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particular for poetry, and for history. Psychology has only to
indicate certain typical differences, conditioned by the relation
between the different mental elements and forms of activity.

In the first place, it makes an essential difference whether the
cognitive elements or those of feeling or of will have the upper
hand in the individual. And further, within each several species of
dominant element, there may again be one single bent that has most
weight. Thus in the province of cognition, sensuous perception

' See the last chapter of my work, Die Crutidlage der Humanen Ethik.


and thought are presented as opposites; in sensuous perception
the different senses {cf, for example, the difference between the
endowment of the painter and that of the musician), and in thought
association by simihirity and by contiguity. In the province of feel-
ing the contrast between physical and ideal feelings is of great im-
portance ; and after that the contrast between pleasure and pain,
egoism and sympathy. Finally, in respect of the will, there are
individuals who are principally led by impulse and instinct, while
others toil wearisomely through a succession of resolutions. There
are some in whom the will acts mainly as a check, others in whom
its positively selective and sustaining activity is most prominent.
And to all these differences may be added in each several depart-
ment, differences of strength, of rapidity, and of scope.

From antiquity downwards psychology has laid the greatest
stress upon the original bents of feeling, which give the keynote to
the mental life, whatever line it may strike out. Both talent and
character are determined by the temperament, just as feeling
occupies a central position in relation to cognition and will. The
temperament is determined by the organic constitution, and
manifests itself in the vital feeling, the fundamental mood which
controls the mind independently of definite external experiences.
It is one of the most important constituents of the real self
(V. B. 5), the feeling-regulator of the individual (VI. E. 2). As a
background given from the beginning, it determines the mode in
which all experiences are received by the individual, and con-
sequently the mode in which the individual reacts upon the
external world.

Already in antiquity Galen propounded the doctrine of the four
temperaments, answering to the four elements of Enipedocles and
the four organic fluids of Hippocrates. The physiological theory
on which the doctrine of the temperaments was originally based has
been long since abandoned. Now as a rule, with Haller, excita-
bility is taken as a basis. The differences of temperament depend,
therefore, upon the varying strength, rapidity, and vividness, with
which external impressions are received and preserved. Kant
distinguished as follows between the temperaments in which
feeling preponderates and active temperaments ; the former are
light-blooded (sanguine) and thick-blooded (melancholy) tempera-
ments, while the volitional temperaments are hot-blooded (choleric)
and cold-blooded (phlegmatic). Quite recently Wundt has utilized
the relation between the strength and the rapidity of emotion


as a basis, and has thus returned in a new way to the old four-
fold division ; the choleric temperament (strong and quick), the
melancholy (strong and slow), the sanguine (weak and quick),
and the phlegmatic (weak and slow).^ However essential the
point of view here taken may be, inasmuch as excitability or
power of reacting appears the fundamental property of all life,
there remains something that does not properly appear in the old
four-fold division, viz. the tendency to one or other of the two
great opposites of the life of feeling, which gives colour and
direction to the whole disposition. To the four ancient tem-
peraments might be added, therefore, the bright and the dark
temperament ; and this opposition is more fundamental than that
upon which the other four temperaments are based, because it has
its root in the fundamental conditions for the preservation of the
individual organism. Pleasure and pain correspond, as has been
seen, in the main to the progress or retrogression of the vital
process itself (VI. D.). Physiologically, the contrast between the
bright and the dark temperament points, moreover, to the influence
of the vegetative functions upon the brain, while the other four
temperaments can be traced back to the greater or lesser ease
with which external stimuli can set in motion the central nerve-

2. The origin of the individual character refers back to the
origin of the individual organism. We have had in another con-
nection (VI. C. 3) an opportunity of observing how very early the
germ arises, out of which a new organism is developed. When
impregnation has taken place and growth begins, the result is at
every point decided by the relation between the inwardly con-
ditioned growth and dilTerentiation on the one side and the
mechanical conditions of development on the other. In the
individual cases it is extraordinarily difficult to say whether the
structure of a form is conditioned by inner processes or by the
influence of " mechanical forces." Deformities often arise out of
a healthily disposed germ, which went wrong in the course of
development.^ — Even after birth physical conditions (food, climate,
etc.) help to determine the result. The stunting of the body, for

1 Kant, Anthropologic, 2nd ed., p. 255, seg. ; Wundt, Physiol. Psychol., n., p. 347, seq.
(srded. ii. p. 421, seg.)._

'^ Cf. James Sully, Pessitiiism : a History and a Criticism, London, 1877, pp. 405-414.

