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of Philosophy since the great scholastic stream of
thought was abandoned unequivocally demonstrates.
But that is not the fault of introspection any more
than conflicting views as to the source of the sun's
heat are a reflection on the trustworthiness of the

Real Difficulties. — We have treated Dr. Maudsley's
objections at such great length, not on account of any
considerable importance we assign to his work, but
because the discussion of his arguments helps to make
clear to the student the actual difficulties and limitations
of the Introspective Method. For it must be admitted



that internal observation is often not easy. Mental
states, unlike the objects of pliysical science, are
unstable and ever changing. They are not indepen-
dent of concomitant states. Even though it be untrue
that a// ■ introspection must be retrospective, yet the
more vehement forms of mental excitement can be
adequately studied only by means of recollection. The
limitation, too, of direct observation to a single specimen
with its inevitable peculiarities may be attended by
serious risks. Bias and intellectual prejudices may
unconsciously interfere with the correct appreciation of
facts, and our ver}^ familiarity with our mental states
increases the labour of accurate observation. Still
these hindrances to introspection can be overcome by
(a) diligence and attention, (b) the skill acquired by
practice of reflection, (c) industr}^ in repeating our
observations under varied conditions and the employ-
ment of recollection in studying afterwards states which
cannot be well examined whilst actually occurring,
(d) honest effort to be unprejudiced and impartial in
the observation of facts and to be on our guard against
the more impressive features of imagination and sensuous
states ; finally, by (e) making the fullest use of the
various supplementary objective methods to test and
confirm the results of direct introspection.

Readings. — On the opposition in nature between Psychology and
the objective sciences, cf. Dr. Martineau's Essays Philosophical and
Theological, "Cerebral Psychology," pp. 245—253. On the various
methods, cf. Pesch, Institutioncs Psych. §§ 25—30 ; Dr. Gutberlet, Die
Psychologie (Munster) pp. i — 15 ; and F. Mark Baldwin, Sense and
Intellect, pp. 20 — 32. On objections to the possibility of Psychology,
cf. Pesch, lb. §§ 31 — 34. On the necessity of a consistent theory cf
Rational Psychology, even for a complete view of the physiological
conditions of mental activity, cf. Professor Ladd's Physiological
Psychology, pp. 585, 586.



Consciousness. — The subject-matter which Em-
pirical Psychology investigates is Consciousness,
but, as we have already remarked, the chief instru-
ment by which our investigations are to be carried
on is also Consciousness. The question then at once
arises : What meaning or meanings are we to attach
to this term ? The word has been employed in a
variet}^ of significations, but for our purpose it will
be necessary to distinguish and recognize only three.^
In its widest sense Consciousness as opposed to
unconsciousness denotes all modes of mental life.
It comprises all cognitive, emotional, and appetitive
states which are capable of being apprehended ; it
is, in fact, S3monymous with the sum-total of our
psychical existence. In its second sense it signifies
the mind's direct, intuitive, or immediate knowledge
either of its own operations, or of something other
than itself acting upon it. This usage, which is
supported by Sir W. Hamilton and some of those
writers who maintain that we have in certain acts

^ For a detailed account of the various meanings assigned to
the term consciousness by philosophers, see the volume of the present
series on First Principles of Knowledge, by John Rickaby, S.J.
pp. 340—347.


an immediate perception of a reality other than
ourselves, makes Consciousness equivalent to imme-
diate or direct knowledge. Understood in this way
Consciousness signifies the energy of the cognitive
act, and not the emotional or volitional acts as
cognized. On the other hand, it is opposed to
mediate and to reflex knowledge. In its third
meaning the term is limited to that deliberately
reflex operation by which the mind attends to its
states and recognizes them as its own. Conscious-
ness in this sense is no longer that common
constituent of all subjective phenomena, whether
intellectual, emotional, or appetitive, which makes
them mental realities ; nor yet is it the simultaneous
notice which the mind concomitantly possesses of
such acts. It is a supplementary introspective
activity by which all our mental states are studied,
and through its means what is implicitly appre-
hended in our direct consciousness is explicitly
brought under review. In this signification the
word is equivalent to Self -consciousness, and when-
ever there is danger of ambiguity, or whenever it is
of importance to bring out the distinction, we will
employ this latter term with its adjective self-

