Johann Friedrich Herbart.

A text-book in psychology: an attempt to found the science of psychology on ... online

. (page 12 of 19)
Online LibraryJohann Friedrich HerbartA text-book in psychology: an attempt to found the science of psychology on ... → online text (page 12 of 19)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

disposed to regular activity.

If the hypothesis of the mental faculties be set
aside, the occasion for surprise at this disappears.

Moreover, the following kinds of delusions may be
marked : Imagined change of body, or of person ; im-
agined influence of the devil, etc. ; imagined inspira-
tion, especially religious fanaticism, a morbid desire
to make one's self known by self-sacrifices ; fixed re-
proaches with which a man torments himself ; amorous
illusions; weariness of life ; fear of death.; fear of pov-
erty and hunger ; and finally stupid as well as restless
insanity. The explanation of all these phenomena is
not far to seek. First, the disorder of the mind is not
always purely mental, for in the psychical mechanism

Digitized by VjOOQIC


there is to be found no reason for the unyielding op-
position against plain experience. Further, in all
mental disorder an emotion is unmistakable. The
latter is a paralysis in the nervous system. Hence the
concept mass in which the emotion has its seat can
not undergo such a change as is necessary to affect the
body in an opposite way. From the innumerable cases
which are narrated as very remarkable, the psycholo-
gist, as soon as he has recognized the psychical mech-
anism and its possible arrests, learns little or nothing
new whatever.

145. Madness {Wuth) or frenzy (7b5sw(?7i^), prop-
erly delirium, consists in an impulse to bodily actions
without aim; indeed, even against the will. Very
generally it is an impulse to destructive acts with ex-
treme and dangerous violence. That bodily disease
lies at the foundation of this is clear enough, for in
the intellect is to be found no principle of unity for
these conditions.

Yet, as a pure psychological phenomenon in healthy
men, action {Handeln) occasionally appears to be at
the same time voluntary and involuntary. Hence, we
can not by any means regard the actions of a delirious
(raving) man as merely automatic if he tries to resist
them. The diflSculty lies in the error of regarding the
will as a mental faculty which appears to oppose itself,
inasmuch as the same person will and at the same time
will not

Note. — The strange question, whether there can be madness
without delusion, might be answered by the phenomenon of
hydrophobia. Certainly the stormy agitation of the vascular
system proceeding from the abdomen may give rise to raving
actions without proportionate injury to the brain, just as in

Digitized by VjOOQIC


cholera the blood stops and becomes almost stiffened through
nervous influence, while the sensibility of the dying man is but
little troubled. In discussing the emotions we have already
called attention to the partial action of certain mental states
upon certain organs ; the converse action also takes place. The
question here is not concerning the possible resistance of the
will, but concerning the attack upon the mind which proceeds
from the body.

146. In dementia {Narrheit) the connection be-
tween the concepts ceases, while the latter, without
regard to any rule whatever, mingle together gro-
tesquely. Moreover, here in the realm of mind every
principle of unity is wanting. The reason for the
change of concepts is no longer psychological, it must
be physiological.

According to the hypothesis of the mental facul-
ties, the principal seat of the evil would be in the
understanding, and really the fool bears some resem-
blance to the stupid, unintelligent child. But the
lawlessness of the other mental faculties in dementia
would long ago have been noticed if one had ever
ventured to think of an exact conformity to law in
that faculty. The essential point is, here, that every
long series of concepts is hindered in its passage be-
cause the nervous system opposes itself to the kind of
tension involved in such a train of thought. It is
clearly evident that such a disease is much more
general and much more certainly incurable than the
torpidity of an individual emotion in insanity. The
psychical cure of delusion or insanity proper is es-
sentially protection and prevention lest the emotion
reach a state of fury, and the delusion attain an in-
creased power. The proper cure is bodily, though
often merely Nature's cure. Discipline (punishment)

Digitized by VjOOQIC


can effect something pedagogically, and in many casei
responsibility is not entirely wanting, especially in
actions which do not follow directly from the delu-
sion; the responsibility is, however, lessened by un-
fortunate ill-humor, which has in it no essentially
fixed delusion. Of infinitely greater importance than
all the insane asylums and psychical cures would be
prevention of that fanaticism which may lead to in-

147. Idiocy or imbecility {BVddsinn) which alone
of all the mental disorders appears to be inborn, and
which in the foregoing we have indicated as the
opposite extreme of genius, is general weakness of
mind, without admitting the mention of one mental
faculty as superior to the other. It does not differ so
much in quality as in degree, and may go so far that
the man almost resembles a plant, but as such grows
and is healthy.

