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those of others. It essentially implies the notion oi free
choice, becoming meaningless if human volitions are
reduced to the category of natural events uniformly
determined by necessary law. This consciousness of
obligation is, moreover, universal throughout mankind,
although the influences of education and the social
environment may alter considerably the classes of
action to which it is affixed. The intellect may doubt
or even err in determining what particular conduct is



THE EMOTIONS. 44 1



I



right ; but that which he judges to be right each man
feels bound to do. Further, the perception of the obli-
gatoriness or wrongness of contemplated conduct
carries in its train all the other forms of the moral
sentiment. The action apprehended to be wrong
evokes the feeling of disapprobation. This is judged to
be rightly transferred to the agent. The action I know
to be mine: its moral quality I feel to be justly ascribed
to me. I am conscious of responsibility for it. When
after its accomplishment the act is considered retros-
pectively, the combined feelings of violated obligation,
disapprobation, and responsibility result in the painful
consciousness of remorse.

These various phases of ethical feeling all contain
a distinctly moral element as original and as incapable
of analysis as that of the feehng of ought. Finally, there
is in the background present in them all a common
feature oi reverential fear — well insisted upon by Newman :
*' Conscience leads us to reverence and awe, hope and
fear, especially fear. . . . No fear is felt by any one
who recognizes that his conduct has not been beautiful,
though he may be mortified at himself, if perhaps he
has thereby forfeited some advantage ; but if he has
been betrayed into any kind of immorality, he has a
lively sense of responsibility and guilt, though the act
be no offence against society, — of distress and appre-
hension, even though it may be of present service to
him, — of compunction and regret, though in itself it
be most pleasurable, — of confusion of face, though it
may have no witnesses. These various perturbations
of mind, — self-reproach, poignant shame, haunting
remorse, chill dismay at the prospect of the future —
and their contraries, . . . these emotions constitute a
specific difference between conscience and other intel-
lectual senses."^ These moral sentiments, however,
be it remembered, are developed, refined, strengthened,
and perfected, in proportion as man acts up to the
dictates of conscience : they can be weakened, perverted,
all but extinguished by continuous violation and abuse.



I
I



^ Granunar of Assent, p. io8.



442 RATIONAL LIFE.



No distinct Faculty of Feeling. — Having now treated o.
the chief emotions, we would recall once more the truth on
which we have often insisted, that these states are not acts
of a third radically distinct faculty, but complex products
of appetency varying in character with the quality of the
cognitive consciousness out of which they emerge. No satis-
factory attempt has been made to show that such states as
anger, hope, shame, curiosity, pride, are all reducible to a
third ultimate mental aptitude, distinct alike from conation
and cognition. Yet if such a third faculty is to be assumed,
or if it is to be identified with the mere capacity for pleasure
or pain, reason should be assigned why the various emotions
are to be grouped under it rather than under the other two.
But the more carefully these states are analyzed, the clearer
will it become that they are only complex forms of appetitive
and cognitive consciousness. Desire and aversion are princi-
ples of wide range, and when they have been carefully
applied to the explanation of every feeling, very little that
is not an act of a cognitive power will remain. We may
appropriately complete our treatment of these states with a
citation jFrom the work of Jungmann, devoted to the special
subject of Feeling : " Modern Psychology is accustomed to
treat of several species of Feeling and Feelings in its theory
of the third Faculty. We accordingly have discussions
regarding the sympathetic, intellectual, aesthetic, moral, and
rehgious emotions ; and also of the feeling or sense of right,
of the beautiful, of the noble, and of moral good, or of sesthetic,
moral, and religious feeling. If we admit no special Feeling-
power, besides the faculties of Cognition and Conation,
where shall we dispose of these states ? It is not very
difficult to find the right place for them, if we only get a
clear notion of what is meant by these names. The sympa-
thetic emotions are, in general, joy or sorrow over the weal
or woe of others. Those feelings are styled ' ^Esthetic '
which are awakened in the soul in the presence of the
sesthetic excellence of the creations of human genius. Under
the phrase ' Intellectual FeeHngs ' are signified those agree-
able or disagreeable affections the cause and object of which
is an activity of our inteUigence in harmony or conflict with
that intelligence. Finally, Moral and Rehgious Feelings are
the appetencies of the soul in the presence of ethical good
and ill with reference to the supernatural order. . . . The
sense of the Beautiful and the Good, or yEsthetic and Moral
sentiment, is not a (special) energy, not a faculty of the
soul, but simply the first attribute of every created spirit —
rationality. Rationality embraces a two-fold element. Our
soul is rational on the one hand because its understanding



