote a short time to learning, long enough for a few repetitions,
to do this again after a pause of some hours or days and again after the
same interval, until the desired effect is obtained. The total time
required for obtaining this effect would be much greater if the total
process of memorizing were to occur at one time without intermission.

Another result of experimental investigation is contrary to the
tradition of educational practice. It has been proved that, in order to
learn a long poem, monologue, or piece of prose, this should not be
divided into smaller parts. It is uneconomical to learn each stanza or
sentence separately. The whole should always be read from the beginning
to the end, without introducing points of division which are not desired
at the time of reproduction.

The method of involuntary reproduction has recently been applied to a
problem of much practical significance. The attempt has been made to
reveal thus associations of ideas which have been firmly established,
but which the subject has strong reasons for keeping secret, for
instance, the ideas forming the memory of a crime which he has
committed. He is asked to tell or write as quickly as possible a word
suggested by each of a great number of words presented to him in
succession. Among these latter words are given some which have a special
relation to the knowledge which the subject is suspected of possessing.
If the suspicion is correct, it is likely to be shown in either of two
ways in the answers to these test words. Either the expected (for
instance incriminating) answers are actually given and reveal thus the
subject’s knowledge; or if these answers are inhibited and voluntarily
replaced by others of a more innocent appearance, the time of answering,
the reaction time, is considerably increased. It may also happen that
the subject, under these conditions, becomes confused and gives
absolutely meaningless answers.

That the individual differences in the ability to memorize are very
great, has always been observed. Modern psychology, however, has added
to this knowledge an insight into the various kinds of differences and
their proper causes. Let us notice the perception and imagery types.
There are people who perceive and imagine very readily visual sensation
groups. They give attention to the shape and color of the things rather
than to any other sensible qualities, and they imagine visual shape or
color very vividly so that the right and left, the above and below, of
their imagery is clearly in their minds. In others auditory perception
and auditory imagery are very vivid; in a third class of persons the
same is to be said of kinesthetic mental states. We therefore
distinguish visual, auditory, and kinesthetic types of consciousness.
There may be also gustatory, olfactory, and other types, but they are of
little practical importance. Extreme cases, where one of these classes
of mental states is extraordinarily developed at the expense of all
others, are rare. Eminent ability in art or music probably depends on
such development. Generally, one kind of imagery is but slightly
superior to the rest.

There seem to be further individual differences with respect to a
predominance of either word images or images of the things of nature.
All these differences bring about numerous variations of memory. The
visual type is able to play chess blindfolded, to repeat a memorized
series of numbers somewhat slowly also backwards. To the auditory type
these performances seem miraculous. But the former in recalling easily
confuses similar looking elements of such a memorized series, which the
latter would certainly distinguish because of their difference in sound.
The auditory type, however, confuses elements that are similar in sound
or accent. The auditory and kinesthetic types depend largely on reading
aloud for memorizing, while the visual type is scarcely aided by it.
These differences are of much importance for all the various kinds of
professional activity.


     95. In what respect is memory the opposite of attention?

     96. In what respect is reproduction by similarity superior to
     reproduction by simultaneity of previous experience?

     97. Can you illustrate the relations between feeling and memory?

     98. What is meant by the set of the mind?

     99. Illustrate the dependence of memory on recency.

     100. Illustrate the two laws of repetition.

     101. What method has been devised for the diagnosis of memory which
     is not voluntarily revealed?

     102. What is meant by perception or imagery types?

     103. Can you illustrate the practical importance of the types of


The word _practice_ refers to a number of different phenomena having
this in common, that they occur when the same mental function is
frequently repeated, either in immediate succession or with moderately
long intermissions. To a large extent practice is identical with the
selective and supplementing functions of the mind which are discussed
above. But certain effects included in the term _practice_ cannot be
understood thus and must be regarded as the signs of a more fundamental
law of the mind. Setting aside, however, the distinction between
fundamental and secondary regularities of mental function, two facts
should be mentioned here.

The more frequently the same task is imposed upon our mind, the more
perfectly--this is the first fact--is it carried out. But perfection has
various aspects. So far as sense perception is concerned, perfection
means a lowering of the so-called threshold of perception and of
discrimination, especially the latter. Weaker sounds, lights, tastes are
perceived; smaller differences of color, tone, weight, movement, size
are correctly named. Perfection means also greater quickness of
response. The same number of elements is perceived in less time, is
memorized or reproduced more quickly. The rapidity of reading, thinking,
writing, and other skillful movements is increased. Perfection means,
further, an enlargement of the scope of the situation responded to. We
are conscious of a greater number of its parts after having perceived a
certain thing repeatedly. Of different things a greater number are
simultaneously perceived. After repeated performance of a certain act,
we take into account a greater number of circumstances and adapt it to
them. That a certain activity which has been engaged in repeatedly can
be continued longer at one time, may also be mentioned in this
connection. So far as definite purposes are concerned, these are
accomplished more and more economically and accurately, that is, with
less expenditure of energy, with stricter avoidance of unnecessary
movements, with a decreasing number of errors.

A second phenomenon of practice is the simplification of the conscious
processes preceding purposive action. Unless there are particular
causes, as anticipatory ideas or an extraordinary special interest, that
which has often occurred tends to remain unconscious, so that the
response may be called automatic. The ticking of a clock, the noise of a
street, the laughing of a mountain stream, soon cease to be attended to,
although attention to them is always possible. Reading, writing,
arithmetical work, when being learned, include a vast number of states
of consciousness which no longer occur when these activities are
performed by a grown person. After thousand-fold repetition great
rapidity of execution results from the omission of a multitude of mental
states without which the performance could not originally have been
brought about. But the original effects of those lost mental states are
not at all lost. The same movements are carried out with the same
accuracy as if they were governed by those mental states. Each single
letter, even each word, is not found in the consciousness of a person
who reads rapidly, and yet he pronounces the word correctly. Each single
note or printed chord is not in the consciousness of the pianist, and
yet he plays the chord correctly. The same holds for all complex
movements that are slowly learned and often repeated, as knitting,
sewing, swimming, horseback riding, dancing, skating. They finally
require a minimum of mental energy. They become comparable in this
respect to the native, instinctive movements; but in order to
distinguish them from the native movements independent of consciousness,
we call them automatic movements.

Practice, therefore, is a general term referring to the wonderful
adaptation of mind to the external world for the purpose of
self-preservation. By association and reproduction mind adapts itself to
frequently recurring events and anticipates them. By practice it adapts
itself to those events which recur with particular frequency and which
are of particular importance. These events are through practice
comprehended more delicately, more quickly, and more inclusively. They
are responded to in a manner tested as the most fitting and most prompt,
and yet requiring only a minimum of mental energy, of which more than a
limited amount is at no time available. Without having to neglect the
ordinary and as such important, mind has energy left to devote to that
which is new, unusual, surprising.


     104. What are the effects of practice on sense perception?

     105. Illustrate how practice simplifies thought.


The conditions of fatigue are similar to those of practice. Fatigue
occurs when mental functions are repeated too many times in immediate
succession. But the result is not perfection, but deterioration of the
performance. The sensitivity for weak stimuli or small differences of
stimuli disappears. Attention is decreased, that is, fewer mental states
are vivid, and they are also less vivid. New ideas do not easily enter
consciousness. Reproduction, as in the processes of reading and
arithmetic, is slow and inaccurate. Action becomes slow and awkward, and
may cease altogether.

Fatigue is obviously a protective measure. When the continued
performance of a task threatens to exhaust the organs, their resistance
to the call for action increases, and finally they completely refuse to
respond. Because of the continuity of all organic processes, this
refusal in extreme cases is impossible without a lesser degree of
refusal before the extreme is reached. The first indications of fatigue
thus appear soon after a prolonged mental activity has begun, as a
diminution of the effects of practice. This leads often to the
astonishing consequence that a certain performance is executed better at
the beginning of a practice period than at the end of the preceding
period. The acquired practice is then still effective, while the effect
of fatigue is absent. This experience does not justify the conclusion
that skill has increased during the time of intermission.

Because of the great importance of fatigue for mental and bodily health,
numerous investigators have in recent years undertaken to study it more
closely by experimental methods. Especially fatigue caused by school
work has been much under discussion in scientific and popular
periodicals and even in the daily press. Little progress, however, has
been made in our knowledge of fatigue. It has proved difficult to find
reliable methods of measuring it, and the great complexity of the
conditions has interfered with the interpretation of the experimental
results. The attempt has been made to measure mental fatigue indirectly
by measuring the muscular fatigue caused by repeatedly lifting a weight;
or by measuring the minimum distance of two touches on the skin
recognizable as two. Although there are probably relations of cutaneous
sensitivity and of muscular fatigue to mental fatigue, they are not
definitely known, and by some their very existence is doubted. Other
tests used for the measurement of fatigue are adding numbers of several
digits, adding a long series of digits, and taking dictation. In these
tests the mental work is very one-sided and too simple to permit
conclusions with regard to fatigue under ordinary conditions of mental
activity. A disturbing element in these tests is the rapid perfection of
the work under the influence of practice. If we choose more complicated
tasks such as translation into another language, mathematical problems,
or filling in words which have been omitted from a certain text, we
cannot easily make two tasks sufficiently alike to be able to compare
the results obtained from them.

But none of these methods solve the chief problem, namely, the
determination of the point at which fatigue begins to be permanently
harmful. There is no doubt that in moderate degrees fatigue is a
perfectly normal phenomenon, involving no detriment to our future
efficiency. Otherwise most people would be wrecked before they are fully
grown. The experience of athletes and soldiers shows that even rather
high degrees of fatigue are compatible with the normal growth of bodily
strength. The same may be true for mental life. The assertions of great
damage done to children by school work are--so far as normal children
are concerned--certainly greatly exaggerated.


     106. What are the effects of fatigue?

     107. Into what complication does fatigue enter with practice?

     108. What attempts have been made at measuring fatigue?

     109. What is the chief problem in connection with fatigue?

     110. Is the fatigue of school work harmful?



The impression upon the mind is not the ultimate end of the nervous
processes originating in the sense organs. The end is rather activity of
the motor organs of the body, which we may here, accepting the naïve
conception of matter and mind, regard as effects or expressions of mind.
The complications of the mental life of a grown person tend to make this
connection between mind and motor activity often obscure and doubtful.
It seems that often we receive impressions quite passively. Nevertheless
the connection exists. Every impression made upon the mind by the
external world is in some way responded to by movement. The movement may
occur in the stimulated sense organ itself, in the arms, the hands, the
fingers, the legs, the feet, the head, the vocal organs, also in the
internal organs, the heart, the blood vessels, the alimentary canal, the
lungs. The significance of many of these movements is but insufficiently
understood, for example, laughing, weeping, blushing, trembling. But
those movements which directly affect the organism’s surroundings are
easily understood. They may be classed under two headings,
self-preservation and play. Another way of classifying them is to
distinguish movement toward the object perceived and movement away from
the object, without taking these terms in too literal a sense.

Innumerable illustrations for these classes of movements suggest
themselves. A piece of bread put on the back of the tongue is moved down
the esophagus by the proper muscular contractions. A particle moving
into the wrong passage is thrown out again by coughing. If the palm of
an infant is gently stroked, the hand closes and takes hold of the
stroking finger. If the palm is scratched, the hand quickly recedes. A
mild and steady light attracts the child’s eye, which follows the
movements of the light. From an intense and flickering light the eye
turns away. A piece of sugar is kept in the child’s mouth and moved
about by the tongue until it is dissolved. A bitter root causes the lips
to recede and the tongue to make a pushing movement. If the child is
hungry, he cries, kicks, and strikes out with his arms until he is fed.
After being fed he lies still so that digestion is not interfered with
by the blood being drawn into the peripheral parts of the body.

Movements which do not serve self-preservation so directly are called
play. When a cat perceives a mouse, she jumps at it and catches it. But
before eating it, she usually lets it loose and catches it again, and so
on several times. When she finds a ball of yarn, she treats it
similarly, although she must know that it is not edible. A dog gnaws a
bone because this contributes to his nutrition. But he also gnaws table
legs and rugs, although these have no nutritive value. He chases rabbits
and other small animals which he can eat. But he chases no less eagerly
other dogs, wagons, cyclists, horses, none of which serve as articles of
food for him. The same is true for man. The infant’s kicking, the small
child’s breaking of his toys, do not have any immediate value. Men and
animals respond to things not only by fighting, but also by play. The
significance of playful movements is to be found in the exercise, the
development, and the conservation of the abilities given to them by
nature. As in the movements of self-preservation, so in play
pleasantness and unpleasantness make their appearance. Extensive
exercise of natural abilities is highly pleasant, enforced inactivity
equally unpleasant.

But play is more than a general exercise of the bodily organs. It is a
preparation for the specialized activities of the serious part of life.
The animal meets in play things which behave very much like those things
which it has to obtain for food. So it learns to obtain food at a time
when food is not yet needed. It learns to defend itself when no one yet
attacks it. The biological significance of the play movements obviously
consists in this preparation for the special activities of life. Those
animals which do not possess a strong tendency to play are thus at a
disadvantage in the struggle for life, because they miss the opportunity
for preparation. Serious activity and play accompany man and animal all
through life; but the proportion changes. The young are taken care of by
their parents, and play may therefore prevail. With maturity this
changes, and less time is left for play.

All these movements of self-preservation and of play are natural
inherited responses of the organism to its environment. Many of them do
not appear at the very entrance into life, but at different stages of
age and growth. They are the raw material from which all conduct is
derived and built up. Their nervous conditions are the nervous processes
in the reflex arches of the subcortical nerve centers. From the points
of sensory stimulation, the nervous processes are carried into definite
muscle groups so that definite movements occur. These movements are
called _reflexes_ or _instincts_ according as they are rather simple or
more complex. Both reflexes and instincts are inherited movements
following in direct response upon sensory stimulation.


     111. What is the ultimate end of every nervous process?

     112. What are typical movements of self-preservation?

     113. What are typical movements of play?

     114. Is play more than a general exercise of the body?

     115. Are all inherited movements possible immediately after birth?

     116. What is the difference between reflexes and instincts?


Consciousness is not a factor in reflex or instinctive movements. But
these movements soon enter into a twofold connection with consciousness.
(1) When such movements occur, they often result in consciousness. They
are either seen, or perceived through the sense of touch or through the
kinesthetic sense. These images of the movement become associated with
the images originating from the sensory stimulations which give rise to
the movement. (2) In consequence of this association the visual, touch,
and kinesthetic images of the movement, particularly the most common,
the kinesthetic, may themselves produce this movement to which they owe
their existence. The mere thought of how one feels when performing a
movement brings about, if it is vivid enough, the movement itself. The
hearing of dance music awakens the kinesthetic ideas of dancing, and
these become real movements, although perhaps only swaying movements of
the body or the head. Vivid thinking similarly brings about whispering
of words. Even vivid imagination of the movement of a foreign body has
such powers. A passionate and excited billiard player thinks of the
hoped-for movement of the running ball. This leads to imagery of a
similar movement of his own body, and the result is the actual
movement, rather ridiculous to the onlooker because it is entirely

Through this connection with consciousness instinctive movements become
voluntary movements. The term _voluntary_ means just this connection
with consciousness; it has no other meaning.

Suppose a child sees something white and glittering and puts it
instinctively into his mouth. It happens to be a lump of sugar. Its
taste is pleasant. It is retained, dissolved, and swallowed. All the
impressions, occurring at about the same time, become associated: the
sight of the thing, the movements of the arm and hand, the taste, the
movements of the tongue and the lips. The more frequently this thing
happens, the more firmly established are the associations. Later the
sight of sugar reproduces at once its taste, the visual and kinesthetic
images of the movements, and the movements themselves--the arm is
stretched out, the tongue and lips making sucking movements--although
the sugar may be lying so far away that it cannot be touched. The
child’s consciousness then contains what we have previously called will,
and what may also be called desire: a vivid impression accompanied by
pleasantness, sensations of restlessness, and an image of a pleasant
conclusion of the whole experience. We say then that the child wills,
desires, to have the sugar.

We can will to do only that which in its elements we have previously
done by instinct. If we do not know how a movement feels when we perform
it, of course we cannot bring it about by way of our consciousness, that
is, by our will. Children have as much command of speech as they have
acquired by instinctively producing speech sounds in response to
accidental stimulations. This instinctive production occurs usually
rather late in the case of certain sounds, as _k_, _r_, _sh_; and
accordingly, in spite of all special efforts on the part of the parents,
children learn to produce those sounds only at that late time. We
presuppose, of course, that they are not deaf. For in deaf children the
speech sounds instinctively produced do not enter into an association
with the kinesthetic sensations and therefore cannot be voluntarily
reproduced; that is, the children remain dumb. Many a grown person
remembers that all his attempts at learning the pronunciation of a
certain sound in foreign speech (take for example the gutteral German
_r_, or the German _ch_, or the French nasal sounds) were in vain until
by a mere accident, instinctively, he pronounced that very sound. After
that he had command of it.

This interweaving of the instinctive reactions of the body with
conscious life is of the greatest practical significance. However well
adapted the inherited reflexes may be to the purpose of keeping the
young animal alive, they are very insufficient in meeting the ever
growing complications of life. And they are not perfect even in the
beginning. A reflex is the response to a present and direct impression
upon the organism; but very similar impressions may come from things of
different properties. Poisonous substances often look and taste like
articles of food. The enemy assumes the attitude of a friend welcoming
you. Reflex action is powerless to give the organism the protection
needed in such cases. Instinct is easily deceived. But as soon as the
harmful consequences impress themselves upon the organism, the instinct
is modified, and in the future these consequences will be avoided. The
instincts are ready-made institutions intended to be applied to average
conditions. Their readiness and completeness is in so far of inestimable
advantage to the organism. If it had to learn everything necessary for
life, it could not survive. But for the manifold deviations of the
external world from the average no provision can be made in this manner.

The variation of the organism’s response is made possible by the
existence of higher nerve centers, that is, of connecting neurons of a
higher order, more remote from the sensory and motor points of the body.
Let us imagine the proverbial reaction of a child to the sight of a
flame, and discuss the successive stages of development by the help of
figure 15. (1) The visual stimulation starts a nervous process from
_s_{1}_, which passes through the bulb and spinal cord into the muscles
of the arm at _m_{1}_. A small part of the current may branch off at _a_
and, instead of passing down towards _b_, take the direction of _v_. But
the resistance in this direction is for the present so high that only an
insignificant part of the process can take this way, and so no
corresponding motor response is noticeable.

[Illustration: FIG. 15.--“A BURNT CHILD FEARS THE FIRE.”]

(2) While all this is still going on and the child’s arm is still moving
forward, the heat of the flame acts as a pain stimulus at _s_{2}_. The
nervous process produced passes over _c_ and _d_ to the muscles at
_m_{2}_, whose contraction results in the arm’s being pulled back. This
results in a third stimulation at _s_{3}_, which we need not trace
farther here. But not the whole of the nervous process passes from _c_
down to _d_. A part of it, of considerable absolute magnitude because of
the intensity of stimulation, passes from _c_ up to _p_ and thence over
_k_ down to _d_ and finally also into _m_{2}_. This process going from
_p_ to _k_, according to a general law of nervous activity, tends to
attract other, weaker nervous processes, if the neuron connections make
this possible. Consequently the nervous process from _s_{1}_ to _a_ is
now turned mostly into the path _a-v-p_ and only an insignificant part
of it continues to go from _a_ towards _b_. The consequence is that the
resistance of the path _a-v-p-k-d_ is soon reduced to less than the
resistance of the path _a-b_. The great significance of this fact
becomes clear in the third stage of development.

