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STUDIES - PSYCHOLOGY OF FEELING ***




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STUDIES
IN THE
EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY OF FEELING




STUDIES IN THE
EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY
OF FEELING




BY
HIRAM M. STANLEY

_Member of the American Psychological Association_

[Illustration: colophon]

=London=
SWAN SONNENSCHEIN & CO
NEW YORK: MACMILLAN & CO
1895








BUTLER & TANNER,
THE SELWOOD PRINTING WORKS,
FROME, AND LONDON.








PREFACE

[Illustration]


This work does not profess to be a treatise on the subject of feeling,
but merely a series of studies, and rather tentative ones at that. I
have attempted to deduce from the standpoint of biologic evolution the
origin and development of feeling, and then to consider how far
introspection confirms these results. I am well aware that I traverse
moot points—what points in psychology are not moot?—and I trust that the
position taken will receive thorough criticism. I should be very glad to
have new facts adduced, whatever way they may bear. I have no theory to
defend, but the results offered are simply the best interpretation I
have as yet been able to attain.

Some of the material of this book has appeared during the last ten years
in the pages of _Mind_, _Monist_, _Science_, _Philosophical Review_ and
_Psychological Review_, but my contributions to these periodicals have
in many cases been largely re-written.

HIRAM M. STANLEY.

LAKE FOREST, ILLINOIS, U S.A.




TABLE OF CONTENTS

[Illustration]


CHAPTER I
PAGE

ON THE INTROSPECTIVE STUDY OF FEELING 1


CHAPTER II

ON PRIMITIVE CONSCIOUSNESS 12


CHAPTER III

THEORIES OF PLEASURE-PAIN 35


CHAPTER IV

THE RELATION OF FEELING TO PLEASURE-PAIN 48


CHAPTER V

EARLY DIFFERENTIATION 61


CHAPTER VI

REPRESENTATION AND EMOTION 78


CHAPTER VII

FEAR AS PRIMITIVE EMOTION 93


CHAPTER VIII

THE DIFFERENTIATION OF FEAR 108


CHAPTER IX

DESPAIR 121


CHAPTER X

ANGER 127


CHAPTER XI

SURPRISE, DISAPPOINTMENT, EMOTION OF NOVELTY 163


CHAPTER XII

RETROSPECTIVE EMOTION 176


CHAPTER XIII

DESIRE 192


CHAPTER XIV

SOME REMARKS ON ATTENTION 225


CHAPTER XV

SELF FEELING 251


CHAPTER XVI

INDUCTION AND EMOTION 282


CHAPTER XVII

THE ÆSTHETIC PSYCHOSIS 295


CHAPTER XVIII

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LITERARY STYLE 310


CHAPTER XIX

ETHICAL EMOTION 332


CHAPTER XX

THE EXPRESSION OF FEELING 345


CHAPTER XXI

CONCLUSION 371

INDEX 391




EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY

[Illustration]

CHAPTER I
_ON THE INTROSPECTIVE STUDY OF FEELING_


Of all the sciences psychology is, perhaps, the most imperfect. If a
science is a body of knowledge obtained by special research and accepted
by the general _consensus_ of specialists, then psychology is so
defective as to scarcely merit the name of science. This want of
_consensus_ is everywhere apparent, and must especially impress any one
who compares the lack of harmony in manuals of psychology with the
practical unanimity in manuals of botany, geology, physics, and other
sciences. Even in the most fundamental points there is no agreement, as
will be evident in a most summary statement.

It is now something more than a century since the general division of
psychic phenomena into intellect, feeling and will, first came into
repute, but still some psychologists of note do not agree to this
fundamental classification, but would unite feeling and will in a single
order. As to the subdivisions of feeling and will we are confessedly
wholly at sea. In intellect it is only on the lower side, sensation and
perception, that anything of great scientific value has been
accomplished; and even now it cannot be said that the classes of
sensation have been marked off with perfect certainty. In the higher
range of intellect psychology can do scarcely more than accept some
ready-made divisions from common observation and logic. And if so little
has been settled in the comparatively simple work of a descriptive
classification of the facts of mind, we may be assured that still less
has been accomplished toward a scientific _consensus_ for the laws of
mind. Weber’s law alone seems to stand on any secure basis of
experiment, but its range and meaning are still far from being
determined. Even the laws of the association of ideas are still the
subjects of endless controversy. Also in method there is manifestly the
greatest disagreement. The physiological and introspective schools each
magnify their own methods, sometimes so far as to discredit all others.
Physiological method has won for itself a certain standing, indeed, but
just what are its limitations is still far from being settled.