THE EMOTIONS. 443



is necessarily determined by Eternal Wisdom's laws of know-
ledge ; on the other, because there is impressed upon its
appetency a natural bent towards what agrees with these
laws of knowledge and with Uncreated Goodness, that is,
towards the physically perfect and the ethically good ; and
therefore towards the Beautiful. This rationality, for reasons
assigned elsewhere, does not manifest itself in all rnen in
equal perfection, but in its essence it is present in all.
Accordingly, in so far as no other agencies interfere, every
man naturally knows and recognizes the Good, the Right,
the Noble, the Beautiful, and the Great; towards these he
is impelled, these he embraces, these he loves, these he
enjoys. On the other hand. Wickedness, Meanness, Ugliness,
are for every man the object of aversion and displeasure."^

Genesis of Feelings. — What is the proximate cause of
Emotion ? — Professor James writes : " Our natural way of
thinking about the ' coarser ' emotions is that the mental per-
ception of some fact excites the mental affection called the
emotion, and that this latter state of mind gives rise to the
bodily expression. My theory, on the contrary, is that the
bodily changes follow directly the perception of the exciting fact, and
that our feeling of the same changes as they occur is the Emotion.
Common sense says, we lose our fortune, are sorry and weep ;
we meet a bear, are frightened and run. The hypothesis
here to be defended says that this order of sequence is
incorrect, that the one mental state is not immediately
induced by the other, that the bodily manifestations must
be interposed between them, and that the more rational
statement is that we feel sorry because we cry, angry because
we strike, afraid because we tremble and not that we cry,
strike, or tremble, because we are sorry, angry, or fearful, as
the case may be. Without the bodily states following on the
perception the latter would be purely cognitive in form, pale,
colourless, destitute of emotional warmth. We might then
see the bear, and judge it best to run, receive the insult, and
deem it right to strike, but we should not actually feel afraid
or angry." (Op. cit. p. 450.) Although James makes a distinc-
tion between the "coarser" and "subtler" emotions, he
accounts for both classes in practically the same way. The
theory seems to be accepted in substance by Lange, Lloyd
Morgan, and others. The chief evidence urged in its favour
are the following alleged facts: (i) Particular perceptions do
excite diffused bodily effects antecedent to emotions. (2) Many
pathological cases in which the emotion is " objectless " are
thus easily explained. The numerous instances of unmotived
fear, melancholy, anger, and the like, which are frequently met

" Das Gemiith tuid das Gejiihlsvermogen, § 99.



444 RATIONAL LIFE.



with in asylums, are thus easily accounted for as due to a
morbid condition of those parts of the nervous mechanism
by which the emotion in question is usually expressed. Thus
an organic malady which occasions trembling is felt as fear.
(3) " The vital point : If we fancy some strong emotion, and
then try to abstract from our consciousness of it all the
feelings of its bodily symptoms, we find we have nothing left
behind; no 'mind-stuff' out of which the emotion can be
constituted, and that a cold and neutral state of intellectual
perception is all that remains." (Op. cit. p. 451.)

Criticism.— Although its chief thesis is erroneous, this
theory seems to us to contain grains of truth frequently over-
looked by its opponents, i. An emotion is not a momentary,
atomic conscious state of pure quality ; but a complex form of
mental excitement always lasting for some time, and generally
constituted of sundry elements both cognitive and appetitive,
sensuous and spiritual. The class of " coarser" emotions—
which roughly correspond to the passiones sensibiles vel animales
of the schoolmen— more especially include as an essential
component the consciousness of motor nervous activity and
general bodily disturbance. What we understand by an
emotion of anger or fear, is thus not a simple act of an
ultimsite feeling-faculty, but a process of consciousness com-
prising a cognition of some object, a resulting appetitive or
impulsive state, and a feeling of organic excitement.^'^ This
latter ingredient is probably the incoming perception of the
reverberation of neural discharges diffused throughout the
system. Consequently, if we abstract the feeling of bodily
symptoms, a very substantial constituent of the coarser
emotions is thereby ehminated. Still the remnant is not
merely a neutral " state of perception." There will remain
also an element of appetency or conation. Of course the
latter factor may Hkewise be abstracted; but surely this is
deliberately das kind mit deni Bade auszuschiitten — " to empty
out the baby along with the bath." In the subtler emotions
—passiones spirituales — the rational appetitive element of com-
placency or dissatisfaction is at least as important as the act

