Johann Friedrich Herbart.

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second, that dependent on the acquired experience of
the mind* — then we may say that Herbart under-
takes to explore the second field of apperception,
while Kant explores the first. Kant seeks to ex-
plain the apperception which arises through the
logical structure of intelligence itself— that is to
say, through i\iQ forms of the mind. These forms of
the mind are the a priori intuitions of time and space
and the categories of quantity, quality, relation (includ-
ing inherence and causality), and modality. Fichte,
Schelling, Hegel, and others followed the lead of Kant,
and in the sequel there arose as complete a view of the
world from the subjective standpoint as there had been
from the objective standpoint of the Greeks. The
psychologic theory of the world duplicated the onto-
logic theory, and the insight of Hegel into this identity
of the two world-solutions is the greatest triumph in
the entire history of human thought.

Herbart, rising in the midst of the great ferment
of thought that surrounds the advent of Kantianism,
seems to be unaffected by it. This, however, is seem-
ing rather than truth. For he deals with the problem
of his time, and takes the Kantian question back to the
place where Leibnitz had left it. "Nothing in the
intellect that was not previously in sense-perception "
had been the motto of the psychologists who like Locke

* See Lazarus's Das Leben der Seele,


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explained all thinking as a modified sensation. But
Leibnitz added the limitation, "Nothing except the
intellect itself " — that is to say, the structure of the
mind itself is not and can not be derived from sense-
perception, but must be there before in order to render
such perception possible. The knowing faculty must
have a structure or constitution of its own, and this
structure must furnish an element or factor in the
product of knowledge. Leibnitz was the first to use
the word apperception in a philosophic sense. The
French verb apercevoir signifies to perceive^ and
s'apercevoir signifies to notice with attention. But
Leibnitz distinguishes perception from apperception
in the fact that the latter is a knowledge that brings
with it a reflection upon the interior nature of the
soul, and he explains this reflection {actes reflexifs) as
having for its object " the ego, substance, self-existence
(monade), soul, and spirit, in a word immaterial things
and truths." Such knowledge he calls self-conscious-
ness.* Self-consciousness (" conscience ") he explains
as that reflective act which gives us a knowledge of the
Ego and of the true being of God — in short, a knowl-
edge of the structure of mind, or Reason. Here we
see that Leibnitz meant by apperception almost exactly
what Kant describes as the " transcendental unity of
apperception," making allowance for the acute and
protracted analysis of Kant, who expands the brief
mention of Leibnitz into three extensive treatises.
Herbart starts with the fertile suggestion of Leib-

*See Principles of Nature and Grace,. §§4, 5; also The
Monadology, § 14, and especially §§ 29, 80, in which he explains
the object of la conscience,

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nitz and moves off in the direction of the sensation-
alists, who like Locke explain all by means of sense-
perception. But Herbart takes with him also Leibnitz's
idea of the soul as a monad ; omitting, howeyer, the
important attribute of self-activity, which endows
Leibnitz's monad (" natural changes that proceed from
an internal principle," " which change is perception "
— Monadology, §§ 11, 12). In the place of this self-
activity Herbart places a sort of mechanical action
and reaction {Druck and Oegendruch) in direct oppo-
sition to the doctrine of Leibnitz (Monadology, § 7),
who denies the possibility of mechanical interaction
between independent beings.

In the history of philosophy all systems are profit-
able lessons in the comprehension of human thought.
If true systems, they help us to see the positive road ;
if false, they stand as guide-posts which warn the
traveler not to take the by-paths leading ad ahsurdum.
Herbart's system may undertake to explain too much
by the ideas of mechanical action and reaction; or
perhaps, on the other hand, it may be truly said that
he never intended his " pressure, counter-pressure, and
self-preservation " to be taken in a mechanical sense.
But whatever he has done is worthy of being faith-
fully studied and mastered, if for no other reason than
for the discipline that he gives us in the habit of re-
ferring all mental phenomena to the act of appercep-
tion for their explanation.

