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y> is recognized, while C and D stir merely in the periphery of
consciousness. —I may be, e.g., on a steamer and sailing along the
coast. I see the woods, hear the splash of the water, note the
sighing of the wind, am aware of the conversation of the people
round me, etc. Now the sight of the ^v•oods, e.g., may set in motion
a series of free ideas. I may think of one spot in it which
especially pleases me ; from that I pass to the idea of similar
spots ; a forest landscape of Ruisdael's occurs to me : where did
I see it, in Paris or in Dresden ? In Dresden I saw also Raphael's
Madonna — during the course of this series of ideas {a.^ . . . (Jy)
the water continues to splash, the wind to sigh, the company to
converse (/?, C, D . . .), without any one of the sensations and
percepts which they occasion succeeding in interrupting the
horizontal stream.

In other cases we abandon ourselves to the immediate sensations,
as when we listen to music and try to keep out all ideas, so that
every moment we may fully and perfectly take in the fresh sensations
of sound. In this case no horizontal current is formed. Rigorous
musicians even demand that names shall not be given to musical
compositions, to avoid the suggestion of a dominant set of ideas
which might weaken the effect of the immediate sensations. —
When we take a walk for the purpose of mental enjoyment and


recreation, we yield ourselves to disconnected and changing im-
pressions (light, clouds, trees, men, etc.), and permit each to rouse
an ascending current, until succeeded by a fresh one. The alter-
nation of dream-images is to be similarly explained. The schema
for such cases would be : —

a,, b^i c<i

i^) ii) (c)

Between a.,, b.,, c.^ . . . there is no connection ; a.^ is interrupted
by B, b.^ by C, and so forth.

3. Between the two currents, the course of the free ideas and the
scries of the actual percepts, and also between the two elements
in perception, the sensation and the implicate idea, there is an
inverse ratio. They endeavour to check and to suppress one
another. The more energy the one element claims, the less
from the nature of the case remains for the other. Both elements
and both currents are present in every state of consciousness, but
with different degrees of strength. If they are equally strong, a
rhythmical alternation occurs, so that now the sensation, now the
representation, has the upper hand. They do battle for the attention ;
but equilibrium between thena would presuppose that they could both
be presented with equal clearness to consciousness, — a thing whicli
is impossible, for consciousness, like the point of most distinct
vision in the retina, is always concentrated in one special direction.
In some moments we are almost wholly under the control of
sensations and percepts, in others buried in ourselves in reflection
and deep thought, when the many sensations and percepts dis-
appear in a single, often narrow but brilliantly illuminated, current
of ideas. The difference between the two elements in perception
appears in the fact, that the colours of a landscape seem fresher
when we look at it with the head turned round. Spencer is
doubtless correct in giving as the explanation, that the act of
recognition is more easily excluded because of the unwonted
position, so that consciousness, instead of explaining the sensations,
is wholly occupied with taking them in as vividly as possible.'

As the relation between the two currents and between the two

1 Kant had already seen the inverse ratio of sensation to perception (Anihropologie,
S 19). Attention has since been called to it by Fries (/'iyc/r/VtV/er Anthropologic), i. p. 96, ii.
p. 30, and by William W^\\\\\\.o\\{,Discussions on Fhilos.), p. 63 ; Spencer, in an interesting
c\\3.^f.^T {PrincipUs 0/ Psychology, \il. vi. ch. 18), has 'described the relation with most



elements of perception is dift'erent in the same individual at
different times, so too is it different in different individuals. The
bent of some is to give themselves up wholly to the play of sensa-
tions (musical and artistic natures) ; for others sensations are of
value only in so far as they may be recognized and classified (ob-
servers, naturalists) ; while others again live mainly in free ideas,
in memory, in imagination, or in abstract thought.