(3) At some later time the flame again acts as a visual stimulus. But
now, because of the change of resistance just explained, the nervous
process takes for the most part the path over _a-v-p-k-d_, and the
reaction follows at _m_{2}_ instead of at _m_{1}_. The child has learned
to avoid the flame. The child, when seeing the flame, is conscious of
the pain, as imagery, without having to receive the actual stimulation
at _s_{2}_.

Thus the inflexible regularity of reaction gives place to another type
of reaction, an adaptation, not only to those conditions which at the
time make their impression upon the organism, but also to those
conditions which are mere future possibilities. The experience of the
past guides the organism into the future.


     117. What is the twofold connection into which instinctive movement
     enters with consciousness?

     118. Why is the movement of a billiard ball often accompanied by
     movements of the players or spectators?

     119. What is a voluntary movement?

     120. In what manner is will dependent on instinct?

     121. Why do deaf children not acquire speech? Can they be taught to

     122. Why is the acquisition of foreign speech sounds by grown
     people often so slow?

     123. What is the advantage to the organism of voluntary over
     instinctive action?

     124. Can you describe the three stages of nervous development
     illustrating the proverb “A burnt child fears the fire”?





1. _Characteristics of Perception_

At every moment of waking life a multitude of impressions are received
by the mind through the eyes, the ears, the cutaneous and all other
senses, giving information about processes in the external world and in
the subject’s own body. However, because of the peculiar laws of mental
activity, the actual conscious experience differs greatly from a mere
sum of all those impressions--from what would be the content of
consciousness if mind were nothing but an accumulation of senses. In
order to distinguish the actual consciousness from the abstractly
conceived sum of sensations, we use as a specific term the word

Does not a newspaper look different if held in the right way or turned
upside down, a landscape if seen in the ordinary way or through our
legs? In the latter case there are in our consciousness a multitude of
incomprehensible details, lines, figures, colors; in the former we are
conscious of one thing, a landscape, with its divisions, each of these
divisions with its subdivisions, and so on. The one consciousness is
practically the result only of simultaneous sensory stimulations; the
other consciousness, in addition to these stimulations, is determined by
the laws of organized mind, by attention, memory, practice.

A percept contains both less and more than the sensations corresponding
directly to the stimulations. According to the conditions discussed
under attention, certain sensations become focal at the expense of
others which become marginal. For example, of all things impressing
themselves upon my retina, only a few--usually, but not always, those in
the center of the field of vision--attain a high degree of
consciousness. And of these things again not all the qualities, but only
a few become highly conscious. If, as in this case, the visible things
happen to become highly conscious, the simultaneously existing audible
or tastable things are apt to remain at a low degree of consciousness.
That which is important for the needs of our daily life is specially
favored and becomes a part of the percept. That which has no practical
importance does not easily become a highly conscious part of the present
mind. The variations in color of a gown forming many folds are rarely
noticed. All parts of the gown are perceived as parts of the same
substance. That the whole gown is made of one kind of cloth is
practically important. That the various folds appear to the eye--because
of the variation of the illumination--somewhat different, is of no
practical consequence. Many quite common phenomena, after-images,
overtones, difference tones, are never known by the majority of people,
because of their practical unimportance.

But a percept contains not only less, but also much more than the
sensations corresponding to the stimuli of the moment. Numerous images
are woven into this system of sensations and thus give additional
meaning to it. We may be said to _see_ that the things are hot or cold,
rough or smooth, heavy or light, although our eyes as mere sense organs
cannot give us any such information. In the same way we may be said to
see that the things are at this or that distance from our head, and that
this thing is nearer, that thing farther from us, although our inherited
ability to see things spatially does not give us any other information
than that of shape and size in the field of vision. By incessantly
repeated experiences we have learned, at an early age, that changes in
the distance of things which in this or that way have come to our
knowledge, are regularly accompanied by definite changes in their size,
their coloring, their appearance when the right eye’s image is compared
with the left eye’s image, and many similar changes of the impression.
Whenever such signs of changes in the distance are impressed upon our
mind, we immediately supplement them by ideas of the distances
themselves. Thus our original two-dimensional perception of space is
expanded into a three-dimensional perception.

All knowledge of things, of their properties, their names, their uses,
their meanings, consists in supplementing our consciousness of those
qualities which they present to our senses, by images previously
obtained through any senses. The force of this supplementing can be
understood from the drawings of children and primitive peoples. That
which appears in the field of vision is often left unrepresented. Linear
perspective, for instance, does not exist in such drawings, although it
is a part of the sensory impression. On the other hand, many things are
given by the draughtsman which are invisible under the circumstances of
the situation, but which he regards as essential parts of the thing
because of their practical importance: for instance, both eyes of a
person seen in profile, equal length of all the legs of tables and
chairs, equal size of things at a distance and things near by.

The significance of this supplementing by ideas is illustrated also in
pathological cases. It happens that some of the associative connections
in the brain are destroyed by disease, reducing the mind to a condition
like that of early childhood, when direct sense impressions alone
determined action. Patients may see the shape and color of a thing
correctly, may even be able to draw it or paint it, but are unable to
tell the name of the object, although they are perfectly familiar with
it. They cannot answer our question as to what purpose the thing serves;
possibly they give ridiculous answers, fitting an altogether different
thing. Only when they are permitted to use the kinesthetic and tactual
senses by taking the thing in their hands, do they recognize it. In
other cases the patient, although possessing his normal sensibility to
touch, is unable to recognize things by his hands alone, but recognizes
them at once when permitted to open his eyes.

A particularly characteristic feature of our perception is the grouping
together into a mental unit of elements which are not united either
spatially by contiguity or nearness, or by similarity of their coloring,
or their other attributes. The grouping of such elements into a unitary
mental state is often the result of a repeated necessity for reacting
upon this sum of impressions by a unitary movement. The newspaper held
upside down does not invite the reaction of reading. Parts which are
separated by blank spaces or by black bars, are separately perceived.
But the words and sentences are not perceived, because we have not
previously been obliged to read under such conditions. Looking into a
furnished room I perceive at once tables, chairs, and other pieces of
furniture, although the legs of a chair, for example, are spatially and
by their coloring better connected with the carpet than with the back of
the chair. When I am looking at a portrait standing upside down, the
dark hair and the dark background become a mental unit, a percept of a
dark area. The light face is another mental unit. In upright position
the hair separates from the background and unites with the face. I then
perceive a person before a dark background, in spite of the similarity
of coloring between some parts of the figure and the background, in
spite of the difference of coloring between some parts of the figure and
other parts. The grouping of the elements in perception is therefore
widely different from that which would result from the stimuli directly.
It is determined by our habits of reaction upon such groups as
frequently appear together in the world in which we live.


Let us illustrate this by two figures. Figure 16 may be perceived as a
rabbit’s or as a duck’s head. When we perceive the figure as a rabbit’s
head, the white streaks to the right of the eye are two separate
sensation groups, each of them unified with respect to the effect
produced by them in our nervous system. They are then the animal’s lips.
At the same time the protrusions to the left make us conscious of
softness, warmth, flexibility. Now perceive the figure as a duck’s head.
Immediately those white streaks cease to be two separate units for our
mind. Together with the darker parts surrounding them, they affect our
mind as a single unit, the variegated back part of the duck’s head. And
at the same time the protrusions to the left make us conscious of
hardness, cold, rigidity. The sensory stimulations are exactly the
same, but they are differently grouped together, and they bring about
further nervous activities which greatly differ in these two

[Illustration: FIG. 17.--VARIETIES OF PERCEPTION.]

Figure 17, when shown to a person, is perceived as the result of a
child’s careless handling of his ink bottle, as an ink spot. But ask
this person if he does not see a boy falling downstairs, and immediately
certain elements are grouped together and affect us as being the legs,
other elements of sensation are perceived as the arms, and so on. And
now suggest to the same person to turn the page slightly to the right
and see a man trying to put on his shirt. Quickly the perception changes
again; but this time not so much by the breaking up of the former units
into their sensory elements and the formation of new units, as by a
change of the accompanying ideas. The previous suggestion tends to make
us perceive these sensations in one or the other way because it guides
our attention. But this guidance is possible only because certain groups
of sensational elements (for example, the groups illustrated by our
figures) have very often occurred in our mind in consequence of the fact
that they originate from external objects which have often been
presented to our sense organs among greatly varying surroundings. Thus
we have learned to group these elements together and to neglect, more or
less, all other elements which may be presented simultaneously.

The total process of selective grouping and of furnishing the groups
formed with additional mental contents has often been called
_apperception_. But this meaning of the term apperception is not
universally adopted. Some mean by apperception mainly the selective
grouping of the elements, others mean by it exclusively the furnishing
with ideational contents. Because of its ambiguity the term
_apperception_ has been entirely omitted from the present book, and the
term _perception_ is used in its broadest sense, including both the
processes just mentioned. Perception thus means the working over by the
mind of any aggregate of sensational elements given at the time through
the sense organs.

2. _Illusions_

While the laws of perception are, on the whole, of the greatest benefit
to the organism surrounded by a confusing multitude of physical elements
bound together into a large number of more or less stable compounds, of
things, there are exceptional cases in which these same laws lead the
mind into a reaction not suitable to the situation presented.

That which has often occurred is likely to recur. But it does not
regularly recur in the same manner. There are exceptions. It happens
that certain things occur in surroundings different from their usual
surroundings. These things are then perceived, that is, grouped together
and supplemented by images, in harmony with their usual surroundings.
But the perception is then in discord with the actual surroundings. To
the inhabitant of the plains the colors of things appear rather
saturated, and the outlines sharp, when these things are at a small
distance from the observer. Walking toward them, he is soon able to lay
hands on them. But when the air happens to be unusually moist, and
because of its diminished weight, free from the particles of dust which
have settled because of their weight, things look unusually near, and on
walking toward them he discovers that it takes more time to reach them
than he expected. The same happens when he goes to the mountains for his
vacation, because there the air is always comparatively free from dust.
We have here a foreseeing of what ordinarily becomes the subsequent
experience, but fails to become it in this instance.

There is another kind of illusion based on the fact that sensations
which have been imagined just before the stimuli became effective, are
thereby favored and become unusually vivid. This law of attention holds
good also when the stimuli are not in exact correspondence with the
preceding images. In such a case the perception is more or less
assimilated to those images, so that the same stimuli result in somewhat
different percepts according to circumstances. “How heavy it is!” said a
friend of Davy’s, when the discoverer of potassium placed a little piece
of this metal on his finger. Potassium is so light that it floats on
water, but the metallic appearance produced the image of pressure and
changed the sensation into a percept of something heavy. When two pieces
of gray paper, equally bright but of slightly different coloring, are
put before me side by side, and I ask myself: is not the yellowish paper
lighter than the bluish paper, immediately it seems to be lighter. But I
begin to doubt and ask myself: is not the yellowish paper darker than
the other; and immediately it looks darker.

Let no one say that this is only “imaginary,” meaning by this word that
there are in my mind both the objectively true impression and an
incorrect image of something similar. Such is not the case. There is no
duality of consciousness. There is one unitary experience. Only
scientific reflection reveals the fact that this unitary experience has
two sources, one in the external stimulation, the other in the central
nervous excitation. The result of these sources, the percept, does not
betray the doubleness of its origin any more than a stream at its mouth
shows the doubleness of its sources. It is a universal property of
perception to be determined not by sensory stimulation alone, although
this is the primary factor, but also by images, by nervous dispositions.
The more vivid such images, the greater is their influence--now and then
their _deceptive_ influence--on our consciousness of the objectively
existing. Suggestion is a name which has recently been accepted for such
an influence. Illusion is another name for it, in case it is rather
pronounced and ill adapted to the object.


     125. What kinds of mental states are called perceptions?

     126. Illustrate the change of a percept into a mental state not
     worthy of the name, caused by a change of the situation which
     involves neither a subtraction nor an addition of stimuli.

     127. What impressions become a part of the percept, and what
     impressions do not?

     128. Show that a percept contains not only less, but also more than
     the sensations corresponding to the stimuli of the moment.

     129. What can we learn about perception from the drawings of

     130. Illustrate the perception of a thing whose parts appear
     spatially separate. (None of the illustrations in the text strictly
     answers this question.)

     131. What changes occur when a rabbit’s head is perceived as a
     duck’s head?

     132. Are illusions signs of mental abnormality? What are they?

     133. What two classes of illusions are distinguished in the text?


The same laws which govern the supplementing of impressions by images,
govern also the supplementing of images by other images. We refer to the
appearance of images supplementing other images by the word
_remembering_, or _ideation_.

What we remember is always deficient in details compared with what we
perceive. Remember a landscape, a street scene, a well-known person.
Innumerable details are always lacking in the idea, although they were
present in the corresponding percept. These details which are lacking
may be either parts separable from the object, or mere attributes of
sensation inseparable from the sensation. On the other hand, ideas are
richer than percepts. They contain elements obtained from other similar
perceptions and added by association, as when the idea of a landscape is
enriched by a tower, the idea of a person by a beard, which actually are
not present at these places.

Ideas are also strongly influenced and altered by other ideas which
happen to be in consciousness at the same time (“set of the mind”); for
instance by questions, particularly by questions in the negative
form--“did you not,” “was this not,”--by the wish to make a good
impression upon others, and by similar factors. We may have no intention
of exaggerating, in Falstaff’s fashion, the significance of our deeds;
nevertheless our memories become gradually modified so that the
uncommon, the important, the valuable in them is emphasized, and the
common, the insignificant, the unpleasant is obliterated. Wherever our
memories are fragmentary and indefinite, they offer but slight
resistance to questions attacking this point, for instance: Do you
believe that the gentleman was as tall as you are?

Memories are thus, not exceptionally, but universally inaccurate
representations of that which has been perceived. This has recently been
proved by direct experimental tests. Since percepts, although they rest
on a foundation of external stimulation, are so strongly influenced by
the mind’s own manner of functioning, the existence of this influence in
the case of imagery, lacking such a foundation, is not surprising.
Although memories are but rarely totally misleading, mankind has long
ago learned to rely upon memory in all important business and legal
transactions only when there is agreement between the memories of
several witnesses. The changeableness of memory is particularly strong
in the child’s mind. The perceptual experiences have not been so often
repeated as in the adult mind, and the practical importance of accuracy
of remembering has not made itself so much felt. For both reasons the
child’s memory is very unreliable.

The word _imagination_ is frequently used to signify a specially strong
ability to modify memories by associated images. Thus we speak of the
imagination of the child--but also of the artist and the scientist.
Without imagination the scientist would not succeed in his task of
making the phenomena of nature more comprehensible by showing the
consequences of the remotest relations between things. It is clear,
however, that imagination is not a fundamental “faculty” of the mind,
separable from other “faculties,” but a result of the fundamental laws
governing mental functions.

Let us turn to the fragmentary nature of reproduced experience and
discuss its significance. That previous experience can be reproduced
only in fragments is the direct result of the selective power of
attention, which asserts itself in both perception and ideation. Not
every quality of a thing presented is equally interesting. A child
having a watch takes interest mainly in the ticking and in the glitter
of the golden case. Meeting a dog, he gives attention to the terrifying
bark and the multiplicity of legs. Suppose now that the dog regularly
occurred together with a special impression, perhaps a spoken word; then
the recurring of this symbol will tend to reproduce in the child’s mind
the image of the dog. But the pressure of many competing tendencies does
not permit the reproduction of all the qualities of the dog which have
become conscious on former meetings with this animal. Only an extract,
so to speak, of these qualities is reproduced, and this is made up of
those which were formerly especially interesting,--the bark and the

Another factor determining the selection of special qualities of a thing
for reproduction is the frequency with which each quality reappears in
things which are different in certain respects, but in other respects
belong to the same class. The trees of a forest beside which I am
walking have many individual differences. But certain features are
common to all the trees. These common features reappear again and again,
while each of the other features appears only now and then. The same can
be said of various dogs met on the street, of various tones of a violin,
and so on. If the perception of the trees is experienced together with a
certain other percept which may serve as a symbol for the trees, for
example the word _tree_, the association of the symbol with those
regularly repeated qualities becomes firmly established, whereas the
association with the other, more or less varying qualities, remains
comparatively feeble. The result is that the symbol tends to reproduce
almost exclusively the former qualities. These come to make up a
separate group of images, a general idea.

The laws of attention, practice, and memory, together with the simple
uniformity of nature just mentioned, produce thus a peculiar result.
They remove ideation from the accidents of external events in an
incomparably higher degree than perception. They bring about ideas of
the separate qualities of the things perceived, _abstractions_, and
ideas of common features, _general ideas_. In many cases an idea is both
an abstraction and a general idea. Examples of such ideas to which no
equally simple concrete object corresponds, are the idea of a mere
length, the color red, sight, a dog in general, a tree in general.

These ideas are of eminent importance for all higher mental development.
Mind, in them, departs from that which nature presents, but only in
order to take possession of it more securely by systematization and by
overcoming the narrow limits of the capacity of consciousness.

By separating the common qualities of things from those which vary we
classify the things into kinds and species, we think of them as being in
various ways related. Instead of having an incomprehensible mass of
things standing side by side, we have a system of coördinated and
subordinated things, of groups formed according to closer or remoter
relationship; and thus it becomes a comparatively easy matter to survey
the multitude of things of which nature consists. Not only order, but
law too is thus brought into the phenomena of nature. If we collect
sticks of wood and set fire to the pile, we notice that some of them
burn lustily, others smolder and smoke, still others do not burn at all.
Why so? Repetition of similar experiences is necessary before we can
give an answer; but mere repetition of the same event does not enable
us to give the answer. The event must be broken up and general ideas
must be formed out of the elements of the event. Then only can we answer
the question. Some of the sticks burn because they are dry. Others do
not burn so well or do not burn at all because they are wet. Neither
shape nor color nor origin nor many other qualities of the sticks have
any causal connection with the difference of burning and not burning.
Both order and law in nature are recognized by abstraction.

Equally important is the overcoming of the narrowness of consciousness
by abstraction and generalization. When I am thinking of trees, the
contents of my mind are very few. There may be a word image, a visual
image of something tall and branching; hardly more. All the special
features of trees of all kinds are absent from consciousness. So I can
easily think of additional things, for instance of the age which trees
may reach, or the elevation at which trees cease to grow. But the moment
I begin by accident to think of a thing which does not harmonize with
those features of the tree which thus far have been absent from
consciousness, immediately those features become conscious and inhibit
the contradictory thoughts. They have been unconscious and yet we cannot
say that they have been sheer nothing. The consciousness of the general
idea has in some way prepared the path for the special features from
which it has been abstracted. They have been carried close to the door
of consciousness, so to speak, and the slightest impulse coming from an
associated idea will cause them to enter. This is our meaning when we
say that within the general idea of which we are conscious all those
special features are included. They are included by representation, the
general idea being the deputy taking care of their interests. Thus our
mind is freed from the necessity of carrying at any moment a heavy load
of actual states of consciousness and is nevertheless able to act as
reasonably as if those mental states were present. In using
representative ideas, our mind has actually at its service the enormous
number of all those individual ideas which are represented by them.


     134. Enumerate in what different respects ideation is (more or
     less) similar to perception.

     135. Why are reproduced experiences fragmentary?

     136. How does a general idea originate?

     137. What is the difference between abstractions and general ideas?

     138. Can an idea be both an abstraction and a general idea?

     139. Illustrate the formation of a natural law by means of
     abstraction and generalization.

     140. With what feature of political life may the service of a
     general idea in mental life be compared?


1. _Word Imagery_

There can be no doubt that animals are to some extent able to
generalize. A dog or a cat is trained to distinguish between indoors and
outdoors and to adjust its behavior accordingly. This would be
impossible if the dog possessed no general notion of room or street.