In conclusion, I present the analysis of Steinthal
(one of the ablest of the thinkers who have followed
Herbart), in which he gives the essential elements of
the act of apperception in its four stages :

1. Identification — as in the case where we recog-

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nize the person before us to be the same we have

2. Classification — ^as in the case where we recog-
nize the object before us to be an individual of a class
well known to us.

3. Harmonizing or reconciling apperception —
wherever we unite two opposed or incongruent con-
cepts (as, for example, the concept of something that
has existed and served our purposes with the concept
of the same thing as changed and destroyed — a friend
who has died ; a house that has been burned, etc.).

4. Creative or formative apperception — which
makes combinations, poetic or scientific — inductive or
deductive discoveries, solutions of enigmas, illusions
and hallucinations. In this sort of apperception the
mind creates the apperceiving factor.

The old doctrine of " association of ideas," which,
since the time of Locke, has furnished one of the
most dismal chapters in "mental philosophy," so-
called, is to be supplanted by this new doctrine of ap-

It has been asked. Why employ this bizarre techni-
cal term for what we can express in terms already fa-
miliar to us? The answer is, that the word appercep-
tion has no synonym already become familiar to us.
It is a term for a new idea — a synthesis of many other
ideas variously expressed already by such words as as-
similate, associate, identify, recognize, explain, inter-
pret, comprehend, classify, subsume, conception, elabo-
ration, thought, etc.

The association of ideas looks merely to their con-
nection, which may be a matter of accident. But ap-
perception looks to the modification of ideas one

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through the other, and hence leads to the process of
formation of ideas, which is the central point of in-
terest in psychology and education.

I append a note giving some information as to the
bibliography of this subject.

W. T. Habbis.

Washington, D. C, August^ 1891.


The student who desires to pursue this subject further may
be referred to the following lists of books selected out of the
immense literature that has grown up round the theme :

I. The Philosophers :

M. W. Drobisch : Empirische Psychologie nach naturwissen-
schaf tlicher Methode. [Drobisch has labored with most success
on the mathematical phase of Herbart's system.]

M. Lazarus ; Das Leben der Seele, etc.

H. Stbinthal : Einleitung in die Psychologie und Sprach-
wissenschaf t. [Messrs. Lazarus and Steinthal have applied Her-
bart's ideas of apperception with distinguished success in the
province of comparative philology, and their grasp of this im-
portant thought seems to me a great advance in philosophic
clearness over the exposition made by Herbart himself.]

"W. WuNDT : GrundzUge der Physiologischen Psychologie.
[For independent criticism of Herbart's doctrines and an able
restatement of doctrines approved by him.]

T. Fechner : Revision der Hauptpunkte der Psychophysik.
[This contains Fechner's review of the existing status of scien-
tific investigation into the quantitative measurement of the
intensity of sensations by reference to the force of different
stimuli, and was written on the occasion of G. E. MtUler's
critique of his earlier works.]

II. Works on Ecktcaiion :

Th.Waitz: Allgemeine PUdagogik (1852). [Republished
and enlarged by Dr. 0. Willman in 1875.]

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K. V. Stoy; in Jena: Encyclopftdie der Pfidagogik (1861),
and in the " Allgemeine Schulzeitung."

TuiSKO ZiLLER, in Leipzig : Grundlegung der Pfidagogik
(1866). "Vorlesungen Uber allgemeine Pfidagogik" (1876),
" Leipziger Seminarbuch," and " Jahrbttcher des Vereins f Or
wissenschaf tliche Pfidagogik."

H. Keen, in Berlin : Grundriss der Pfidagogik (1873).

W. Rein, in Jena : Pfidagogische Studien (188»-'90).

W. Rein, A. Pickel, und E. Schellee : Theorie und Praxis
des Volksschulunterrichts nach Herbartischen Grundsfitzen. 8
vols. (1888).

G. A. LiNDNEE, in Prag : Lehrbuch der empirischen Psy-
chologie (English translation by Charles de Garmo, 1889), und
Grundriss der Pfidagogik als Wissenschaft (1889).

Eael Lange : Ueber Apperception (1887).