Subconscious Mental Activities.— It should not be for-
gotten, however, that besides the mental operations which
reveal themselves in consciousness, there is much evidence
to establish the existence of vital activities of which we are
not at the time aware. Not only are there normally
unconscious functions of organic life, such as digestion,
respiration, circulation, but the sensitive faculties of the
mind, even in a natural healthy state, seem at times to
undergo modifications without our apprehending these latter.
Thus, very faint impressions on the sense-organs are ordinarily


not perceived, and when the attention is engrossed by some
object of interest, other sensations of sound, sight, and touch,
although perhaps of considerable intensity, may escape
unnoticed. The noise in the playground outside my open
window, the sound of the flames rising up from the grate, the
resistance of the table on which I have been leaning, and of
the pen which I have been holding between my fingers were
completely unobserved until I now deliberately adverted to
them. In the estimation of distance, in the recognition of
objects and in the normal acts of perception of mature life
rapid reasonings are frequently made with so little cognizance
of the operation as to be styled " unconscious inferences."
Memories, acquired tendencies, habits constantly affect the
character of our conscious life, whilst not themselves present
to consciousness. The sleeper and the man in deep reverie
respond to sensory stimuli by appropriate movement .without
having any knowledge of either the exciting cause or the
resulting movement. Cheerfulness and sadness, love, hate,
and fear are often the outcome of feelings which elude our
best efforts to discover them. Such undercurrents, lying as
it were below the surface of mental life, have been called by
recent psychologists subconscious states. There is considerable
dispute as to their exact nature and how their relation to the
mind should be conceived. For the present it is sufficient to
call attention to their reality and to remind ourselves that
although unsusceptible of introspective observation, some ot
these activities are intimately connected with our conscious

Mental Faculties : Classification. — Our primary
duty in entering upon a scientific treatment of tlie
facts of Consciousness is to effect a proper distribu-
tion of these phenomena. From very ancient times
it has been customary to divide our mental states
into a small number of general groups conceived to
be the outcome of separate faculties ov powers ^^ of the

~ The exact meanings of the terms, Faculty, Power, Capacity,
Function, and the like, are not very accurately fixed in Psychology. -
Power { potent ia ) may be conceived as either active or passive, tliat
is either as a special causality of the mind or as its susceptibility
for a particular species of affections or changes. Hamilton,
following Leibnitz, would confine the term Faculty {Facultas,
Facilitas) to the former meaning and Capacity to the latter. The


mind. By a faculty is meant the mind's capability
of undergoing a particular kind of activity; thus,
our sensations of colour are due to the faculty of
vision, our recollections to the faculty of memory,
and our volitions to the faculty of will. Such a
method of classification is justified by the con-
spicuous differences found both in the quality of
the several kinds of mental life, and in the manner
in which the latter put the mind in relation with the

Cognitive and Appetitive. — These activities assume
either of two generically different forms. Every
mental act or energy constitutes a relation between
the mind or subject and the object or terminus of
that act. Now this relation we find always to

terms Act, Operation, Energy, on the contrary, denote the present
exertion of a power. The last of the three, however, is also used
in a kindred sense to the previous terms, as the perfection or
special ground in the agent from whence the activity proceeds.
The word Function may signify either the actual exercise or the
specific character of a power. Faculty, Power, and Capacity, all properly
signify natural abilities. Accordingly, G. H. Lewes inverts the
original and universally accepted meaning when he would make
the term Faculty connote an acquired or artificially created
aptitude. Faculty is efficient cause of Function, not vice versa,
though the latter is both/;/a/ and formal cause of the former. (Cf.
Hamilton, Metaph. Lect. x. ; Lewes, A Study of Psychology, p. 27.) _

