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to the greater, one after the other, gain a special law
of action. By this the above vague impression of the
whole rises, in which lies a whole series of concepts,
and these are gradually developed out of one another.

Note. — Here, among others, must be compared the phenom-
ena resulting from exercise and skill ; that, moreover, not every
course of thought repeats faithfully the series constructed ; and
upon that is based, in part, the gpround of the inequalities in the
quantities n and p (25), with whose possible difference we can
not deal further here. Additional facts may be deduced from
the following •

32. If free-rising concepts (of which mention was
made in the closing remarks of the last chapter) should
blend in regular gradation, they would be subject to
other laws of reproduction which originate out of the
blending, and are distinguished and determined ac-
cording to their differences. Upon occasion, likewise
arises a process of construction and formation of series
which differ from the form of analogous concepts in
case the latter are given and then sink out of con-
sciousness. From this may be explained the conflict
between things as we perceive them and as we think
them, as well as the tendency to regard them otherwise
than as they first present themselves; consequently
the modifying action of the self-activity upon that
which lies before the perception. This may be ob-
served especially in the case of children who can have
no set purpose in the matter.

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33. One of the objections against mathematical
psychology is that mathematics defines only quantity,
while psychology must especially consider quality. It
is now time to meet this objection, and to collect the
explanations of those mental states which the forego-
ing presents.

Here we must first remark that the peculiar striy-
ing of concepts for xepresentation (11) never appears
immediately in consciousness, for, just so far as con-
cepts change into striving, they are removed out of
consciousness. Also, the gradual sinking of concepts
can not be perceived. A special instance of this is,
that no one is able to observe his own falling asleep.

So far as it represents or conceives, the soul is
called mind ; so far as it feels and desires, it is called
the heart or disposition {Gemuth). The disposition
of the hearty however ^ has its source in the mind — in
other words, feeling and desiring are conditions, and,
for the most part, changeable conditions of concepts.
The emotions indicate this, while experience, upon the
whole, confirms it : the man feels little of the joys and
sorrows of his youth ; but what the boy learns correct-
ly, the graybeard still knows. The extent, however, to
which a steadfast disposition and, above all, character
can be given, will be shown later in the explanations
of the principles above presented.

34. First, there is a blending of concepts not
only after the arrest (22), but quite a different one
before it, provided the degree of opposition (15) be

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sufficiently smalL A principle of a^thetic judgment
lies in this. Pleasant feelings in their narrowest sense,
together with their opposites, must be regarded as
analogous to these aesthetic judgments — ^i. e., as spring-
ing from the relation of many concepts which do not
assert themselves individually, but rather which per-
haps, for psychological reasons, can not be perceived
when separated.

Note. — In carrying out this investigation, the series of tone
relations upon which music depends may be presented as a sub-
ject of experiment. Among simple tones, the degree of arrest
(the interval of tones), entirely alone and without means, deter-
mines the esthetic character of its relation. It is also certain
that the psychological explanation (widely different from the
acoustical) of all harmony is to be sought in the difference be-
tween the degrees of arrest, and that it must be found there.
The necessary calculations for this are, for the most part, to be
found in the second volume of the KOnigsberg Archives for
Philosophy. Of the somewhat extensive investigations, only
the principal ones which experience decidedly confirms can be
given here :

When the forces^ into which concepts^ through their
similarity and their contrasts^ separate one another^
are equally strong^ there arises disharmony. If^ how-
every one of these forces be opposed to the others in such
a relation that it is driven to the statical threshold (16)
by theiUy then a harmonious relation will prevail.

35. Second, a principle of contrast is to be found
in the complexes (22), which we here consider com-
plete. The complexes a-|-a and J + )8 are similar,
provided a : a = J : )8 ; if not, they are dissimilar. Let
the degree of arrest between a and b equal jp, and that
between a and p equal v. Now, if in similar com-
plexes, p^^TTy then, and then only, will the individual

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concepts be arrested, exactly as if they had not been
in any combination ; also no feeling of contrast arises,
inasmuch as the arrest is successful only when the op-
posing forces bring the feeling of conti^t with them ;
but, in every rariation from the case presented, the less
opposed concepts are affected by their combination
with the other two, but in this very way a part of the
arrest will be withheld from the latter ; con^quently,
notwithstanding the opposition, something remains in
consciousness that resists, and in this lies the feeling
of contrast. It w <py then the contrast between a
and b will be felt, not that between a and p. If w > ^,
the case is reversed. When v^O^ the contrast be-
tween a and h is the greatest.

