Skip to main content

Full text of "Outlines of psychology : dictated portions of lectures"

See other formats







Translated and Edited by GEORGE T. LADD, Professor of Philosophy 
in Yale University. 

THE German from which these translations are made consists of the 
dictated portions of Lotze's latest lectures as formulated by himself, 
recorded in the notes of his hearers, and subjected to the competent and 
thorough revision of Professor Rehnisch of Gottingen. The "Out- 
lines," therefore, give, in language chosen by himself, a condensed, 
orderly, and well-elaborated statement of his final conclusions on a wide 
range of philosophical questions. They furnish a valuable scheme for the 
instructor; and when skilfully used, they may be made to introduce the 
discussion of almost all the current problems in philosophy. The six 
following volumes have appeared : 

I. OUTLINES OF METAPHYSICS. This volume treats of those 
assumptions which enter into all our cognition of Reality. It consists 
of three parts, Ontology, Cosmology, Phenomenology. 

this volume Lotze seeks " to ascertain how much of the Content of Reli- 
gion may be discovered, proved, or at least confirmed, agreeably to reason." 


discusses Ethical Principles, Ethical Ideals, and the Freedom of the Will; 
it also applies the theory to the Individual, to Marriage, and to Society. 

IV. OUTLINES OF PSYCHOLOGY. The first part treats of Simple 

Sensations, the Course of Ideas, Intuitions of Objects as in Space, Errors 
of the Senses, etc. The second part discusses the nature, place, and 
changeable states of the Soul, and the reciprocal action of Soul and Body. 
V. OUTLINES OF AESTHETICS. This volume gives Lotze's theory of 
the Beautiful and of Phantasy. Then follow brief chapters on Music, 
Architecture, Plastic Art, Painting, and Poetry. 

VI. OUTLINES OF LOGIC. The Outlines of Logic comprehends both the 
pure and the applied science. The same volume contains a brief treatise 
on the Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. 










Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1886, by 

in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 



THE " Outlines of Psychology " was the first to 
appear of that series of eight small volumes of Dic- 
tate from the lectures of Lotze, which followed each 
other in rapid succession after their author's death. 
The present translation is from the German of the 
third edition, published at Leipzig, by S. Hirzel, in 
1884. The first German edition was issued in the 
early Fall of 1881. It consisted mainly of the lecture- 
notes of Robert Lotze, a son of the philosopher, who 
attended his father's course in Psychology for the 
Winter Semester of 1 880-81, and who testifies in 
the Preface that he recorded them as they were 
formulated by the lecturer himself. The volume 
was, however, before publication, subjected to the 
thorough revision of Professor Rehnisch, Lotze's 
colleague in Gottingen. The third German edition 
of the " Outlines of Psychology " is somewhat 
changed, in certain passages, from the first ; in 
particular, some difficult points for example, the 
rise and nature of our mental picture of ourselves, 
in Chap, vi., " The Feelings " have been more 


fully explained. All three editions, however, are 
throughout substantially, and for the most part 
even verbally, the same. 

It is not likely that any other compend of 
truths touching the science of Mind, at once so 
brief and so comprehensive, is to be found in all 
the literature of the subject. I am sure that there 
is no other by so mature and competent an authority. 
By preference, native facility, training, and practice, 
Lotze was almost incomparably well fitted to deal 
with the great science of Psychology. In his bio- 
graphical and eulogistic sketch of Lotze (contained 
in the appendix to the " Outlines of ^Esthetics "), 
Professor Rehnisch speaks of this as the " darling 
lecture-course " of its lamented author. First and 
last, directly and indirectly, far more of Lotze's 
published work deals with the human soul as its 
subject than with any other philosophical inquiry. 
He may fitly be called a born psychologist. He had 
the delicate tact, the reflective insight, the subtlety 
in analysis of mental states, which psychology de- 
mands for its successful cultivation. Moreover, his 
training was of that comprehensive kind which alone 
makes it possible to look upon the many-sided human 
mind from all of its many sides. Like more than 
one other notable philosopher (and among them all 
by far most notable Aristotle), Lotze was the son 


of a physician. He was thoroughly versed in the 
sciences of human physiology and human pathology. 
His early lecture-courses included these subjects. 
While a young man at Leipzig, we find him offer- 
ing instruction in " pastoral medicine," therapeutics, 
general pathology, "juridical medicine," and the 
functions and diseases of the nervous system. His 
published works include treatises on the Philosoph- 
ical Principles of Biology, on Life and Vital Force, 
on General Physiology and Medical Psychology, and 
on Life and Mechanism, etc. He was thoroughly 
acquainted with all that modern science has done 
for the study of mind by opening the approaches 
to it from the experimental and physiological points 
of view. 

But Lotze was equally well equipped by nature 
and cultivation to discuss the metaphysical problems 
which enter into the study of psychology and which 
so largely impart to it its peculiar value and charm. 
While admitting the help of objective experimental 
methods, he did not depreciate the instrument of 
self-consciousness. While proposing a brilliant ex- 
position of nature's method of giving to us our ideas 
of the spatial qualities and relations of objects, in 
his theory of so-called " local signs," he detected the 
fallacies of all attempts whether a priori or a poste- 
riori at the so-called "deduction of space." The 


offences against metaphysic which are committed by 
all materialistic views when introduced into psychol- 
ogy were patent to Lotze. 