But these generalizations remain rather insignificant so long as they
are not connected with one definite image which stands as a symbol for
the whole class of things. Nature scarcely presents to us any images
which could be used as symbols of this kind. What are we invariably
conscious of when thinking of books, or of trees, or of
houses--something that is not only invariable, but also readily
separable in our imagination? It is difficult to name anything which
fulfills these conditions. But man created what he did not find in
nature, symbols which can be used as meaning whole classes of objects
and relations of objects. The totality of these symbols is human

These symbols are normally divided into four classes of imagery, four
languages, so to speak, in such a manner that each class of objects has
a symbol in each of the four languages. The first of these languages
acquired by the child is the auditory language, made up of the sounds of
the words spoken by others. Soon after having begun to understand spoken
words, the child begins to speak himself. Thus he acquires a second
language, made up of kinesthetic imagery of his vocal organs. These
languages are the only ones possessed by illiterates. In school the
child learns to read, that is, he acquires a third class of symbols,
consisting of visual images of written and printed words. One might of
course speak of these as two visual languages, since the sight of
written words differs somewhat from the sight of printed words. Finally
the child learns to write, and thus acquires a fourth language, made up
of kinesthetic images of the writing hand.

These are, of course, not the only languages possible. The blind-born,
unable to acquire visual imagery, substitute tactual word imagery by
learning to read raised letters or the raised point script generally
taught in institutions for the blind. But a seeing person, too, may
acquire this tactual language in addition to the other four. The
deaf-born acquire a visual language made up of the images of the hand
and the fingers representing symbolically letters and words. But it is
hardly worth while to enumerate all these minor languages. The most
important ones practically are these four: the auditory, the visual
(written and printed), the kinesthetic of the vocal organs, and the
kinesthetic of the writing hand.

We saw that the origin of all these languages, that is, classes of word
images, is to be found in speech. How speech itself originated in the
human race is a problem which thus far is not solved, or at least, of
which no proposed solution has thus far been universally accepted. Some
light is shed upon it by the answer to the simpler question as to the
origin of speech in childhood. Only during the last few decades has this
question been given attention, obviously because this growth of speech,
as an everyday occurrence, seemed to ask for no explanation. The child
imitates!--what else should be said about it? But in order to imitate,
the child must first be able to produce the elements of the things to be
imitated. And by imitation speech only is acquired, but not the full
significance of language.

2. _The Acquisition of Speech_

(1) Speech originates from instinctive activities of the vocal organs.
As a child, when left to himself and feeling well, plays with his hands
and kicks, he also, in response to all kinds of external and internal
stimulations, moves instinctively (that is, because of his inherited
nervous connections) lips and tongue, larynx and chest, and produces a
great number of different sounds and sound combinations--not only those
which are used in the language of his people, but also the strangest
crowing and smacking and clucking sounds. He cannot produce speech
sounds without immediately hearing them. Thus an association is formed
between sound perception, kinesthetic perception, and motor activity;
and soon the sound of his own voice stimulates the child to further
production of these speech sounds. This explains why the same sounds are
often so many times repeated in an infant’s babble, and why baby talk
contains so many reduplications like papa, mama, byby, and so on.

(2) The sounds invented by the child are used by the parents and other
people in their communications with the child. They select from the
large number those which are like speech sounds of their own language.
They address the child with these words again and again, forming also
brief sentences, and thus stimulate the child to produce at will the
words which he has at his command, in these combinations and sentences.
The child thus becomes more and more skillful in the production of these
words. Meanwhile the numerous other baby words which have no
significance for the people surrounding him, are gradually lost from the
child’s mind, so that later they can no longer be produced voluntarily.
Practically every child can, on the basis of his articulating instinct,
learn any language spoken anywhere on earth. But in later years, when
this instinct has weakened and has been replaced by the habit of
producing the sounds of a particular language, it is a difficult matter
to learn to speak a new language. The sound perception as well as the
sound production is then assimilated to the “native” speech, and the
words of the foreign language are consequently spoken in a manner
similar to the words of the native language. This is meant when we say
that foreign languages acquired in adult life are, as a rule, spoken
with an “accent.”

The activity of grown people influences the child’s talking in yet
another way. The child hears those words which are selected by the
people surrounding him, usually in the presence of the persons and
things and events for which the words serve as symbols. Thus new
associations are formed. To the kinesthetic and auditory word images is
added imagery of the word’s meaning. The child comes to experience the
words as symbols and to reproduce ideas of the words when the things
appear as percepts or images. Only then can we say that the child has
really learned to speak, to express his perceptions, his images, and his
feeling and willing in speech.

(3) When the child has reached this stage when he begins to comprehend
the practical importance of this activity of his vocal organs, he begins
to imitate voluntarily, eagerly, the speech of grown people. This
imitation is to some extent mechanical, without involving any
comprehension of the meaning of the words. The child simply enjoys being
able to produce the same words which grown people use. This imitation is
in many cases at first very imperfect, because many elementary sounds
necessary for these words have not been produced instinctively thus far
and therefore cannot be produced voluntarily, the kinesthetic imagery
being lacking. But soon even the more difficult sounds are produced
accurately. The vocal organs acquire the habit of assuming certain
normal positions, from which the special activity of speech in each case
of pronunciation proceeds. In a few years the total number of words
necessary for a command of the language is acquired. But voluntary
imitation is not restricted to mere pronunciation. It is applied also to
the modes of uniting words into compounds, phrases, sentences. The
result of this application is the creation of new compounds out of the
words which the child has at his command at the time, of new methods of
applying inflection, to the amusement of those who surround him. The
following are a few examples of such creations: _goed_ for _went_,
_chair_ for _sitting_, _more pencil_ for _I want the other pencil_,
_mussing down_ as the antonym of _mussing up_.

Voluntary imitation, therefore, does not altogether mean assimilation to
the language which the child hears spoken; to some extent it means
departure from that language, resulting from the mental capacities with
which he has been endowed by nature. In another way too the child’s
language must differ from that of grown people. All acquisition of
speech is based on perception and is subject to the laws of perception.
We have previously seen that perception is largely dependent on the
interest of the person who perceives, on his previous experiences.

A child’s interests are totally different from those of a grown person,
so that many words cannot assume in the child’s mind the meaning which
they possess in the adult’s mind. At a later stage this difficulty can
to some extent be overcome by the aid of language itself, by explaining
in words the meaning of a new word. At the beginning this is of course
impossible. So a large number of words used by adults remain for a long
time entirely meaningless to the child, especially abstract words,
relative words (_to-day_, _here_, _I_), and words meaning things with
which the child does not come in contact. Even those which he seems to
understand perfectly have a different meaning. A watch is to the child
something which ticks and sparkles. The adult’s meaning of the word can
in no manner be conveyed to the child. The name of a particular article
of food may be used for all things which are edible, also for eating,
for hunger, and so on. A certain baby called his father, mother, nurse,
sister, all by the same name, _dada_, then applied this word also to
his bottle, and finally to every interesting object.

This does not mean that children generalize more than adults, that they
have a superior logical capacity. The meaning of the child’s words is
often more general than that of adults because the child takes interest
in fewer qualities, and naturally finds these in a greater number of
objects. But the difference is not that of a greater power of
generalization. Very often the child’s words have a more special
meaning. A child is not likely to use the word _animal_ as meaning
worms, birds, and horses. The difference lies in the fact that the child
uses the word as a symbol for a thing or quality which is conspicuous to
_him_, interesting to _him_. A child’s language is amusing to grown
people only because they do not know the meaning which the words have in
the child’s mind, and are inclined to substitute the meaning which they
have in their own minds.

(4) In spite of all imitation, the individual’s language is largely his
own creation adapted to his individual needs. To the extent to which the
children of a community, of a nation, have similar interests and similar
experiences, these individual creations must be similar. But to the
extent to which interests and experiences differ, language must differ.
Baby talk which is quite comprehensible to the members of one family is
incomprehensible to those of another family. Similarly, the language of
one tribe of the human race has come to differ from that of another
tribe, one nation’s language from that of another nation. Family
differences, of course, cannot last long. The child’s language
assimilates itself to the language of the people at large as soon as the
child comes under the influence of people outside of the family. This is
the fourth stage in the development of an individual’s language,
lasting much longer than the three preceding stages, indeed practically
never ending. From mistakes in comprehending others, from mistakes of
others caused by his own language, or from special instruction in
school, the individual learns how the words which he uses are to be
understood in order to agree with the general usage of language, and
thus approaches more and more the ideal of uniformity of speech.

This uniformity, however, can never become complete. The number of words
of which various individuals have command always differs. Their meanings
always differ slightly, sometimes considerably. Accordingly the phrases
and sentences which one uses differ from those of others. Every one has
his own linguistic style. For most practical purposes the actual
uniformity of language is sufficient. Not a few misunderstandings,
discussions, quarrels, however, have their source in the insufficiency
of this uniformity. This is regrettable, but unavoidable. The nature of
mind creates language such as it is, and mind has to make the best of
it. It is only on a very high level of mental development that men
succeed in creating for definite purposes definite languages which admit
of almost no differences of meaning; for instance, the symbolic systems
of mathematics and chemistry. But these systems prove that the very
perfection carries with it an imperfection. The specific power, the art
and beauty of language, are not to be sought in mathematical and
chemical treatises. They depend on the speaker’s and hearer’s

3. _The Growth of Language_

Just as one individual’s language differs from that of another
individual, the language of one time differs from the same nation’s
language at another time. The words of a language change or are
replaced by new ones. The inflections change, are probably simplified,
or as in the case of the English language, almost completely lost. The
manner of forming compounds, phrases, and sentences is altered. The
meaning of the words is no more fixed; many words change their original
meaning entirely, even to the opposite. Changes of the former
kind--changes of the sounds, their inflections, and their
combinations--are brought about partly by external and fortuitous
conditions, such as the Danish invasion of England or the Norman
conquest, also by greater ease of pronunciation. But here the laws
governing mental life are also determining factors, and in the changes
of meaning every growth depends on these laws. The same forces which
build up the child’s language in conformity with his experiences,
thoughts, interests, and needs, bring about also the gradual changes of
a nation’s language in conformity with the changing experiences,
thoughts, and needs.

Under special circumstances one among all the properties or features of
a person or thing may occupy the mind almost exclusively, as of Julius
Cæsar the despotic power which he obtained, of Captain Boycott the ban
which was placed upon him. In such cases, when the name is heard and
pronounced, the special feature impresses itself upon the mind. The
speaker thinks of little else than this. And when the necessity arises
of expressing in a word that peculiarity in another place under
different surroundings, the individual name offers itself, since its
original meaning has already been modified, since it has already lost
most of its individual significance. The part of its meaning which is
retained is now generally applied. An expansion of the special meaning
has taken place.

On the other hand, words which were originally applied to many things
in many different situations come to signify a particular thing under
particular circumstances. This change of meaning is illustrated by the
names which the state or nation gives its officers. President,
secretary, general, captain, had originally a very broad meaning, but
when applied to the officers of the state have a very special meaning.
It is easy to explain this. The word _captain_, meaning originally
merely the chief of any aggregation of people, is naturally applied by
the speaker most frequently to the chief of that company of men in which
he is particularly interested. The chief of another company of men is
then no longer called by this simple name, but additional names are
used. The word when used without additional words comes to mean
exclusively the chief of the special group which is of main interest to
the speaker. Similarly, _city_ assumes for the person living in the
country the meaning of the city near by. _Gas_ means for the man who is
not a physicist only the ordinary illuminating gas.

Other changes of meaning resulting from associative connection and a
transference of attention are the metaphors and metonymies. A metaphor
is a figure of speech in which one object is spoken of as if it were
another; for example, when St. Luke says, “Go ye, and tell that fox,”
meaning Herod. A metonymy is the exchange of names between things
related. _Toilet_ meant originally a small cloth, a napkin, spread over
a table. Then it came to mean the table itself, used in the process of
dressing. Then it meant the process of dressing one’s hair, later the
general process of dressing one’s self. It also assumed the meaning of a
person’s actual dress, his costume; also the style of dress. More
recently it has come to mean the toilet room, the lavatory.

Many changes in the meaning of words result from certain secondary
purposes of the speaker. We usually address another person in order to
obtain something from him. In order to succeed, we must keep or make him
good humored, give him his proper honors and titles, flatter him rather
than call attention to his faults. The consequence of this exaggeration
of the person’s value is that all titles, all forms of appellation,
especially those addressed to the female sex, tend to deteriorate, to
lose their original value. _Lady_ no longer means the wife of a
nobleman, but is applied to a washerwoman. _Sir_ is used in a letter
addressed to any man, however low his rank.

Deterioration of the meaning of words is not restricted to those used
for appellation. Whenever we desire to convey any thought to others, we
must make it appear important enough to have people give attention to
it. We therefore choose terms which mean more than we intend to say,
rather than terms which mean exactly as much or less. We call things
lovely or horrid when we mean only agreeable or disagreeable, we speak
of heaven or hell when we mean only a good or a bad place. The
inevitable result is, of course, that the impressive words become
insipid. We call a student fair who is only mediocre, merely because of
our good will towards him. _Fair_ then comes to mean mediocre, and we
call a student fair who is a poor student. Finally, a fair student comes
to mean a poor student.

Those who are particularly anxious to use impressive language--young
people, students, soldiers--often use the other extreme for the same
purpose. They use words which signify low or bad things and relations
(slang) in order to refer to the things and relations of ordinary life
to which they want to call attention. “Grub” comes to mean human food.
“Being plucked” takes the place of “being rejected at an honor
examination.” _Puritan_ and _quaker_ are slang terms of the seventeenth
century which have entirely lost their original meaning of contempt and
ridicule. In the same way words of low meaning are all the time being
raised into the realm of good language.

Speech depends as much on the totality of mental life as perception. A
person’s choice of words, their forms and their connections, are
determined by previous habits of using words, by experience concerning
those qualities of things which are most important to his own interests,
by his consciousness of his present needs and ends. The general purpose
of communication between the members of society tends to obliterate
differences between individuals and between generations. But it never
does this perfectly. Individuality, circumstances, and special purpose
give to the language of each person an individual stamp; and the
succession of individuals, of historical conditions, of the varying
needs of successive generations, brings about unavoidably alterations in
the language. These alterations are retarded by the existence of a
written language, of literature. They may also be retarded artificially
by training and compelling the members of a community to use the same
words and the same rules of grammar and syntax. Such artificial
remedies, however, are not without serious disadvantages. They take the
life out of language. Force, beauty, and particularly truthfulness in
representation of thoughts are likely to be sacrificed unless we are
willing to admit a certain amount of lawlessness, which, after all, is
the outcome of the fundamental laws of the mind.

4. _The Significance of Language_

Aside from its social significance as the almost exclusive means of
communication among the members of society, language has its
significance for purely individual mental activity and mental growth.
This has already been referred to above. Language makes possible an
almost unlimited refinement of abstract thought, a complete analysis of
the data of perceptual, ideational, and affective life into their
elements, and the construction out of them of new concepts, first
according to their similarities, then according to purposes. Such
concepts as acceleration, pitch of tone, irrational number, atomic heat,
justice, bliss, would be impossible without language. To the invention
of such abstract concepts mankind owes its subjugation of nature. It is
difficult to think of the exact manner in which bodies fall when they
are dropped; some fall slowly, others with great velocity, some do not
fall at all, but rise. But think of them as being in space from which
the air has been exhausted, and apply the concept of acceleration. At
once the matter is very simple, and it includes even the heavenly bodies
with which we never come in direct contact: all bodies fall with
_constant acceleration_.

This is but one of innumerable instances. Practically all laws of
physics, chemistry, philology, psychology, and all the other sciences
are stated in terms of highly abstract concepts. Imagine, for example,
the sine or tangent of an angle, electromotor force, molecular weight,
consonants and vowels, intensity of sensation. None of these abstract
concepts and none of the laws in which they appear could have been
invented without the aid of language. How restricted, further, would be
our knowledge without language! How limited the exchange of opinions!
Think of such a phrase as “the events of the last thirty years.” What a
multitude of ideas is suggested by it in the most economical manner! Few
of these ideas actually become conscious; but all of them are made ready
to serve if their services should be needed.

Language further enables us to overcome, whenever this is necessary, the
ambiguity of its own elements (the words) which results from the
individual and historical conditions influencing the growth of speech.
The meaning of words can be fixed by definition. Such words as _circle_,
_energy_, _freedom_, have many different meanings (a circle of friends,
the energy of style, the freedom of a city). The physicist defines
energy as the capacity for performing mechanical work, excluding any and
all other meanings. The philosopher defines freedom as the possession of
the power to act in accordance with one’s inherent nature, independent
of external causes. Because of the association between the defined and
the defining words, the latter keep the defined word from being used
wrongly, by entering consciousness when the defined word happens to be
used in an improper connection. It is true that, in order to insure
constancy of meaning, the defining words, too, should be defined again
by others, and so on. A perfect definition is therefore an ideal which
can be approached, but never reached. In spite of this, the value to
human thought and knowledge of clearly defined concepts is immeasurable.


     141. Why does generalization play such an insignificant part in the
     mental life of animals?

     142. What are the four languages of educated normal people?

     143. Which of these languages is acquired first by the child?

     144. How does baby talk originate?

     145. How are the reduplications of baby talk to be explained?

     146. What is the origin of “a foreign accent” in speech?

     147. Why does voluntary imitation of speech sounds by a baby
     develop at first very slowly?

     148. Illustrate the inventiveness of children in learning to

     149. What could make one think that children surpass grown people
     in the ability to generalize?

     150. What are the four stages in the development of an individual’s

     151. What is the advantage or disadvantage of uniformity and
     individuality in the use of language?

     152. Illustrate how a word of individual meaning changes to a
     general meaning.

     153. Illustrate how a word of general meaning changes to an
     individual meaning.

     154. Explain the psychological origin of a metaphor and a metonymy.

     155. Illustrate and explain the deterioration of words.

     156. Illustrate slang and explain its origin.

     157. Is it desirable that the written language should retard the
     growth of the spoken language? Give reasons for your answer.

     158. What significance has language besides serving as a means of

     159. What is a definition? Why can a definition never become


1. _Coherent Thought_

When I receive a letter from a friend, I perceive its words, I become
conscious of their meaning, I remember my relations to him; for
instance, the time of our first meeting. But my thought proceeds. I
wonder how he is getting along now, whether better or worse than myself,
whether he has succeeded in overcoming through his greater energy the
obstacles which retarded my progress. This is more than perception,
imagination, or abstract consciousness. It is a _coherent process of
thinking_. The best way of describing its characteristics is to tell
what the opposite of _coherent_ thought is.

First, coherent thought is not dreaming. The elements of a dream are of
course united by something. But they are united only like the links of
a chain. If the second link were removed, nothing would hold the first
and the third together. This chain-like thought is frequent in the
insane. The following is an example from Diefendorf’s _Psychiatry_:--

     “My mother came for me in January. She had on a black bombazine of
     Aunt Jane’s. One shoestring of her own and got another from
     neighbor Jenkins. She lives in a little white house kitty corner of
     our’n. Come up with an old green umbrella ’cause it rained. You
     know it can rain in January when there is a thaw. Snow wasn’t more
     than half an inch deep, hog-killing time, they butchered eight that
     winter, made their own sausages, cured hams, and tried out their
     lard. They had a smoke house. [Question: But how about your leaving
     Hartford?] She got up to Hartford on the half-past eleven train and
     it was raining like all get out. Dr. Butler was having dinner,
     codfish, twasn’t Friday, he ain’t no Catholic, just sat with his
     back to the door and talked and laughed and talked.”

