Johann Friedrich Herbart.

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ency of the body to yield to emotion. Thus courage
and timidity are very often dependent upon health and

It is a remarkable circumstance that different bodily
conditions belong to different emotions. For example,
shame drives the blood to the cheeks, fear makes one
pale, anger and despair increase the strength of the
muscles, etc.

From this we see that it would be wrong to enu-
merate and distinguish the possible emotions accord-
ing to a merely psychological principle.

Note. — Without presenting here the theory of the union
between soul and body, according to the laws of natural
philosophy, we may make further use of the two preceding
observations :

1. Every gradual excitation of one system by another works
by reflex action in such a manner that from the part of the
system excited the disturbance is extended into the exciting
part. Under the excitement of emotion, not only the body is dis-
turbed, but the mind suffers a prolonged uneasiness, and indeed
the different systems of the bodily organism must be disturbed
in the same way. The excitation goes from the soul to the
brain, from the brain to the spinal marrow, from the spinal
marrow to the ganglia, from there to the circulatory system,
from there to the individual organs, and thence to the nutritive
system — and then the influence returns in reversed order [from
the nutritive system to the soulj and not suddenly but succes-
sively, just as the excitation proceeded, which latter may be
regarded as an accelerating force (according to the technique
of mechanics).

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2. The partial efitect upon definite organs, of which the
emotions give proof, must also occur where we do not observe
it In the reproduction of visual concepts arises an excitation
of the optic nerve, in that of auditory concepts an excitation of
the auditory nerve, etc. ; but, in the concept of a movement, the
nerves of motion are excited, so that the special act of holding
back is necessary, if the movement is not to follow.

If we combine these two explanations just given, then the
most varied tendencies are explicable without any occasion for
the current theory .whiph confounds life and soul, thus giving
rise to the error of materialism, so called, which in regard to
matter is still more preposterous than in regard to souL



107. Ik regard to the word desire, we must, at the
very first, correct a wrong use of speech which ob-
tains generally in treatises on psychology. The fac-
ulty of desire, together with those of representation
and feeling, should furnish an exhaustive classification
of the mental activities. It must, therefore, include
wishes, instincts, and every species of longing, inas-
much as they belong neither to feelings nor to repre-
sentations. In works upon psychology is to be found
the assertion that that wliich is desired must be rep-
resented as attainable ; the belief in the impossibility
of attainment kills the desire. This statement is true
in regard to willing, which is a desire combined with
the supposition that it can be fulfilled. Hence there
is a great difference between a strong will and a strong

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desire. Napoleon willed when emperor, and desired
when at St. Helena. The expression desire must not
be so limited as to exclude those wishes which remain,
though they may be vain or so-called pious wishes, and
which, for the very reason that they do remain, con-
stantly incite men to new efforts, because through them
the thought of a possibility is ever anew suggested in
spite of all reasons which appear to prove the impossi-
bility of attainment. It is very important to give to
the concept of the unattainability of the wished-for
object strength enough so that a peaceful renunciation
may take the place of the desire. A man dreams of a
desirable future for himself, even when he knows it
will never come.

108. According to the classification of feelings
made above, we must now distinguish among desires
(the word taken in its widest sense) those which have
for object something pleasant as such (aversions having
something unpleasant as such) from others whose di-
rection is determined by no feeling, but merely by the
present mental condition.

Note. — ^Usually the latter kind of desires is misunderstood.
We think that the object desired must necessarily be represented
as a good thin^. This is either a tautology — if good means the
same as the thing desired — or it is an error which, from an
empirical point of view, belongs to the numberless gratuitous
assumptions of psychologists. In Alexander Baumgarten*s
Metaphysics (666) is to be found the statement : " QuaB placentia
praBvidens exstitura nisu meo praesagio, nitor producere. Qusb
displicentia praBvidens impedienda nisu meo praesagio, eorum
opposita appeto." This is given as the law of the faculty of
desire (lex f acultatis appetitivas). But regarded as a general law
this theory of that otherwise valuable work is defective in every
point. Ficieere, so far as it means anticipation of something

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pleasant or beautiful, Is not necessary. Prcevidere has likewise
crept in. It is true that whoever represents to himself a desire,
will find his concept develop time conditions. But the lowest
animals also desire, and yet we can not assume that they sepa-
rate the present from the future, Exstitura nisu meo presup-
poses the concept of the Ego, or at least a feeling of self, which
has a much later origin than the simple desires of brutes and of
young children.

109. The most important distinction, however, is
that between the lower and higher faculties of desire.
For the two separate into hostile classes, while feelings
exist side by side, or mingle together ; and, in regard
to concepts, most people, even cultured men and
scholars, remain at the sensuous standpoint without
being seriously troubled by the metaphysical protest
against sense- knowledge.