36. Third, a complex a + a is reproduced by a
concept furnished by a new act of perception similar
to a (26). Now, when a, on account of its combina-
tion with a, comes forward, it meets in consciousness
a concept opposed to it, )8. Then a will he^ at the
same time^ driven forward and held back. In this
situation, it is the source of an unpleasant feeling
which may give rise to desire^ viz., for the object rep-
resented by a provided the opposition offered by /& is
weaker than the force which a brings with it.

This is ordinarily the case; desires are excited by a
remembrance of their object. When the remembrance
is strengthened by several incidental concepts, the im-
pulses of desire are renewed. As often as the oppos-
ing concepts (L e., concepts of the hindrances which
stand in the way of the longing) attain preponderance,
they produce a painful feeling of privation.

37. Fourth, a concept comes forward into con-
sciousness by its own strength (perhaps reproduced

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according to the method described in 26), at the same
time being called forward by several helping concepts
(24). Since each of these helps has its own measure
of time in which it acts (according to the formula in
25), then the helps may strengthen one another against
a possible resistance, but they can not increase their
own velocity. The movement in advancing takes place
only with that velocity which is the greatest among
several concepts meeting together, but it is favored by
all the rest. This favoring is part of the process which
takes place in consciousness, but in no way is it any-
thing represented or conceived. Hence it can only be
called a feeling — without doubt a feeling of pleasure.

Here is the source of the cheerful disposition, es-
pecially of joy in successful activity. Here belong
various movements, instigated from without, which
do not accelerate but favor one another as in the case
of dancing and music. Of the same character is the
action according to several centering motives, and
such too is the insight based on understanding several
reasons which confirm one another.

38. In general, it may be observed that feelings
and desires have not their source in the process or act
of conception in general, but always in certain par-
ticular concepts. Hence there may be at the same
time many different feelings and desires, and these
may either agree or entirely disagree one with the

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39. From the foregoing, it may, in a way, be per-
ceived that after a considerable number of conceptis in
all kinds of combinations is present, every new act of
perception must work as an excitant by which some
will be arrested, others called forward and strength-
ened, progressing series interrupted or set again in mo-
tion, and this or that mental state occasioned. These
manifestations must become more complex if, as is
usual, the concept received by the new act of percep-
tion contains in itself a multiplicity or variety, that at
the same time enables it to hold its place in several
combinations and series, and gives them a fresh im«
pulse which brings them into new relations of opposi-
tion or blending with one another. By this, the con-
cepts brought by the new act of perception are assimi-
lated to the older concepts in such a way as to suffer
somewhat after the first excitation has worked to the
extent of its power, because the old concepts — on
account of their combinations with one another — are
much stronger than the new individuals which are

40. If, however, already very strong complexes and
Mendings with many members have been formed,
then the same relation which existed between the old
and the new concepts may be repeated within between
the old concepts. Weaker concepts, which, according
to any kind of law, enter into consciousness, act as ex-
citants upon those masses before mentioned, and are

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received and appropriated by them (apperceived) just
as in the case of a new sense-impression ; hence the
inner perception is analogous to the outer. Self -con-
sciousness is not the subject of discussion here, al-
though it is very often combined with the above.

41. In what has been said, lies that which experi-
ence confirms, viz., that the inner perception is never
a passive apprehension, but always (even against the
will) active. The apperceived concepts do not con-
tinue rising or sinking according to their own laws,
but they are interrupted in their movements by the
more powerful masses which drive back whatever is
opposed to them although it is inclined to rise ; and
in the case of that which is similar to them although
it is on the point of sinking, they take hold of it and
blend it with themselves.

42. It is worth the trouble to indicate how far this
difference among concepts — which we might be in-
clined to divide into dead and living — may be carried. '

Let us recall the concepts on the statical thresh-
old (16). These are, indeed, in effect nothing less than
dead; for, in the condition of arrest in which they
stand, they are not able by their own effort to effect
anything whatever [toward rising into consciousness].
Nevertheless, through the combination in which they
stand^^tila^may be reproduced, and, besides, they will
often be driven back in whole heaps and series by
those more powerful masses, as when the leaves of a
book are turned hurriedly.

43. If the apperceived concepts— or at least some of
them — ^are not on the statical threshold, then the ap-
perceiving concepts, suffer some violence from them ;
also the latter may be subject to arrest from another

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side, in which case the inner perception is interrupted ;
through this, uncertainty and irresolution may be ex-

The apperceiving mass may be, in its turn apper-
ceived by another mass ; but for this to occur, there
must be present several concept masses of distinctly
different degrees of strength. Hence it is somewhat
seldom that the inner perception rises to this second
power [the apperception of apperception], and only in
the case of philosophical ideas is this series considered
as one which might be prolonged into infinity.