'■^ "The ground for the division of the mental faculties lies in
the special nature of the psychical activities." (Cf. Jungmann, Das
Geniilth unddasGefiihlsverniogender neueren Psychologic, p. 12.) Scholastic
philosophers taught that the faculties of the soul should be dis-
tinguished per actus et objecta, that is, according to the nature of each
activity and the object towards which it is directed. The former
principle, however, is the real causal ground for the distinction, the
latter being valuable mainly as an indication or symptom which
helps to exhibit more clearly diversities in the quality of the
energy. " Potentia, secundum illud,quod est potentia, ordinatur
ad actum. Unde oportet rationem potentiae accipi ex actu ad
quem ordinatur; et per consequens oportet quod ratio potentiae
diversificetur, ut diversificatur ratio actus." {Sum. i. q. 77. a. 3. c.)


consist either in (a) the assumption by the soul of
the object into itself after a psychical manner
{imagine intentionali) , or {h) the tendency of the soul
towards or from the object as the latter is in itself.
In the previous case the object of the state is
presented or represented in the mind by a cognitive
act, in the latter the mind is inclined* towards or
from the object by an appetitive act ; and the aptitude
for the one class of operations is described as cogni-
tive, percipient, apprehensive, and the like, while
the root of the other has been styled the " striving,"
" orectic," '* conative," or " affective " power. Under
the faculty of cognition or knowledge are aggregated
such operations as those of sense-perception, memory,
imagination, judgment, and reasoning; under the
affective or appetitive faculty are included desires,
aversions, emotions, volitions, and the like.

2. Rational and Sensuous. — Besides this distribu-
tion of mental energies into those of a Cognitional
and those of an Appetitive character, and running '
right through both classes, there is another division
of still more vital importance from a philosophical
standpoint ; we mean that based on the distinction
between the powers of a higher ^ rational^ or spiritual
grade, and those of the lower, sensuous, or organic
order. Throughout the entire history of Philosophy
it has been recognized that this difference is of
profound significance. Thinkers upholding so multi-

•* There is indeed a certain sense in which the apprehensive
faculties exhibit a tendency towards their appropriate objects. This
is impUed in the scholastic term intentionalis. Still the distinction
between such general responsive afiinity and the special " striving"
element of appetite remains evident.


farious and divergent philosophical creeds as Plato,
Aristotle, the Schoolmen, Descartes, Leibnitz, Kant,
and Hegel, all agree in looking on this difference of
nature in our sensuous and intellectual activity as
the central fact in the whole of Philosophy. Accord-
ingly, in addition to the division which separates
appetency from cognition, and intersecting both
these departments of mental life, we must draw a
line marking off sensuous from rational or spiritual
phenomena. These, however, must not be conceived
as two co-ordinate classes of activities standing inde-
pendently side by side ; they are akin rather to
superimposed strata. The superior faculty pre-
supposes and supplements the action of the lower,
though both are properties of the same soul.

To the sensuous order belong such operations as
seeing, hearing, forming concrete pictures by the
imagination, and conserving sensible experiences in
the organic memory. Intellectual consciousness
comprises the processes of forming universal
concepts, judgments, and inferences, the recollection
of rational truths, and the operation of reflecting on
our own mental states. In the sphere of orectic
activity or conation we find in the lower grade
organic appetite and sensuous desires, in the higher
spiritual desires and rational volition. Affections,
emotions, and passions pertain partly to one, partly
to the other order. It is true of course that in
actual concrete experience we cannot separate the
superior from the inferior activity. The sensation
in mature life is rarely given without some faint
accompanying exercise of Intellect. But such


dependence, or concomitance, does not identify the
two energies.

Subdivision. — A further examination of our
cognitive power of the sensuous order reveals to us
certain lesser differences which afford us reason for
a subdivision of this generic capability. We find .!
that some faculties make us directly cognizant of
material phenomena existing without the mind.
These are the External Senses. Others have for
their objects not such extra-mental realities, but
conscious representations of the former. These
faculties were called by the scholastic philosophers
the Internal Senses, the chief of which are Imagina-
tion and Memory. The first forms images of absent
objects, the second super-adds to such representa-
tions a conviction of their having been previously
experienced. The principal subdivisions, therefore,
of the lower grade of cognitive life are Imagination,
Memory, and the External Senses. In the sphere
of spiritual knowledge the various operations of
conception, judgment, inference, and reflection, do
not present sufficient divergency in nature to warrant
a subdivision of Intellect into different faculties.
These several processes are merely successive func-
tions of the same power.