A, The Lotoer Faculties of Desire,

110. Here we are first met by impulses and in-
stincts. Of the latter, man has only a fragment ; we
find them existing in the brutes in more perfect form
and in greater variety, where it is clearly shown that
by means of them the organic structure constitutes
the essential and governing principle. The construct-
ive art-impulses of brutes are special examples of in-

But the most important and the most general of the
impulses is that for movement and change, the rest-
less activity which is especially displayed in children
and young animals, in which we find much vitality
with little mind. Such examples afford practice in
distinguishing between life and soul. Since this ac-
tivity varies according to age, and, besides, is different
in individuals from birth, we may believe that it is a

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result of the organism, hence rather a physiological
than a psychological subject.

111. Now, as psychologists have made their discov-
eries by the analogy which the outer sense bears to the
inner, side by side with the organic impulses they place
several others, such as self-love, the impulse of imita-
tion and of exaggeration, the social instincts, etc. Yes,
they even assume a general instinct to seek happiness,
although no one can specify definitely the object of
this latter instinct, as it differs in different individ-

It is clear that nothing but psychological abstrac-
tion, under the name of instinct, has given the very
indefinite idea of happiness a foundation. But in
regard to self-love and the social instincts, the case ia
no better. Desire here precedes all thought of I, thou,
he. Experience shows plainly enough that egoistic
prudence as well as resolution to sacrifice something
for others is only formed gradually, according as the
knowledge of the collisions that take place between
selfish and altruistic interests is more deeply impressed.

The insidious introduction of real forces, or at least
of special talents and native germs, is particularly fre-
quent in the theory of faculties of desire, because man
shows himself active in his desire, and is, above all,
inclined to assume as many forces as classes of real or
apparent activities.

112. The inclinations, or those lasting mental con-
ditions which are favorable to the rise of certain kinds
of desires, show themselves more than the so-called
instincts to be different in different people. They are
for the most part results of the habit which appears
to extend from the faculty of representation into the

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faculty of desire. For there are, first, the thoughts
which follow the accustomed direction, and which, if
no hindrance intervenes before there is opportunity
for perceptible feeling and desire, pass directly into
action ; but if something is placed in the way, then
the desire, accompanied by a feeling of effort and
fatiguing activity, increases.

113. The most striking, and, next to madness, the
saddest spectacle in psychology is furnished by the
passions. In his Anthropology, Kant has delineated
them excellently well. They are not inclinations or
mental conditions, but are desires, and every desire,
without exception, the noblest as well as the worst,
may become a passion. It becomes such in so far as
it attains dominion to such an extent that moral de-
liberation is out of the question. A tendency to at-
tach undue importance to trifles is the peculiar sign of
the passions. Hence, they can only be defined and
described in contrast with practical reason. A perfect
classification of the passions is quite impossible, for
the reason that every desire, strengthened by circum-
stances and habit, may give a perverted direction to
internal deliberation. Every classification of passions
is at the same time a classification of desires in general.
In history, the passions play a conspicuous part. One
should beware of attributing this part to Providence ;
by doing so one would resemble Mephistopheles too
much, and finally, like him, would fall out of his

B. The niglier Faculties of Desire.

114. Deliberation precedes judgment and action,
when a man, before he joins a predicate to a subject.

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and before he changes the present places of things,
compares other possible ways of thought and action.
In deliberation lie deferring and delay, as well as con-
centration and pondering. Deliberation is supposed
to obviate revocation and repentance. It accomplishes
this in so far as every one among the possible kinds
of representation, each desire that might come into col-
lision with another, is allowed to enter fully into con-
sciousness, and as strongly as possible to work against
the others, or. to co-operate with them. If in this pro-
cess something is forgotten-^if during a period of de-
liberation something is hindered in manifesting its full
value, then there is danger that another mental state
will follow, and the decision of the former mental
state be found objectionable. Hence deliberation is
an inner experiment, the result of which must be ac-
cepted with entire submission; from this, reason in
thought and action has its names [i. e., the " theoreti-
cal reason " and the " practical reason "].

115. Hence, reason is originally neither command-
ing nor law-giving ; above all, it is not the source of
willing. It is quite as little a source of knowledge.
Nevertheless, it is regarded as such; indeed, it is
thought to be the highest judge and authority, which
is a very natural result, inasmuch as (with the custom-
ary habit of making gratuitous assumptions) the dan-
ger of having to repent — if one does not act according
to the results of reflection — ^leads one, in connection
with the threat, to think of a command, and, in con-
nection with the command, of one who gives the com-

116. Moral (Praktische) deliberation becomes more
complicated by reason of the connection between means

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and ends. It has not indeed to weigh a manifold
immediate desire against another (in order to choose
among several ends), but also to go through the series
of possible results which are connected with the ends,
and which make their attainability probable. In the
latter respect, deliberation is ascribed to practical un-
derstanding, which is the faculty of adjusting itself to
the nature of the thing thought, independent of imagi-
nation and passion. When this kind of deliberation
is completely perfected it creates plans. The choice
among ends, however, is restricted by practical reason.