The third Part of his large work on Metaphysic, 
and considerable portions of his Logic and of the 
Microcosmus, are treatises on psychology. I doubt 
whether any one workman of the century is entitled 
to higher esteem than Lotze for the quantity and 
quality of his teaching regarding the nature of Mind. 

The attention of the reader is called to the wide 
range of the subjects touched upon within the limits 
of this brief treatise. The second or theoretical part 
of the "Outlines of Psychology" includes chapters 
on the Seat of the Soul, its reciprocal Relations to 
the Body, its Essential Nature, and even on the 
Realm of Souls. Accustomed as we are to see 
almost all the available space in psychological 
treatises appropriated to the details of the phenom- 
ena of intellect, it may appear strange that any 
space can be given in so brief a compend to sub- 
jects such as these. We shall do well to remember, 
however, that these are just the subjects into which 
we all desire to look. It is the teacher's business 
then to try to hold open at least wide enough for 
a glimpse through the door between the soul's 
self-conscious activity and the soul's real self. 

No other one of Lotze's philosophical Outlines is 


more nearly complete and symmetrical than this. 
But it is, of course, only a brief presentation of 
outlines. It will be a pleasure and a reward to the 
translator, if the perusal of this small work shall re- 
sult in an increased study of the more voluminous 
psychological writings of its distinguished author. 







Of Simple Sensations . 



The Course of Ideas 



The Act of Relative Knowledge and 




The Intuitions of Space . 



Of the Apprehension of the World 

by the Senses, and of Errors of 






Of Motions 

/ j 




Of the Soul 

9 1 


Of the Reciprocal Action between 

Soul and Body .... 

9 8_ 


The Seat of the Soul 



The Time-Relations of the Soul . 



The Soul's Essence .... 



The Changeable States of the Soul, 

I2 9 


The Realm of Souls 

r 45 


i. Sensations, ideas, feelings, and acts of will, 
constitute the well-known facts, the whole of which 
we are accustomed to designate, although with the 
proviso of future proof, as the life of a peculiar 
entity, called ' the Soul.' 

The requirements of science would be perfectly 

(1) in case we could, as exact observation directs 
us, furnish a complete exhibition of all the single 
elements of this life and of the general forms in 
which they are combined (Descriptive or Empirical 
Psychology) ; 

(2) in case we could tell the nature of the subject 
of this entire life, as well as the efficient forces and 
conditions by which it is produced and compelled 
to keep within those forms of its course that are 
known empirically (Explanatory, Mechanical or 
Metaphysical Psychology) and, finally, 

(3) in case we could specify what is the rational 
meaning for which all this exists, or the vocation 
which the life of the soul in general has to fulfil 


in the totality of the world (Ideal or Speculative 

Since the last of the foregoing problems does not 
admit of a solution in strictly scientific form, and the 
treatment of the first may conveniently be combined 
with that of the second, the essential question with 
which we are to be occupied is the following : Under 
what conditions, and by means of what forces, do the 
individual processes of the spiritual life originate ; 
and how do they combine with and modify each 
other, and by such cooperation bring to pass the 
whole of the spiritual life ? 

We choose our way, however, so as to follow the 
course of the thing itself ; that is to say, we speak 
first of the external impressions by which the spirit- 
ual activity is at every moment aroused anew, then 
of the manifold internal elaboration which these 
impressions undergo, finally of the reflex activities, 
motions, and other actions, which result from them. 
It is only after passing in review these single ele- 
ments of the spiritual life that it is possible to give 
a comprehensive exposition of the interior nature of 
the subject which leads this life. 







2. By ' simple sensations ' we understand, in this 
place, those in whose content no composite structure 
out of parts, whether dissimilar or similar, is to be 
observed : and we further conceive of such sensa- 
tions for so the case customarily is as induced 
by external impressions. 

In such a case we distinguish, as the primary 
process in the originating of sensations, the exter- 
nal sense-stimulus. Nothing becomes an object of 
perception by means of its bare existence : every- 
thing becomes such only by being either itself 
brought near to the point of contact with our body, 
as is the case of impact ; or else by imparting to a 
medium, which surrounds it, certain motions that 
are transplanted from element to element in this 
medium, and that finally reach our body, as is 


the case with waves of sound and light. In all 
cases, however, such external sense-stimulus con- 
sists in some form or other of the motion of certain 
masses of matter : and it possesses in itself no sim- 
ilarity to the spiritual processes that are to result 
from it. 

3. The second process which is necessary is that 
within the body which the external stimulus excites. 

On its entrance into the superficial parts of our 
body, the external stimulus produces manifold 
changes in the most external layers of its covering, 
changes of which we know little, and which we do 
not need to investigate from the psychological point 
of view. For none of them become the occasions 
of sensations until they reach the ends of the nerve- 
fibres that are distributed everywhere throughout 
the body, and produce in these fibres an excitation 
which must be propagated along the entire course of 
the nerve-thread up to the brain, if a sensation is to 
originate. Every injury to the nerve which prevents 
such propagation of the impulse has, therefore, also 
the effect of rendering all stimulation of the peri- 
pheral nerve-ending completely inoperative so far as 
consciousness is concerned. Now we do not know 
with definiteness in what the aforesaid excitation, 
the so-called ' nerve-process,' consists ; and it is of 


importance for psychology merely to inquire, whether 
this process is simply a process of physical motion, 
or whether it from the beginning participates in the 
character of the spiritual life. 