44. Up to the present chapter, concepts have been
considered as present in the soul without any question
concerning their origin or concerning foreign influ-
ences. This has been done for simplicity. Now, sense-
perception in part and physiological influences in part,
together with concepts already present, must be con-

45. Even from experience it may be assumed that
each act of perception of any considerable strength re-
quires a short space of time for its creation ; but expe-
rience and metaphysics at the same time teach that
by delaying longer, the strength of the perception in
no way increases in proportion to the time, but, the

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stronger the perception already iSj so much the less does
it increase^ and from this it follows, by an easy calcula-
tion, that there is a final limit to its strength which
the attained concept very soon reaches, and above
which even by an infinite delay the same perception
will not be able to rise. This is the law of diminish-
ing susceptibility J and the strength of the sense-im-
pression is quite indifferent in regard to this limit.
The weakest sense-perception may give the concept
quite as much strength as the strongest, only it re-
quires for this a somewhat longer time.

46. Every human concept really consists of infi-
nitely small elementary apprehensions very unlike one
another, which in the different moments of time dur-
ing the continuance of the act of perception were
created little by little. However, if during the con-
tinuance of the perception an arrest caused by old
opposed concepts did not occur, these apprehensions
would be all necessarily blended into a single, undi-
vided total force. For this reason the total force will
be perceptibly less than the sum of all the elementary

47. In early childhood a much larger supply of
simple sense-concepts is generated than in all the fol-
lowing years. Indeed, the work of the after-years con-
sists in making the greatest possible number of com-
binations from this supply. Although this suscepti-
bility is never entirely extinguished, yet, if there were
not a kind of renewal of it, the age of manhood would
be more indifferent and more unfruitful in sense-im-
pressions than it really is.

Though concepts on the statical threshold are
quite without influence for that which goes on in con-

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Bciousness (16), they can not weaken the susceptibility
to new perceptions similar to themselves. Hence this
receptivity would be completely re-established if the
earlier ratio of arrest were not quite changed by the
new acts of perception, and a certain freedom to re-
produce themselves directly given to the older con-
cepts (26). When this happens, the receptivity de-
creases. The greater the number of old concepts of
the same kind present in consciousness — this means
usually the longer one has lived — so much greater is
the number of concepts which upon a given occasion
enter at the same time into consciousness ; and thus
with years the renewal of receptivity diminishes.

48. The above statements refer not only to con-
cepts of exactly the same kind, but to all whose de-
gree of opposition is a fraction. This can not be
developed here, since in the foregoing nothing exact
could be said of the difference between the degrees of

49. It is to be especially observed that the influ-
ence of the body upon psychical manifestations is
shown in three ways — its repression {Druch)^ its ex-
citation (Resonanz), and its co-operation in action.
Upon this are the following preliminary remarks :

60. Physiological repression arises when the accom-
panying conditions, which should correspond to the
changes in the soul, can not follow without hin-
drance ; hence the hindrance will also be felt as such
in the soul because the conditions of each affect
both. This repression is often merely a retarding
force, to suit which the mental movements must pro-
ceed more slowly, as is the case with slow minds that
consume time and are stupefied by quick changes.

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Often, however, repression is similar to an arresting
force, and as such it can be mathematically calculated,
as when it increases the number of opposed concepts
by one or more. By it all active concepts may be
driven to the statical threshold ; and here we have the
explanation of sleep. In this case it would be a deep
and complete sleep,

51. Physiological excitation (Besonanz) arises when
the accompanying bodily conditions change more
quickly or become stronger than would be necessary to
merely cause no hindrance to the mental movements.
Then the soul, again in response to the body, will act
more quickly and more vigorously. The soul must
also share the resulting relaxations of the body, as in
intoxication and passion.

52. The co-operation of the soul and body in ex-
ternal action can not originally proceed from the soul,
for the will does not know in the least what influence
it really exerts upon the nerves and muscles. But in
the child exists an organic necessity for movement-
At first the soul accompanies this and the active move-
ments arising from it, with its feelings. The feelings,
however, become connected with perceptions of the
members moved. If, in the result, the concept arising
from such a perception acts as a means of arousing
desire (16), then the feeling connected with it arises,
and to this latter as accompanying bodily condition
belong all those phenomena in the nerves and muscles
by which organic movement is actually determined' or
defined. Thus it happens that concepts come to ap-
pear as a source of mechanical forces in the outer

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53. From the foregoing fundamental principles
many known facts are to be explained, while many
others still remain obscure. It is not necessary at
present to define this difference more closely. The
question how far the proposed explanations reach may
silently accompany the following exposition until the
facts are examined, for then the thread of investiga-
tion may be more conveniently taken up; but the
commonly accepted mental faculties need now a criti-
cal elucidation which must advance gradually with the
observation of the facts themselves.