The complex nature of perception affords an important contri-
bution to the determination of the relation between sensuous per-
ception and thought. Since perception rests on a process which
may be described as involuntary comparison, it manifests itself as
an activity of thought, by means of which we appropriate what is
given in the sensation, incorporate the sensation into the content
of our consciousness. If, then, an activity of thought is manifested
in sensuous perception, it is evident that sensuous perception and
thought cannot be two wholly distinct activities of consciousness.
There is no such thing as absolutely passive sensuous perception.
What is received into consciousness is at once worked up in
accordance with the laws of consciousness.

Kant first demonstrated clearly the importance of reproduction,
of memory, for sensuous perception. In the activity by which the
varied matter given in sensation is appropriated (" apprehended "),
are connected, according to Kant, sensuous perception and under-
standing, the two " extremes " of our knowledge.^ Earlier psycho-
logists either distinguished sharply between perception and thought
as two absolutely distinct functions (Plato), or else conceived per-
ception as obscure thought (Leibniz), or thought as transformed
perception (Condillac).

4. The question here obtrudes itself, How does the free flow of
ideas come to be recognised by consciousness as distinct from the
actual percepts? We cannot ascribe to consciousness an original
knowledge of this distinction. There is, indeed, as a rule a difference
in the degree of strength of a memory-image and a percept ; but
this difference may be very small, and may even quite disappear.
In any case, the first time that a present impression calls out the
image of earlier memories, we cannot know what the difference of
strength signifies. It may cause greater attention to be paid to the
actual impression than to the remembered image ; but in this there
would be nothing to prevent the latter from seeming equally real.

'^-Kritik der reinen F^rwj^n//, (Kehrbach's Ausgabe), pp. 130 and 134 [Max Muller's
trans., pp. 105, 109] ; Berkeley, in his Theory of Vision, had already pointed out the com-
plex character of perception.


It must be with tkuvning consciousness as with dream-consciousness:
all that offers is at first taken for current coin, and no grounds are
present for arranging the content of consciousness in two different
spheres, in tlie world of possibility and imagination on the one
hand, and the world of reality and perception on the other. On
the contrary, this contrast is discovered only through experiences
in great measure bitter. We must often run our head against
reality, before it becomes clear to us where its limits lie.

Let us take as our starting point an exclusive sensation such as
that mentioned by Condillac. Every fresh element of consciousness
that comes into effect by the side of the given sensation, will
have an overwhelming tendency to fuse, wherever it can, with
this sensation, and in any case there will be as slight a change
as possible, since otherwise the energy and interest would be
divided. Now this has the further consequence, that the sensation
or percept present will cast its own strong and clear light on the
less strongly emerging elements, consequently on the memory-
images which it awakens ami which arc closely connected with it.
By association with the real impression, through which they are
again called up, the memory-representations will receive the
impress of reality, even when they are not naturally so distinct as
the impression. In this way what is given is involuntarily supple-
mented and extended, so long as no distinctly contradictory ex-
periences are known. Without such supplement we should not be
able to " sec "an apple, for the visual sensation does not give us alb
but only one of, the properties of the apple ; the others we supply
in such a way that we believe them to be apprehended in the per-
ception of the visual properties. In a percept of this kind the
representative elements are thus far more numerous than the
presentative, but they receive from these latter a stamp of reality
which they would not have of themselves.

. This power, which the present impression exercises, owes its
origin not to the strength of the sensation alone, but also to the
active support of all the sensory and motor organs. The primitive
impulse to movement, from the nature of the case, is turned
principally in the direction suggested by the given sensations.
These obtain, in consequence, an eftect far beyond that proper to
their own strength and efficacy. On this account Bain has, with
justice, given the orginal motor-impulse as an important cause of the
primitive credulity of consciousness.^ We stand ready, as it were, to

[1 Mental Science, p. 377. (Tr.)]