Now a sensation cannot exist in the nerve in a 
merely general form, but it must be accurately speci- 
fied precisely who is to have the sensation. The 
nerve as a whole cannot be this subject ; because the 
nerve is an aggregate of many parts, and besides, it 
is by no means all at one time in the condition of 
excitation. On the contrary, one part after the 
other is affected in succession. Nothing more, there- 
fore, could possibly be asserted than that each indi- 
visible atom of the nerve is a 'sensitive subject/ and I* 
imparts its own sensation to its neighbor until finally 
it arrives at the soul. 

Since, however, this propagation of the excitation 
can be prevented by altering the physical continuity 
of the nerve for example, by section of it it is 
also undoubtedly not the result of an immediate 
sympathy, but of a physical influence which one 
nerve-atom a exercises upon the next atom b, etc. 
We should accordingly be compelled to say : The 
atom a acts physically upon b ; in consequence of 
its suffering this influence, b is thrown into a state 
of sensation S ; and, again, in consequence of that, b 
exerts a new physical impact upon c, which in turn 


is by this means induced to the sensation S and in 
consequence thereof to the exercise of a physical im- 
r pact upon the atom d. The last nerve-atom z would 
then act, in a manner as yet quite obscure, upon the 
soul, and stir this, too, to produce its sensation S. 

Now it is obvious that this last impact by means 
of which our sensation (the only one of which we 
actually know anything) originates in us, will have 
had its result quite as truly if the nerve-atoms should 
exercise merely a physical influence upon each other, 
and if sensations of their own (which are merely 
empty conjectures and not demonstrated facts) 
should be wholly dispensed with. 

Since, therefore, these sensations peculiar to the 
nerves contribute nothing whatever to the explana- 
tion of our own sensation, and besides are not demon- 
strable, while the propagation of a physical impact 
cannot be denied ; we shall in future consider the 
nerve-process also as merely a process of physical 
motion, that is carried over from one particle of the 
nerve to another, and as yet has nothing of the 
psychical character which belongs to the sensation 
that follows it. 

4. The third member of this chain of pro- 
cesses is, now, the state of consciousness so well 
known to us all, the sensation itself, the * seeing ' 


of a light of definite color or the ' hearing ' of a 

Of the two elements in the latter process which 
we can distinguish in our thinking, namely, the 
qualitative content of which we have an experience 
in sensation and the activity in sensation by means 
of which we are conscious of this content, neither 
the one nor the other is comparable with the nature 
of the external stimulus or of the neural process. 
However accurately, too, we may analyze the nature 
of the waves of ether, we never discover in it a reason 
why it must be seen as brightness and not rather 
heard as sound ; and just as little, why some waves 
must be experienced as the sensation red, and others 
as the sensation blue, and not the reverse. Further : 
however we may combine physical motions of nerve- 
atoms with one another, there never comes a point 
at which it would be comprehensible as a matter of 
course, that the motion last produced is bound to re- 
main motion no longer, and must rather pass over into 
this process of sensation so totally different in kind. 

All efforts to demonstrate how it comes about 
that the merely physical motion gradually passes 
over into sensation are, therefore, wholly in vain. 
We must rather be satisfied with asserting that a ne- 
cessity of nature, which has hitherto wholly escaped 
our knowledge, has in fact united these two series 


of processes, the motions and the sensations, 
incomparable and irreducible to each other as the 
two are ; and has done this in such a way that 
a definite member of the one series always has for 
its consequent a definite member of the other. 

5. It is now, however, to be assumed that these 
two series of processes will not be concatenated 
wholly without some controlling principle ; that 
rather similar sensations will correspond to similar 
stimuli, and different sensations to different stimuli ; 
and that in cases where a definite increase, inter- 
ference, periodicity, or prominent point exists in the 
series of stimuli, all these will find expression in 
some way or other in the series of sensations also. 

Empirically we are able as yet to establish the 
foregoing conjecture to only a very limited extent. 

In the first place, the various classes of sensations 
(colors, tones, smells) exist without intervening 
terms and as a bare matter of fact, side by side with 
each other ; and they do not constitute a closed sys- 
tem. For example, from the fact that we experience 
waves of ether as light, it does not in the least de- 
gree follow that we must consequently experience 
waves of air as sound. 

The same thing is true of the single members of 
the particular classes. He who had merely had the 


sensation of 'sour' or of 'yellow,' would not thereby 
be led to the thought that there must be also 'bitter' 
and 'blue.' 

Further, that a definite increase in the sensations 
corresponds to a definite increase in the series of 
stimuli we observe to be true only in the case of 
tones, the pitch of which rises with the number of 
the vibrations of the acoustic waves. On this matter 
it deserves to be remarked, that the manner in which 
the sensation renders these differences of the stimuli 
is quite peculiar to itself. The difference in pitch 
between two tones has no similarity at all to the 
difference of two numbers, but expresses an alto- 
gether peculiar increment of qualitative intensity, 
which by no means admits of being divined before- 
hand, and of which we have elsewhere no example. 
Just so the distinguished instance of a doubling of the 
number of waves finds an expression peculiar to it, in 
the octave, which is not experienced in sensation as a 
doubling of anything whatever, but as a noteworthy 
and otherwise unexampled combination of the iden- 
tity and difference of both tones. Colors, on the 
contrary, although in their prismatic arrangement 
they originate from a similar ascending scale of the 
number of waves, do not by any means arrange 
themselves for the immediate impression into a 
series of increasing pitch. This is dependent on the 


fact, that we can rightly expect a proportionality to 
exist only between the sensations and the neural 
processes as their proximate conditions. But we 
have no acquaintance with these latter ; and on this 
account we compare, without reaching any compre- 
hensive result, the sensations with the external stim- 
uli on which they do not immediately depend. 