^^ The organic commotion — tvansmutatio coyporalis — is made an
essential part of the "coarser" emotions by St. Thomas. Thus:
" Passio propria invenitur ubi est tvansmutatio coyporalis, quK quidem
invenitur in actibus appetitus sensitivi." {Sum. 1-2. q. 22. a. 3.) "Ad
actum appetitus sensitivi per se ordinatur hujusmodi transmutatio :
unde in definitione motuum appetitivae partis materialiter ponitur
aliqua naturalis transmutatio organi, sicut dicitur, quod ira est accensio
sanguinis circa cor, unde patet quod ratio passionis magis invenitur
in actu sensitive virtutis appetitive quam in actu sensitivae virtutis
apprehensiva." {Ibid. a. 2. ad 3.)



THE EMOTIONS. 445



of intellectual appreciation ; but it is quite true that if we
abstract all the sensible effects, the passional element of the
emotion disappears.^^

2. Nevertheless, the impulsive or appetitive element in
emotion — whether " coarse" or " subtle," is not merely the
apprehension of the reverberation of the neural disturbance.
This disturbance is the effect either of the impulse or of the
physical correlate of the latter. The fact that mankind at
large — including psychologists — have hitherto so interpreted
the conscious process affords at least a strong presumption
in its favour. Furthermore, there are many experiences
which cannot otherwise be rationally explained. For example,
an officer at the mess-table hears the word "liar" or
"coward" incidentally pronounced, and remains unaffected.
But let him understand that the term is addressed to himself,
and the state of consciousness immediately awakened is
totally different. The sound, the physical impression is sub-
stantially the same in both cases ; and it is not easy to see on
the physiological theory why the motor reverberation should
be so enormously different. The common sense theory, on
the other hand, answers intelhgibly that though the act of
perception may be almost the same in both cases — or even
more intense in the former — yet the rational meaning is
completely different. This difference of meaning can account
for the enormous difference in the subsequent mental state —
the violent impulsive feeling which has as its physical corre-
late an outgoing nervous process. This expresses itself in the
bodily commotion which is felt as organic sensation. The
same holds true of the feeling of fear, moral approval,
aesthetic admiration and the sentiment of the sublime or the
ludicrous, which are awakened not by the impressions of
particular stimuli, but by intellectual appreciation of relations
which give its meaning and worth to the object. The closing
words of Lotze in another connexion are to the point here :
" The shudder in presence of the sublime, and the laughter
over comical incidents are unquestionably both produced
not by a transference of the physical excitations of our eyes
to the nerves of the skin or the diaphragm, but by what is
seen being taken up into a world of thought and estimated at
the value belonging to it in the rational connexion of things.
The mechanism of our life has annexed this corporeal expres-
sion to the mood of mind thence evolved, but the bodily expression

^1 " Amor, et gaudium, et alia hujusmodi, cum attribuuntur Deo
vel angelis, aut hominibus secundum appetitum intellectivum, signi-
ficant simplicem actum voluntatis cum similitudine effectus absque
passione." [Ibid. a. 3. ad 3.)



446 RATIONAL LIFE.



would never of itself without the understanding of ivhat it presents
give rise to the mood." (Microcosmus, Vol. I. Bk. III. c. 3, § 4.)
The physical act of tickling may excite laughter similar in
kind to that awakened by a humorous story, yet the frame of
mind evoked is totally different ; and on the other hand,
what is substantially the same strong emotion may manifest
itself in quite unlike motor effects. Thus intense sorrow may
result in violent outbursts or tearless silence.