3 Kulliker, Entwickehin^sgeschichte des Mcnschen, 2nd ed., p. 385, seq.\ Panum,
Bidrag til Kundskab out Misfostrenes Fysiohgiske Betydning ("Contribution to
the Knowledge of the Physiological Significance of Abortions"), Copenhagen, 1877,
p. 70, seg.


example, leads also to ilic stunting of the mind, and statistics
show the influence of external conditions upon human actions.
But in respect of every single individual, the force of external
conditions is always modified by the inner conditions with which
the individual confronts the external world. Individuality is thus
always presupposed.

The same holds good also in respect of social causes. Imitation,
education, relations to authority play an extraordinarily large part
in the mental development of every individual. Even Fichte, who
so one-sidedly and energetically maintained the personality, with
its capacity of self-determination, to be innate and original, is
unable to explain evolution from lower to higher stages, without
supposing external intervention, even if this consist only in the
touching of a spring. In mental growth it is even more difficult
than in bodily to keep apart the inner and outer influences. While
some regard the indi\ iduality as given from the first, so that what is
experienced, exercised and acquired has only a quite secondary
importance ; some on the other hand (as Helvetius and in modern
times John Stuart Mill) have referred all differences of mental
capacities to difference in up-bringing. But this is contradicted
by the experience that education produces most effect upon
mediocre natures. That great differences arise, in spite of simi-
larity of education, shows that at any rate a natural basis always
plays some part.

A profounder point of view is afforded by heredity. Individual
organisms arise by propagation. The germs of the new organisms
are evolved out of earlier organisms, and, as it now appears that
they inherit in a greater or smaller degree the nature of these,
it seems to be a natural view that the individuality owes its
origin and its properties to the race whence it springs. Pro-
perties not explicable by physical and social causes, may perhaps
find their explanation if we go back to the earlier generation.
What seems inexplicable in the individual may be explicable
in the race. There is no individual trait on which light may
not be thrown from some side or other, if the history of the race
is investigated. Such an investigation is exceedingly difficult
and complicated, owing to the fact that heredity branches out to
infinity, and that several generations may be skipped (atavism).^

1 The expression "atavism" was first employed by Duchesne in reference to plants.
Proper Lucas, TraiW PJiilos. et Physiol, lie l' H(rhiitf Xaturelle, Paris, 1847-50, ii.,
p. 43. Aristotle was already acquainted with the phenomenon, Hist. Aiiini., vii., 6 (ed.
Uekker, p. 585b); De Gcner. Anim., i., iS, (p. 7J2a).


What has once taken hold in the human organism is not to
be easily rooted out. Thanks to this interaction between an
enduring type (which, even when interrupted, may re-emerge
by means of atavism), — with properties which are implanted by
crossing, — and properties which are introduced by accommoda-
tion to new conditions of life, by exercise and suffering, — the
prospect is afforded of an infinity of different combinations or

Heredity in the race has often been compared with the faculty
of memory in the individual. But even as memory does not retain
everything that passes in the life of the individual, and conse-
quently does not explain the whole of it, so too heredity is not any-
thing more than a natural tendency to retain what has been
acquired. The scope of this tendency, and its power of vanquish-
ing new conditions and experiences, is a question presented
afresh in each individual case. There is always therefore a place
left for empiricism, which infers the content and the nature of
consciousness from individual experiences. In the race, as in the
individual consciousness, there are two currents or tendencies
{cf. V. B. 2), and these may stand in most varied relations to one
another. There is indeed a special class of individual differences
depending on whether the inherited constitution or the personal
experiences have most to do with forming the character. Thus
the sanguine and the choleric temperaments can be more strongly
influenced from without than the melancholy and phlegmatic