Finally, since our sensations do not constitute a 
closed system, the thought is possible that the realm 
of the sensible is not exhausted by our senses ; on 
the contrary, that there are other animal souls, with 
kinds of sensation quite different and yet as is 
natural wholly unknown to us. 

6. The duration of sensation can be compared 
as a gross magnitude with the duration of the 
neural process which excited it. For we find that 
under ordinary circumstances it is never longer than 
the duration of the external stimulus, unless this 
latter leaves behind permanent after-effects, either 
outside of or within us, which themselves in turn 
become stimuli for new sensations. 

Strictly taken, an excitation of the nerve which 
has once originated can never cease of itself, but 
must be annulled by efficient counteracting forces. 
This customarily takes place ; and, when the vitality 
is sound, it takes place by means of the ceaseless 


activity of the whole process of metabolism, by which 
constantly the nerve's normal condition of equilib- 
rium is re-established, and thus rendered capable 
of an impartial reception of new impressions. 

Such recovery, however, fails to take place with 
sufficient speed, not merely when the stimuli are of 
very great strength, but particularly in the sense 
of sight as a rule ; and, in such a case, the well- 
known after-images correspond to the excitation 
which still continues to be kept up, and which 
sometimes even undergoes again a periodical in- 
crease. By ' after-images ' is meant actual sensations 
which, if they are lively enough, make the organ of 
sense incapable of the reception of new impres- 
sions ; as, for example, the dazzling images which 
follow looking at the sun. 

7. Certain experiences of every-day occurrence 
for example, the observation of a light approach- 
ing, or of a tone dying away prove that we are in 
general very sensitive to minute differences in the 
intensity of the stimuli of sense. But this remains 
a mere matter of degree, greater or less ; and the 
moment never comes when we could say that 
according to the measure afforded by immediate 
impression, one light is half as bright, or one tone 
twice as loud, as another. 


The above-mentioned circumstance prevents us 
from discovering in the shortest way the exact law 
in accordance with which the sensation depends on 
the strength of the stimulus. It is true that we can 
easily establish a series of stimuli whose different 
intensities admit of accurate measurement ; but we 
are unable to assign to each of these values, on the 
ground of introspection, the strength of the sensation 
that belongs to it, in numerical terms ; and, there- 
fore, we are also unable to discover, from a compari- 
son of these two sets of values, the universal law 
which satisfies them all. We are therefore compelled 
to employ the following circuitous method. 

That is to say, it happens sometimes, although 
rarely, that we are uncertain whether two impres- 
sions, a and p, are at all different and not rather of 
equal intensity. Now since in any case, in order 
that they may appear different at all, the stimulus 
which forms the basis of one must be greater or 
less than the stimulus to which the other corre- 
sponds, the question may be raised in the next place : 
How large must be the difference between two stim- 
uli (a and b) of the same kind, in order that the two 
sensations (a and p) corresponding to them may 
appear ' just observably different ' ? and further : Is 
this difference of the stimuli (b-a), which is the 
necessary condition of such transition from the sim- 


ilarity of the sensations to the 'just observable dif- 
ference ' in their intensity, always the same, or does 
it alter with the increase of the absolute magnitude 
of the stimulus ? 

According to the fundamental investigations of 
Ernst Heinrich Weber, which have since been con- 
firmed and extended by many others, two sensations 
are distinguished as two only in case the intensities 
of both the stimuli which occasion them stand in a 
definite geometrical relation. In other words : To 
a certain stimulus a, in order that the sensation a, 
first excited by it, may pass over into a sensation p, 
whose difference from the former is just observable, 
there must be joined an increment x which is so 
much the greater, the greater a itself already is. 

This relation which a and b (or, respectively, a and 
x) must sustain to the result in question, remains 
the same for the sensations of one and the same 
sense ; but, of course, only within the limits be- 
tween stimuli of too small intensity, which do not 
excite the nerve, and those of too great intensity, 
which disturb its function. On the contrary, it is 
different for different senses : approximately about 
3 : 4 for hearing and for mere sensations of pressur 
on the skin ; 15 : 16 for the latter, in case they are su 
plemented (when the weights are lifted) by muscula 
feeling ; 100:101 for sensations of light. 


8. This dependence of our capacity for making 
distinctions upon the relation, in respect of magni- 
tudes, of the stimuli, which has been directly derived 
from the observations, forms the content of the so- 
called " Law of Weber." 

In all the foregoing the question remains as yet 
wholly undecided, in what way precisely this relation 
in the magnitudes of the stimuli makes us capable 
of distinguishing the resulting impressions : that is 
to say, whether it is clue to the fact that stimuli of 
different intensity produce an observably different 
intensity of the sensation, while its kind remains 
wholly unchanged ; or whether it is due to the fact 
that different ' intensities ' of the same stimulus be- 
get qualitatively different sensations, which are then 
separated by us just according to their differences 
of quality. 