148. The classes of mental disorders above given
serve not so much for immediate classification of ac-
tual cases (which for the most part present themselves
as hybrid or complex) as for the definition of simple
characteristics under which the admitted mental dis-
eases are to be subsumed. Mental delusion and demen-
tia, madness and idiocy, are extremes between which
the middle conditions lie. Delusion may be united
with madness, and with lesser degrees of idiocy ; also
with dementia. The collection of notions here is simi-
lar to that in the temperaments.

149. Nearly all anomalous states of mind are analo-
gous to mental disorders. The dream resembles insani-
ty, especially in the imagining of persistent embarrass-
ment in which one does not escape from the situation.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


The frenzy of fever appears as delirium. Dizziness,
fainting, and such conditions are similar to idiocy.
Intoxication causes a man to waver between dementia
and madness. It is, however, manifest that we must
not extend these comparisons too far. The delusion
of the dream is much more varied and changeable
than in the corresponding mental disorder. Dreams ■**
possess a certain kind of unity, viz., unity of feeling.
A dream of thieves in the night, where the scene
suddenly changes to a room lighted by the sun, and is
filled with many strangers who offer congratulations
upon the attainment of a high honor — ^such a dream
one perceives was not really dreamed, but invented
as a psychological example (Maass upon the Passions,
Part I, p. 171). Similar changes from a painful to a
much-desired condition will often occur during the
dream when the bodily position suddenly changes.

The duplication of self -consciousness into different
parties is one of the most remarkable peculiarities of
the dream and its afl&liated states. The dreamer often
ascribes to others his own thoughts, sometimes feeling
ashamed that he himself has not perceived or has not
known them. In changing states of dreaming and
waking, of paroxysms and of intervals of quiet, there
is often a double personality without that memory of
a former state that is retained on passing out of one
into the other when waking from a dream. There are
examples of violent fright, after which persons ask,
"Who am I?" and must be reminded again of their
own name, position, calling, etc., by some circumstance.

In this comparative study of the fundamental forms
of mental disorders there seem to be excluded from
the anomalous conditions only the facts of so-called

Digitized by VjOOQIC


animal magnetism, which are too little understood.
These facts indicate a change in the bond of union
between the body and soul — a change which, however,
may be quickly reversed, and the former state re-estab-
lished. (Compare 163.)

Concluding Remarks,

If from mental disorders we turn back again to
ordinary psychological phenomena, and compare the
different orders, mental delusion recalls the passions ;
madness, the emotions ; dementia, mental distraction ;
and idiocy, indolence and idleness (the latter recalls
also stupidity; but this itself is a degree of idiocy).
Passions, emotions, mental distraction, and indolence
are also diseased conditions of the mind, only less stub-
born than insanity itself.

The opposite of them all is the healthy condition of
the mind :

(a.) Hence, as the opposite of mental delusion and
of passions, the sound mind involves mutual determi-
nation of all concepts and desires through one another,
or freedom from fixed ideas and fixed desires.

(J.) As the opposite of madness and emotion, it
involves repose and equanimity.

(c.) As the opposite of dementia and distraction, it
involves coherence and concentration of thought.

{d.) As an opposite of idiocy and indolence, it in-
volves excitability and sprightliness.

We do not seek for the same degree of mental
health in all mental faculties, but we find current
in language such expressions as sound understanding,
sound judgment, and sound reason. The nature of
reason, understanding, and judgment will be more

Digitized by VjOOQIC


clearly understood through a comparative study of the
alleged characteristics of mental health. Of this, more
in the third part of this book.