K 2


start off at the first signal, and when we have once started it takes
a great deal to change the direction. So long as we are not re-
strained we entertain no suspicion. An animal follows the scent
of his prey, and only when the trap closes over him does it appear
that one and the same sensation does not always lead to the same
set of circumstances. In instinct there operates an impulse to
movement which may often lead astray, as when bees and wasps
fly to the flowers in a carpet, or when insects lay their eggs in the
carrion-plant on account of its smell. Many animals will hatch
any kind of eggs placed under them, or rear the young of other
animals ; thus a hen has been induced to brood over young weasels,
and a cat suckled young rats in the place of the kittens it had lost.^
A child puts everything he gets hold of into his mouth and sucks
it, sometimes sustaining in consequence bitter disappointments.
He learns that there are more things and relations than are
dreamed of in his simple philosophy. He is thrust back, after his
first sanguine attack on reality.

There is more reason to speak of " unconscious judgments " here
than in immediate sensations. Logically formulated, it is a positive
conclusion " in the second figure," which the early consciousness
draws, and through which it makes experiments, which often
painfully endorse Aristotle's caution against this description of
judgment. A \s C, B is C— from this is drawn the conclusion that
A must be B. Lut a finger or a baby's bottle cannot, because it
has something in common with the breast, in every respect take the
place of this. Not every smiling countenance is a promise that food
or play will follow. Because the sheep willingly eats the leaves
offered it, it does not follow that a bird will do the same. A
small boy once made the direct assertion, " snow is sugar, for
snow is white and so is sugar." The sight of white calls up the
remembrance of sweet, and this association of whiteness and
sweetness prevails at first in consciousness ; then experience
pitilessly sunders it, with the result that the idea of sweetness
receives a special stamp, enters as it were into a special corner
of consciousness, to which are gradually referred a whole series of
other ideas which have undergone the same treatment (the idea of

1 Cf. Romanes, Mental Evolution in Animals (London, 1883), pp. 167, 218, mv- I
may take a further example from \.y<:\\''i Journeys in North America. From the mines
at the summit of the Lehigh the coals are sent down in a railway impelled by its own
weight. Mules are employed to draw the empty wagons up every day, and in the evening
are sent down again and allowed to enjoy their food by the way. The same mules, if em-
ployed in other tasks, are quite willing to draw heavy loads uphill, but obstinately refuse
to take a cart downhill, make a halt at the slightest decline, and are not to be stirred from
the spot.


play in connection with a smiling face, or the capacity for eating
grass in connection with the nature of an animal, etc.). In other
words : the first basis is laid of the contrast between possibility and
reality. Then only the free ideas enter into a relation of definite
contrast to sensation and percept. The primitive confidence is

The same facts exert an influence upon the state immediately
present during the real impression. The representations called up
by this impression no longer blend so closely with it. A certain
doubt and a certain disquiet make themselves felt ; the state is not
so closed in and homogeneous as at first. The representation of
that which on former occasions appeared as accompanying or suc-
ceeding the impression, is no longer the object of perfect conviction.
If the child has learnt that satisfaction does not always succeed
hunger, there arises in his consciousness a sense of contrast
between his present feeling of discomfort and the idea of the satis-
faction of the need. Previously the two intermingled ; the tran-
sition from the one state to the other was continuous. Now, on the
contrary, there is as it were a certain vibration in the ideas as-
sociated with the percept present. They are not one with it in the
part they play, nor do they aim at the same effect.

If by memory is understood not only the power of reproducing

>,, and recognizing elements of consciousness, but also the power oj
becoming coftscious that the elements reproduced were experienced in
time past, then it is developed later than expectation ancf hope.
At first we attribute to our ideas a practical bearing on the present
and immediate future, and it is only when constrained by ex-
perience that we recognize their content as something completely
past. When free representations have lost their stamp of reality,
they often disappear with it ; a certain mental development is
implied in preserving and dwelling upon representations which
can never again become percepts.