Combined with the effort to bring together a mani-
fold is naturally implied a separation of that which
manifestly does not admit of union, since it is either
excluded or else makes its appearance only under un-
usual circumstances. Inasmuch as the teachers of
psychology have undertaken to show the human mind

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in the form of a picture, they have at first omitted
those features which constitute the distinguishing
characteristics of the individual, as well as the chang-
ing conditions of human nature. We reserve these
for the second division, and keep for the first only that
which is considered an original and essential differ-
entiation of the human mind into various functions.

64. Eight here, however, on account of the peculiar
indefiniteness of psychological facts, it is impossible
to draw a dividing line. The man presented by the
teachers of psychology is the social, the educated man,
who stands on the summit of the whole past history
of his race. In this man the various functions are
found apparently in combination, and under the name
of mental faculties are regarded as a universal inher-
itance of mankind. Facts are silent as to whether
this variety be originally found together or whether
it be a manifold. The savage and the infant give
us much less opportunity to admire the compass of
their minds than the nobler among the brutes. Here
psychologists help themselves by the evasive assump-
tion that all higher mental activity is potentially pres-
ent, not in brutes, but in children and savages, and
may be regarded as undeveloped talents or as psychic
faculties ; and the most insignificant resemblances be-
tween the demeanor of the savage or the child, and
that of the educated man, are valued by them as per-
ceptible traces of awakening intelligence, awakening
reasoning, or awakening moral sense. But the ob-
servation must not escape us that in the following
discussion a special and accurately limited condition
of man will be described, according to the total im-
pression which those men whom we call by the vague

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expression "educated'* have made upon us. Great
uncertainty in regard to this total impression can not
be ayoided. There are no universal facts. Purely
psychological facts lie in the region of transitory con*
ditions of individuals, and are immeasurably far re-
moved from the height of the general notion of man
in general.

55. The comparison just mentioned between man
and the lower animals occasions the first division into
what is considered the original manifold of mental
faculties. In so far as man rises perceptibly above the
brute, higher faculties, and, in so far as he is similar
to the brute, lower faculties are attributed to him.
This classification crosses the one already mentioned,
viz., presentation, feeling, and desire, each one of these
being divided into an upper and a lower faculty.

As an aid in the survey of empirical psychology
the two classifications are equally useful, and we shall
use both.

56. Since in psychology one activity passes gradu-
ally into another, we shall not begin at the very equiv-
ocal line of demarkation between the two, but shall at
first place the extremes opposite each other. For the
lowest mental state, sensuousness ; for the highest, rea-
son will be assumed. The two are similar in that they
both appear in the several members of the second
division. We speak of a sensuous representation ( Vor-
stellen)^ a sensuous feeling, and a sensuous desire ; we
speak also of a theoretic and a practical reason — ^i. e.,
of a conceptive reason and of a willing or regulative
reason ; but we are careful not to speak of a feeling
reason, because we think of reason never as passive,
but always as active, since it is to be regarded as

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the highest faculty of man. The signification of the
expression used here is, according to the common usages
of speech, after a sort intelligible to every one. This
is not the right place for nicer distinctions, as they
themselves become the points in dispute.

57. If we go from the two extremes toward the
middle, first of all, in the faculty of representation, in
the region near sensuousness, we find imagination and
memory ; in the region of reason, we find understand-
ing and power of judgment. Secondly, in the faculty
of feeling, over against the sensuous feelings of pleasure
and pain, we find the aesthetic and moral feelings, and
the emotions. Thirdly, in the faculty of desire oppo-
site the sensuous appetites and instincts, we find, on
the one hand, intelligent and rational willing ; on the
other, the passions.

58. Before we lay out this rough sketch of the
psychological field more in detail, we must observe the
following : (a.) These classifications are mere empirical
groupings without any indication of completeness,
without any fixed, definite, and authorized division ;
hence, it will be no matter for wonder if, upon a closer
investigation of the facts, subjects are discovered which
either belong in more than one of the departments
already made, or which can not be classified in any
one of them whatever. Here are a few examples :

In Wolff's exposition, the faculty of feeling is not
distinguished from the faculty of desire, nor, conse-
quently, the emotions from the passions. We shall
show hereafter that the emotions do not belong in the
class of feelings, much less in the other classes ; hence
they do not belong in any one of the classes made,

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Online LibraryJohann Friedrich HerbartA text-book in psychology: an attempt to found the science of psychology on ... → online text (page 6 of 19)