In itself considered, every sensation is a single 
indivisible act. Now it is undoubtedly permissible 
for us to separate in thought, as two constituent 
parts of this act, the qualitative content and the 
intensity with which this content is experienced ; 
this, so far as the immediate impression, which alone 
can decide the point, accords therewith. Such is, for 
example, the case with tones. Here we may actually 
convince ourselves that a tone of definite pitch 
and color of 'clang' can sound louder or weaker 


without, on that account, altering its nature. On 
the contrary, it is very questionable whether the 
sensation of a pressure of greater intensity is really 
the same sensation as that of a smaller intensity, 
except that the former is stronger than the latter ; 
further, whether the taste of a concentrated acid is 
really the same taste as that of the dilute acid. Much 
more repugnant still is immediate feeling toward our 
considering cold as merely a weaker intensity of 
heat. Both are rather at opposite poles, although 
the causes of their production are similar processes. 
Finally, different intensities of light actually have 
likewise different shades of colors ; a white of a less 
intensity of brightness is not merely so, but it has 
become a gray, and this gray, as well as the black, 
which is the last result, cannot possibly be regarded 
as merely a feebler sensation of the white. 

The foregoing considerations have hitherto not 
been sufficiently regarded ; and neither have they 
been refuted. What further is now to be adduced 
depends upon an assumption which is perhaps cor- 
rect but which is unproved : namely, that sensations 
become distinguishable because their intensities vary 
according to a fixed standard. 

9. We have, then, in the first place, to recognize 
the truth that there must be a certain small magni- 


tude of stimulus for each sense, below which it can- 
not fall if any sensation whatever is to originate. 
Naturally enough, some resistance, by which the 
stimuli of too small intensity are kept from an influ- 
ence on the soul, is assumed in order to explain the 
above-mentioned circumstance, which is by no means 
a matter of course. But where such resistance is 
achieved, as it were, is not known. 

It is further assumed, that the transition from com- 
plete likeness or unobservable difference between 
two impressions to a difference just observable is 
always one and the same constant increment of 
the intensity of the sensation (that is, of the sec- 
ond impression compared with that of the first) ; 
and, accordingly, the fineness of the distinctions may 
be employed as a measure for the intensity of the 

The question may then be asked : How must the 
stimuli increase, in order that the transition from 
one of its values to another may invariably result in 
the same constant increment of the intensity of the 
sensation ? 

According to the investigations already referred to, 
the foregoing question is answered as follows : If 
the intensities of the sensation are to increase by a 
constant difference, and therefore in an arithmetical 
series, the intensities of the stimuli must be aug- 


mented much more rapidly, that is, in a geometrical 
series. Or what is the same thing the relation 
of the first to the second is comparable to the rela- 
tion of a logarithm to the number of which it is the 
logarithm. More simply expressed ; the sensation 
belongs to those achievements or activities which 
are always to be raised to a higher degree with 
the more difficulty the greater the intensity with 
which they are already in exercise. 

The following questions, however, still remain to 
be answered : 

(1) Why does this peculiar relation take place at 
all ; and why does not the sensation rather (a thin v 
which would be much more natural) increase as a 
simple proportional of the stimulus ? None of the 
theories proposed on this point is satisfactory ; but 
still the most probable is the assumption that, in the 
transformation of the external stimulus into excita- 
tions of the nerves, something or other occurs which 
causes the latter to augment much more slowly than 
the external stimuli increase. 

(2) But how does it come about that, while the 
stimulus constantly augments in intensity, the inten- 
sity of the sensation increases not merely in a much 
smaller degree but also only discontinuously ? Why 
are not, as a rule, all the impressions distinguished 
as different ? How does it come about that, for 


example, a weight 3 must increase to at least 4 in 
order to give a new sensation of pressure ; that, on 
the contrary, it gives no such sensation, if it is only 
3J, 3J, 3f ? Something in itself impossible is in- 
volved in the thought that a force which increases 
constantly should, nevertheless, furnish the occasion 
for a second kind of action only by sudden incre- 
ments or discontinuously ; and if not thus, then 
not at all. There are, then, doubtless contrivances 
conceivable, by means of which this discontinuity 
of the sensation could be produced. But we have 
not the least information as to where or how, in 
the body or in the soul, such contrivances do in 
fact exist. 

Both these riddles are therefore wholly unsolved. 

10. It may perhaps be asserted that a state of 
rest, or an excitation maintained with complete uni- 
formity, is never the proximate condition of a sen- 
sation ; but that such condition is always nothing 
but the transition from one state to another. 

It would follow from the foregoing that sensa- 
tions, such as we might have last during a con- 
siderable time, for example, the seeing of a light 
or the hearing of a tone, must depend on certain 
series of single impulses with intervening pauses ; 
so that in this case also a frequent repetition of the 


alternation between excitation and non-excitation 
would take place. For sensations of light and sound 
this admits of being established by proof. In these 
cases, to be sure, every single flash of light, or 
every tone however brief, depends upon a consider- 
able number of such discrete impulses which are 
carried to the organ of sense. As to the rest of 
the senses we lack information. 