The comparison between insanity and the passions
may be carried somewhat further. The most similar
to the fixed ideas of the former are the objective pas-
sions, or those which aim at definite objects of desire.
As we can classify (with Maass) the latter into those
which refer to one's own individuality, those which
refer to other men, and those which have to do with
things, so also we may find that insanity differs in re-
spect to its object. The imagined transformations into
princes and kings, or even into persons of the Deity,
correspond to pride. The fear of death and of imagi-
nary adversaries and persecutors is joined to egoism or
selfishness. Desire for liberty recalls the intractability
of most insane people, and the necessity of governing
them by force and authority. Love, hate, jealousy,
often pass into insanity. Ambition, become insanity,
seeks to make itself known by self-sacrifices of an un-
usual kind, while the desire to govern often erects for
itself a throne in an insane asylum ; the desire for en-
joyment sometimes partakes of a crazy state of blessed-
ness, which believes that it has direct communication
with heaven- Avarice, on the contrary, labors under
a foolish anxiety about poverty and hunger.

As to what concerns the subjective passions — desire
for pleasure, dread of disgust and emptiness (accord-
ing to Maass) — it may be remarked that the common
usages of speech furnish no words for this mental phase,
which can not be exactly indicated by the expression,
passion (Leidenschaft). Where there is no definite
object, there is also no definite act of attention, but a

Digitized by VjOOQIC


fluctuating mental condition which is not in harmony
with itself, and is for this reason weak ; so that if rea-
son can not govern it the cause does not proceed so
much from the opposition which it meets as from in-
capacity to come to a fixed resolution at the command
of reason. Hence, it appears that we can not consider
the states of mind here mentioned among the passions.
But the ideas of empirical psychology are too fluctu-
ating to admit of firm reliance on such conclusions.
No passion is a pure force or strength. Each carries
with it its weakness, its misery, its pitiably helpless
condition. And, on the other hand, it is not to be
denied that the desire for pleasure, even the most com-
mon, which frequently changes with objects — ^and so,
too, the dread of disgust and of the feeling of emptiness
— often by its continuous strength can fill only too well
the place of an objective passion. Various excitations
of desire for this or that pleasure, or of aversion for
this or that discomfort, are capable of a combination,
and, as it were, of an accumulated intensity, by which
they [neutralize one another and] are changed into a
complex force which drives men in a middle direction.
If we ask here for analogous kinds of insanity, it
may be remarked, first, that after shame has disap-
peared, together with intelligence, all pleasures have
a tendency to express themselves freely and boldly.
Moreover, it is remarkable that stupid insanity, which,
in case it is not quite idiocy, expresses itself in every
movement only as an abhorrence of uncomfortable
feeling ; and therefore it shows itself in a very general
dread of pain. Eestless insanity implies more dis-
tinctly dread of emptiness ; it likewise implies weari-
ness of life, which leads to suicide.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


Now, as we have searched for kinds of illusion
similar to the passions (inasmuch as we followed the
classification of passions made by Maass), so, converse-
ly, we must be allowed to investigate the kinds of
passions corresponding to the different kinds of illu-
sion. Whichever of these is exhaustively presented, in
a complete tabular view, will furnish, without doubt, a
complete classification of the other. A supernumerary
member of the one list, however, will indicate a miss-
ing term in the other.

Among the kinds of illusion we find, imagined re-
proaches against one's self, pretended suggestions of
the devil, doubt in the mercy of God, etc. In the se-
ries of passions, what corresponds to these mental
aberrations? Very manifestly a moral and religious
enthusiasm, which passes over into self-torture. And
furthermore, this recalls political and learned passions,
as well as all kinds of fanaticism. The true nature of
these passions must necessarily have escaped previous
psychologists (and not Maass alone), because they were
resolved to carry out consistently the theory that the
passions belonged to sensuousness, and hence were to
be entirely separated from reason. The source of
moral and religious concepts is ascribed to reason.
These concepts, together with the scientific thoughts
and theories collectively related to them, may become
objects of passionate search. Nothing is so sacred
that it can not inflame the human mind in an unholy
way. Just as hunger and thirst, those lowest wants
may change the unfortunate man into a thief, a
robber, and a murderer, so may the thirst of knowl-
edge, so may higher efforts of every kind, lead to crim-
inal acts. Indeed, reason (if such a mental faculty