But the grievous lack of generally accepted results is most apparent in
the domain of feeling. The discussion of feeling in most manuals is very
meagre and unsatisfactory. Professor James’s recent treatise, for
instance, gives some 900 pages to the Intellect, and about 100 pages
each to Feeling and Will. There is little thorough analysis and no
perfected inductive classification. We often, indeed, find essays of
literary value which appeal to the authority of literature. But to refer
to Shakspeare or Goethe as psychological authorities, or in illustration
or proof of psychological laws, is generally a doubtful procedure. The
literary and artistic treatment of human nature is quite distinct from
the scientific, and literature and art cannot be said to be of much more
value for psychology than for physics, chemistry, or biology. To appeal
to the Bible or Shakspeare in matters psychological, is usually as
misleading as to consult them for light on geology or botany. Even the
fuller treatises on the subject of feeling rarely reach beyond literary
method and common observation, being for the most part a collection and
arrangement of the results of common sense, accepting common
definitions, terms, and classifications. Now, science is always more
than common sense and common perception, it is uncommon sense; it is an
insight and a prolonged special investigation which penetrates beneath
the surface of things and shows them in those inner and deeper relations
which are entirely hid from general observation. Common views in
psychology are likely to be as untrustworthy as in physics or astronomy,
or any other department. Science must, indeed, start with common sense,
but it does not deserve the name of science till it gets beyond it.

Again, the subject of pleasure, pain, and emotion, is usually discussed
with considerable ethical or philosophical bias. The whole subject of
feeling has been so naturally associated with ethics and philosophy from
the earliest period of Greek thought that a purely colourless scientific
treatment is quite difficult. Furthermore, feeling has been too often
discussed from an _a priori_ point of view, as in the rigid following
out of the Herbartian theory of feeling as connected with hindrance or
furtherance of representation. Still further, the physical side of
emotion has been so emphasized by the physiological school as to
distract attention from purely psychological investigation.

It is obvious, then, on the most cursory review, that very little has
been accomplished in the pure psychology of feeling. Here is a region
almost unexplored, and which, by reason of the elusiveness and obscurity
of the phenomena, has seemed to some quite unexplorable. Dr. Nahlowsky
truly remarks, that feeling is a “strange mysterious world, and the
entrance to it is dark as to Hades of old.” Is there any way out of this
darkness and confusion? If the study of feeling is to become scientific,
we must, I think, assume that all feeling is a biological function
governed by the general laws of life and subject in origin and
development to the law of struggle for existence. Assuming this strictly
scientific point of view, we have to point out some difficulties in the
way of the introspective psychology of feeling as compared with other
departments of biological science.

We trace directly and with comparative ease any physiological organ and
function from its simplest to its most complex form; for example, in the
circulation of the blood there is clearly observable a connected series
from the most elementary to the most specialized heart as developed
through the principle of serviceability. In some cases, as in the
orohippus, a form in the evolution of the horse, we are able to predict
an intermediate organism. Psychology is still far from this deductive
stage; we have no analogous series of psychic forms, much less are able
to supply, _a priori_, the gaps in a series. The reason for this is
mainly the inevitable automorphism of psychological method. In biology
we are not driven to understand life solely through analogy with our own
life, but in psychology mind in general must be interpreted through the
self-observation of the human mind. In biology we see without effort
facts and forms of life most diverse from our own; the most strange and
primitive types are as readily discernible as the most familiar and
advanced, the most simple as the most complex. We study a fish just as
readily as a human body, but the fish’s mind—if it has any—seems beyond
our ken, at least is not susceptible of direct study, but a matter for
doubtful inference and speculation. Whether a given action does or does
not indicate consciousness, and what kind of consciousness, this is most
difficult to determine. Thus we have the most various interpretations,
some, as Clifford, even going so far as to make psychic phenomena
universal in matter, others, on the other hand, as Descartes, limiting
them to man alone.

The difficulty of this subjective method, this reflex investigation, is
almost insurmountable. Consciousness must act as both revealer and
revealed, must be a light which enlightens itself. A fact of
consciousness to be known must not simply exist like a physical fact or
object, as a piece of stone, but it must be such that the observing
consciousness realizes or re-enacts it. To know the fact we must have
the fact, we must _be_ what we _know_. Mind is pure activity; we do not
see an organ and ask what it is for, what does it do; but we are
immediately conscious of consciousness as activity, and not as an
objective organ. We must here, then, reverse the general order and know
the activity before we can identify the organ as a physical basis.