Now if the above-mentioned fact is expressed as 
follows, that all processes of excitation which are 
to lead to sensations must have this form of oscil- 
lation between two opposite states, then we must 
at least not add the statement that the sensation 
itself consists in the recounting, as it were, of these 
single impulses. In these impulses we can never 
see anything but the matter-of-fact condition to 
which the originating of the sensation is attached 
in an incomprehensible way. For in the content of 
the sensation itself, in the red or the warm, we per- 
ceive nothing of motions whatever ; and still less of 
the number of their oscillations, by means of which 
they become the causes of sensation. 

11. If the same excitation a, which is customarily 
effected in a nerve by an external stimulus, and upon 
which the sensation a follows, is exceptionally pro- 
duced by a stimulus originated in the interior of the 


body ; then the same sensation a follows as well. 
In such a case the sensation is called subjective. 
Common examples are ringing in the ears, flashes 
of light before the eyes, the chill and flush of fever. 

In connection with this, the so-called principle 
of the " Specific Energy of the Nerves " has been 
laid down, according to which every individual nerve 
of sense, by whatsoever means it may have been 
excited, always produces the same sensation. 

If the fact were such, it would not be very won- 
derful. For every coherent system of parts, which 
is disturbed but not destroyed, enters upon efforts 
at the re-establishment of its equilibrium, the form 
of which depends solely upon its own structure 
and upon the connection of the forces effective in 
it ; and such system is not altered according to 
the variety of the disturbing stimuli. But in order 
that these efforts in the one nerve may be dis- 
tinguished from those in every other, each nerve 
must have its own special structure, a matter of 
which we as yet know nothing. 

There are no facts, however, such as it is intended 
to explain in this way. We merely know that 
the stimulus of light, impact and pressure, the pas- 
sage of a current of electricity through the eye, 
awaken the sensation of light ; and perhaps that 
impact and electricity produce also the sensation 


of sound ; and the latter also the sensation of taste. 
Now a motion of the ponderable parts by means 
of impact can scarcely take place in the tense 
eye-ball without a part of this motion being also 
converted into motions of the ether that exists 
in the eye, and so producing a motion of light, 
which acts as adequate stimulus upon the nerve of 
sight in precisely the same way as if it came from 
without. Just so the imparted shocks may be 
changed into oscillations of the tense parts and 
membranes, which are then normal stimuli for the 
nerve of hearing just as well as are the acoustic 
waves that come from without. Finally, it is quite 
certain that the electrical current excites chemical 
decomposition of the fluids of the mouth, and that 
the adequate stimulus for the nerve of taste consists 
in this directly. It is still possible to make the 
following assertion : In order that a nerve may be 
thrown into the state a, upon which the sensation 
a follows, a definite adequate stimulus is always 
necessary ; but very many inadequate stimuli, in 
case of their being of influence, divide into dif- 
ferent components : one of these components is 
then the adequate stimulus which is the condition 
of the sensation a; and the others become objects 
of perception through other sensations (for example, 
the pain contemporaneous with the impact). 


12. The influence of the external stimuli does 
not take place in so simple a manner as was for- 
merly supposed ; in such manner, for example, that 
the waves of light immediately as such act upon 
the nerve of sight and, in accordance with their 
nature, awaken all possible sensations of color and 
light. Instead of this we find in the eye certain 
layers of a peculiar, and still in many respects 
mysterious, structure (layers of rods and cones), 
which seem designed to transform the motion of 
light that reaches them into a chemical altera- 
tion of a special substance (visual purple) which, 
in turn, acts as the primary stimulus upon the 
nerve of sight. Just so do we find in the skin, 
and in the tongue, peculiarly constructed corpus- 
cles of touch and corpuscles of taste, which first 
give to the stimulus, in a manner as yet unknown, 
the form in which it is to act upon the nerves 
contained in them. 

In the organ of hearing we do not know of any- 
thing similar. For its purpose, however, another 
form of contrivance seems to have been hit upon, so 
that each single nerve-fibre is susceptible only for a 
single tone. The entire expansion of the fibres (upon 
the organ of Corti) would therefore be comparable to 
the key-board of a piano, and each fibre accessible 
only to a definite rate of the vibration of the waves. 


The phenomena of ' color-blindness ' have led to 
a similar hypothesis in relation to the eye. It is 
supposed that there are three species of fibres, each 
of which, when stimulated by itself alone, causes 
the sensation of one of the three fundamental colors, 
green, red, and violet. From the synchronous 
excitation of the fibres of different species the other 
colors are then supposed to arise. This hypoth- 
esis is not invented gratuitously; but, as was just 
said, it has a reference to the facts of color-blindness, 
which it is designed to explain. The further demand, 
however, must not be made, namely, to see into 
the reason why a definite mixture of synchronous 
excitations from red, green, and violet, causes the 
other colors, like blue and yellow, to originate ; 
when the latter, so far as the mere immediate 
impression of sensation is concerned, do not in the 
least degree appear deducible from the former. 

13. In another meaning of the words, all our 
sensations are only * subjective ' ; that is to say, 
only phenomena in our consciousness, to which 
nothing in the external world corresponds. Even in 
antiquity this assertion was made ; modern physics 
further completes the picture. The world outside 
of us is neither still nor resonant, neither bright 
nor dark ; but it is as utterly incomparable to all 


that as sweetness is, for example, to a line. Noth- 
ing happens outside of us but motions of various 
forms. Finally, physiology often expresses the fact 
in the following inapt terms . Sensations are merely 
perceptions of our own states. But what takes place 
in the nerves while we are seeing, we do not at all 
perceive ; and a state which, within our own soul, 
precedes the sensation in such a way that the latter 
could be designated as the perception of it, is also 
unknown to us. We can therefore simply say : 
Sensations are phenomena in us which, although 
they are the consequences of external stimuli, are 
not copies of them. 