3. The various facts cited in favour of the physiological
theory can be accounted for just as well on the psychological
or common-sense view. Emotion and emotional movements,
whatever was the original order of their occurrence when
connected by association reciprocally suggest each other.
The awaking of emotion in the actor by counterfeit expression
is thus easily explained. The pathological cases of objectless
emotion can be similarly accounted for. The recurrence of
any part of a total emotional mood tends according to the
ordinary law of mental association to reinstate the remainder;
even though the recurring element be organic sensation
abnormally excited by the morbid instability of the nervous
mechanism of expression. But it is at least as probable that
these pathological cases are due to disordered cerebral idea-
tional centres which pervert the emotion at its source. ^^

Classification of the Emotions. — We have ab-
stained in the present chapter from all attempt at a
systematic classification of the emotions. We believe
such an undertaking to be impossible; and we think that
a scheme falsely pretending to effect a scientific division
of these mental states will do more harm than good.
Most of the emotions are extremely complex states.
Few of them are of well-defined character ; and the
Quality even of these is rarely pure. Feelings are in-
variably mingled or tinged with others of a different

^2 The constitution of a total emotional process, e.g., a fit of
anger, seems to us to include these psychical and physical elements:
(i) Cognitive state (a), with its physical correlate, a nervous change in
cerebral centres (a) ; (2) a conscious appetency or impulse [b], excited by
(fl), and having as physical correlate a diffused otitgoing process along
motor nerves ()8) ; (3) expressive bodily commotion {transmiitatio
corporalis) {7), caused by (i)(/3), and presenting itself to consciousness
through organic sensation (c). Psychically the emotion is composed
of (fl) (b) (c) ; the physical counter-part consists of (a) (&) (7). On the
general question cf. also Mark Baldwin, Feeling and Will, pp. 252 —
257; and Stout, Manual, pp. 287 — 297.



THE EMOTIONS. 447



nature. They also shade into each other by impercep-
tible transitions. Moreover, they continually change in
tone with the varying age, circumstances, and dispo-
sitions of man. As a consequence of all these
properties, no sa.tisia.ctory fundanientum divisionis can be
selected ; no table of memhva excludentia, no arrangement
exhibiting degrees of intrinsic affinity — in a word, no
scheme embodying the rules or attaining the ends of
logical classification, can be drawn up.

Certain writers, starting from some very unimportant
extrinsic feature have elaborated plans possessing a
degree of external S3mimetry, but lending no real assist-
ance to the analytical study of the emotions. Others,
on the contrary, adopting some hypothetical principle,
which claims to penetrate to the root of mental life,
have subjected many mental states to the most violent
handling in order to squeeze them into the prescribed
compartments. We thus find feelings which are closely
akin in nature widely separated, and vice versa; because
the particular principle chosen, however suitable in the
division of other states, is utterly inappropriate when
applied to these. In such a situation it seems to us
decidedly the best course frankly to accept the facts ;
and so we have merely taken up the chief feelings and
pointed out their most prominent characteristics. But
in order to establish completely the justice of our
method, we shall indicate a few of the schemes which
have been advocated :

Spinoza recognizes as the three great primary types of
passion : Desire, Joy, and Sadness. They form the three first
on the ordinary scholastic list, which we have already given,
and did he but add the fourth — aversion or abhorrence — the
scheme of the Dutch philosopher would have been at least
as good as that of any of his successors. If he marks off joy
from desire, he ought to separate aversion from sadness.
Desire aims at future or absent good, the fruition of which is
joy; the object of abhorrence or aversion is absent evil, and
its presence creates sadness.

Thomas Brown's classification of emotions runs thus :

I. Immediate — cheerfulness, melancholy, wonder, moral
feeling, love, etc.

II. Retrospective — anger, gratitude, regret, gladness.



L



448 RATIONAL LIFE.



III. Prospective — the desires of knowledge, power, fame,
etc. ; also hopes and fears.

The principle of division here — that of time, is of very
little importance from a psychological point of view. What
is fundamentally the same feeling — e.g., the moral sentiment
— may be evoked by the contemplation of an object as future,
present, or past. It is obviously unwise to separate these
phases of the same emotion from each other, and to group
them with feelings to which they have no affinity.