In other cases, mere similarity of words of different meaning, rhyme,
familiar questions, or spatial contiguity of things lead consciousness
from one idea to a second, from the second to the third, and so on,
without any common tie which would unite all these ideas into one

Coherent thought, secondly, is no endless recurring of the same few
ideas, as when I am brooding over something, when a song which I have
heard occupies my mind and gives me no peace, when the thought of having
possibly failed to lock the door properly prevents me from sleeping.
This recurring kind of thought, too, is a frequent symptom in cases of
mental derangement; for example, as a continuously present desire to
kill somebody, or as the permanent idea of one’s own sinfulness and

Coherent thought is intermediate between the two extremes just
mentioned. It is a train of thought regulated by the associative
connections between all the separate ideas and one central idea which
dominates and unifies the whole. The thought of a football game or of
the destiny of the United States branches out into innumerable partial
thoughts, each one leading to another one. But they are all united by
their relation to this game or to this nation. Such a coherent thought
need not possess a considerable length. Sometimes, as in unconstrained
conversation or in letter writing, it may soon be followed by another
coherent thought, this by a third, and so on, and these may be related
to each other merely like the links of a chain. Sometimes, however, it
lasts for hours, as in lecturing on a definite subject, or in writing or
reading a chapter of a book or a whole book.

Coherent thought depends largely on _memory_, on associative
connections. But it depends also on those conditions which determine
_attention_: unless the thoughts have an affective value, unless they
are interesting to the individual in question, they are not likely to
enter consciousness. Because of this dependence on the conditions of
attention, certain persons are capable of coherent thought in some
lines, but not in others. Whenever the purely _associative_ function
predominates over the conditions of _attention_, or conversely, those
abnormalities occur of which we have just spoken, mere chain-like
thought, or obsession by a single idea.

Nothing else favors coherent thought so much as the possession of
language. The simplicity of a word or phrase and its connection with
experiences of unlimited complexity enable the mind to keep within one
system of thought in spite of temporary deviations, numerous and winding
though they be. Such complicated ideas, inexhaustible to him who tries
to describe them, as propriety, honor, duty, may guide and determine a
long-continued train of thoughts and actions. The most important one of
all these guiding ideas, crystallizing around a single word, is the idea
of self, of _I_.

2. _The Self and the World_

Among the impressions received by a child through his sense organs, some
must very early distinguish themselves from the rest. (1) When the child
is carried about or creeps about, the majority of his impressions change
from moment to moment: instead of a wall with pictures, seen a few
seconds ago, he sees windows with curtains; instead of tables and chairs
he sees houses, trees, and strange people. Certain impressions, however,
hardly change. Whatever else he may see, he almost invariably sees also
his hands and some of the lower parts of his body. Whatever may be the
position of his body, sensations from his clothing, from the movements
of his limbs, from the processes in his digestive and other organs are
always present. (2) Another impressive phenomenon is this. The things
seen often move, and thus cause alterations in the field of vision. But
when these moving things are his own arms and legs, yielding to the pull
of their muscles, there is an additional experience, made up of
kinesthetic and usually also tactual sensations. Certain experiences are
therefore a kind of twofold experience as compared with others which are
of one kind only: visual plus kinesthetic-tactual. (3) In still a third
way certain experiences distinguish themselves. Whenever the child’s
hands and feet come in contact with external things, a tactual sensation
is added to the visual impression. But when one hand touches the other
hand or a foot or another part of the body, even a part which is not
seen, a peculiar double tactual impression is received. That this
double tactual sensation is particularly interesting may be concluded
from the concentration with which an infant plays with his feet, and the
enjoyment which a kitten seems to get from biting its tail.

For various reasons, therefore, the sensations of a child’s _own body_,
visual, tactual, organic, etc., become experiences of a special class.
By various peculiarities they distinguish themselves from all others and
become a special, unitary group. But the child’s _ideas and feelings_,
when compared with his perceptions, also form a peculiar system, often
keeping unchanged while the perceptions change because of movements of
the objective things or of the body itself. It is quite natural, then,
that in opposition to the external world _a dual system_ is conceived,
made up of the bodily sensations on the one hand and the ideas and
feelings of frequently repeated or especially impressive experiences on
the other. But in spite of this unison between the complex of bodily
sensations and the complex of ideas, forming a personal world as opposed
to the external world, there remains an opposition between the
constituents of the personal world as between a material and a spiritual
half of the whole.

This complex idea of a personal world, of personality, which constantly
increases in content, is given a special name, John or Mary, and still
later another name, _I_. The unity of the idea of personality, the
readiness of its appearance in consciousness in spite of the multitude
of its contents, is greatly enhanced by this name. The idea _I_ becomes
the omnipresent and dominating factor in consciousness. I can see
nothing, hear nothing, imagine nothing without, however vaguely,
thinking that it is _I_ who reads, _I_ who answers, _I_ who designs. It
is altogether impossible to express such thoughts in language without
reference to the _I_ or the _mine_. In the ecstasy of the mystic or the
mental exaltation of the insane, the idea of _I_ may be absent, but
never under normal conditions at an age beyond that of infancy.
Consciousness in which the idea of _I_ is rather pronounced is commonly
called self-consciousness.

It is plain enough that thinking of the other half of the world, other
than the self, is also facilitated by such names as “the world,” “the
external world.” But the concept of the external world does not easily
attain the unity of the concept of self, because the experiences
referred to are too changeable in comparison with those referred to by
_I_. We speak of the external world chiefly in order to distinguish it
from the self, not because of the unity of its conception.

The extraordinary support which the consciousness of self receives from
language has had also a certain undesirable consequence. We have
mentioned in an earlier chapter the universal desire to imagine the
world as being under the power of innumerable demons. The consciousness
of the self thus leads naturally to the thought of a demon who inhabits
the human body. When a person under ordinary conditions is conscious of
the _I_, there is no time for its content to unfold itself to any
considerable extent. Usually one small group of ideas enters
consciousness, even when I ask myself the question as to what I am:
ideas of a certain visual appearance, a certain position in society, a
certain age, certain aims in life. It seems then that the concept of
self is exceedingly simple. This apparent simplicity gives aid to the
idea of the existence of a simple demon, independent of time, eternal,
inhabiting and governing this body as long as its organs are held
together by their normal physiological functions, after the body’s death
going elsewhere--whither, we do not know. But this conclusion as to the
existence of a simple, unitary subjective reality is no more justifiable
than the statement that, because of the simplicity of the idea _it_ in
ordinary language, there must be an absolutely simple objective reality
which corresponds to it.

Mind may justly be called a unity. But it is not a simple, indescribable
unity, a unitary something separable from the sum of the parts of which
it consists. It is, rather, a unity comparable to the unity of an animal
organism or a plant, which may be well described as consisting of so
many different parts functioning together according to definite laws.
Within the unity of the mind there are smaller groups which may also be
called unities, though in a restricted sense. The _I_ is one of these
subordinate unities. It, too, is not simple, but consists of parts,
sometimes a greater, sometimes a smaller number. It may expand and
include almost as much content as mind itself, provided that time is
given for such an expansion, and a sufficient stimulus. Usually the _I_
is very poor in content, hardly anything else than the word-idea which
is the representative of the whole concept.

3. _Intelligence_

It is but natural that thought is largely in harmony with the actual
facts. Its contents are derived from sensory experiences, are molded by
sensory experiences, and must therefore often be anticipations of
sensory experiences. With reference to its agreement or disagreement
with the actual facts, we give our thought the name of truth,
knowledge--or error. Both truths and errors, like perceptions and
illusions, are the results of the laws governing mental functions. But
truths are more common in the mental life of certain individuals than in
that of others. Youth is more apt than mature age to give free rein to
its imagination, no matter whether it agrees with reality or not. This
is partly the result of the mature man’s realizing the high value of
this agreement and therefore striving for it; partly the unintended
consequence of innumerable pleasant and sad experiences, of adaptations
which have proved now more, now less successful. But aside from such
differences developing during life, there are immense differences of a
similar kind resulting from native capacities. We speak of such
capacities as reason, judgment, intelligence.

Intelligence does not consist merely in a good memory, making possible
the exact reproduction of experiences of long ago. A good memory in this
sense contributes much toward a high degree of intelligence, but is not
identical with it. Even the feeble-minded are often found to possess an
astonishing capacity for retaining dates, poetry, music. But memory
adapts the thought processes only to very simple and frequently
recurring events. When the circumstances become complicated, it soon
proves inadequate.

Imagine a servant sent on an errand. He finds it impossible to execute
the instructions received from his master. That ends it, if he is
deficient in intelligence. No instructions have been given for this
case; thus there is nothing to do but to return home. But the thought of
an intelligent servant is more comprehensive. He recalls his master’s
situation and analogous cases; the probable purpose of the master’s
order; other possibilities of realizing the same end. Thus he succeeds
perhaps in reconstructing the totality of the conditions which led his
master to send him, and in meeting these conditions.

Take another example. Of several physicians, all but one are mistaken in
the diagnosis of a case. Why do they differ? Every disease is
characterized by a multitude of symptoms. Some of them are obvious, so
that no one can fail to notice them: the complaints of the patient.
Others are more hidden, but no less important. The physician must search
for them. Each symptom, for example, fever, lack of appetite, dizziness,
megalomania, may appear in very different diseases. A definite group of
symptoms in definite degrees of intensity is characteristic of a
particular disease. Two conditions, therefore, must be fulfilled to make
a correct diagnosis. The symptoms which are hidden must be called up by
those which are obvious, so that the physician can search for them and
determine whether they are present or absent; for without first thinking
of them he cannot search for them. Secondly, the thought of the present
and absent symptoms must reproduce the idea of the disease which is
characterized by the presence or absence of just these symptoms. This
reproduction is possible only in a mind in which all these ideas are
very closely connected, forming a well-organized system. Where this is
not the case, the less obvious symptoms cannot influence the decision,
and the correctness of the diagnosis becomes a matter of chance.

Lack of intelligence, then, means a _deficiency in the organization of
ideas_, a lack of those manifold interconnections by which a large
number of ideas may enter into a unitary group--no matter how
_effectively_ each idea is associated with a small number of others,
that is, how excellent the person’s _memory_. Intelligence means
organization of ideas, manifold interconnection of all those ideas which
ought to enter into a unitary group, because of the natural relations of
the objective facts represented by them. The discovery of a physical law
in a multitude of phenomena apparently unrelated, the interpretation of
an historical event of which only a few details are directly known, are
examples of intelligent thought which takes into consideration
innumerable experiences neglected by the less intelligent mind. Neither
memory alone nor attention alone is the foundation of intelligence, but
a union of memory and attention. Energy of concentration must be
combined with breadth of interest. It is clear that thought determined
by both these conditions is more likely to agree with the enormously
complicated events in the external world than thought which is governed
mainly by one of them.

How does human intelligence differ from that of animals? That man is
immeasurably superior to animals cannot be doubted. But human
superiority does not consist in the possession of a higher faculty--let
us call it reason--in no way dependent on the lower, animal faculties,
to which it is added as a jeweler’s tools might be added to a
blacksmith’s tools. The difference between the animal mind and the human
mind is simply this: that the imaginative anticipation of possible
experiences of the future is brought about in the human mind by means of
more abstract and therefore more comprehensive ideas than in the animal
mind. Man’s mind is by natural inheritance far more capable of forming
abstract ideas than is the mind of the highest animals. Man is further
immensely aided in abstract thought by language--his own
invention--which furnishes him with symbols taking the place of the most
complicated ideas, and because of their simplicity, effecting economy in
mental work as tools and machines do in manual labor. Animals, too,
possess symbols, cries; but their number is insignificant. The
difference between man and animals is therefore only one of degree in
properties which are common to both. But these degrees are indeed very
far apart in the scale.


     160. How does coherent thought differ from dreaming?

     161. How does coherent thought differ from mere recurrent thought?

     162. What are the conditions on which coherent thought depends?

     163. What is the significance of language for coherent thought?

     164. What are the two sources of the idea of self?

     165. What influence has language on the concept of the unity and
     indivisibility of self?

     166. What is the true concept of the unity of mind?

     167. How does intelligence differ from memory?

     168. How does the text describe “lack of intelligence”?

     169. How does human intelligence differ from that of animals?

§ 18. BELIEF

It seems, then, that all our knowledge is a mere adaptation to external
circumstances, that truth is entirely relative, being only a fitting
relation between the subject and his surroundings. But are there no
truths whose evidence is inherent in them? Are there no axioms which are
immediately evident? Is it not our task to derive all other truths from
these axioms by means of logical rules the correctness of which we are
obliged to admit? Or, if there are also secondary truths, which we
recognize as such only because they suit our experience, are not those
immediately evident truths a superior kind, preëminently worthy of the
name? For example, the logical, mathematical, and religious truths?

Our previous discussion of truth and knowledge is indeed insufficient.
We called truth any mental state which is in harmony with objective
reality, no matter whether this relation of harmony is itself thought of
in the truth or not. But we may use the word _truth_, or _knowledge_, in
a subjective sense, meaning by it a complex mental state which
_includes the thought of its agreeing_ with objective reality; that is,
a state which includes the _belief_ of its objective counterpart. Most
people take it for granted that knowledge is mental activity which has
its objective counterpart. However, there are very many subjective
truths to which an objective reality cannot correspond. Christian,
Jewish, pagan, and philosophical martyrs have testified with their blood
to their faiths, which in certain respects contradict each other. They
must, therefore, have sacrificed their lives partly for something
objectively untrue. On the other hand, there are objective truths which
are not believed; for instance, theories which are rejected for some
time, but later prove to be right.

We have seen how objectively correct thought originates. Let us now
consider the origin of thought which includes the thought of the
existence of its objective counterpart; that is, the origin of belief.

An infant has no consciousness of either reality or unreality. He has
simply conscious states, without any such distinction. But he cannot
fail to learn the distinction. He is hungry. He cries. He becomes
conscious of reproduced former experiences of food and of the mother
bringing the food. And, indeed, the door opens, the mother enters with
the food, very similar to the imagined mother, and yet differing in
vividness, in permanence, in number of details. At a later time the
child imagines strange compositions: animals with legs both below and on
their backs, so that they can turn over and continue running when one
set of legs is tired; princes and princesses with golden crowns on their
heads; fairies carrying marvelous gifts in their hands. But nothing of
this kind appears with the vividness, permanence, and distinctness
characteristic of the mother entering the door. Human beings who appear
with a similar vividness, permanence, and distinctness, either are
bareheaded or wear plain-looking hats; and their gifts amount to but
little. When the child imagines the experience with his mother, he
recalls the substitution of the vivid and stable consciousness for the
feeble and fleeting image of the mother and the food. When he imagines
his dreams of princes and fairies, he recalls the substitution of those
vivid but homely mental states for less vivid but more beautiful ones.
When such experiences have been repeated hundreds of times, the child
begins to realize that there is a distinction of the greatest importance
between the two classes. He forms the abstract concepts of sensory
perception and of fancy--of consciousness of various sensory qualities
and characterized by indescribable vividness, permanence, and
distinctness; and on the other hand, of consciousness of various sensory
qualities and characterized by feebleness, fleetingness, and vagueness,
and in this respect flatly contradicted by the mental states of the
other kind. _In these abstract conceptions consists the consciousness of
reality and unreality._ Reality and unreality are not logical opposites,
but merely relative concepts.

As soon as the ideas of reality and unreality are once formed, ample
opportunity is found for their application. They are applied also to
cases which do not belong to either of the extremes of vividness,
permanence, and distinctness, or feebleness, fleetingness, and
vagueness. Finally, they are applied by mere analogy to cases which do
not directly call for their application--as in a discussion of
historical truths. At this point another distinction is made. Trees with
leaves of silver are never presented to our sense organs. But the
elements which make up even the most contradictory compounds of fancy
have been known through the sense organs and become known again as
sensory impressions. Trees with a foliage of silver are not seen in
everyday life; but trees are seen, and leaf-like things of silver, too.
Even if all our ideational thought were fancy, its elements would tend
to make us conscious of the concept of reality rather than of unreality
because separately the elements have often been experienced with a high
degree of vividness, permanence, and distinctness. The opportunities for
thinking of reality are incomparably more numerous in human life than
those for thinking of unreality. We develop the habit of conceiving our
thoughts as real, unless there is a positive force compelling us to
accept the opposite concept. Thus we understand why the child, as soon
as he has formed these two concepts, is immensely credulous.

Tell the child that the moon is going to drop from heaven, and he will
look up, expecting to see it fall. The child’s experience is limited.
There is but rarely a positive force tending to reproduce in his
consciousness the concept of unreality. Where there is no such force,
the child does not remain neutral, skeptical, but conceives his thought
as including objective reality. Language assists in this tendency, for
the first words acquired by the child mean objective realities, persons,
clothes, furniture, and so on. The frequent use of these words
strengthens the habit of thinking of things as realities. Of much
influence is also the use of the verb _to be_ as a mere copula and also
in the sense of _to exist_. The child is thus induced to regard a thing
as existing because it is thought _to be_ yellow, round, etc. That _to
be_ is used in this ambiguous manner in all languages seems to be
additional proof of what is historically certain, that the human race,
like the human child, has passed through a period of extreme credulity.
This racial credulity through the traditional usage of language
contributes now to the credulity of the individual.

Gradually the child’s experience becomes more extensive and begins to
exert upon the multitude of original beliefs an influence which
sometimes continues all through life, although ultimately the progress
becomes very slow. Experience steadily encroaches upon the realm of
belief, driving it from ground which it previously occupied. It also
gives additional authority to belief, enabling it to hold more firmly
that to which previously it possessed but a doubtful title.

Much that contradicts frequent experiences is taken out of the realm of
belief and called a fairy tale or a story. Trees with golden apples?
There is no such thing, the real apples assert--we are all mellow and
meaty, not hard as gold. A Santa Claus who distributes gifts to all the
children everywhere at the same time? Impossible, says everyday
experience. He who is here cannot also be yonder and in a thousand other

On the other hand, experience gives strength to the child’s belief.
Single matters of belief are connected mutually and with the absolute
basis of all knowledge, the sensory perceptions of the present. When I
am obliged to think, however briefly and vaguely, that as really as I
now see this paper and perceive the words printed on it, I was at that
particular time, previous to those and those events of the meantime, at
a certain place witnessing a certain act, my belief in the reality of
this event is unshakable. Whatever can be connected in this manner with
this fixed point, is itself fixed, placed beyond doubt.

Why can I believe my dreams while I am dreaming them, but not after
waking up? Because consciousness is limited during sleep. There are _no
perceptions_ with their normal vividness, permanence, and distinctness,
with which the dream may be compared as to its reality. There are but
_few other ideas_ accompanied by a vivid idea of reality, with which the
dream may be compared. The dream has therefore the _maximum of reality_
of all mental states present at that time in the mind. This is meant
when we _believe_ our dreams while we dream them. In a dream it may seem
real to be shot toward the moon in an immense shell in company with
other people, as in Jules Verne’s story. But in waking life this thought
is altogether devoid of reality. In comparison with the reality of my
present experience and of my ideas of the limits of engineering, of the
low temperature of interstellar space, and so on, that thought of a
journey in a shell immediately makes me conscious of the vivid idea of
unreality. I cannot believe that story.

We call a verbal statement _proved_ as soon as the connection between it
and our present experience has been established in such a manner that
the idea of reality is aroused in our mind. The believing of that which
has been proved is called _knowing_. Belief is often used in a narrower
sense, excluding that which is known and including only that which does
not arouse either an idea of reality or an idea of unreality. Both
usages are justifiable, the narrower one and also the wider one.
Knowledge and belief are opposed as well as related. It is of much
practical importance to distinguish that which has been proved from that
which has not been proved. But it is also of practical importance to
distinguish that which is surely unreal from that which is merely
unproved. It is quite impossible in human life to prove every statement
before we permit it to affect our thought and our action.