The proofs, however, by means of which the 
effort is ordinarily made to establish the foregoing 
principle, all admit of still other subterfuges. It 
would still always be possible to assume, that 
1 Things ' are actually red or sweet, but that we 
could of course only know this in case they caused 
motions to act upon us ; which motions to 
be sure are neither red nor sweet, and yet in 
the last result cause to originate in our soul, as 
sensations, the same redness and sweetness which 
belong as properties to the Things. The only proof, 
in the last analysis, consists in this, that such objec- 
tive properties are in themselves inconceivable. In 
what the shining of a light which absolutely no one 


were to see, or the sounding of a tone which no one 
were to hear, could consist, is just as impossible 
to tell, as what a tooth-ache, which no one were to 
have, would be. 

It is therefore involved in the nature of colors, 
tones, smells, etc., that they always have only 
one place and one way where and how they can by 
any possibility exist, namely, the consciousness 
of a soul ; and, of course, only at the moment when 
they are experienced by this soul. 



14. ' Ideas,' in contrast to ' sensations,' is the 
name primarily given to those images of memory 
arising from previous sensations, with which we meet 
in consciousness. This accords with the usage of 
speech ; we form an idea of what is absent, of what 
we do not perceive by sense ; but we perceive by 
sense what is present, that of which, on just that 
very account, we do not need to form an idea. 
Ideas have their peculiar differences from sensa- 
tions. The idea of the brightest radiance does not 
shine, that of the intensest noise does not sound, 
that of the greatest torture produces no pain ; while 
all this is true, however, the idea quite accurately 
represents the radiance, the sound, or the pain, 
which it does not actually reproduce. 

15. Even in the aforesaid form the images of 
memory derived from earlier impressions are not 
always present % in consciousness, but only tempo- 
rarily return in it ; and then in such manner that 
no external stimulus was necessary in order to 
produce them anew. 


From the foregoing facts we conclude, that 
meantime our ideas have not been wholly lost to 
us, but have been transformed into some kind of 
' unconscious states,' of which we, of course, can 
give no description, and for which we employ the 
self-contradictory but convenient name of 'uncon- 
scious ideas/ in order to indicate that they have 
originated from ideas and, under certain conditions, 
can become such again. A theory of the so-called 
' course of ideas ' would have to explain both the 
above-mentioned events. 

16. The vanishing of ideas out of conscious- 
ness no one can observe : concerning this matter 
we can speak only on the ground of conclusions 
from what we subsequently find in consciousness, 
or on the ground of very general principles. 

Here two views stand opposed to each other. It 
was formerly held that the vanishing of the ideas 
is natural, and the opposite of this, memory, was 
believed to need explanation. The analogy of the 
physical law of inertia is now followed, and forget- 
fulness is believed to need explanation, because of 
itself the eternal continuance of a state once excited 
is a self-evident affair. 

The foregoing analogy is not without weight. It 
is true of the motion of bodies. But motion is only 


a change of external relations, from which the body 
moved suffers nothing, for it exists in one place 
exactly as well as in another ; and it has therefore 
neither a reason nor a standard for offering resist- 
ance to the motion. The soul, on the contrary, 
exists in different inner states, according as it has 
the idea a, or the idea b, or no idea at all. It would 
therefore be conceivable that it should react against 
each impression that is obtruded upon it, and should 
by this means perhaps have the power to transform 
this impression from a conscious sensation into 
an unconscious state, although never, of course, 
the power of annulling it. 

The other principle, too, which in itself considered 
is certainly to be recognized, namely, that it is 
the unity of the soul, which necessitates the many 
ideas to reciprocal action in such manner that some 
of them supplant the others, does not lead us to 
the desired end. For if the question is raised, In 
what way then shall this unity of the soul make 
itself felt upon the manifoldness of the ideas ? 
then the most probable conjecture would be this, 
that it fuses, all the qualitatively different sensations 
or ideas into a single homogeneous intermediate 
state. This does not happen, however ; but the 
ideas, for example, ' gold ' and ' blue ' or ' large ' 
and 'small,' which have once arisen as different 


in consciousness, are never afterward intermingled. 
It is also obvious that every higher spiritual produc- 
tion, which consists essentially in relations between 
different points of relation, would be impossible, if 
the difference in the points to be related were made 
to vanish through being thus thrown together into a 
single mixed state. 

Nothing else is therefore left for us but to con- 
sider the following thoughts as mere hypotheses 
which are not deducible from first principles. 

17. In accordance with the analogy of physi- 
cal mechanics, the ideas are considered as 'forces' 
which act on each other according to the measure 
of their ' opposition ' and their ' intensity.' Both 
parts of this hypothesis are scarcely to be estab- 
lished on grounds of experience. 