In this process it is of course also of importance whether the per-
cept answering to the representation had usually been experienced
before or after the present percept. Every state of consciousness
has as it were two poles : through the one it is associated with the
preceding, through the other with the succeeding element of con-
sciousness (thus B is connected through a with ^, through y with
C). Now if C recalls B, B will be situated before it in the series,
since in this case the pole y first emerges in consciousness. If, on

. the other hand, A recalls B, B will be situated behind A, since the


pole a first rises up. The hungry child is quieted by being taken
on the arm (A), because this is the first step (a) to satisfaction {B) ;
C comes to be situated, as of itself, behind A in the series.

This theory,^ which of course employs metaphorical expressions,
brings out momenta of importance, though only in a secondary,
supplementary connection. The chief cause of the separation
between hope and memory is the same as the cause of the
definite contrast between percept and idea — experience, namely,
and the disappointments which it brings. This separation is
aided, but not actually effected, by the definite place which the
percepts usually occupy in relation to one another. By reason of
our practical and sanguine nature, ^progressive reproduction is at
first the most natural. B will have the tendency to rouse the
idea of C, but a lesser tendency to rouse the idea of A. The sight
of a table being laid excites in a hungry man the idea of a meal ;
but the sight of a meal will not, on the other hand, except for some
special reason, produce the idea of the table being laid. At the
lowest stages of consciousness regressive reproduction does not
apparently take place. Life struggles forward, and is only moved
to look back by experiencing check. So that when a percept (C)
chances to give rise to the idea of its predecessor (i5), this latter
will at first be frequently presented, not as predecessor but as
successor, and expectation will arise. Only when experience has
exercised its refining influence, can the distinction between a and
7 become of significance ; previously the distinction, under the
influence of the impulse to movement and of confidence, will
be overlooked.

Even apart from the practical tendency, progressive reproduc-
tion is the most natural. Psychologically, it is not a matter of
indifference whether we pass from A to B or from B to A ; we
experience the two transitions as different, often as quite opposed.
The change from light to darkness is thoroughly opposed to that
from darkness to light ; this is still more strikingly the case with
the change from pleasure to pain, and from pain to pleasure. Even
when the contrast is less strong, it is still the case that a different
arrangement gives different sensations. The order of the dtshes
at a feast is gastronomically not at all indifferent. When we re-
produce backwards, we really, to be exact, reproduce something

1 It is found suggested in Robert Zim merman n, Philos. PropadeHtik, 3rd. ed. p. 223,
developed by Taine, De I' InUlligeiuc, livre iii. tba]). 7 and 9 ; cf. s.\<.o James Sully,
Belief, its Varieties and its Conditions (Semalion and Intuition) (London, 1874,) p. 80


other than what we have experienced ; thus in psychology the order
of the addenda is not indifferent. It follows that regressive re-
production cannot be so deeply implanted in us as progressive,
but presupposes a more advanced development.

From this exposition we see how far from possible it is in reality
to carry through the abstraction of the cognitive from the other
kinds of conscious elements. And yet we arc here ignoring many
questions which may be thrown out as to the influence of feeling
and will on the course of development above described ; these
belong to a later section of our inquiries.

The examples we have employed were taken from primitive
and elementary stages. But it will be easily seen that the same
process repeats itself, wherever experience exercises its correc-
tive influence on over-confident and prc-conceivcd opinions and
hopes. This is a fiery test which every endeavour, theoretical
and practical, has to undergo. The scientific methods of experi-
ment have grown out of the psychological process just described.
Every experiment consists in taking the consequences of certain
definite hypotheses and so testing these hypotheses ; and to such
experiments life constrains us from the first instant.

There is still something wanting to give consciousness perfect
clearness. We have distinguished between elementary, implicate,
and free memory, and have tried to show how free memory emanci-
pates itself from perception and expectation. Dut with this free
memory may be further combined the definite consciousness, that
the representation had its origin in an earlier time. The idea of
time and its development will be treated in the next section. Here
it is only to be observed, that this defitiite reference of the repre-
senfafion to a definite point in time affords a main point of dis-
tinction between memory and free imagination. Imagination
alters the content and the combinations of ideas, and creates new
arrangements and groups, while memory proper follows step by step
the order of the actual percepts. In remembrance as opposed to
creative imagination, a recognition, a perception, takes effect among
the free ideas. I can recognize {perceive) a free idea, just as much
as I can recognize a sensation. The recognition of an idea implies
that I have had before, either the idea itself as a free idea, or the
sensation answering to it.