The chief thing which a man must have learned when he arrives at
maturity is this: that the number of facts to be believed is very much
smaller than he thought originally. The belief of childhood and youth is
subject to continuous losses. Something is, indeed, confirmed and
strengthened by growing experience; but it was believed before it was
known, and cannot properly be called an additional belief. Much that has
been believed for some time is recognized as unreal. That apparent
errors have to be recognized as truths happens much more rarely.
Experience makes a man more and more skeptical, cautious. This is of
great advantage to him in his adaptation to the world, and higher
institutions of learning to a large extent have their purpose in aiding
the young to develop cautious, critical habits of thinking. A student
goes to college not merely in order to cram himself with bare facts, but
to be trained in the habit of seeing men and things in the abundance of
their relations, of asking for their passports before granting them free

Thus the original tendency to believe is gradually limited, more in one
individual, less in another. But it is never perfectly eradicated. This,
indeed, would not be advantageous. A limited tendency to believe is
indispensable. Two conditions contribute chiefly toward the retention of
a belief which can be neither proved nor disproved: authority and
personal needs.

“He told us so” is reported to have been a common remark among the
disciples of Pythagoras. And to the present time disciples of any master
have not failed to quote their master. It is not even necessary to be a
master in order to be a prophet. A strong voice, significant
gesticulation, and impressive speech are sufficient to guide the belief
of the masses of the people. When everybody holds a certain belief and
gives expression to it, no member of the crowd can escape the influence
of the constant repetition of the thought. I cannot help believing what
my friends or my associates in a profession believe. Even if I begin to
reflect on the reasonableness of accepting as a truth what I have merely
often heard, I can hardly free myself of the belief. Is it not highly
improbable that all of them should have been led into error without
noticing it? On the consensus of everybody, philosophers have frequently
founded their highest doctrines. Cicero calls it the voice of nature. On
the other hand, narrow-minded people often attempt to fight a truth
which they dislike by pointing out partial disagreements among its

But the belief in statements which are neither proved nor disproved is
not always based on authority; that is, produced by emphatic and
often-repeated expression of these statements by the people among whom
we live. It is frequently the result of strong and deep-seated needs of
the human mind. As long as these needs make themselves felt, they call
up in the mind ideas of remedies and means in harmony with analogous
experiences; and unless these remedies and means are contradicted by
other experiences, they are believed. One may call this, in distinction
from the authoritative belief, practical or emotional belief.

Every one believes in his own destiny. Every mother believes in her son.
Napoleon believed in his star. A general who doubts if he is going to
win the impending battle has already half lost it. Can he prove it, that
is, can he interpret what he sees and what is reported to him in such a
manner that the idea of his winning the battle cannot appear in his mind
without the idea of reality? He is probably very far from giving his
experiences such an interpretation. Of course, he will do his best in
order to make victory come his way. But his knowledge constantly informs
him that the outcome is dubious. Yet this knowledge does not keep him
from believing that it is not dubious. He cannot help believing it. His
whole existence depends on this belief. His honor, his future career,
his nation, all is lost unless he wins. The idea of loss is impossible.
It is inhibited by the idea of success, by that idea which alone can
give him the prudence and presence of mind that are needed.

Or the mother who believes that her son will turn out a respectable man,
does she do it because of her experiences? Her experiences are perhaps
opposed to her belief; she believes, nevertheless. Circumstances were
unfavorable to her son, his father does not understand his real nature,
he merely enjoys his youth: thus she comforts herself. Experience is not
the foundation of her belief, but her belief interprets her experience.
The belief is founded on the fact that she needs it. The idea of a
wayward son would deprive her of the most valued part of her existence.
Therefore she cannot believe it.

Misfortune of any kind has a marvelous belief-creating power, because it
constantly revives ideas of remedying the misfortune. “Whoever has lived
among people,” says Spinoza, “knows how full of wisdom they feel,
insulted if any one should offer any advice, as long as their affairs
are prosperous. But let misfortune overpower them, and they are willing
to ask any one’s advice, and to accept it, however senseless and
ill-considered it may be.”

Experiential, authoritative, and practical belief differ according to
their sources, but they appear in life in various combinations. However,
one of three kinds can usually be found to be the chief component in a
system of conviction. That we cannot escape the authoritative belief is
plain. Who could repeat every observation made by others in order to
avoid the possibility of accepting erroneous reports? Practical belief
has different limits according to the amount of experience possessed by
each individual. And a whole class of people having about the same kind
and amount of experience may thus be distinguished from another class by
their practical beliefs. A practical belief of one, which is not shared
by another, is called by the latter a superstition. How much
superstitions differ and how much they change is well known. Recall, for
example, a superstitious means of improving one’s looks, of curing
diseases, of regaining a lost love. But wherever a superstition is
difficult to contradict because it is so stated as to concern only that
which is beyond experience (spiritualism), or when it is supported by a
famous name, it may successfully resist all attempts at overthrowing it.

We saw that practical belief is not altogether independent of
experiential belief. Neither is the latter independent of the former.
When two theories agree equally well with experiential facts, we accept
the one that is simpler. Not because we know that it is nature’s
obligation to proceed in the simplest manner possible, and that
therefore the simpler theory is more likely to be correct; but because
our practical needs compel us to accept a simpler theory whenever we
can. We believe the Copernican theory of the solar system and reject the
Ptolemaic system. Not because one is more correct than the other; but
because the Copernican system combines the same objective fitness with
an immeasurably greater simplicity. The simple we desire; the simple,
therefore, we believe. A simple connection of a variety of things is
pleasant, beautiful. It is easy to survey it. It takes but a small
amount of mental energy to imagine it. Whenever our experiences leave us
a choice, we choose what is simpler. In other cases, too, practical
belief comes to the aid of experiential belief. In the border regions of
knowledge and within the blank spaces found within the field of
knowledge, belief must take the place of knowledge.


     170. What is the difference between objectively correct thought and

     171. What is the wider and what the narrower meaning of “belief”?

     172. How do the ideas of reality and of unreality originate in the

     173. Why are we more inclined to apply the concept of reality than
     that of unreality?

     174. What is the double influence of experience on the child’s

     175. Should authoritative belief be eradicated? Give reasons for
     your answer.

     176. Should practical belief be eradicated? Give reasons for your

     177. What is a superstition?

     178. Why do we believe the Copernican theory and reject the
     Ptolemaic theory?

B. _Affection and Conduct_


1. _Feeling Dependent on Form and Content_

Perception and ideation rarely, if ever, occur in the isolation in which
they were shown above in order to make clear their structure: they are
accompanied by, interwoven with, feelings. A summer landscape not only
looks different from the same landscape when covered with snow, but also
arouses different feelings. I may look forward to the same event--an
ocean voyage or an automobile tour--as a danger or as a pleasure; I may
regard an assertion as a truth or as doubtful. The ideas of which I am
conscious surely differ much in the alternative cases. But still greater
is the difference of feeling to which we refer by such terms as _fear_,
_low spirits_, _disquietude_, _comfort_, _joy_. The exact make-up of
these complexes of feeling is difficult to describe, but we may try to
point out the conditions on which they depend. We shall first consider
form and content.

Sensations, images, perceptions, and so on, give rise to feelings, not
only on account of what they are, but also and indeed chiefly because of
their manner of connection, of succession, and of spatial relation.
Colors which we regard as most beautiful separately may compose a carpet
whose color scheme we dislike and call inharmonious; on the other hand,
the most uninteresting gray dots may compose a beautiful design. A piece
of music is beautiful not alone because of the clearness of the single
tones, but chiefly because of the relations of these tones in melody,
harmony, and rhythm.

One principle is generally applicable to this class of feelings: a
variety of mental contents is bound together into a unity for our
perception and imagination. A multitude of unconnected things is not
easily perceivable or thinkable; therefore it is unpleasant. A single
thing, so simple that it cannot be analyzed into component parts, cannot
occupy our mind for any length of time; it is tedious, unpleasant. A
combination of variety and unity is able to keep us mentally busy
without overburdening the mind; therefore it is pleasant.

The general principle, however, admits of a great many different
applications. The unity may consist, for example, in the similarity and
regularity of arrangement of the pickets of a fence. The unity may
consist in subordination of a number of equal elements to a dominating
element, as the larger fence post taking the place of a picket at
regular intervals, or the accented element in a rhythm. The unity may
consist in organic unity of the elements of a living thing. It may be
logical unity, as in a sentence or a lecture. Several of these and other
kinds of unity may appear simultaneously in the same matter; and one of
these unities may be subordinate to another, this again to another, and
so on, as in a Gothic cathedral, a symphony, or a drama.

Thus the variety and complication of the feelings based on the principle
in question is immensely great, depending on all these unities, their
harmonious relation or opposition, and the contents of impression or
imagination directly. This complication is further increased by the
conditions discussed below.

2. _Feeling Dependent on Association of Ideas_

Why does a sunny spring landscape give us pleasure? What is its
advantage over a gloomy winter landscape? Possibly green is a pleasanter
color than brown or gray, which predominate in the winter landscape.
Possibly the curved outlines of the trees in their foliage are more
beautiful than the naked branches appearing like a system of dark veins
on a gray sky. But these are hardly the main causes of the difference in
feeling, which are found rather in the different ideas associated with
the one and the other percept. The spring landscape reminds one of life,
warmth, travel, picnics; the winter scene suggests death and decay,
cold, moisture, overheated and ill-ventilated rooms. The feelings
aroused by these things when we actually experience them are likely to
be aroused now when these thoughts, however fleetingly, are reproduced.
For the same reason the cold sensation of touching a corpse is
accompanied by a feeling differing from that of touching a piece of ice.
It is a different thing to see a stream of blood or of cherry juice, and
in a lesser degree even of cherry juice or milk. In every case a
multitude of memories influence our feelings, or lead us directly into a
train of thought of pleasant or unpleasant character. Thus the feelings
which have their first origin in a simple percept may become exceedingly

An especially important consideration is that these feelings increase in
intensity and finally become more conspicuous than the memories by which
they are aroused. A house in which I experienced an unpleasant scene
finally arouses unpleasantness directly, without any mediation by the
consciousness of that event. This kind of transference of feeling is
particularly noticeable when the same feeling is aroused by many
different memories, quite unconnected among themselves, though attached
to the same percept. No better illustration of this law can be found
than the feelings accompanying the thought of money. From early
childhood all through life man learns that it is money and again money
on which the realization of his desires depends. A definite memory of
any of these special experiences soon becomes impossible because of the
competition among them. But the pleasantness originally aroused by them
is not lost. It attaches itself directly to money. In a similar manner
our love for our parents, our friends, our home, and so on, originates.
A reverent child may reject as a brutal theory the statement that he
loves his parents because of the innumerable benefits received from
them, that this love is but a kind of precipitation of all the pleasures
derived from the actions of his parents and from his living with them.
This rejection is in so far justified as the child’s love is not a
conscious deduction from the memory of benefits received. Nevertheless,
it is quite certain that his love is in some way naturally derived from
them. Children who are brought up by foster parents, if they are as well
taken care of as by real parents, love them equally well.

We have pointed out that the idea of _I_ is almost omnipresent in our
thought, and that it constantly influences our feelings. To understand
this influence better, we may distinguish two relations between _I_ and
the rest of our thought, according as this or the _I_ is the predominant
part of our consciousness. The former case may be illustrated by our
perceiving the movements, gestures, and voice-sounds of a person or of
an animal as the expressions of conscious motives. Even into the
percepts of inorganic things the idea of _I_ is carried in a similar
manner. We speak of a bridge boldly swinging across the river, a
mountain rising proudly to the clouds, a beam resting heavily on
columns, lines crowding together or leaning against each other, tones
hiding before and seeking each other. We attribute contents of the _I_
to the things which we perceive; we give them mental life, feeling, and
conduct, and experience in consequence further responses of our own life
of feeling. In such cases, the influence of the _I_ on our thought is
obvious, but it does not predominate. On the other hand, the idea of _I_
may be predominant, but may receive its special coloring from the data
presented: as when I feel the tragic fate of a hero, not merely through
the sympathy or admiration which it arouses in me, but as my own pain;
when in the stress and striving of a Faust I feel my own dreams and
desires; when the precipice pulls me down or the towering rock uplifts

Since the idea of _I_ is so influential for our life of feeling, it is
to be expected that the opposite idea, the idea of the external _world_,
is also of considerable importance in this respect. Very often we refer
to a thing by merely emphasizing that it is opposed to, different from,
or independent of the _self_. We frequently speak of _the world and its
ways_, of _the course of the world_, meaning all its sense and nonsense,
its kindness and cruelty. Naturally, this idea of the world also gives
rise to many complicated feelings.

3. _Irradiation of Feeling_

We mentioned above that feeling is easily transferred from one percept
or idea--its _substratum_--to another one which is associated with the
first. A special form of this law of feeling may be called irradiation
of feeling. A disagreeable message received early in the morning may
spoil the whole day; the news of a great success may for some time give
to every other experience a joyful aspect. Not that the unpleasant or
pleasant event is constantly recalled. It is recalled now and then; and
the feeling may be more intense at these moments. But the feeling does
not depend on this recall. It attaches itself to any other substratum,
even to one which is scarcely in any way related to the first. I have
been vexed by an employee’s failure to carry out an order in the proper
way and by the resulting consequences. Now I am provoked to anger by
everything that happens, by a harmless question of a child, by the visit
of a friend who is ordinarily welcome, by the happy looks of a neighbor,
by the fly on the wall, not least by myself, being so stupid and so
deficient in self-control that I give room to all this unpleasantness.

So many-sided are the complications of our life of feeling. The
contents, their mutual relations, their connections in the past, the
prevailing impressions of the present, all these are conditions on which
our feeling depends.


     179. Illustrate the independence of form feeling and content

     180. Explain the pleasantness of unity in variety.

     181. Give examples of unity in variety.

     182. Illustrate feeling based on association of ideas.

     183. What examples are given in the text of transference of

     184. What are the two relations between the _I_ and the rest of our
     thought, important for our feeling?

     185. What is irradiation of feeling?


Our preceding discussion shows that an exhaustive description of all our
complicated feelings is an enormous task. We cannot enter upon it here.
But certain classes of feelings may be described in more detail; namely,
emotions and moods.

Those feelings which are based on associated ideas, and which rise at
once to great intensity, are called emotions. This definition is
somewhat deficient in so far as it is difficult to draw the line which
exactly separates great from small intensity and a quick from a slow
rise of intensity. Nevertheless, the stormy character of certain
feelings not directly attached to sensory stimulation is so conspicuous
that a special name is desirable. Anger, fright, distress, and hilarity
are such feelings: hilarity distinctly pleasant, fright and distress
equally unpleasant; anger also unpleasant, yet mixed sometimes with a
certain amount of pleasure. The feeling and the consciousness of its
cause are usually so intense in an emotion that there is little room for
coherent thought. The judgment of a person in a state of emotion is
narrow; his actions may be called shortsighted.

Those feelings which become separated from their original perceptual or
ideational substratum and attach themselves to any other kind of
perception or ideation--no matter what feelings properly belong to
these--are called moods. They are usually, probably because of the
separation mentioned, of small intensity. But their duration is often
very extended. As typical examples may be mentioned grudge, worry,
dejection, and cheerfulness.

Like all feelings, emotions and moods are in some way related to motor
activity. Of particular interest here are not the purposive movements,
which are by no means absent, but a large number of muscular activities
seemingly of little or no usefulness, resulting from inherited nervous
connections. In so far as these muscular activities become outwardly
noticeable they are called the expressions of the emotions or moods. The
angry man instinctively clinches his fist, the hilarious fellow dances
about. Laughing, weeping, wrinkling of the forehead, and blushing are
further expressions of this class. Contraction of the muscle fibers in
the skin causes goose flesh, or the hair to stand on end. Breathing
undergoes changes, becoming quicker or slower than normal. The blood
vessels expand or diminish in size through the activity of the muscle
fibers in their walls, causing the subject to look red or pale, to feel
warm or cold, and in the latter case to shiver. Secretion of saliva,
perspiration, and secretion of the lachrymal glands may result from the
changes in the circulation of the blood. Fatigue, nausea, lack of
appetite, and other symptoms of internal processes may occur.

These phenomena were almost entirely neglected by the older psychology,
although their significance was understood by physicians. More recently
their psychological import has been recognized and even overestimated.
It has been said that these phenomena not only occur in emotions, but
_are_ the emotions; that the emotions consist in the organic sensations
resulting from these reflex muscular activities (theory of James and
Lange). We do not weep because we are sorry, but we are sorry because we
weep. We do not tremble because we fear a pistol held up before us, but
we are frightened because we tremble. Two arguments favor this view. Let
all bodily symptoms be gone, and the strongest emotion is gone too.
Anger without clinching the hand is no anger. While I am sitting calmly
on a chair, smiling, I cannot be angry. And further, when the bodily
symptoms are exactly imitated or produced by drugs or by nervous
disease, the emotion is there. Alcohol makes a person hilarious and
courageous without any perception of the kind which usually produces
this effect. Certain poisons or mania cause rage very much like that
produced by an insult.

However, these facts do not prove that an emotion contains nothing else
than organic sensations. It is obvious that, according to the laws of
association, the contents of an emotion must be reproduced by those
organic sensations which were present innumerable times when that
emotion was present. The organic sensations resulting from poisons or
mania perhaps call up an idea of an insult, and the complete emotion of
anger naturally follows. Because of the firmly established associations,
it is also to be expected that the voluntary substitution of a different
set of organic sensations interferes with a present emotion.
Introspection makes it clear that an emotion contains much more than a
mere group of organic sensations.

The instinctive motor activities characteristic of the various emotions
may be classified under two headings: excitation and depression. The
difference is especially noticeable in unpleasant emotions: anger is an
emotion of excitement; fear, as a rule, of depression. But this
distinction is not entirely absent in pleasant emotions. The joy of a
grateful memory is characterized, not indeed by depression, but by a
restfulness very distinct from the excited joy of expectation or the
delight at a present experience, although the pleasantness felt may be
of exactly the same degree of intensity. A careful analysis of these
motor activities must distinguish, not only excitement and depression,
but also their occurrence in either the skeletal or the involuntary
muscles, the muscles of the vascular system. Thus one may distinguish
four classes of emotions, as characterized chiefly by heightened
activity of the skeletal or of the vascular muscles, or by weakened
activity of the skeletal or of the vascular muscles. Symptoms resulting
from abnormal contraction or relaxation of the vascular muscles are, for
example, a person’s growing pallid, or blushing, and the corresponding
sensations of cold and warmth.

Two other concepts relating to the emotional life deserve to be
mentioned, temperament and passion. Temperaments are inherited
tendencies of the life of feeling in special directions. Since ancient
times four have been distinguished: the sanguine, bilious (choleric),
melancholic (atrabilious), phlegmatic (lymphatic). The ancients held
that temperament is conditioned on the predominance of one of the four
humors, the blood, lymph, yellow bile, and black bile. This is of course
pure speculation of a prescientific period. But the distinction of the
four classes agrees well with common observation, although mixed forms
of temperament are more common than the pure types. People are either
optimistically or pessimistically inclined. The sanguine and the
phlegmatic are the optimists, the bilious and the melancholic the
pessimists. On the other hand, some people are excitable, impetuous,
others are not easily aroused. The sanguine and the bilious are quickly
excited, the melancholic and the phlegmatic are calm and sluggish.