Without entering here more closely into the theories of heredity,
we will call attention to one or two general results.^ — i. The more
deieply anything is taken into the organism, the more easily it is
transmitted. What is only recently acquired is in unstable equili-
brium, and is easily annulled by contrary intluences. — 2. Physical
properties are more easily transmitted than mental ; simple,
straightforward faculties more easily than such as depend upon
the co-operation of several mental powers. Instincts are inherited
most easily of all ; after them tendencies of feeling and faculties of
sense; intellectual capacities last of all. — 3. It is only elementary
forms and dispositions that are transmitted. What is inherited
has therefore more or less indeterminateness, and the degree and

1 Cf. Decandolle, " Sur la part d'Influence de I'Hiredite, de la Variabilite et de la
Selection dans le D^veloppenient de I'Espece Humaine " (in the work, Histoire des
Sciences et des Savants depuis deux Siecles, Geneve, Bale, Lyon, 1873, pp. 308-
402). Kibot, L' HerediU Psycholo^iqiie, deuxieme ed., Paris, 1882.


direction in which it is developed is a question of individual

3. The physical, social, and inherited conditions supply the
elements out of which the structure of individuality is raised.
Experience '"hows us no other regions in which to look for
stones for ♦ne structure. Only by some mystical roundabout
way could the interminable inquiries be escaped, which are
consequently necessary to explain any individuality. Some
have n garded the individuality as absolutely original ; as an
"original state," or as an eternal "monad." With such an as-
sumption as a basis, the problem of the origin of individuality
is of course wholly done away with, but such an assumption is
arbitrary and unscientific. It may, indeed, be said, that there is in
nature a law of individuality, inasmuch as all evolution has the
character of differentiation, leads to the formation of differences
and individual peculiarities ; but the problem of research is pre-
cisely to discover the elements out of which these totalities are
formed and the laws according to which they arise. Research
may and must admit that, as regards the individuals, it does not
succeed in giving every detail, that there is always something
which escapes it, — that the individuality appears in consequence
an irrational whole, which admits of only approximate determi-
nation. But it is of decisive importance, in this as in all pro-
vinces, to protect empirical research from mystical and speculative

From a purely psychological standpoint it is necessary to go a
step further. Even though the individual organism, which in spite
of its completeness and relative independence is still a republic of
cells, were to be explained as compounded out of elements, and its
origin made intelligible through the law of the persistence of energy,
this would not explain the individual consciousness, the formation
of a special centre of memory, of action, and of suffering. That it
is possible for such an inner centre to come into being is the fun-
damental problem of all our knowledge. Each individual trait,
each individual property, might perhaps be explained by the power
of heredity and the influence of experience ; but the inner unity,
to which all elements refer, and by virtue of which the individuality
is a psychical individuality, remains for us an eternal riddle. As
was observed in an earlier connection, it is impossible to apply to
the mental province anything analogous to the persistence of



energy. Psychical individuality is one of the practical limits of

In recent times the attempt has been made to explain by
heredity, not only the properties of the individuals and of the
family and race, but also the forms and characteristics which apply
to all consciousness. Even before Darwin's hypothesis of the
origin of species, Herbert Spencer (in the first edition of the
Principles of Psychology, 1855) propounded the theory, that the
fundamental forms and powers of consciousness had been de-
veloped through the adaptation of the ancestral races to their
conditions of life. The forms of thought and feeling which are
typical of the human race, would therefore be a priori in respect
of the individual, that is to say, they could not be fully explained
by the individual experiences, but these experiences would, on the
contrary, be conditioned by an original substratum. On the other
hand, those forms would find their explanation if account were
taken of the whole race, and of the infinite series of experiences
the race must have gone through in the course of its development.
What would be a priori to the individual, would to the race there-
fore be a posteriori.

This hypothesis is an attempt to lead the dispute between
apriorism and empiricism into a new channel, and in so doing
to allow due weight to each. Apriorism carries the day with
reference to the individual, while empiricism holds good for the
race. The earlier treatment of this problem {cf. the conflict
between Locke and Leibniz, Hume and Kant, John Stuart Mill
and Whewell) took into consideration only the individual conscious-
ness. Spencer has yielded up one of the most prominent positions
of empiricism -in order the more energetically to defend a more
retired position, the possession of which was denied to the older
empiricism by the narrowness of its own standpoint.