Besides the general partition of appetency, or
affective consciousness, into rational and sensuous,
no further subdivision seems obvious. The most
imi~ortant class of states which might appear to
claim as their root another special property of the
soul are the Feelings and Emotions. In so far,
however, as they are not identical with the merely


pleasurable or painful aspect of our cognitive
energies, these phenomena may be traced to the
affective or appetitive disposition of the mind taken
in a wide sense In our present chapter we can of
course merely enunciate the principles upon which
our system of classification is based ; the justification
of that scheme will be found in the detailed treat-
ment of these various mental activities throughout
the present book.

Various classifications of Mental Faculties*

Aristotle's Scheme. — Although the vast majority of
psychologists have followed the method of referring our
psychical phenomena to a small number of general
faculties, yet there has been a good deal of disagree-
ment regarding the scheme of powers to be assumed as
ultimate. Aristotle, rejecting Plato's allotment of three
really distinct souls to man, teaches that the human
being is possessed of one vital principle which informs
and animates the body. This soul {ij/vxr}) is endowed
with five distinct genera of faculties: "Vegetative
Power {to OpeTTTLKov), on which the maintenance of the
corporeal organism depends ; the Appetitive Faculty
(to opeKTLKov), which is exerted in striving after what is
good and agreeable, and in repelling what is disagree-
able (Siw^L^ Kal 4>vy^) ; the faculty of Sensuous Percep-
tion {to aia9r)TLK6v), by which the objects perceptible by
sense are represented in our cognition, the Locomotive
Faculty {to KLvrjTtKov), by which we are enabled to move
the body and its members, and make use of them for
external action; and lastly, the Reason (to Stavor^TiKoV).
The four faculties first-named belong to brutes, as v\^ell
as to man. Reason, on the other hand, is the charac-
teristic which distinguishes man from the brutes."^

Scholastic System.— St. Thomas follows Aristotle,'^ but

5 Stockl's Handbook of the History of Philosophy (Translated by
Thomas Finlay, S.J.), p. 119. This work contains an excellent
epitome of Aristotle's Philosophy.

^ Cf. Sum. i. q. 7S. a. 10.



lays greater stress than the Greek philosopher on the
distinction between mere sensitive appetite (opcit?
aXoyos), for which we are not responsible, and rational
appetite or will." Leaving out of account, then, the
physiological or extra mental powers of the soul, we
have cognitive capabilities of the sensuous order ;
intellect, or the faculty of rational knowledge; and the
two kinds of appetite. This is the scheme which we
have ourselves adopted. With St. Thomas, as with us,
emotional states are either complex products made up
of cognitive and appetitive activities, or mere aspects
of such energies.

Scotch School. — Among modern writers, Reid and
Stewart put forward the distribution into Intellectual and
Active Powers, based on the antithesis maintained by
the peripatetics between the cognitive and appetitive
faculties. In doing so, however, they overlooked the
equally important principle of division into Sensuous
and Rational aptitudes, all forms of cognition bemg
alike styled intellectual. In addition to this deficiency,
their classification errs b}' opposing intellectual to active,
whereas the higher order of cognitive activity is as
essentiallv active as many modes of appetency.

Tripartite Division. — Hamilton adopts the three-fold
distribution of the facts of consciousness into pheno-
mena of Knowledge, of Feeling, and of Conation. This
classification, first propounded last century by Tetens,
a German philosopher, was popularized by Kant, and
probably enjoys most general favour among psycho-
logists of the present day. It bases its claims on the
assumption of three ultimate radically distinct modes
of conscious activity to one or other of which all forms
of mental life are reducible, while none of these, it is
asserted, can be identified with, or resolved into, either
of the other two. Consciousness assures me, it is urged,
that I am capable of Knowledge, of seeing, hearing,
imagining, reasoning, and the rest. It also testifies to
the fact that I may be drawn towards or repelled from
objects, in other words, that I am endowed with the
faculty of Desire. Finally, it reveals to me that I