Passions are acquired dispositions toward special kinds of pleasant
experiences. We might say that they are foreseeing, voluntary emotions.
We speak of the passion of the gambler, the smoker, the collector, the
lover. One may also compare an emotion with an acute disease, a passion
with a chronic disease. Animals, too, possess emotions, as joy, fear,
and rage. But it seems that they are not sufficiently capable of
anticipating emotions to be said to possess passions.


     186. How are emotions defined?

     187. How does an emotion influence coherent thought?

     188. How are moods defined?

     189. Mention a number of moods and an equal number of emotions,
     each comparable to one of the moods.

     190. What four classes of motor activities characteristic of
     emotions are distinguished in the text?

     191. What motor activities are called expressions?

     192. Give examples of expressions of emotion.

     193. Give examples of motor activities which are not expressions of
     emotion, but nevertheless of much significance for the subject’s
     experience of an emotion.

     194. What is temperament?

     195. What is a passion?


We have shown in an earlier chapter how voluntary--that is,
foreseeing--actions develop out of instincts. Sensations result from the
instinctive action, are associated with those other impressions which
called forth the instinctive response, can then be reproduced by them,
and can themselves produce the action. When an action is thus foreseen,
it is called voluntary. Such simple voluntary actions are then combined
into complicated groups and chain-like progressions. The conscious
result of the first movement calls up the idea of a further movement,
its execution that of a third movement, and so on. Serial activities of
this kind often go on for a long time; for example, walking, eating,
dressing, writing, sewing, rowing. As experience of the relations
between the external things and practice in the performance advance,
such serial actions become more and more perfect in several respects.
Their conscious anticipation is more and more extended, so that they may
be adapted to very remote consequences, the occurrence of which is not
expected until days or weeks afterward. They are more and more refined
in that they adjust themselves accurately in direction, speed, and force
to the special circumstances of each case. They are performed in less
time and more economically; all detail movements which are either wrong
or merely superfluous come to be entirely omitted.

That the conscious processes in voluntary movements tend toward
simplification has been mentioned in § 10. A whole series of movements,
which was originally performed by each movement being consciously
anticipated in order, is now performed without further consciousness as
soon as the series has once begun. One fact, however, is highly
interesting in this connection because it shows how the several
movements of the series are actually caused. Although consciousness of
all those anticipations of the movements is no longer required, the
physiological sensory functions must run their course in the normal
order or disturbances occur in the movement. This may be demonstrated in
an animal by cutting all the sensory nerves of a limb, but carefully
leaving all the motor nerves intact. The limb nevertheless appears
paralyzed. A similar case in man has been described by Strümpell. A
workman received a knife wound in the spinal cord. Complete recovery
occurred, with the exception that the right hand and lower arm remained
perfectly anesthetic: no kind of cutaneous or organic sensation was any
longer perceived. The muscles of the hand and arm functioned almost
normally. But movements, even very moderately complicated, could no
longer be performed unless the man saw his hand and its movement. The
illustration (figure 18) shows his behavior when requested to form a
ring with his thumb and index finger. He could do this fairly well when
permitted to look at his hand. Otherwise it was impossible, in spite of
his will and the muscular capacity to perform this action. We see, then,
that the peripheral impressions are necessary to bring about the several
partial movements in this case of acquired serial activity, although
these impressions have long ceased to become conscious whenever the act
is done.


When we anticipate a final result of an extended series of movements, it
frequently happens that the movement which directly leads to that result
is, for one cause or other, not immediately possible. Imagine that a
person for the first time sees some one pulling a cork from a bottle,
pouring some of the contents into a glass, and inviting him to drink.
Seeing the bottle again calls up in his mind the idea of a delicious
beverage and the movement of drinking. But drinking is impossible, for
there is no glass, and the bottle is corked. In such a case the idea of
the result, which because of its importance is being kept constantly in
mind, unrolls the total series of ideas in the reverse order. It calls
up first the thoughts directly preceding the final result, then the
thoughts preceding these, and so on, until an idea is reached which can
be realized by a movement. In our example the person becomes conscious
of the idea of pulling the cork, of the corkscrew used for this purpose,
the place where the corkscrew was found hanging, the movements of
preparing it for the task, and a similar set of ideas for the glass; and
he thus becomes able to carry out the whole series of movements which
result in the taste of the beverage.


     196. Give examples of serial activities of the foreseeing kind.

     197. In what ways are activities of the kind just mentioned

     198. What is the relation of sensory activity, consciousness, and
     performance in perfected serial movements?

     199. Illustrate by a pathological case the relation just spoken of.

     200. What rule is illustrated by the example in the text of pulling
     a cork from a bottle?


As experience of the connections, complications, and consequences of
things advances, the ideas called up by any impression must clearly
become very numerous. Ideas of near and remote, probable and improbable,
desirable and undesirable, consequences,--ideas of fit and unfit, direct
and indirect means of bringing about or preventing those
consequences,--ideas of difficulties and obstacles, facilities and
openings must tend to appear, to compete with each other, to disappear
and reappear in rapid succession, or merely to approach consciousness
ready to appear when their services should be needed. We refer to these
various mental states, according as they appear in one or another form
of connection, by such terms as _reflecting_, _considering_, _choosing_,
_desiring_, _rejecting_, _intending_, _deciding_, and many others, all
having in common the foreseeing of something to be experienced in the
future as the result of our action.

What action occurs in each possible case depends on the relative force
of the factors coming into play. The actual sensory impression is as a
rule a rather insignificant factor. It sets free the ideas derived from
innumerable previous sensory impressions. The resulting action is then
nearly always extremely different from the instinctive reaction
belonging to the sensory stimulation. Such actions, resulting
essentially from factors _within_ the mind, not from external factors
which happen to impress the mind at the moment, are called _free_
actions. Their freedom does not mean that they have no causation, that
they are free of causes, but they are free of the compulsion exerted by
the external stimuli of the moment. They are free actions as opposed to
instinctive actions, which are not free of these stimuli of the moment,
but on the contrary, completely determined by them.

Scholastic philosophy--and popular thought, which is still largely under
the influence of that philosophy--recognizes still another kind of
freedom of the mind. It assumes that mind, under the impression of
perfectly definite external conditions and with perfectly definite
internal motives of thought and action, possesses the faculty of
deciding in favor of the action opposed to its own motives and of
enforcing this action. This faculty of an absolutely causeless willing
is assumed to be added to all the other external and internal factors
determining action or, as the case may be, suppressing action. Such a
faculty we cannot accept, since according to our most fundamental
conceptions _mind_ is not a being added to its experiences, but the
totality of its experiences, in so far as it knows itself; whereas it is
called _brain_ in so far as it is known by other minds. The arguments
brought forward in favor of a freedom of the will in the sense of a
possibility of causeless action are inacceptable to the psychologist
because they would make a psychological science impossible.
Nevertheless, it is worth while to discuss the more important ones

Three arguments are most commonly offered. First, immediate experience
tells us that, whenever we decide in favor of one action, we could have
decided differently. We were conscious of the possibility of acting
otherwise. The second and third arguments are of a practical nature.
According to the second, the idea of a uniformly effective causation of
our actions paralyzes our activity. If everything takes place by
necessity, the idea of influencing the physical world or human society
becomes meaningless. No one can believe in determination of our action
and at the same time make an effort to instruct and educate people to
act differently. Thirdly, no one can be held responsible for his actions
if he could not help performing them. If all actions are causally
determined, punishment becomes mere cruelty.

The first argument fails because our immediate experience under no
conditions informs us exactly as to what caused and what did not cause
our actions. We have just seen that a serial movement cannot be carried
out unless constant sensory impressions are received from the progress
of the partial movements. Immediate experience gives us no information
about this necessity, which was entirely unsuspected until physiological
experiment and pathological observation revealed the fact. Immediate
experience tells a person who in his boarding house praises a very
ordinary dinner in exaggerated terms, that _he might have kept silent_
as he usually does--he does not remember that the evening before when he
was in a state of hypnosis a suggestion was given to him to praise his
dinner the following day. Everybody else knows that he will, that he
must, do it. He alone thinks, on the basis of his immediate experience,
that it was an act of free will without causation. It was free,
uncaused, in the same sense in which the issue of a disease, the outcome
of a war, the weather, the crops, are free and uncaused; that is, _he
was ignorant of the cause_.

Paralysis of activity is said to be the consequence of a belief in
universal causation. But surely the energetic and ambitious man is not
paralyzed by this belief. He feels that he is the tool used by nature to
shape the destinies of the world. How could a consciousness of his
importance in the causal connections of events paralyze his activity?
The idle and indolent may excuse his lack of activity by saying that it
is his nature to love inactivity, that he cannot help it. But who would
have any more respect for him on that account? Of course it is not his
belief in universal causation that makes him indolent. The lesson from
history is very significant in this respect, but it must not be read
one-sidedly. It is all right to point out that the fatalistic Islam is
losing piece after piece of its dominion. But the same fatalistic Islam
also conquered a world and for centuries kept all Europe in terror. Thus
it cannot be its fatalism that determined both its rise and its
downfall. In recent years, did the belief in predestination make the
Boers less energetic than the belief in freedom the orthodox Spaniards?

We must say, then, that in general neither belief is of much practical
significance. But as a guide in special cases the belief in universal
causation is by far preferable. What can give more encouragement to the
educator than the conviction that his efforts will bear fruit in one way
or other because they must help to shape and direct his pupil’s
activities in later life? What can be more discouraging than the belief
that, whatever may be his efforts, they are just as likely to be lost on
his pupil as to be effective, since the latter has the faculty of
causelessly acting either in one way or in the opposite way?

The third argument asserts that universal causation is incompatible with
responsibility. But what do we mean by responsibility? Nothing but the
fact that society, if it can do so, will punish its members for certain
deeds. Why should a belief in universal causation prevent society from
punishing its members? Bismarck writes in a letter to his sister: “It is
not the wolf’s fault that God has created him as he is. That does not
prevent us from killing him whenever we can.” Holding a person
responsible, punishing or rewarding him, does not lose its meaning if we
regard his actions as being determined by causes. We do not then hold
him responsible for the single act, but for his being so natured that
under such circumstances he cannot help committing such a deed. The
question becomes this: What is the more plausible reason for punishing a
person, his abnormal deed or his abnormal, unsocial nature which made
this deed possible?

It is true that punishment dealt out by an individual or a small group
is often merely an instinctive act of revenge for a single deed. If a
person beats me, do I have less pain if I beat him and cause him pain
too? Should a gambler beat the roulette because it makes him lose and
the other man gain? Would the roulette act differently for having been
beaten? Am I sure that the person whose beating me was undetermined by
causes will treat me better the next time? If his actions are caused, he
probably will treat me better because the memory of the blows received
from me will act as a cause. The instinct of returning blows would be
incomprehensible if human action were independent of causes.

But the legal punishment dealt out by the officers of a nation has lost
the significance of an instinctive act of revenge. Does this fact make
it compatible with the doctrine of causeless activity? Would not
punishment, under this doctrine, be cruelty pure and simple? Punishment
can be justified only if it can act as a cause determining human
behavior. Society introduces fear of threatened punishment and memory of
suffered punishment as motives into the mental life of its members, in
order to inhibit criminal actions in those who are so natured that they
will commit acts inimical to society when occasion offers, or when they
are tempted. The degree of the penalty is adapted to the effectiveness
of the temptation under different circumstances. Children and
intoxicated and insane persons are treated in a different manner because
the fundamental condition of punishment--the existence of an idea of
punishment capable of serving as a motive of action--is not fulfilled in
them. All this becomes entirely purposeless, meaningless, if we accept
the doctrine that human actions are not completely determined by causes.
Responsibility, social order, and law, far from being called in question
by determinism, are, on the contrary, dependent on it for their

Indeterminism, the doctrine of causeless activity of the mind, of
freedom of a will which is regarded as an entity added to the contents
of the mind, is no better supported by these special arguments than by
general considerations. More than a hundred years ago Priestley said of
this doctrine: “There is no absurdity more glaring to my understanding.”


     201. Give at least a dozen words all meaning the foreseeing of a
     future experience resulting from action.

     202. How are free actions defined?

     203. What other name is mentioned in the text for unfree,
     compulsory action, a name which has already been much used in a
     previous chapter?

     204. What are the three arguments mentioned in favor of the
     assumption that causeless action is possible?

     205. What do we learn from a post-hypnotic suggestion with respect
     to the question of free will?

     206. Give examples from history showing that both energy and
     indolence are independent of theories about the will.

     207. Can the belief in causeless activity be expected to contribute
     to educational endeavor? Give reasons for your answer.

     208. What is the aim of legal punishment? How is this aim related
     to the doctrine of causeless activity?

     209. Why are children not made subject to legal punishment?




Into the remotest distances, spatial and temporal, mind penetrates
through the accumulation and theoretical elaboration of experiences.
Knowledge may be obtained of the names and the deeds of Assyrian kings,
of the shape of the oceans and the continents thousands and hundreds of
thousands of years ago, of eclipses of the sun and the moon, of the
appearance of the starry sky for any number of years hence. Knowledge
means power. Insight into the relations of things enables the mind to
adapt itself more perfectly to them. Science and industrial development
are the results of this advancement of mental activity.

Nevertheless, it is not exclusively happiness that is thus gained. So
complicated is mind that what contributes to its welfare and removes
obstacles to its well-being, at the same time creates new sources of
unhappiness, which call for new means, new methods, of relief. “La
prévoyance, la prévoyance,” complains Rousseau, “voilà la véritable
source de toutes nos misères.” We must make allowance for the
exaggeration necessary to make the desired impression; but even then
there is much truth in Rousseau’s words. Not all evils spring from
prescience, but a good many do. Three classes of unintended and
unpleasant effects of knowledge anticipating future events may be

As our knowledge expands we become more and more impressed with the
narrow limits placed on this expansion, with our insuperable impotence
in so many respects. To a child, who knows little and accomplishes
little, his inability, his helplessness, does not give much concern. It
is the prevalent, one may even say normal, condition of his life, and
therefore scarcely gives rise to unpleasant feelings. But the
experienced adult, in the full consciousness of his knowledge, of the
advantage which this gives to him, strives to know everything, to extend
his power over everything. And he is constrained to learn that he will
never come near this end. His prescience, the source of so much pleasant
feeling, becomes thus a source of immense unpleasantness. Highly
important relations of things remain in almost total darkness. Not even
the next day’s weather can be foretold, not the issue of the imminent
battle, not the bent of the woman he woos. How numerous are the things
against which he is almost powerless: human enemies, wild beasts, storm,
earthquake, fire, flood, famine, a host of diseases, and last of all the
inevitable death. He foresees all the terrors, aware of their power over
him. This must fill his life with anxiety and bitterness. “He whose eye
is so keen that he sees the dead in their graves, no longer sees the
flowers blooming.”

Other evils have their sources, not directly in the mind’s foreseeing,
but in the limitations of foreseeing activity. The most fundamental aims
of human activity are self-preservation and the preservation of the
species. But our feelings indicate that a third class of activities are
essential for the completeness of human life, although their
contribution to self-preservation and to preservation of the race seems
to be limited. The aim of these activities perhaps is only a training of
our powers of attention, of unifying in consciousness a number of
impressions which indirectly might benefit the two aims first mentioned.
Even primitive man devotes a considerable part of his activity to the
production of these effects--esthetic impressions from colors, from
tones, from symmetry, from rhythm. He ties feathers into his hair, dyes
his clothes, and constructs his implements in symmetrical design without
being forced by their use to do this. He works rhythmically, either
himself or with others; he dances, thus uniting successive movements
into regularly repeated groups. But those activities which serve the
purpose of self-preservation and race-preservation directly, often
occupy his mental energies so exclusively that no time is left for the
exercise of these esthetic tendencies. Their suppression then results in
deeply felt unpleasantness.

The activities of preservation are a source of evil in still another
way. Whatever pleasure they may give, they do not give a lasting peace.
As soon as one goal is reached, it appears as a mere stepping stone to a
further one. Why does the merchant earn money? In order to earn more
money! The fisherman’s wife in the fairy tale, who had been beggarly
poor all her life, did not enjoy the comfortable cottage given to her
for more than eight days. Then it appeared small and homely to her, and
she desired a castle. This obtained, it took only a day to have her wish
to be king. And immediately after the satisfaction of this desire, she
asked to be made emperor. It is true, not every one is always thus rent
by his cravings: the fairy tale places the sober husband at the side of
the greedy woman. But a ceaseless, insatiable longing seems to be, in
varying intensities, a normal element of human nature. When the
attainment of a further end appears clearly impossible, a quiet
enjoyment of one’s possessions may be the natural consequence; but even
then there is no lasting peace, for the tormenting experience of tedium
takes the place of unsatisfied longing.

A third class of evils take their origin from the effects of foreseeing
activity, not only on the acting person, but chiefly on the other
members of society. The natural endowment of different individuals for
the struggle of preservation differs greatly and results in
corresponding differences of achievement. In small communities, for
instance in the family, the favorable results obtained by one are shared
by all. But as larger social groups are formed, this becomes impossible.
The results of the individual’s labor remain with him or at least within
a smaller circle. This is the origin of property. Certain members of the
social group not only procure more, but through the possession of
desirable things become able to hire others to work for them. This
enables them to increase still more the rate of accumulation of wealth.
Thus a chasm is opened between masters and servants. However, his nature
compels man to seek the companionship of other men, and this tends to
bridge over the chasm. But between one community and another community a
similar chasm remains. To steal from the members of another community,
to rob them by force, to make war upon them and carry off the plunder,
is the same as to rob an apple tree of its fruit or to kill a sheep.
Property thus obtained naturally passes into the hands of the masters,
increasing their own and their offspring’s powers. The final result is
the existence of enormous contrasts: blessedness of a few and
wretchedness of the multitude. The total balance is bad: there is more
evil in the world than good.

Of course, those who have secured their masterships will say: Why should
it be otherwise? Why should a low level of development of human life in
all be preferable to a vastly higher development of a few and a still
lower one of all the rest? And those youths who are not yet masters, but
feel confident of being destined to become masters, readily applaud.
There are, however, at least two objections to this view. First, we must
remember that all human thought and feeling is determined by the laws of
association. The masters cannot help seeing the wretched condition of
the slaves, and must thus suffer themselves, although much less. This
interferes with the enjoyment of their privileged condition. But the
diminution of their happiness on this account may amount to little if
they avoid the sight of poverty whenever possible; and that part of it
which they cannot avoid seeing, they get accustomed to.

The following objection is more serious. The slaves are not likely to
adopt the view of their masters that the contrast of their positions is
the natural and just outcome of their respective endowment with bodily
and mental abilities. They easily notice that this is only partly true.
Especially the rewarding of sons for the merits of their fathers or
grandfathers does not find favor with them. Their practical
belief--supported by the strongest desires and nourished by the
comparison of their own condition with that of the masters--keeps before
their minds ideas of improving their lot, even of becoming masters
themselves. The authoritative belief in the excellence of the present
status, in spite of generations having become accustomed to this status,
loses thus much of its force. The slave class is restless and little to
be relied on; therefore it must be bridled. The chasm between the
classes becomes an abyss. Coöperation between all the members of
society, though instinctively wished for and so necessary, is made
impossible. A whole nation is torn up; its resistance toward attack from
outside is diminished. The strongest people is one whose motto is: all
for one, each for all; sooner or later it will overthrow the other. If
this does not happen, the internal stress is likely at some time to
become too great: the slaves rise and sweep the masters away. In either
case the existing society is destroyed.