By the purely objective vision of the lower sciences we can easily
determine a genetic series of forms most remote from our own life, but
in psychology, mind can be for us only what mind is in us. The primitive
types of psychosis are, no doubt, as remote and foreign from our own as
is the primitive type of heart or nervous system from that of man’s. In
the case of heart and nerve we can objectively trace with certainty the
successive steps, but in endeavouring to realize by subjective method
the evolution of mind we are involved in great doubt and perplexity. How
can we understand an insect’s feelings? How can we appreciate minds
which are without apprehension of object, though there is reason to
believe such minds exist? Only to a very limited extent can a trained
and sympathetic mind project itself back into some of its immediately
antecedent stages. Consciousness, because of its self-directive and
self-reflective power, is the most elastic of functions, yet it can
never attain the power of realizing all its previous stages. Sometimes,
however, the mind in perfect quiescence tends to relapse into primitive
modes, which may afterward be noted by reflection, but such occasions
are comparatively rare. The subjective method means a commonalty of
experience which is often impossible to attain. Thus a man may believe
there are feelings of maternity; he has observed the expression of
nursing mothers, and knows in a general way that here is a peculiar
psychosis into which he can never enter, and which is, therefore, beyond
his scientific analysis. The psychic life of the child is more akin to
his than that of the mother; yet it is only by an incessant cultivation
of receptivity and repression of adult propensities that one can ever
attain any true inkling of infant experience. There is then, I think, a
vast range of psychic life which must for ever lie wholly hidden from
us, either as infinitely below or infinitely above us; there is also an
immense realm where we can only doubtfully infer the presence of some
form of consciousness without being able to discriminate its quality, or
in exceptional cases to know it very partially; and there is but a
relatively small sphere where scientific results of any large value may
be expected. By reason of its objective method the realm of physical
science is practically illimitable, but psychic science is, by reason of
its subjective method, kept for ever within narrow boundaries.

We must then take into account the inherent difficulties of the
subjective method as applied to the study of feeling and mind in
general, and yet we must recognise its necessity. No amount of objective
physiological research can tell us anything about the real nature of a
feeling, or can discover new feelings. Granting that neural processes
are at the basis of all feelings as of all mental activities, we can
infer nothing from the physiological activity as to the nature of the
psychic process. It is only such feelings and elements as we have
already discovered and analyzed by introspection that can be correlated
with a physical process. Nor can we gain much light even if we
suppose—which is granting a good deal in our present state of
knowledge—that there exists a general analogy between nerve growth and
activity, and mental operations. If relating, _i.e._, cognition, is
established on basis of inter-relation in brain tissue, if every mental
connecting means a connecting of brain fibres, we might, indeed,
determine the number of thoughts, but we could not tell what the
thoughts were. So if mental disturbance always means bodily disturbance,
we can still tell nothing more about the nature of each emotion than we
knew before. We must first know fear, anger, etc., as experiences in
consciousness before we can correlate them with corporeal acts.

Is now this necessarily subjective method peculiarly limited as to
feeling? Can we know feeling directly as psychic act or only indirectly
through accompaniments? Mr. James Ward (_vide_ article on Psychology in
the _Encyclopædia Britannica_, p. 49, cf. p. 71) remarks that feelings
cannot be known as objects of direct reflection, we can only know _of_
them by their effects on the chain of presentation. The reason for this
is, that feeling is not presentation, and “what is not presented cannot
be re-presented.” “How can that which was not originally a cognition
become such by being reproduced?”

It cannot. But do we need to identify the known with knowing, in order
that it may be known? Must feeling be made into a cognition to be
cognized? It is obvious enough that no feeling can be revived into a
representation of itself, but no more can any cognition or any mental
activity. Revival or recurrence of consciousness can never constitute
consciousness of consciousness which is an order apart. If cognition is
only presentation and re-presentation of objects, we can never attain
any apprehension of consciousness, any cognition of a cognition or of a
feeling or of a volition, for they are all equally in this sense
subjective acts. Re-presentation at any degree is never by itself sense
of re-presentation or knowledge of the presentation.

Of course, the doctrine of relativity applies to introspection as to all
cognition, and subject _qua_ subject is as unknowable as object _qua_
object. We do not know feeling in itself, nor anything else in itself,
the subjective like the objective _ding an sich_ is beyond our ken. Yet
kinds of consciousness are as directly apprehended and discriminated as
kinds of things, but the knowing is, as such, distinct from the known
even when knowing is known. Here the act knowing is not the act known
and is different in value. The object known is not, at least from the
purely psychological point of view, ever to be confounded with the
knowing, to be incorporated into cognition by virtue of being cognized.
Feeling, then, seems to be as directly known by introspection and
reflection as any other process. It is not a hypothetical cause brought
in by the intellect to explain certain mental phenomena, but it is as
distinctly and directly apprehended as cognition or volition.