0. WiLLMANN : Didaktik als Bildungslehre (188? und 1888).

Ed. Wiessnke : Herbart's Pfidagogik, dargestellt in ihrer
Entwicklung und Anwendung (1885).

G. "WiGET : Die formalen Stufen des Unterrichts ; Einf Uh-
rung in das Studium der Herbart-Zillerschen Pfidagogik (1886).

Kael Richtee: Die Herbart-Zillerschen formalen Stufen

T. G. RooPEE : Apperception, or the Essential Mental Op-
eration in the Act of Learning. [The original title to this essay
was A Pot of Green Feathers]. Published by C. "W. Bardeen,
Syracuse, N. Y.

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At the time of Herbart's death, August 11, 1841,
it was said of him that he waa a man to be appreciated
only after centuries had passed away. The worid has
moved more rapidly than was anticipated, so that, after
a lapse of barely fifty years, a very general apprecia-
tion of Herbart's psychological and pedagogical work
prevails. Since the time of Locke no man has done
so much for psychology.

In America, it is true, the number of educators
who have any useful knowledge concerning the Her-
bartian system is somewhat limited ; yet in the cur-
rent philosophical and educational literature may be
found occasionally a brief mention, which is probably
an indication of the broader study that is yet to follow.

The design of the present translation is not so
much to furnish information as to awaken an interest
which may develop a desire for a clearer insight into
principles that seem to form the best foundation that
has yet been discovered for a rational system of sci-
entific pedagogy.

Herbart believed that a knowledge of psychology
is of the first importance to the teacher. To igno-
rance of the subject he attributed the many errors and
gaps existing in pedagogical knowledge and practice.
He opposed the theory that the soul is composed of

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faculties which are born with the child and which
constitute a great part of its mental organization.
This, as well as the theory of the higher and lower
inherent capabilities of the soul, he regarded as be-
longing to that which might be termed psychological
myth rather than to scientific psychology. He held
that the doctrine of the faculties is proved through
metaphysics to be untenable. He argued that the fun-
damental principle upon which a possibility for psy-
chological investigation rests lies in the fact that at
the bottom of all psychological phenomena is a real ex-
istence, the soul, which he regarded as an absolutely
simple existence, without any inherent powers or tal-

He believed representations or concepts * to be the
elements of the united psychical life, and regarded
them as the soul's acts of self-preservation. Owing to
the simplicity or singleness of the soul, its separate
acts of self-preservation must be single as well. All
the remaining facts or manifestations of consciousness
he regarded as the results of the combinations of con-
cepts, and of their alternate action and reaction upon
• one another.

He believed that the effective forces of the mental
life consist, not in fictitious faculties, but in concepts
in the soul.

To concepts, in their action and interaction upon
one another, he ascribed all the capacities usually
attributed of faculties. Concepts working in combi-

* The term concept as employed here does not, as is usual
with the English metaphysicians, indicate the general notion,
but the individual presentation formed through the process of
perception — e. g., the concept of a house, a tree, etc.

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nation with, and in opposition to one another furnish
explanations of the phenomena of thinking, feeling,
desiring, willing, etc. The general principles under-
lying the above-mentioned operations may be illus-
trated or indicated by mathematical calculations.

Upon the theory of the existence of concepts in
the soul, which are susceptible of a variety of combi-
nations, Herbart's psychology treats first of presenta-
tions or sensations — e. g. of size, form, color, etc.;
and, secondly, of concepts formed through the combi-
nations of these sensations — e. g., concepts of a house,
a tree, a man, etc. This is to be distinguished from
the general notion — house, tree, man, etc.

In connection with the above may be considered
psychical states— e. g., thought, feeling, desire, inter-
est, etc. — which are the results of the action and inter-
action of concepts, and which are determined by laws
that may be indicated through mathematical formulae.

The unity of the soul is the easily comprehensible
metaphysical explanation of the tendency of concepts,
in meeting together, to resist or arrest one another,
and, so far as they are not opposed to one another, to
combine into a whole.