Notwithstanding the happiness which our foreseeing activity gives us, it
carries with it three classes of evils: resulting from the limits of our
knowledge, from the limits to which our activity is subject, from the
contrast and enmity between social classes. Are there any ways for our
mind to overcome these evils? There are some, not absolutely
exterminating them, but at least restraining them, keeping them within


     210. What are the three evils originating from the evolution of the
     foreseeing mind?

     211. What are the two subdivisions of the limitation to which our
     active tendencies are subject?

     212. Why does the third class of these evils not exist in small

     213. What are the two objections to the theory which regards the
     division of society into masters and slaves as entirely
     satisfactory? Which of these objections is the stronger one?


Aid against the evils resulting from the limits of knowledge is sought
by the human mind in religion. When fire threatens our property, we
think of water; when the enemy presses upon us in battle, we think of
our comrade. By analogy, when we are under the pressure of uncertainty,
in the terror of a great danger, we think of some person or some power
that might aid us. We have seen previously that primitive man regards
everything as animated and every event as caused by motives like his
own. He regards himself as a double being made up of a heavy body and an
exceedingly light, shadow-like thing, a soul. In his dreams he
recognizes clearly the independence of the two: the soul leaves the
body, flies to known and unknown regions, and experiences there the
strangest things. Likewise in death. To-day a certain person talks,
moves about, does good or harm; to-morrow the same person lies stiff. It
is true that one cannot see the cause of this change, but the simplest
explanation is obviously that something, the bearer of his powers, has
escaped from the body and now rests invisibly elsewhere. Furthermore,
are there not those who feel that they are possessed of a demon who
compels them to roll about on the ground in convulsions or to attack
other people?

Accordingly, man populates everything between heaven and earth, animals
and plants, rocks and logs, lakes and streams, the phenomena of the
weather, and the constellations, with demons, ghosts, departed souls,
specters. These beings are thought of as possessing human-like powers,
many of them, however, far mightier than man, handling all those things
of which nature consists in a manner similar to man’s handling of his
own property. Some have asserted that man animates the world because of
an irrepressible desire for theoretical explanation. But this is
scarcely true. Primitive man has no such longing for theories. He does
it simply for the sake of his practical interests: in order to make use
of the things of nature, he must first comprehend them; and what manner
of comprehending them would be preferable to humanizing them? If the
things are like men of his acquaintance, he knows how to obtain their
favor, their aid. His belief in these demons is a practical belief like
the belief of a mother in the future of her son. These demons must
exist, for he would have to give up the struggle for life, perplexed,
helpless, if they did not exist--if the world were a mass of
incomprehensible objects.

Naturally he distinguishes two kinds of demons, as he distinguishes two
kinds of men, good and bad. Those who are malicious and hostile bring
all the distress of diseases and terrible events, from which he cannot
defend himself by his own power. The best one can hope to obtain from
these demons is that they stop exerting their evil influence. Man lives
in constant fear of them. The demons of the other kind are friendly and
helpful. They assist man in his defense against the fiends and in his
fight with other men; and they permit him to participate in their
knowledge of the future. They are reliable. One is grateful to them and
loves them. In the most primitive stage of mankind fear prevails, and
therefore also the belief in harmful ghosts and demons. On a higher
level of culture, advancing insight into the causal relations of natural
events brings about more self-reliance, more hope, and consequently also
a growing belief in benevolent demons. Both fear and love, however,
remain characteristic of the attitude of man toward his gods.

In order to obtain the good will of the gods, man naturally treats them
as he would treat his neighbors. He must earnestly pray to them, flatter
them, perhaps also threaten them, promise gifts in exchange for their
aid, vow continued faith and obedience, especially make them presents in
advance. Prayer, vows, and sacrifice are the means of approaching them.
Soon another thought becomes prevalent. In cases where the influence of
demons seems particularly conspicuous, in mental diseases, certain
persons show themselves much more skilful than the majority in
establishing relations with them and thus curing these diseases. One
naturally employs these persons in one’s relations to the gods. The
medicine man becomes a priest. And he soon establishes himself firmly in
this position by inventing mysterious ceremonies with which he alone is
familiar, and by acquiring the ability to read and interpret sacred
books. His authority, however, rests on his doing what the people expect
from their gods: he must possess prophecy and witchcraft. Even the
apostles prove their legitimacy by prophesying and performing miraculous

Fear and misery are the parents of religion; and, although it is
propagated in the main through authority, it would long ago have become
extinct, if it were not born anew out of them all the time. In times of
need and oppression religion grows strong. The churches are full,
pilgrimages are common, in wars or epidemics. In battle, in disease,
aboard a sinking ship, many a one learns to pray. Some fear or some need
is always present. Even the highest wisdom and power can only repress,
never exterminate these. Therefore they have always brought forth
religion and will always do so, provided one does not clumsily attempt
to change human nature.

Prayer and sacrifice are not invariably followed by success. But aid
requested from human beings also is often refused, so that explanations
for the lack of success are not wanting. Perhaps the prayer was not
fervent enough, the sacrifice not offered in the correct manner or at
the right place. Or the supplicant has offended the god; it is only to
be expected that he is thus punished for the offense. Or the god,
knowing his most secret failings, wishes to test his faith, his piety,
in case all worldly goods and even health are lost. The gods are
all-wise: who could understand them and their actions completely? Now
and then, when the pious continue to suffer and the godless to prosper,
religion is exposed to a serious danger. But religious faith has found
the solution of this problem, not everywhere on earth, but here and
there; and out of a secret doctrine of certain sects of ancient Greece
this solution has become a gospel spread all over the earth: even that
hope which remains unsatisfied at the time of death will find its
realization. Man’s soul is eternal, is only temporarily united with the
body, and when separated from it will continue to live forever. The
pious must prepare himself for the future life by turning away from
bodily pleasure toward God, by suffering. The godless, who has failed to
prepare himself, finds eternal punishment waiting for him.

Under primitive cultural conditions, when everybody has to do every kind
of labor for himself, the same régime is applied to the gods. They do
not differ much in their abilities, although one can do this, the other
that, somewhat better. They are an unorganized crowd like mankind,
fighting each other and forming alliances for this purpose. When human
societies become established, the gods become differentiated. There are
masters and servants, various professions. Complications arising from
such occurrences as subjection of one nation to another and a consequent
assimilation of their religions, change but little the trend of this
development. Of greater influence are the growth of morality and the
advance of scientific knowledge.

When man establishes a moral ideal for himself, he applies it to his
gods. His gods become moral examples. They no longer require bloody
sacrifices, but a clean heart and good deeds. And since there is only
one morality, and morality is the chief attribute of Deity, there can be
only one God. All those great religious teachers who contributed to the
moral development of religion, the Jewish prophets, Zoroaster, Plato,
accepted monotheism.

When scientific knowledge advances, when more and more of the phenomena
of nature are found to obey simple laws, daring philosophers assert and
convince others that all natural phenomena obey such laws, that nothing
in nature depends on the whims of human-like wills. Religion, then,
seems to be deprived of its foundations. If God does not arbitrarily
interfere with the laws of nature, how can any aid come from him?
However, the need of religion remains, and religion adapts itself to the
new views of the world. The highest form of religion is the outcome of
this development. Prayer, then, has a purely mental value for him who
prays. It gives him hope, confidence, courage, and thus he succeeds in
accomplishing that of which he seemed incapable without aid. The
witchcraft of the priest is reduced to a purely mental influence. In the
sacrament he brings about a sanctification of the mind. God, far from
being lost from the world, is regarded as the world itself, the source
from which every phenomenon of nature springs. And again religion can
give man what he longs for, protection from the overpowering unknown,
peace for the restless heart.

But life is like a hydra: as fast as one head is hewn off, two others
grow. Man overcomes the depression caused by his feeling of impotence by
the help of religion, and immediately has two other troubles besetting

(1) It is natural that of all the creations of mind religion possesses
the strongest inertia. God is unchangeable. But knowledge is changeable:
our ways of thinking of the world differ greatly from those of a
thousand, five hundred, or a hundred years ago. Much knowledge has
become attached to religion. Shall it remain unchanged on that account?
The resulting disharmony has been felt at all times, in varying degrees
of intensity. The representatives of science cannot help contradicting
the faith of their ancestors; and the priests profess that they alone
possess true knowledge, that the knowledge of the scientists is merely a
mass of hypotheses. Bitter was the struggle about the geocentric system,
and no less bitter more recently was the opposition to the theory of
evolution. During the later centuries of antiquity scientists tried to
comprehend the influence of the sun on plant life by conceiving its
power as emanating and yet constantly remaining in its former strength
at the point of its origin. The early Christian theologists were very
modern in their scientific theories. Could they compare God with
anything else better than with the heavenly body on which all earthly
life depends? So they developed the conception of emanations flowing
from God without diminishing his former powers, that is, the Christian
doctrine of the Trinity. Other religions of the time accepted similar
emanation doctrines: the Philonic philosophy recognized a twofoldness,
the Neo-Platonic a fourfoldness of God. To-day every schoolboy is
taught that the sun cannot produce any effect on earth without losing so
much of its energy. The ancient theory of emanations has long ceased to
have any scientific significance. But the formula exists, and is still
thought by many to be the basal concept of the Christian religion, so
that the dissension is endless.

(2) Religion is a weapon in the struggle for preservation for him who
possesses it; but it soon becomes a weapon also for the others. It is a
weapon for the priest, who uses it as the physician uses his knowledge
to make a living. There would be little trouble on this account. But
religion is, naturally and unfortunately, a mighty weapon in the hands
of the masters defending their positions against the slaves. Religion
gives peace, quiescence, to the human heart. Religion perhaps teaches
that the splendor of wealth is insignificant, worthless; that the poor
are better off in the future, eternal life, than those who are now rich.
Religion perhaps even teaches that those who do not believe this will be
severely punished in the next life. This is not the original meaning of
the doctrine--that the wretched should remain wretched; it was meant
merely to comfort them in their distress. But the doctrine obviously
permits this application, and so the masters have always eagerly adopted
religion as one of their safest supports, far superior to brutal force,
since it does not incite revolutionary reaction. “Throne and altar” is a
motto of kings. When the servants recognize this effect of religion,
they naturally tend to free themselves of it, and tremendous conflicts
result for human life.

Will mind succeed in overcoming these difficulties by a new form of
adaptation? We cannot tell how, since thus far it has not succeeded.


     214. What does not, and what does, cause man to populate the whole
     world with demons and specters?

     215. What is the chief division applied by man to the hosts of
     demons? Do the contents of these divisions tend to change

     216. How does priesthood originate?

     217. Is it probable that religion will ever cease to exist?

     218. What are the consequences of the fact that prayer and
     sacrifice are not always successful?

     219. How does the growth of morality influence religion?

     220. Is science inimical to all religion or to special forms of

     221. What are the three illustrations given in the text for the
     difficulties arising from the attachment of science to religion?

     222. What is illustrated in the text by the quotation “throne and

§ 25. ART

The second class of the evils which we mentioned as resulting from our
foreseeing activities consists in an insufficient occupation of the
active tendencies of the mind. The remedy is found in art, in the
enjoyment of works of art.

A work of art may cause a pleasant feeling by inciting any of a large
number of mental activities. Beyond giving pleasure it has no purpose.
Choice articles of food, new clothes, a profession yielding a good
income, give us pleasure through their odor, their look, through the
standing they give us in good society. But they please us also, and
indeed chiefly, through their purposes: we need them for our existence.
Because of their purposes they do not give us pure pleasure: they make
us want better food, better clothes, a better position. A work of art,
on the other hand, may in some way further our life; but he who enjoys
it is not aware of such a furtherance. He sees no purpose in it. He
experiences a bliss of heaven, not pleasures of the world. The purpose
of art consists in its own unity; it does not draw us away from where we
are. It gives us rest while it keeps us active. The pleasure resulting
from this kind of activity is called esthetic pleasure.

Many are the origins of art. Religion is doubtless one of them.
Primitive man conceived of some of the most important of his demons as
having their seats in certain species of animals. The possession of
these animals gives witchcraft. But it is difficult to carry them about,
and killing them is of course out of the question. Primitive reasoning
then accepted an image, a picture, as having about the same
effectiveness. So man came to carve such pictures on his weapons to make
them stronger, to carry them hung around his neck to protect him, to
make idols of his gods which he could visibly reward or punish. The
pleasure of seeing these images then gave them a value separate from
their religious applications. Yet pictures of the virgin and of saints
still continue to be used for the earlier purpose. When thus beginning
to be separated from religion, art became again attached to it; for man,
enjoying pictures, offered them as presents to his gods, so that they,
too, might enjoy them. The subject of representation was naturally the
gods themselves, the most sublime subject known to man.

Another origin of art is play. We said that play is that mass of
instincts, common to man and animals, which brings about an exercise of
the capacities necessary for preservation at a time when no special
purposes demand such exercise. In this absence of a special purpose
consists the ultimate relation of play and art. But play is not
identical with art, because it is still too serious a matter. The boy
who plays robber and police is not like an actor playing the rôle of a
robber. He really is the robber so far as the advantages, the freedom,
and the power of a robber are concerned; and he enjoys these advantages,
while the actor does not even think of them. The actor, even while
playing the rôle of a king, desires to play the king, not to be the
king. Play, that is, the instinctive activity of play, is intermediate
between art and life, a gateway to the former.

There are still further sources of art. After having been successful in
his struggle, when he has some leisure, man observes that many things
which he uses as weapons, as tools, for food, and so on, are capable of
giving him pleasure quite aside from their practical significance. He
therefore obtains these things for their own sake. He collects
brilliantly colored feathers, glittering stones and pearls. The
instinctive reactions upon pleasant experiences are discovered to be
pleasant themselves. They are voluntarily repeated. Thus dance and song
originate. In a similar manner, from the descriptions of ordinary life,
tales takes their origin. Symmetry and rhythm are discovered and become
of the greatest importance for the various arts. In spite of the
manifoldness of its origin and its application, we may speak of art in
the singular, because all the different arts have this in common, that
they give joy without serving any conscious purpose.

In every art three factors may be distinguished on which the feeling
aroused in us depends: the subject-matter or content, the form, and the
personal significance. If the work of art is a picture, it may represent
a battle or a landscape; if a poem, the wanderings of Ulysses or the
story of the Erlking; if music, a waltz or a funeral march. This
subject-matter is given a particular form or structure. The twelve
disciples of the Last Supper may be placed in a simple row or arranged
in groups of various kinds. A church may be built in Roman or Gothic
style. Meter and rhyme differ in various poems. Music may be harmonized
in many different ways. All this refers to the form of art. The third
factor, the personal significance, may be illustrated by the different
moods which speak to us from pictures of the same subject-matter and
similar form, also by the technique chosen by the painter. The picture
may appear to me as an assembly of Jewish fishermen or as an historical
act in which the disciples of the Lord and he himself take part.

Much could be said about all this in detail. Some important insight into
the relation of the different factors can be obtained from a discussion
of the first one, the subject-matter. How does the artist succeed in
giving us, through his subject-matter, pleasure independent of and free
from any consciousness of purpose? Two ways are open to him. The first
appears most clearly in music. It consists in using contents which play
no part in the world of needs. Musical tones, sung or produced by
instruments, do not contribute to the preservation of man; and therefore
they do not incite our desire. However, when properly combined, they are
capable of arousing the most varied and intense feelings, moods,
emotions. They are thus especially adapted to serve as material, as
contents, of a work of art.

The second way open to the artist consists in imitation. It prevails in
painting and sculpture, and one may say also in poetry. The contents of
these arts, that is, the subjects described, are indeed things which
arouse our desires. But the desire is cut short through imitation. Not
the real things, but only descriptions of them, are furnished us. Their
affective value is not diminished thereby. It is true, the feelings
depending on the consciousness of purpose are lost; but the rest of the
feelings attain thus a purity and intensity all the greater. We scarcely
enjoy meeting a robber on the highway; on the stage or in a novel we
enjoy it the more. The real rug gives me feelings of a mixed kind when I
think of its price and its durability; the painted rug gives me only
pleasure. Since imitation is so conspicuous in the three arts of
painting, sculpture, and poetry, it has been mistaken to be the aim of
our artistic activity, whereas it is only a means to an end, to the
production of pleasure free from desire. To understand this still more
clearly, we must give attention to three aspects of the problem of

First, imitation must be as true to nature as possible. Feelings are to
be aroused. These feelings are originally attached to the real things.
It is clear, then, that they will be aroused the more readily, the more
similar the work of art is made to reality. A disagreement with nature
causes not merely a weakening of the pleasant feeling, but an unpleasant
feeling, a protest against the artist’s intentionally disforming nature
or against his incapacity.

Secondly, imitation must never become a perfect duplicate of the real
thing, to be mistaken for it. There must be no deception of him who
enjoys the work of art, for deception would result in unpleasant
feelings. Therefore we separate a picture from its surroundings by a
frame, place a statue on a pedestal, let a drama be played on a stage.

Thirdly, devotion to imitation must not lead the artist to neglect the
other properties of the work which make it significant for our life of
feeling. A work of art is always a compromise. Nature gives us not only
what is significant, but also what is insignificant or even disgusting.
The subject-matter must therefore be worked over; that which is of
positive value must be emphasized, even exaggerated. Nature usually
presents a confusing multitude of details. Mind, for its enjoyment,
needs a unitary structure made up of a multitude of details. The artist
therefore must, whenever this is necessary, reconstruct nature in order
to insure unity of perception. Imitation must often be adapted to
special circumstances. A lion among allegorical figures as a symbol of
might cannot be represented as an exact imitation of the lion of the
desert. The real lion is a dangerous beast, a big cat. The symbolical
lion must agree with a certain traditional style. Nature is replete with
the insignificant, the individual, the momentary; mind longs for the
significant, the general, the eternal. The highest art is found where
the artist has been able to reach a maximum of the total effect of all
the simultaneous factors.

Religion would be more easily understood, were it not for the many forms
under which the single need is satisfied according to circumstances.
Art, too, would be more easily understood, if the factors contributing
toward the same end were less numerous. Each of them is regarded by some
as the essential or exclusive basis of art. It is not difficult to
explain this. The people at large naturally take most interest in the
subject-matter, perhaps also in the technical ability of the artist. The
musician, knowing that form is the main factor in his art, is apt to
generalize and to regard form everywhere as the essential element. The
painter or sculptor--observing how other artists give artistic values to
the most varied subjects, perhaps feeling himself able to raise any
subject, however selected, into the realm of art--may be inclined to
think of art as an institution for the employment of the creative energy
of those whose talents tend in this direction. Each one gives attention
to that aspect of the whole problem which especially concerns him. He
overlooks its other aspects.

Not every species of art permits an equal development of all the
different factors of art in general. For example, in handicraft and in
architecture the work as a material thing serves a practical purpose; as
a work of art it serves esthetic enjoyment. The form is here largely
determined by its practical applicability. Its purpose must not be
hidden, but appear as clearly as possible. Mind must here force itself
to disregard the purpose and to enjoy the work independent of its
practical interests.

When mind has thus been trained to look for esthetic values, even where
the practical side of the thing is paramount, it becomes able to enjoy
esthetically even that which in no way directly suggests an esthetic
attitude of the spectator. Man learns to enjoy the beauty of nature as
something independent of his practical needs. This ability has grown
very slowly. As late as the end of the eighteenth century one reads in a
book on Switzerland in a description of the Engelberg valley the
following words: “What do you see? Nothing but horrid mountains; no
gardens, no orchards, no wheat fields pleasing to the eye.”