Herbert Spencer, assuming the theory of Evolution, seeks
to classify the emotions according to degree of development
and complexity. This he considers to be determined by the
order of their manifestation in the ascending grades of the
animal kingdom, in different stages of human civilization,
and in different periods of the individual's life. He accord-
ingly divides all feelings into four great classes :

I. Presentative feelings. — Sensations considered as pleasur-
able or painful.

II. Presentative-Representative. — The majority of emotions
so called. They are due to inherited experience : our
sensations arouse vague representations of pleasurable or
pai nful sensations experienced by our ancestors, e.g. terror.

III. Representative. — Ideas of feeling of the previous class,
excited in the imagination apart from external stimulus, e.g.,
the pleasures of poetry.

IV. Re-Representative. — The most abstract, complex, and
refined sentient states. Representations of representations
of sensuous impressions. The sentiments of justice, of
property, and the moral sentiment are illustrations.

Criticism. — In the first place the assumption on which his
scheme is based — that all our emotions are evolved out of
sensuous impressions — may be simpl}^ denied. Proof of such
a thesis would be a very big undertaking indeed, and
Mr. Spencer does not seriously attempt it. The emotions
of curiosity, surprise, the ludicrous, shame, logical consis-
tency, and moral approval, are certainly not reducible to
sensuous elements. Again : stage of development, though
possibly a consideration of much use for educational purposes,
is not an appropriate ground of division from the standpoint
of psychological analysis. What is needed is a systematic
grouping of the several distinct species of emotion, such as
love, wonder, hope, anger, fear, and the like, according to
their mutual affinities, and as far as possible in their purest
forms in the hope of discovering some underlying general
principle which rationally connects them. If we wish to
study the characteristics of the various human races, we
class them as Caucasian, Mongolian, American Indian, and



THE EMOTIONS. 449



the other large divisions, and then subdivide these groups
into smaller famihes, the Indo-Germanic, the Semitic, and
the rest. We do not take as our divisions : man up to the
age of three ; from three to ten ; from ten to twenty. A
fatal defect of this development method of classification is
that it distracts our attention from most of the very affinities
and differences which it is our primary object to discover.
The characteristic features of the elementary distinct types
of emotion are ignored, and widely opposed qualities of
consciousness are grouped together, whilst what is funda-
mentally the same activity in successive stages of growth is
split up and assigned to different categories. Thus curiosity,
indignation, and admiration for the beautiful should appear
in nearly all the four compartments. The error of this
classification is, in a word, the substitution of differences of
decree for differences of kind.



^ii'



The Expression of the Emotions. — In the final
analysis we always have to be satisfied with the state-
ment that a definite neural movement is de facto the
immediate antecedent or consequent of a given psy-
chical act. The one cannot be deduced from the other ;
and why God created mind and body thus cannot be
explained. But, though a vast region of mystery will
ever surround the small field of human knowledge, it is
the duty of the scientist to seek to push back the
circumference of his circle as far as he can. At this
object theories of emotional expression aim ; and,
although the subject lies on the border-land of both
Physiology and the Science of Mind, it seems here
appropriate to give a short account of what has been
done with a view to explaining why particular actions
are connected with certain emotions.

Sir Charles Bell, the distinguished physiologist, in his
essays on the Anatomy and Pliilosophy of Expression (1806 —
1844), was practically the first to attempt an accurate scientific
treatment of emotional expression. He devoted himself
solely, however, to describing in detail the muscular move-
ments engaged in the manifestations of the various feelings ;
and he makes no pretence to explain why the particular
gestures are connected with the corresponding mental state.

Bain seeks to go a step further in the line of explanation
in attempting to formulate a principle which will account for
the difference in character of the movements accompanying
DD



450 RATIONAL LIFE.



broadly different kinds of feeling. This he does in his " Law
of Self-conservation:" States of pleasure are concomitant with
an increase, and states of pain with an abatement of some or all of
the vital functions. Pleasurable feelings — ^joy, laughter, hope
— express themselves in augmented vigour of the vegetative
functions, and also in the stimulation of various muscles, facial,
respiratory, and the like. On the contrary, painful feelings



Online LibraryMichael MaherPsychology: empirical and rational → online text (page 45 of 63)