117. Circumspection is the mental condition of a
man who reflects. If it becomes a habit, deliberation
is extended continuously in every direction ; finally, an
effort is made to include every possible desire in one
act of deliberation, while more and more one's wishes
are constantly limited and subordinated. The ques-
tion is concerning the ultimate aim of all human action
and impulse — viz., the highest good. In this, delibera-
tion makes use of general notions. Maxims (very dif-
ferent from plans) and principles are originated, and,
these being collected, a science of morals is developed.

In practical philosophy it is shown that after set-
ting aside all changeable desires depending upon the
momentary inclination, only the non-arbitrary prefer-
ence and rejection can hold the highest rank, and such
is in fact assigned in the aBsthetic judgments upon the

For this reason the work of deliberation (or if one
prefers, of practical [moral] reason) is to bring forward
those judgments, and the ideas arising from them—
viz., of inner freedom, of perfection, of benevolence, of
right, and of equity. These ideas must be disentangled

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from their complication with all other thinking and
willing wherein they lie, at first hidden, and they must
be placed at the summit of all wisdom, while desires
and wishes are collectively made subordinate to them.

(7. Freedom of the Will.

118. When a decision, the result of a completed
act of deliberation, is on the point of presenting itself,
it often happens that a desire arises and opposes this
decision. In that case a man does not know what he
wishes — ^he regards himself as standing between two
forces which draw him toward opposite sides. In this
act of self-consideration he places reason and desire
opposite each other, as if they were foreign counselors,
and regards himself as a third, who listens to the two
and then decides. He believes himself to be free to
decide as he will.

He finds himself sufficiently rational to compre-
hend what reason may say to him, and sufficiently sus-
ceptible to allow the enticements of desire to influence
him. If this were not so, his freedom would have no
value ; he would only be able to incline blindly in this
or that direction, but he could not choose. Now, how-
ever, the reason to which he gives heed, and the desire
which excites and entices him, are not really outside of
him, but within him, and he himself is not a third,
on a level with those two, but his own mental life lies
in each and works in each. Hence, when he finally
chooses, this choice is nothing but a co-operation of
those two factors, reason and desire, between which he
thought he stood free.

When a man finds that reason and desire in their
co-operation have decided over him, he seems to him-

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self not to be free, but rather subjected to foreign
arts and influences.

Manifestly, this is again an illusion, and from ex-
actly the same source as the first. Just because reason
and desire are nothing outside of him, and he nothing
outside of them, the decision which arises from them
is not foreign, but his own. He has chosen only with
self -activity, yet not with a force different from his
reason and from his desire, and which could give a
result different from those two.

Note 1. — Here is the principle ground for psychological
illusions in regard to freedom. We can not here consider the
deeper lying metaphysical and moral misapprehensions mingled
with the illusions mentioned. It may be very briefly stated that
the difficulties that are found in responsibility are the easiest of
all to remove. An act is held to be responsible so far as it can
be regarded as a product of a will ; it is more or less responsible
the more or less it discloses weak or strong will. So far every-
thing is clearly and generally well understood. Now, however,
all this is thrown away if the will itself may in turn be deter-
mined by something else, for this is no better than if the stand-
ard by which everything else is to be measured should itself be
subjected to a measurement Thus the fear arises that if the
will has had other causes from which it unavoidably proceeded,
these causes should bear the blame, since not only the will but
the actions arising from it should be imputed to them. Hence
we prefer to ascribe to the will a self-determination. From this
arises an infinite series (compare Introduction to Philosophy,
§ 107). But that fear is quite groundless: responsibility stops
with the actor, just as soon as the action is referred to the will ;
for this is at once subjected to a " practical [or moral] judg-
ment " (Kant's " categorical imperative "), which remains in per-
fect self-identity and independence whatever may be mentioned
as the causes j|nd occasion of the will. However, if it be found
that the will had an earlier will as its source, the responsibility
begins again anew. The depraved man after he has become en-

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tirely bad, will be held to be completely responsible for his crimes,
but these again may be laid as a burden upon his corrupter, and
so on backward as long as somewhere a will may be pointed out
as the originator of those crimes.

Note 2. - Transcendental freedom, which Kant wished to be
assumed as a necessary article of faith for the sake of the cate-
gorical imperative (because he had failed in finding the right
foundation for practical philosophy) is an entire stranger in psy-
chology. Let him who does not perceive this, study Kant's two
Critiques of Pure and Practical Reason, and learn from them to
treat this subject with caution. Kant has taken great pains to
create in himself a clear conviction upon this point ; he has, how-
ever, produced the confusion that adheres to his categorical im-
perative, but which with his followers took on quite other forms.