This resistance or arrest implies neither distinction
from nor change in the concept. The effect is merely
that the weaker presentation, or concept, is partially
or totally removed out of consciousness, while the
stronger is raised into clearness. The word con-
sciousness here indicates the totality of all simultane-
ous concepts. As soon as the resistance weakens, or,
through an opposing force, becomes ineffective, the
removed concept has a tendency within itself to re-
turn into consciousness.

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Concepts are said to be in equilibrium when there
occurs among them a sufficiency of force to place them
equally in a condition of arrest. This condition indi-
cates a very gradual change from clearness to obscurity.
The change in the grade of obscurity to which it is
subject is called the movement of the concept.

In a so-called " statics and mechanics " of the mind,
Herbart has indicated the equilibrium and movement
of concepts by mathematical formulaB, with a view to
illustrating the simplest psychical laws with scientific

The result of the arrest of concepts must be subject
to modifications on account of the different degrees of
strength possessed by concepts, as well as of their dif-
ferent grades of resistance, together with the conse-
quent differences in their combinations.

By computation, Herbart reached the conclusion
that, in the case of two concepts, one can never become
entirely obscured by the other, but in the case of three
or four, etc., one may become obscured very easily, and
its constant effort to recover itself being unobserved, it
may be as ineffective as if it were not present

Concepts are said to combine in two ways : those
which are not opposed to one another, so far as they
are unrestricted, unite in what is called a complex;
while those which are opposed become blended or
fused together, so far as they do not suffer from recip-
rocal arrest

Through this tendency to blend, concepts entering
consciousness in succession become connected, and thus
longer or shorter concept series are formed. The law
according to which a concept released from arrest, as
it returns to consciousness, strives to bring with it

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those with which it is connected, is of special impor-

The theory of the mechanism of memory is largely
based upon the construction of the concept series.

Though Herbart did so much for the development
of psychology, he was convinced that all possible in-
vestigations are quite insufficient to furnish a thorough
knowledge of the subject, and seems to have believed
that psychology can only be regarded as a science on
condition that a large part of it be " relegated to the
unknown." He also held that psychology must re-
main incomplete and inadequate so long as it considers
merely the psychical phenomena of the individual man.
He believed that society wherever organized is subject
to psychical laws peculiar to itself. In society the in-
dividual in his relations to the whole corresponds to
the concept in its relation to the psychical organism of
which it is a member. Upon this assumption he for-
mulated a statics and mechanics of the state in a way
corresponding to the statics and mechanics of the men-
tal life.

To the mere reader of psychology, the Herbartian
theories may at first appear peculiar, and in the minds
of some may verge upon the absurd ; but the careful
student will probably find no psychological theories
that are so well calculated to stand the test of actual

The Herbartian Pedagogy.

Herbart regarded concepts in their action and re-
action upon one another as the source of the psychi-
cal life, and believed that, without regular systematic
instruction, mental activity must be irregular and in-

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definite, while the results are more or less worthless.
The mental processes, the laws of which the teacher
should thoroughly understand, are : perception, repro-
duction, and apperception. A rule upon these pro-
cesses has been given, which enjoins clear perception,
exact reproduction, and thorough apperception.

In this connection these processes are exercised in
the four steps of instruction, viz. :

1. Clearness.

2. Comparison (association).

3. System.

4. Philosophical method or application.

According to Herbart, the aim of education is ethi-
cal — ^i. e., the moral development of the individual.
Everything lower than this is valueless except as it
serves to secure this end.

This end is to be secured through discipline, train-
ing, and instruction.

Discipline has a twofold task : First, negative ; the
suppression of the natural impatience of restraint and
wildness of the child. Second, positive ; the care of
the soul in its intellectual, moral, and spiritual devel-

Training consists in directing the attention to de-
sirable objects of study, and in fixing the results of
that which is learned.

Instruction does not merely imply putting the
child in possession of technical skill, but it rather im-
plies the training of the child in the observation of
relations, and must result in power to recognize under-
lying principles, and to appreciate aesthetic and eth-
ical relations.