This attempt at a solution, however, suggests doubts of two kinds.
In the first place, the race is a collective conception. At any
given time it is composed of a certain number of individuals.
These individuals carry on the struggle for existence, exercise their
powers, and, by accommodation to the conditions of life, acquire a
certain organization which may be transmitted to the next genera-
tion. But however far back we go, the individuals still start always
with a certain organization, with certain forms and powers which
they have not themselves acquired, consequently with something a


priori. At every stage of the great process of evolution there is a
given basis, by which the effect of all experiences is determined. It
must therefore be true of the race as of the individual, that the ex-
ternal always presupposes the internal, that what is acquired is
conditioned by what is originally innate. This is a fundamental
relation that constantly repeats itself.

Spencer's theory recalls Plato's mystical doctrine of knowledge
as a reminiscence of a pre-existing state.^ There is, indeed, the
great difference that, while Plato explained everything in conscious-
ness which could not be derived from personal experience, as
acquired in a spiritual pre-existence, in which the soul in the com-
pany of the gods contemplated the eternal ideas,— according to
Spencer, the basis of our mental life is formed by the work, the
sufferings and struggles of millions of human beings. Both Plato
and Spencer overlook, however, that we have here to do with a
question of principle, and that, if existence involves an a priori,
this is also involved in any kind of pre-ex-isience, whether we con-
ceive it realistically or mystically. An absolute beginning or
end cannot, from the nature of our knowledge, be reached. The
fundamental relation between a something internal and a some-
thing external, which is the general law of life and consequently
also of mental life, is only a special case of the general law of
relativity. From one single principle, one single assumption, no
result, as has been already shown (V. D. 5), can be gained.

In the second place, a definite separation must be made between
psychological and epistemological points of view. Psychologically,
the evolution hypothesis is a great advance ; it opens up a wider
horizon, a prospect of explanation previously closed to us. Psycho-
logically, as physiologically, the doctrine that that which is inex-
plicable in the individual may be explicable in the race, is fully
justified, and will certainly prove more and more a fruitful princi-
ple. But from the point of view of the theory of knowledge, it is
a different affair. The final principles which the analysis of our
knowledge affords, are the final assumptions attainable for us.
All explanations, proofs and hypothesis, consequently also the
evolution hypothesis itself, rest upon these. It is the business of
epistemology, but not of psychology, to inquire how far this logical
basis of all our knowledge is comprehensive. Psychology is a

1 C/. my paper on Plato's psychology-, in Tidiskrift for Filologi ("Magazine of
Philology"), Copenhagen, 1876, p. 209, seij.

A A 2


special discipline, which presupposes the general principles of our
knowledge, but cannot explain their validity. The unassailable
standpoint of idealism is given in the necessity of thought, which
lies at the bottom of every admissible realistic hypothesis. How-
ever far it may be possible to explain man through the world,
the world in its turn is always explained through man ; for we
can go no farther back than that which is to man a necessity of



Abstraction, 165—173
Acedia, 336

Activity and passivity, 48, ug. ; 98, seq. \
119, seq. ; 160, 173, •"?• I »8i, uq. ; 300,

"Q ; 325. 335
JEschylus, 338

jEsthetlC fcciing, 264, leq.

After-image, 144

Agraphia, 147, 313

Alcmaeon, 53

Anger. 234

Aristotle, founder of empirical psycho-
logy. 26, seq. ; psychological bipartite
division, 88, seq. ; development of higher
mental forms out of lower, 90 ; on sym-
pathy for those or. whom we have con-
ferred benefits, 245 ; on the seat of feel-
ing, 268 ; on the biological importance of
feeling, 272 ; distinction between squib
and comedy. 295 ; close of deliberation,
339 ; atavism, 351

Aft, origin of, 264 ; direct and associative
factor in artistic effect, 265 ; artistic and
natural be^uiy, 266 ; artistic imagina-
tion, 180, seq.