Digitized by VjOOQIC


really exists) not infrequently enters into peaceful
coalition with passionate sensuousness. This is seen
most clearly in the idea of right, to which men very
generally allow only a restricted sphere, inasmuch as
outside of and in spite of it they permit themselves
every gratification of their desires. The robber-cap-
tain administers justice to his band.

The fundamental principle, hmreticis non est ser-
vanda fides^ had force at one time in the one holy
Church ; a multitude of similar examples is to be
found in common life, where men find it necessary to
act uprightly only toward those whom they consider
their equals, while they regard all others as strangers
and enemies. Would one seriously admit that reason,
negating itself, had in this concluded a disgraceful
treaty with sensuousness, to which it gave up the
whole foreign territory?

All these and many other difficulties disappear at
once as soon as it is perceived how concepts manifest
themselves, now as passion, now as reason ; while they
are in themselves neither the one nor the other, and,
moreover, contain nothing as a previously -formed
germ similar to either. Hence, also, they contain no
idea of justice, nor any other idea or category.

Digitized by VjOOQIC






150. The notion of the soul which some modem
systems have unreasonably subjected to suspicion must
be restored, although under characteristics hitherto

The soul is a simple essence ( Wesen\ not merely
without parts, but also without any kind of diversity
or multiplicity in its quality; hence it has no space
relations. In thinking it, however, with other es-
sences, it is included necessarily in space, and for every
moment of time it is located in a definite place. This
place is the simple in space, or, what is the same, the
nothing in space, a mathematical- point.

Note. — For certain theories of natural philosophy and
physiology, but not for psychology, necessary fictions are le-
gitimate, in which the. simple is regarded as if it admitted of
separation into parts. Such fictions must be employed with
reference to the soul's union with the body, but without, for
that reason, ascribing to the soul itself any real space conditions
whatever. The fictions of geometricians are in some respects

Digitized by VjOOQIC


similar when they regard the curve as consisting of indefinitely
short straight lines.

151. Furthermore the soul has no time relations.
In thinking, however, wherein it is included with other
essences, it must be conceived as in time and indeed
as in eternity, although this eternity, and still more
the temporal duration, must not be predicated of the
soul. (Introd. to Phil., 115 )

152. The soul has no innate natural talents nor
faculties whatever, either for the purpose of receiving
or for the purpose of producing. It is, therefore, no
tabula rasa in the sense that impressions foreign to
itself may be made upon it ; moreover, in the sense
indicated by Leibnitz, it is not a substance which in-
cludes in itself original activity. It has originally
neither concepts, nor feelings, nor desires. It knows
nothing of itself, and nothing of other things ; also in
it lie no forms of perception and thought, no laws of
willing and action, and not even a remote predisposi-
tion to any of these.

153. The simple nature {Das einfache Was) of the
soul is totally unknown and will forever remain so.
It is as little an object of speculative as of empirical

154. Between several dissimilar simple essences
exists a relation which, with the help of a comparison
from the physical world, may be described as pressure
and resistance. For the reason that pressure is the
retardation of movement, the relation mentioned con-
sists in the capacity of the simple quality of each exist-
ence to be changed through the other, if each did not
resist and maintain itself in its quality against the
disturbance. Self-preservations of this kind are the

Digitized by VjOOQIC


only events which really occur in nature, and this is
the combination of event with being.

155. The self-preservations of the soul are (at least
in part and so far as we know them) concepts and in-
deed simple concepts, for the act of self-preserva-
tion is as simple as is the essence which is preserved.
Hence there exists an infinite manifold of other such
acts of self-preservation, which differ as the disturb-
ances differ. With this explanation the manifold of
concepts and their infinitely varied complexes present
no difficulty whatever.