One thing assisting in this esthetic liberation of the mind is the
many-sidedness of nature in comparison with the practical interests of
man. Every one can find in nature something remote enough from his
everyday interests to become an object of esthetic enjoyment. We enjoy
reading about a war in the far East, not only because we recall that we
have no money invested there and nothing else to risk, but chiefly
because the feelings aroused by the reports from the theater of war can
develop without interference. They could not, if the battle took place
in a neighboring village. For the same reason we enjoy travel
esthetically, not when we are compelled to travel, but when we choose it
for our recreation. Standing in the market place of a foreign city, I
see the people talk, gesticulate, bargain, as they do in my own town.
And yet it is different. There are no relations to my own domestic
affairs. Their talking does not concern me. I do not even understand
their language. Thus I am able to enjoy the sight esthetically. It is
true that nature rarely fulfills all those conditions which the artist
fulfills in a work of art by his artistic reconstruction of the piece of
nature represented by him. But this loss of esthetic effectiveness is
compensated by the inexhaustible variety, the never ceasing movement,
the immense power and magnitude of nature.

Thus mind turns against its own beginning. But not in order to make war
upon itself, but to overcome evils of former adaptations by a new and
higher kind of adaptation.


     223. What property is common to works of art of every kind?

     224. How does religion contribute to the growth of art?

     225. How is play related to art?

     226. What are the three factors in art on which our feelings

     227. Which of the three factors is predominant in music?

     228. What is the advantage of imitation over reality?

     229. What are the three aspects of the artistic problem of

     230. What training does the mind receive from the enjoyment of
     handicraft and architecture?

     231. What kind of esthetic enjoyment has developed most recently?

     232. How does nature assist man in the highest development of his
     esthetic ability?


What remedy does mind discover for the third class of evils, those
resulting from its own activity for other members of society, and those
resulting from the restlessness, the protestation of the latter? The
remedy is essentially a social phenomenon, and can be discussed here
only very briefly with respect to the individual mind.

Mind learns to appreciate and to train itself for activities
contributing directly to the welfare of society as a whole by actually
working for the good of others rather than for its own good. When the
social group increases in size, the more experienced and provident
members recognize, not by logical reasoning but as the immediate result
of experience, that brutally egotistic acts give rise to quarrel and
distrust, weaken the ties which hold together the members, and make the
group the prey of its enemies. Altruistic acts, on the other hand, are
found to strengthen the group. These influential members then endeavor
to further the latter and to suppress the former kind of actions. There
are two possible ways of bringing this about.

First, compulsion. Acts destructive to society are punished. He who
commits them thus suffers a disadvantage much greater than the immediate
advantage, and the consciousness of this probability of suffering
inhibits the act. The total concept of activities or inactivities
enforced by punishment is the law. But the law is not far-reaching
enough. A society of wholly wicked beings cannot be held together by
law. Faith and loyalty cannot be enforced.

Willing may consist in a consciousness of the immediate act or in a
consciousness of the remotest purpose to the realization of which this
act contributes. If in consequence of threatened punishment I will the
required act, but not its ultimate purpose, I can frustrate the latter
in a hundred different ways. To punishment, therefore, must be added a
second means of furthering the welfare of society, through actions of
free will. The performance of acts of this kind is called morality.

The special form of morality anywhere at any time depends obviously on
many circumstances. It is conceivable that in a tribe sparingly endowed
with natural resources and pressed by enemies, morality may demand the
killing of the aged and of female children. On a higher level of culture
such actions must be immoral, because they do not harmonize with other
moral commandments, or because, when food is plentiful, an increase in
numbers is highly desirable. The Catholic church regards divorce as
immoral, but in Japan public opinion regards the enforced continuation
of the matrimonial tie as immoral. It is obvious that morality is a
growth. But it grows very slowly, remaining nearly constant for long
stretches of time; and so we often meet moral commandments which no
longer fit the people upon whom they are imposed.

Kant has more strongly than any one else taken the opposite view.
Morality, according to him, is something definite, eternal, absolute,
not dependent on circumstances--categorical, as he calls it, not
hypothetical. How can this doctrine be reconciled with what we have said

We mentioned that actions benefiting the total social group are not the
result of reflection, of reasoning, but the immediate result of
experience on the part of the most provident and most influential
members of the group. Errors and superstitions naturally play their
part in the formation of the first moral rules. But subsequent
experience gradually improves them, so that they soon become of real
benefit to the whole society. How are these rules then transmitted to
following generations? By impressing them upon the child. Young children
can be given commandments; but explanations of their purpose would in
most cases be useless. They are therefore given categorically, as
imperatives supported by the authority of parents, elders, priests.
Under these circumstances, of course, it is not to be expected that the
children will later recall any purpose when they become conscious of
these rules. The rules appear in their consciousness as something
unconditional, absolute--in their totality as _conscience_.

One may here raise this question: Why does not society, after its
children have grown into men and women, inform them of the purpose of
these rules? This information is not given partly because society as a
whole is not clearly conscious of the purpose, partly because it is
better to leave to these rules their absolute character. The commander
of an army does not explain the purpose of an order sent to an inferior
officer. This has its disadvantages in so far as the latter, knowing the
purpose, might improve details of the order which the commanding
officer, from his distant position, could not properly adjust to the
actual conditions. But on the whole it is preferable to require strict
adherence to the order and not to permit reflection before its
execution, for reflection might easily give room to thoughts of
self-preservation. Similarly, society demands absolute obedience because
thus, on the whole, the moral rules are more strictly carried out, with
greater benefit to society. Nevertheless, the rules have their
justification only in their purpose, the welfare of society. And
conflicts between the literal commandment and this purpose are by no
means rare. The white lie, for example, has given much trouble to moral
theorists. To the unbiased moral consciousness it is in innumerable
cases the proper act. What commander of an army could be tolerated who
would refuse to deceive the enemy? How could we meet children, the sick,
the insane, if we had made up our minds never to tell a lie?

Understanding the value of the (apparent) absolutism of the moral rules,
we also understand why moral sentiment is so highly estimated as
compared with a mere number of correct acts. Moral sentiment is the only
reliable source of correct action. If we judge a person exclusively or
mainly by his success in correct activity, we are likely to discourage
his attempting a difficult task. In order to give the greatest possible
encouragement, we tell him that it is his free will to do good that
determines our estimation of his social value, no matter whether he
succeeds or not. However, the question whether a man’s will is to be
called good or bad, can be answered only by pointing out a social
purpose, the furtherance of the welfare of the whole. Without this the
will to do good, the feeling of duty, is like the rope by means of which
Münchhausen descended from the moon.

The absolutism of morality explains the close relation of morality to
religion. Religion, morality, and sometimes political law, are under
God’s protection; the laws of reasoning and of artistic creation are
not. The latter are also gifts of God, but left unprotected. Error and
bad taste are no sins. Religion, if without direct protection by
threatened punishment, would be found by each individual; but each would
find a different one, and since only one religion is supposed to be the
true one, uniformity has to be enforced by threats. Morality still more
needs protection by threatened punishment coming from God, since
individual desires differ greatly, and would never give rise directly to
uniform moral rules. These rules are the product of the experience of
generations, and always meet with more or less resistance from the
individual. Human authority is frequently not strong enough to overcome
this resistance. So God’s protection is needed--and found very easily.
What can a father reply to his ever questioning child: Why must I give
away a part of what I like to keep myself, or tell what I shall be
punished for? He gives the same answer which he gives to the question
who made the horses and the whole world: “God made these rules.” Perhaps
it would be best if the child were always told that God did not impose
these rules upon man as something foreign to his nature, simply because
God capriciously chose to do so; but that he gave man these rules
because they are needed for the highest development of human life. Only
a will which acts morally because this significance of morality is
understood can be said to be truly free.

We have frequently spoken of communities, of groups of human beings.
Now, man belongs to many communities at the same time: family, town,
state, nation, friends, the profession, the denomination, and so on, up
to mankind as a whole; which one is meant? They are all meant, but so
that in case one obligation excludes another, the one toward the
narrower circle of associates takes precedence. We do not approve of
women devoting to charity what they owe to their children. But where the
narrower circle leaves us free from obligation, the wider circle claims
us as its subjects. One of these circles, the widest of all, is
mankind; but morality did not begin with recognizing this. Only those
are permitted to enjoy the benefits of one’s morality who are clearly
felt to belong to the same community. The expansion of political,
linguistic, religious communities enormously increases the number of
individuals toward whom each one feels moral obligations.

But this expansion alone would not have broken down the barrier between
one and all the rest of mankind. This barrier has been removed by the
acceptance of monotheism. Other factors may have contributed toward this
result. The categorical character of the moral rules, their independence
of conditions, must have favored their universal application to any
human being. The development of the idea that all human beings are
essentially alike, and of the idea of the unity of the world, must have
greatly strengthened the universality of the moral rules. The
development of the moral ideal, as we saw, tended to unify the
conception of God. But this conception of a single God, monotheism, then
gave a new impulse to the universal application of the moral rules. When
each people has its own god, his commandments are valid only to his own
people. But when it is recognized that only one God exists, his
commandments can hardly be confined to the territory of one people.
Plato and Zeno, accepting this consequence, teaching that human beings
are like the members of one flock, introduced a doctrine new to the
Greeks. Christ, reciting the Mosaic law, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor,
and hate thine enemy,” adds to it: “But I say unto you, love your
enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you,” and
thus takes the decisive step. But mankind is still far from having
accepted this doctrine completely. To plunder private property on the
high seas in time of war is no longer regarded as meritorious, but
scarcely begins to cast shame on him who makes himself guilty of it, as
plundering on land does.


     233. Why is acting by free will superior to willing under

     234. What philosopher is mentioned in the text as the chief
     opponent to the doctrine that morality is a growth dependent on

     235. How and by whom were moral rules first discovered?

     236. How are moral rules propagated? What is the consequence of
     this mode of propagation?

     237. What two reasons are stated for the fact that society does not
     inform its members of the real purpose of the moral rules?

     238. Why is moral sentiment valued more highly than correct acts?

     239. How is the relation between morality and religion established?

     240. What is the influence of monotheism on the growth of morality?


What a strange being is man according to popular understanding! He
possesses senses intended to inform him of the world, but incapable of
doing this since they deceive him. In addition he has judgment and
reason which help him to discover the deceptions of his senses and to
gain a true knowledge of the world by the aid of principles whose origin
is foreign to this world. His thoughts consist of ideas which succeed
each other in accordance with definite laws. Nevertheless, he sits
within himself, the _homunculus_ in the _homo_, and with perfect
contempt for those laws directs the ideas, weakens this, strengthens
that, keeps one and expels the other, unites them and separates them
with despotic arbitrariness. His chief desire is furtherance of his
well-being. Nevertheless, he strives to aid others, to be fair and just,
to mortify the flesh. He unceasingly strives to make himself the lord of
the world. Still he has a constant craving for being the subject of an
omnipotent power; and to satisfy this craving God has given him the
belief in Divinity. But God, from whom everything springs, has given him
also a punishable inclination toward heresies and confused him by the
contradictions of a hundred different revelations, each one claiming its
own genuineness. Man’s whole being appears mixed up. No second step is
possible without reversing the first. No definite purpose can be made
out in all this.

Yet man becomes comprehensible as soon as we apply scientific methods to
the study of his nature. He has indeed numerous faculties, seeing and
hearing, imagination and feeling, reproduction and concentration. These,
however, do not oppose each other, but stand side by side, supplementing
each other, as everything on earth consists of parts which supplement
each other. The fundamental laws of human life are the same as those
which we find in the higher animals. But man’s ability to elaborate
momentary sense impressions is immensely increased: there is no limit to
the associative and selective combination of the elementary impressions.
Thus man establishes his power over all other animals and the inanimate
world, realizing the general purposes common to all organisms by
incomparably higher and richer constructions. But these, however we
esteem them, are derived from the same fundamental forces of nature,
only differing in measure and in their proportions. Mind is not like an
unclean pot in which noble seeds are planted, so that the plants
growing from them do not fit the vessel containing them and unending
discord must result. Mind is a unitary organism which, unfolding its
capacities, adjusts itself more and more perfectly to the circumstances
of chance or of its own creation. As the same atmosphere brings forth
out of wind and water and warmth now fertile rains, now destructive hail
storms, beautiful clouds above, dangerous fog below, so the same mind by
the same natural laws brings forth error and truth, desireful pleasure
and desireless joy, selfishness and morality.


Abstraction, 126, 133, 140, 151.

Adaptation, 74.

Affection, 162.

Afferent, 35, 38.

After-image, 74.

Anemia, 27.

Animals, 27, 37, 65, 75, 128, 151, 197.

Apes, 27.

Apperception, 119.

Arborization, 33.

Architecture, 202.

Aristotle, 3, 10, 17.

Art, 14, 24, 196.

Association, 10, 11, 12, 14, 93, 144, 164.

Attention, 11, 12, 87, 115, 121, 125, 144, 151.

Audition, 74, 76.

Auditory, 62, 98.

Automatic, 101.

Axiom, 152.

Beats, 64.

Beethoven, 14.

Belief, 152, 156, 158.

Bessel, 20.

Biology, 16.

Bismarck, 180.

Blind born, 67.

Boycott, 136.

Brain, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28.

Brewster, 17.

Broca, 21.

Buffon, 11.

Bulb, 38.

Cæsar, 136.

Catholic church, 205.

Causality, 5, 7, 8, 9, 177.

Center, 35, 36, 37, 107, 111.

Cerebellum, 38, 39.

Cerebrum, 38, 41.

Christ, 209.

Cicero, 159.

Coherent thought, 142.

Collateral, 32.

Color, 58.

Color-blind, 60, 76.

Color mixture, 61.

Conduct, 162, 176.

Conscience, 206.

Consciousness, 41.

Conservation of energy, 45.

Copernican system, 161.

Cortex, 38, 40, 41.

Corti, 76.

Crime, 97.

Cutaneous, 52, 73.

Davy, 121.

Definition, 141.

Dendrite, 31.

Desire, 109.

Determinism, 181.

Difference tone, 64.

Discrimination, 100.

Distance, 116.

Dream, 142, 156.

Drugs, 27.

Duration, 68.

Education, 24, 97.

Efferent, 35, 38.

Emotion, 168.

Enlightenment, 11.

Esthetics, 14, 185, 197, 202.

Evolution, 5, 16.

Experiment, 17.

Expression, 105, 169.

Faculties, 10, 11, 13, 22, 124, 151.

Falstaff, 123.

Fatalism, 179.

Fatigue, 102.

Fechner, 18, 19.

Feeling, 81, 162.

Fibril, 32.

Fichte, 15.

France, 10.

Frederick William, 1, 5.

Freedom, 7, 8, 9, 176, 208.

Fritsch, 21.

Future life, 192, 195.

Galileo, 10.

Gall, 29.

Ganglion cell, 30, 32, 38, 80.

Generalization, 126, 128, 134.

Goethe, 14, 62.

Gray matter, 33, 39.

Greece, 192.

Greenwich, 20.

Hallucination, 79.

Handicraft, 202.

Harmony, 68.

Helmholtz, 17, 76.

Heraclitus, 3.

Herbart, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19.

Herod, 137.

Hitzig, 21.

Hobbes, 8, 9, 10, 17.

Hume, 10.

Hypnosis, 179.

Hysteria, 29.

Ideation, 123.

Illusion, 120.

Imagery, 98, 128.

Imagination, 78, 115, 124, 151.

Imitation, 130, 132, 199.

Indeterminism, 181.

Insane, 143.

Instinct, 85, 91, 101, 107, 109, 110, 130, 171, 173, 180, 197.

Intelligence, 27, 148.

Interest, 89.

James, 170.

Japan, 205.

Jewish prophets, 193.

Judgment, 142.

Kant, 13, 15, 205.

Kinesthetic, 51, 52, 67, 86, 91, 98, 108, 117, 129, 131, 145, 174.

Kinnebrook, 20.

Knowledge, 152, 157, 184, 189.

Labyrinth, 54.

Lange, 170.

Language, 3, 24, 109, 128, 144, 147, 151, 155.

Latent idea, 81.

Laughing, 105.

Law, 24.

Leibniz, 8.

Linnæus, 11.

Literature, 139.

Localization of function, 41, 42, 44.

Lotze, 19.

Machine, 15.

Maskelyne, 20.

Mathematics, 13.

Medulla, 38.

Melody, 68.

Memory, 92, 123, 144, 149, 150.

Metaphor, 137.

Metonymy, 137.

Middle Ages, 7.

Mind, 47.

Money, 165.

Monotheism, 193, 209.

Mood, 169.

Morality, 193, 204.

Mosaic law, 209.

Motor point, 34.

Movement, 105, 108.

Müller, Johannes, 17.

Münchhausen, 207.

Music, 199.

Napoleon, 159.

Natural science, 6, 8, 9, 16.

Neo-Platonic philosophy, 194.

Nerve anatomy, 38.

Nerve center, 35, 36, 37, 107, 111.

Nervous architecture, 34.

Nervous process, 33.

Nervous system, 27, 28, 36.

Neuron, 30, 81.

Newton, 10.

Noise, 62.

Odor, 57.

Organic sensation, 56, 170, 174.

Otolith, 54, 55, 65.

Pain, 53.

Painting, 200.

Passion, 172.

Pathology, 22, 117, 143, 174.

Perception, 105, 114, 119.

Personal equation, 20.

Perspective, 116.

Philonic philosophy, 194.

Philosophy, 18, 19, 23, 24.

Phrenology, 29, 42.

Physiology, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22.

Plato, 10, 193, 209.

Play, 106, 197.

Pleasantness, 82, 106.

Poetry, 200.

Practice, 99, 126.

Prayer, 191, 192, 193.

Predestination, 179.

Priesthood, 191, 195.

Priestley, 182.

Property, 186.

Psychiatry, 23, 24, 28, 143.

Psychophysics, 19, 23, 24, 28, 143.

Ptolemaic system, 161.

Pythagoras, 158.

Quantitative, 13, 17.

Range of perceptibility, 70.

Reality, 153.

Reason, 142.

Reflex, 86, 107, 110, 170.

Reflex arch, 36, 38, 107.

Religion, 14, 24, 189, 197, 207, 209.

Reproduction, 93, 125.

Responsibility, 180.

Retina, 73, 75.

Rousseau, 15, 183.

St. Luke, 137.

Schelling, 18.

Schopenhauer, 15.

Science and religion, 194.

Sculpture, 200.

Seat of the soul, 29, 41.

Self, 145, 166.

Semicircular canals, 54, 55, 65.

Sensation, 50, 65.

Sensationalism, 10.

Sensitiveness, 69, 73.

Sensory point, 34.

Set of the mind, 94, 123.

Slang, 138.

Social classes, 186.

Space, 65.

Spatial, 67.

Speech, 109, 130, 139.

Spinal cord, 38.

Spinoza, 8, 160.

Stimulus, 69.

Strümpell, 174.

Succession, 68.

Superstition, 161.

Switzerland, 202.

Taste, 57.

Temperament, 172.

Temporal, 68.

Tetens, 11.

Theology, 194.

Thought, 108.

Threshold, 100.

Time, 65.

Tone, 62.

Trinity, 194.

Truth, 152.

Types of imagery, 98.

Unity in variety, 68, 164.

Unpleasantness, 53, 82, 106.

Vision, 74, 75.

Visual, 58, 73, 98.

Voluntarism, 15.

Voluntary, 109, 171.

Weber, E. H., 17, 18.

Weber’s law, 18, 71.

White matter, 33.

Will, 87, 91.

Willing, 85, 173.

World, 145, 167.

Wundt, 23.

Zeno, 209.

Zoroaster, 193.

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

first conciousness accompanies=> first consciousness accompanies {pg 86}

A sub-script is treated like this in the text: s_{1}

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