5. We have already, in the first chapters of these inquiries
(I. 4 and II. 5), found in memoEj' and in the close, and in our ex-
perience the only, way in which different elements are through it



combined into a unity, a typical expression of the nature of conscious-
ness. My act of remembering takes place at the present moment,
but that which I rexnember pertains to an earlier moment. In the
unity which embraces and holds together the different sensations
and ideas, and makes their interaction possible, lies the germ of
the conception of the ego or self. This conception has therefore as
deep a ioasis as a psychological conception can have, since it
expresses the actual fundamental form and fundamental condition
of conscious life. The difficulties which have been found in it
are due in great measure to the fact that the ego has been looked
for as something absolutely simple, which might consequently be
given in a certain definite state, in a certain definite sensation or idea.
If we start with the assumption that the ego proper must make
its appearance as a single element of consciousness, in contrast to
other elements of consciousness, it is no wonder that it is looked
for in vain. Thus Hume, in trying to prove that the idea of self is
contrary to experience, says : " If any impression gives rise to the
idea of self, that impression must continue invariably the same,
through the whole course of our lives ; since self is supposed to
exist after that manner. But there is no impression constant and
invariable. Pleasure and pain, grief and joy, passions and sensa-
tions succeed each other, and never all exist at the same time. It
cannot, therefore, be from any of these impressions, or from any
other, that the idea of self is derived ; and consequently there is
no such idea. . . . For my part, when I enter most intimately into
what I call myself I always stumble on some particular percep-
tion^ or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain
or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any time without a
perception, and never can observe anything but the perception." ^
In this Hume was perfectly right. But he searches in the wrong
place. The nature of the ego is manifested in the combinatio7i of
the sensations, ideas, and feelings, and in the forms and laws of
this combination, consequently in memory and comparison, from
their purely elementary and automatic forms up to the highest and
dearest forms which they are capable of taking. Hume cannot
see the wood for the trees. His polemic holds good as against the
spiritualistic conception of the " soul " as an individual substance,
separated off behind the several elements of consciousness. But
he offends against actual psychological experience, when he de-

1 The expression Hume uses here (perception) includes for him both impression and

2 Treatise on Ifuman Nature, vol. i. pt. iy. section 6.

v] Till', l■S^(•I!()LOGY OF COGNITION I37

dares mockinfjly tliat, " setting aside some few metaphysicians,"
the rest of mankind are nothing but bundles or collections of
perceptions, which succeed each other with inconceivable rapidity,
and in a constant current. He overlooks the inner link between
these conscious elements, which enables them to become elements
of one and the same consciousness and not of several conscious-
nesses. And yet he must of course have been led to ask, what
holds the conscious elements together and makes them into a
"bundle"? To this end there must be a combining force; but
with Hume this force was entirely lost sight of for the individual
members of the bundle. He even went so far as to attribute inde-
pendent or substantial existence to the individual percepts. It
remained for him therefore an insoluble problem, to account for a
combination among "perceptions," each of which exists inde-
pendently. " I must confess," so he concludes the chapter quoted
of the " Treatise," " that this difficulty is too hard for my under-
standing." And this much is certain, that if the individual elements
of consciousness are first represented as quite independent, it will
be found impossible to bridge them together.^

The assumption from which Hume set out in his criticism,
namely, that the ego must make its appearance as a single element
of consciousness, is even a contradiction in temis. If the ego and
a sirti^le element of consciousness (sensation, idea, or feeling) —
even though this element were quite constant — were absolutely co-

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