This is not the place to discuss feelings and de-
sires. They appear to be composed of something
objective, added to a preference and rejection, which
will be explained later. Nor can we at this point dis-
cuss self -consciousness, or anything whatever that may
be considered as belonging to the inner sense.

156. The difference between soul and matter is not
a difference in the nature of the simple essences, but
it is a difference in the manner of our apprehending
them. Matter, represented as a spatial reality with
spatial forces, as we are accustomed to think it, be-
longs neither in the realm of essence {Sein) nor in that
of actual events, but is merely an appearance. This
matter is real, however, as an aggregate of simple
essences, and in these essences something really occurs
which results in the phenomenon of a space exist-

The explanation of matter depends entirely upon
showing how to the inner states of the essences (self-
preservations) certain space-conditions belong, as means
necessary for the act of comprehension by the specta-
tor, which space-conditions, just because they are noth-

Digitized by VjOOQIC


ing real, must be adjusted to those inner conditions ;
and by this an appearance of attraction and repulsion
arises. The equilibrium of the two latter (attraction
and repulsion) determines for matter its degree of
density, likewise its elasticity, its form of crystalization
in free condensation, in a word its essential properties,
which in this form are originally based upon the quali-
ties of simple essences.

Matter never fills space as a geometric continuum
(it can not be composed of simple parts), but with im-
perfect mutual penetration of its adjacent simple parts.
(Concerning this contradiction compare the remark in
section 150.)

Matter is impenetrable only for those substances
which are not capable of changing the equilibrium of
attraction and repulsion that exists in it. It is always
penetrable for that agent which is capable of dissolv-
ing it.

Note. — Concerning the foregoing and what follows, refer-
ence must be made to the author*s Metaphysics, in which is
found his Philosophy of Nature.



157. Vital forces are nothing original (I have
named them in the plural because they can neither
originate nor act alone),' and there is nothing similar
to them in the nature of essences.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


Only a system of self-preservations in one and the
same essence is capable of creating them, and they
are to be regarded as the inner development of simple
essences. Generally, they originate in the elements of
organic bodies whose arrangement is fitted for pro-
ducing systems of self-preservation in the individ-
ual elements. This is shown in the assimilation of

158. Once acquired, there remains with each ele-
ment its own vital force, even though the element be
separated from the organic body to which it belonged.
This is shown in the sustenance of the higher organ-
ism by the lower, and of the vegetable organism by
decayed parts of other organic bodies.

Note. — To this belongs the explanation of all generation,
without exception, including that of some lower organisms
from apparently crude material — i. e., from such material as pos-
sesses no organic structure (structure is a space-predicate) — ^but
from this deficiency of structure the lack of vital force can by
no means be inferred. To assume, however, an .original vital
force in this is an unwarranted procedure. In our circle of ex-
perience there is no matter whatever of which it could with cer-
tainty be asserted that it is entirely inorganic The whole at-
mosphere is full of elements which have already gained vital
force in some organic body or other, and the number of such
elements is constantly increasing in nature. Indeed, we do not
know whether the same mutual exchange of vital force does not
occur among the stars.

159. All human investigation must recognize the
fundamental source of vital forces by referring them
to that Providence according to whose designs they
were originated. No metaphysics and no experience
reaches further. Every theory as to the probable crea-
tion of lower organisms by a natural process from in*

Digitized by VjOOQIC


organic matter, and the development of higher organ-
isms from those of a lower order, can be refuted.

160. In the example of the soul, psychology shows
us an excellent internal development of a simple es-
sence. According to this type, one must explain the
development of all other essences, even those that are
not able to represent or conceive. To this may be
added a former remark that, where several essences
make up a material whole, the inner state determines
an adequate external condition for it — ^i. e., a position
in space. For this re^on vital forces generally ap-
pear moving forces ; just for this reason, however, their
movements can not be comprehended through chemi-

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 15 16 17 18 19

Online LibraryJohann Friedrich HerbartA text-book in psychology: an attempt to found the science of psychology on ... → online text (page 12 of 19)