119. Now, while the consciousness of freedom, so
far as it is to stand between reason and desire, rests
upon no better facts than have been given above, quite
another result is reached if reason itself be considered
the seat of freedom. Nothing is more evident than
that the passionate man is a slave. His incapacity to
consider motives of advantage or duty, his ruin through
his own fault, are clearly evident. In contrast with
him, the reasoning man who represses his desires as
soon as th^y are opposed by considerations of good,
may rightly be called free, and, the stronger he is in
this power of repression, the freer he is. But, whether
such a strength may be increased ad infinitum^ can not
be determined by existing cases, for these indicate only
a limited power.

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120. The hypothetical assumption of faculties, in
the foregoing discussion, has been shown to be so de-
fective that the attempt to give an exhaustive survey
of their mutual influence in all their combinations
would necessarily appear useless. However, before we
observe the human mind in its changing conditions
more closely, a few remarks will be useful in facilitat-
ing the summing up of the preceding discussion.

121. Next to the outer senses, whose indispensa-
bility is at first glance evident (what would a man be,
born blind, deaf, and without hands ?), reproduction
in 'its forms of memory and imagination is without
doubt the chief seat of the mental life. The exercise
of the senses, confined as it is to the present moment,
gives very little, and we should be limited to mere
animal existence if the past did not remain to us, as
a treasure into which we are constantly dipping. At
the time when the flow of unsought thoughts is weak,
or quite stopped, we best realize the poverty of feelings,
the crudity of desires, the inactivity or ineffective effort
of the understanding and reason without the imagina-

The work of imagination ripens into permanent
products in myths and traditions, which are elevated
into objects of faith by the art-power of representation.

122. This is the place to mention habits and ac-
complishments. For these reproduction is especially
necessary ; we can secure them in permanent form by

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no other means, and the same may also be said of the
necessity of the exercise of the understanding, of rea-
son, and of moral culture. For the facts that may be
cited for this indicate that earlier formed ideas, judg-
ments, feelings, volitions, quite as well as sensuous
representations, are reproduced, and that they obtain
a new influence by means of this reproduction ; they
show also that reproduction occurs the more quickly,
surely, and accurately the oftener and more carefully
the attention has been occupied with those notions.
Moreover, facts show that habit has much less to do
with memory and imagination than with the concepts
that are reproduced. To the person who learns much
by rote, memorizing will become gradually easier,
though this facility is restricted to the circle of con-
cepts to which he is accustomed. Let the person who
has a great memory for music attempt to commit to
memory a series of names or numbers, and he will soon
see of how little benefit to him the previous exercise
of the memory is to him in this field.

123. Cultivation takes place in two principal direc-
tions, which are determined first by the inner sense and
secondly the outer action. Reflection is connected with
both, which fact occasions the first remark that this
reflection (the bending back of the course of thought to
a definite point) sometimes intentionally revives and
forms concepts (in work), and at others it is employed
in the apperception of the object given in experience ;
therefore, that in the first case the activity proceeds
from it, and is controlled by it ; in the second case, on
the contrary, the excitation lies in the object presented.
But the two cases are never entirely separated. More-
over, the work of reflection creates a new object every

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moment, inasmuch as the work advances and comes
under observation, and just here reflection connects
itself with it. Conversely, experience leads us to com-
parison and judgment, but with these comes further
reflection which deals with the notions, or opinions, or
caprices present, as the objects fixed upon by reflection,
according to the peculiarity of each. Reflection upon
an object which exists merely in thought is of a differ-
ent character. Here the movement lies in the reflect-
ing mass of concepts themselves. The continuous fix-
ing of this object of pure thought, however, to which
the observation is to confine its attention, still costs
not a little effort.

The inner sense, which is usually placed on a par
with the outer sense, on account of this similarity, is
in this case quite out of its natural relation. It is
rather the great principle which lies at the bottom of
all regular activity, especially of artistic fancy and
of practical reason. Without self-consciousness man
could control neither himself in general nor his ac-
tivity in particular.

External action which objectifies a man's thought
and embodies it for him, but at the same time gives
an opportunity for various distortions, always includes
within its compass desires, observation, and judgment.
In so far as it succeeds or fails, it changes desire either
into express volition or into a mere wish, accompanied
by pleasure or pain, by which the foundation is laid
for the habitual disposition of the man. New condi-
tions of life often furnish new incentives to action;
thus, a man often appears to change all at once. This

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Online LibraryJohann Friedrich HerbartA text-book in psychology: an attempt to found the science of psychology on ... → online text (page 10 of 19)