The distinction between having a feeling and knowing a feeling is a very
real one, though common phraseology confuses them. We say of a brave
man, he never knew fear; by which we mean he never feared, never
experienced fear, and not that he was ignorant of fear. Again, in like
manner, we say sometimes of a very healthy person, he never knew what
pain was, meaning he never felt pain. These expressions convey a truth
in that they emphasize that necessity of experience in the exercise of
the subjective method upon which we have already commented, but still
they obscure a distinction which must be apparent to scientific
analysis. We cannot know feeling except through realization, yet the
knowing is not the realization. Being aware of the pain and the feeling
pain are distinct acts of consciousness. All feeling, pain and pleasure,
is direct consciousness, but knowledge of it is reflex, is consciousness
of consciousness. The cognition of the pain as an object, a fact of
consciousness, is surely a distinct act from the pain in consciousness,
from the fact itself. The pain disturbance is one thing and the
introspective act by which it is cognized quite another.

These two acts are not always associated, though they are commonly
regarded as inseparable. It is a common postulate that if you have a
pain you will know it, or notice it. If we feel pained, we always know
it. This seemingly true statement comes of a confounding of terms. If I
have a pain, I must, indeed, be aware of it, know it, in the sense that
it must be in consciousness; but this makes, aware of pain, and knowing
pain, such very general phrases as to equal experience of pain or having
pain. But there is no knowledge in pain itself, nor pain in the knowing
act _per se_. The knowing the pain must be different from the pain
itself, and is not always a necessary sequent. We may experience pain
without cognizing it as such. When drowsy in bed I may feel pain of my
foot being “asleep,” but not know it as a mental fact. We may believe,
indeed, that pain often rises and subsides in consciousness without our
being cognizant of it, but, of course, in the nature of the case there
is no direct proof, for proof implies cognizance of fact. Pain as mental
fact, an object for consciousness, not an experience in consciousness,
is what is properly meant by knowing pain. Consciousness-of-pain as
knowledge of it is not always involved by pain-in-consciousness as
experience of it. Consciousness of pain by its double meaning as
cognizance of pain and experience of pain leads easily to obscurity of
thought upon this subject. But experience does not, if we may trust the
general law of evolution from simple to complex, at the first contain
consciousness of experience. This latter element is but gradually built
up into experience, though in the end they are so permanently united in
developed ego life that it is difficult to perceive their distinctness
and independence. That pain and pleasure are cognized as facts of
consciousness seems to us clear, but this does not deny that for us, at
least, they may be cognizable only in fusion with other elements, as
with sensation or volition. But whether known only with other elements
or not, pleasure-pain is equally known only by direct introspection. I
know directly and immediately pain and pleasure when I experience them,
though they always occur bound up with some sensation. It may be that I
never experience mere pain but some kind of pain, as a pricking pain,
burning pain, etc., and that I always recall pain by its sensation tone,
that I cannot isolate it by any act of attention. (E. B. Titchener,
_Philosophical Review_, vol. iii., p. 431.) However I know that I have
pain as well as I know that I have a pricking or burning sensation. “Did
you feel the prick?” “Yes.” “Was it painful or pleasurable?”
“Pleasurable”; such a common colloquy implies as direct consciousness of
the pleasure-pain as of the sensation. That I can at once discriminate a
sensation as either pleasurable or painful certainly shows a direct
awareness of pleasure-pain.

If pure pleasure-pain is primitive consciousness (see chap. ii.), it
must be most rare phenomenon in such an advanced consciousness as that
of the human adult: and it is not surprising that one should search for
it in vain. But in any case it could not yield to attention. Attention
as cognition views its object in relation, in a _milieu_; it can
reproduce only by fastening upon something to reproduce by, but pure
pleasure-pain has nothing connected with it. Again, attention as
volition cannot reproduce mere pleasure-pain which is not volitional in
its origin and growth like sensing, perceiving, or ideating. We merely
“suffer” pain. Both pleasure and pain in themselves are purely passive;
willing cannot directly affect them, and they are not, like cognitions,
modes of volition, or effortful activities. For man to have a primitive
consciousness by exercise of will would be quite as difficult as to turn



Online LibraryHiram M. (Hiram Miner) StanleyStudies in the Evolutionary Psychology of Feeling → online text (page 1 of 32)