' Sum i. q. 80. a. 2.


experience pleasure and pain, and that I am subject to
various emotions, such as curiosity, pride, anger, and
admiration, which are not acts of cognition, nor yet of
desire. Accordingly there must be postulated as the
basis of this last class of states a third capability in the
mind, the Faculty of Feeling. Our objection to this
scheme is that it sins both by excess and defect. On
the one hand it ignores the fundamental distinction
between the lower and higher grades of mental life, and
on the other hand it asserts without sufficient grounds
the existence of a separate third faculty. Hamilton,
like most Kantians, was at times fully aware of the
divergence in kind which marks off rational from
sensuous cognition. Yet this all-important difference
receives no real recognition in his classification, whilst
the phenomena of feeling, for which he demands a third
compartment, are reducible either to aspects of cogni-
tive energies or modes of appetency.

Spencer's Bipartite Division. — Mr. Herbert Spencer
rejects the triple division of mental phenomena for
a two-fold one: (i) Feelings, and (2) Relations between
Feelings or Cognitions. In his view volition is merely a
complex form of feeling, and even the " relations "
between feelings he speaks of as being merely special
feelings. As a psychological classification this division
has been very justly, but not consistently, rejected by
Dr. Bain, on the ground that what is required is not a
scheme of mental products, but of the different kinds
of powers or forces of the mind by which such
products are attained.^ Looked at, however, as an
ultimate analysis of our mental operations, it must be
condemned as proceeding from a false conception of
mental life.'\

^ The Senses and Intellect, p. 640. (2nd Edit.)

9 H. Spencer, Bain, Mr. Sully, and all empiricists, since they
teach that the mind is nothing more than the sum of our conscious
states, mean by a faculty merely a group of like mental acts, while
Hamilton, who believes that the mind is a real indivisible energy,
conceives the different faculties, not, indeed, as independent
agents, but as special forms of causahty or susceptibility in the


Attacks on Mental Faculties. — But difference of view on
the subject of the mental powers has not been confined to the
problem of classification. A vigorous crusade has been
preached by several psychologists during the present century
against the "faculty hypothesis" in any form. The move-
ment was initiated in Germany by Herbart in opposition to
Kant, and has been sustained there by Drobisch, Beneke,
Schleiermacher, Vorliinder, and others. In France, MM.
Taine, Kibot, and positivists generally, have followed in the
same direction, and a vast amount of wit and rhetoric has
been expended in the demolition of these " metaphysical
phantoms." We believe, nevertheless, that, once the reality
of the mind as a permanent indivisible energy is admitted,
the assumption of faculties when properly explained is

Faculty defined. — A mental faculty or power is not of the
nature of a particular part of the soul, or of a member
different from it as a limb is distinct from the rest of
the body. It is not an independent reality, a separate
agent, which originates conscious states out of itself apart
from the mind. But neither is it merely a group of con-
scious states of a particular kind. It is simply a special
mode through which the mind itself acts. " It is admitted by
all that a faculty is not a force distinct from and independent
of the essence of the soul, but it is the soul itself, which
operates in and through the faculty." ^"^ A faculty is, in fact,
the proximate ground of some special form of activity of which the
mind is capable. That we are justified in attributing to the
soul faculties in this sense is abundantly clear. Careful use
of our power of introspection reveals to us a number of modes
of psychical energy radically distinct from each other, and
incapable of further analysis. To see, to hear, to remember,
to desire, are essentially different kinds of consciousness,
though all proceed from the same source. Sometimes one is
in action, sometimes another, but no one of them ever
exhausts the total energy of the mind. They are partial
utterances of the same indivisible subject. But this is
equivalent to the establishment of certain distinct aptitudes
in the mind.^^

^" Cf Die PsycJioIogie, von Dr. Constantin Gutberlet, p. 4.

^' " The proposition, ' our soul possesses different faculties,'
means nothing else than ' our soul is a substance which as active

Online LibraryMichael MaherPsychology: empirical and rational → online text (page 4 of 63)