Association of ideas, laws of, 149—160

Assoclatloniat-psychology, 49, 95, 157,


Atavism, 351

Attention, 95 ; involuntary attention, 119,
seq.^ 314; voluntary attention, 315; at-
tention and association of ideas, 160, 299

Aversion, 234

cells ill the cerebral cortex, 40 ; spon-
taneous movement, 118, 131, 310, seq. ;
apprehension of space, 193, 199; feelings
of relativity, 279 ; neutral feelings, 287

Bell (Charles), the brain as seat of feeling,

Beneke, on the unconscious, 73 ; on the
expansion of feeling, 303

Bernard (Claude), on the effect of curare,
II ; the blood as tnitteu inter ieur, 34 ;
on the physiological standpoint, 35 ; on
sensibility as faculty of organic matter,

Bemouilll, 276
Blchat, on the seat of the feelings, 268 ;

on the influence of repetition, 281
Blind persons, 108, 123, 195, 197, 205
Bonnet, on hallucinations, 144 ; on the

will, 314
Bouilller, on satisfaction in sorrow, 258
Braid, on monoideism as condition of

hypnotism, 45
Brain: brain-physiology, 38, seq.; brain

and consciousness, 50, seq. ; 267, seq. \

312, seq.
Brandes (George), on the character of

Lassalle, 339
Broca, on the organ of speech, 41
Brochner, on the unconscious, 75
Broussais, 15, 61
Burdach, on the psychical relation of the

impression, 80
Burke, on the sublime, 290


Bacon (Francis), on knowledge and power,

Baar (K. E. v.), on growth and generation,

BftlB (Alexander), the number of nervc-

CabanlS, on the psychological importance
of the fcetus-life, 3 ; on matter, 61 ; on
cenius in the years of puberty, 334

OcUderon, life a dream, 219

Campanella, 333

CardBus, relativity of ieelins, 275 ; paio
a condition of pleasure 285



Carpenter, on unconscious cerebration,
Si ; on expectant attention, 304 ; physio-
logy of attention, 316

Causal concept, its application presup-
poses succession, 56, scg. ; its epistenio-
logical basis, 20S ; its psychological de-
velopment, 213, seg. ; 301, scg. ; its appli-
cation to the life of the will, 344, seg.

Cellini, illusion on the basis of an hallu-
cination, 145

Choice, elementary, 121, 160; conscious
choice, 328

Clifford, on animation in general, 82

Cognition, psychology of, 10 r — 220 ; cog-
nition and feeling, 94—98, 161, 221, seg. ;
233, seg. ; 298, seg. ; cognition and will,
95, 119, seg. ; 160, 330, seg.

Colour, sensations of, 103. seg ; 108, 112,
seg. ; their effects on feelings, 230, seg.

Complex ideas (individual ideas), 164

Concept, 175, seg.

Condillac, on attention, 120, seg.

Conscience, 260, 277, 301

Consciousness : preliminary account, 45,
seg. ; consciousness and cerebral activity,
50, seg. ; consciousness and unconscious-
ness, 71, seg. ; element of consciousness,
88 ; centre of consciousness and centre
of individuality, 343

Contrast, effect of, in the province of sen-
sations, 112, seg.; between fresh and
repeated sensations, 121 ; between sensa-
tions, i6i ; between feelings, 275, seg. ;
260, 301


Darwin (Charles), on the capacity of pro-
ducing sounds, 156 ; expressions of anger
in young children, 234 ; egoism of the
male, 249 ; the courtship of animals, 251 ;
development of sympathy, 252 ; smilin^^
in young children, 291; smiling and
laughter in monkeys, 292 ; the phy-
siognomy when lost in thought, 316

Darwin (Erasmus), on the psychological
importance of the fostus-life, 3

Deliberation, 32B

Descartes, conception of the mind, 9 ; on
the relation between mind and body, 58,
seg. ; on the apprehension of distance,
194 ; the seat of feeling, 268 ; wonder as
the forerunner of all feelings, 279

Desire, 235, seg. ; 323

Determinism, 344, seg.

Differentiation, 85, seg. ; 90, 169, seg. ;
232, itY-

Disinterested feeling, 257, seg.

Distance, apprehension of, 192, seg. ; c/.
164, seg.

Double consciousness, 140
Dostojewski, psychology of crime, 300 ;

consciousness of the will, 341
Dream and reality, 206, seg. ; 217, seg.

Dream-images, 145

Dreaming, state of, 78, seg.

Dualistic liypothesis, as to the relation

between mind and body, 55, seg. \ cf.

5, seg. ; 58, seg.
Dubois-Reymond, on the phenomena of

consciousness and the causal law, 83 ; the

Online LibraryHarald HøffdingOutlines of psychology → online text (page 39 of 41)