One of the tasks of instruction is to awaken in the

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child a many-sided interest which will fit the future
man to make himself at home in any society or in any
country, and will enable him to adapt himself to any
change of circumstances, as well as make him ready
in resources that will be equal to any emergency.
This many-sided interest may be secured through the
development of two groups of interests : First, the in-
terests of knowledge, viz., empirical, speculative, and
aBsthetic interests; second, the interests of participa-
tion, viz., sympathetic, social, and religious interests.

The development of the interests of the first group
depends largely upon the child's experience in connec-
tion with material objects, or with the world around
him, while the development of the interests of the sec-
ond group depends upon the child's experience in
connection with his fellow-creatures.

The first condition of instruction in any subject is
attention, which is almost synonymous with interest.
Attention is of two kinds, involuntary and voluntary.
Involuntary attention is classified into primitive and
apperceiving attention.

The course of instruction is either analytic or syn-

Here we shall leave the description of Herbart
and his work, with the hope that the teachers of Amer-
ica may have an early opportunity of availing them-
selves of a system at once clear, simple, and rational,
and in every respect calculated to supply our lack in
the direction of philosophical pedagogy.

To those who may be still uncertain regarding a
system of which so little is as yet known, Herbart's
declaration of his fundamental principle may be pre-
sented : " I stand, not upon the single point of the

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Ego, but upon a foundation as broad as universal ex-

In closing, the translator takes this opportunity to
acknowledge her indebtedness to Dr. William T. Har-
ris. But for his kindly patience the publication of
the book must have been deferred to a much later

Also thanks are due to Prof. Otto H. L. Schwetzky,
who always readily gave such aid as could only be ren-
dered by one possessing a thorough knowledge of
Geiman language and thought.

Margaret K. Smith.

Oswego, New York, April 2, 1891,

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Editoe's Preface v

Introduction by the Translator xxi

Introduction by tde Author 1


I. — Condition op Concepts when they act as Forces 9
II. — Equilibrium and Movement of Concepts . .11


IV. — Concepts as the Source op Mental States . . 26
V. — The Co-operation of Several Masses of Concepts

OF Unequal Strength 80

VI. — A Glance over the Connection between Body and

Soul 32




hypothesis op MENTAL FACULTIES.

I. — A Survey op the Assumed Mental Faculties , 36
II. — The Boundary-Line between the Lower and

Higher Faculties 45

III. — Faculty of Representation 53

IV. — The Faculty op Peeling 74

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V. — The Faculty of Desire 83

VL — ^Thb Co-operation and Cultivation of the Mental

Faculties 93

second division. — MENTAL CONDITIONS.

L — The General Variability of Conditions . . 97

II. — Natural Talents 99

111. — External Influences 104

IV. — Anomalous Conditions 108





I.— The Soul and Matter 119

II.— The Vital Forces 133

HI. — The Connection between Soul and Body . .135


I.— Concepts of Space and Time . * . . . .139
II.-*-The Development of Ideas , . / . . . 140
III.— Our Comprehension of Things and of Ourselves 150
IV. — The Ungoverned Play op the Psychical Mech-
anism 1G3

V. — Self-Control and especially Duty as a Psychical

Phenomenon 178

VI. — Psychological Observations upon the Destiny of

Man 190

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terial and work of psychology. § 2. Concepts in regard to the
senses. Memory and imagination. Manifestations of intelli-
gence and rationality. Opinions in regard to faculties. § 8.
Self-observation. (Note, — In psychology the general ideas are
clearest ; the particular most obscure.) § 4 Empirical physics
has discovered certain laws. Psychology can not experiment
with men. § 5. Comparison of representation, feeling, and desire
with the psychological states of vegetation, sensibility, and irri-
tability respectively. § 6. Man an aggregate of contradictions.
All mental life a constant change. § 7. Solution of many of
the problems of mental life to be found in metaphysics and
higher mathematics. § 8. The old hypothesis of mental facul-
ties is a tradition reflecting the total impression of psychologi-
cal observation, hence can not be dispensed with. (Note 1. —

2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

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