In the first place, as to what concerns the inten- 
sity, this conception is certainly applicable to sen- 
sations ; and, indeed, in such a manner that the 
greater content of the sensation is at all times a 
greater achievement of the activity of sensation, 
or a greater commotion and affection of the sentient 
subject. But the bare idea of a bright lustre is no 
greater achievement of the ideating activity than 
that of a dull glimmer ; and that of thunder demands 
no greater exertion of this activity than that of 


the slightest whisper. The ideating activity there- 
fore appears in general to admit of no differences 
in intensity, but such differences appertain wholly 
to the content of the idea. 

Even the more or less ' obscure ' ideas, which 
we think we have of one and the same content, 
produce no different intensity in the ideating act. 
Simple ideas, which we believe we have only 'ob- 
scurely,' for example, that of the taste of a rare 
fruit, we do not have at all; but we merely know 
from another source that the fruit has some taste. 
Now the greater the scope within the limits of 
which we are able to choose between different 
tastes, yet without knowing how to make a deci- 
sion, the more obscure does the idea of the actual 
taste appear to us, which we are merely seeking for, 
but do not possess. Composite ideas, such as images 
of external objects or scientific principles, do not 
become ' obscure ' by their entire content being 
gradually more weakly illuminated ; but they thus 
become incomplete. Single factors fail wholly ; but 
especially are those definite combinations forgotten, 
in which the yet remaining factors or points of rela- 
tion stand. Again, the greater is the throng of pos- 
sible connections between which we are wavering 
in our uncertainty ; so much the greater is the so- 
called obscurity of the aforesaid ideas. Conversely, 


as soon as an idea is thought of completely, with 
all its content and all the combinations of its parts, 
it is then no longer possible mentally to represent 
it with a greater or less degree of intensity. Only 
it appears to receive a further increment of clear- 
ness, for example, the idea of a triangle, in case 
a throng of other thoughts are connected therewith 
in the experience of an expert, which are still un- 
known to the beginner. 

18, The other conception applicable in this 
place, that of opposition, also awakens the inquiry, 
whether it is to be referred to the content of the 
ideas or to the activities by which they are mentally 

The two things are not coincident. Ideas in gen- 
eral, never are, of themselves, that which they sig- 
nify : the idea of what is red is not a red idea ; the 
idea of what is triangular is not triangular ; the idea 
of what is choleric is not choleric. If, therefore, 
the contents of two ideas, like 'right' and 'left,' 
'plus' and 'minus,' 'white' and 'black,' are op- 
posed to each other, it does not in the least degree 
follow from this, that the ideating activities by 
which they are produced as ideas are opposed to 
each other in the same way ; and that they must 
on this account, as a matter of course, hinder each 


other, after the analogy of opposed physical motions 
or forces. 

19. Moreover, the conceptions of intensity and 
opposition could serve as a foundation for a 'psy- 
chical mechanics,' in a self-evident way, only in 
case they should have reference to the ideating 
activities. This is not the case. 

If therefore the intensity and opposition of the 
content ideated were the decisive conditions for 
the reciprocal action of the ideas, we should be 
compelled to recognize it as a bare fact. Experi- 
ence does not establish this. The idea of a greater 
content by no means always supplants that of the 
smaller; on the contrary, the latter itself is some- 
times in a position to suppress the sensation from 
external stimuli. 

But ideas never make their appearance in a soul 
which does nothing else besides ; on the contrary, 
there is also connected with every impression, a 
somewhat that is represented in idea in consequence 
of this, namely, a feeling of the value which 
the impression has for the bodily and spiritual well- 
being of the percipient. Such feelings of pleasure 
and pain are just as obviously capable of a grada- 
tion of degrees as the bare act of mental represen- 
tation is incapable of this. Now according to the 


magnitude of this proportion of feeling, which is 
moreover extraordinarily changeable according to 
the variety of the total condition in which the soul 
is at the time, or, briefly said, according to the 
degree of the interest which an idea is, for mani- 
fold reasons, able to awaken at each moment, its 
greater or less power is directed toward the sup- 
planting of other ideas. And it is only in this, and 
not in an original property which it might be sup- 
posed to possess as a mere idea, that what may 
be called its ' intensity ' consists. 

20. The second question ( 15) was this: How 
do ideas return in consciousness ? 

On this point we merely know that an idea b 
very often returns in case another idea a has been 
produced in consciousness. 

Now however, since it is not every b that returns 
in consequence of any a we please, there must be 
a closer connection between those which do in this 
way recall each other, than between those which 
do not. Such connection is called 'Association '; 
a mere name which does not in the least express 
by what means the connection is established. In 
the same way ' Reproduction ' is a mere name for 
the fact that a definite a brings back again into 
consciousness some b associated with it. 


But, nevertheless, the conditions can be studied 
under which both, association and reproduction, as 
a matter of fact take place. 

The two classes customarily adduced first, accord- 
ing to which similar ideas on the one hand, and 
opposed ideas on the other hand, recall each other, 
it is found difficult to establish by experience. For 
it cannot well be said, that a tone or a color recalls 
to remembrance all other tones and colors in a more 
lively way than it recalls any other ideas w.hatever. 
If, on the other hand, things opposed, like darkness 
to light, night to day, plus to minus, cause each 
other to be thought of, the reason does not lie in 
such opposition alone, but in the special value which 
it has for our life or for particular employments, so 
that we are on this account reminded by one of the 

On the contrary, it is quite certain that the third 
and fourth cases do occur ; according to which, on 
the one hand, each part of a space-whole reproduces 
the remaining parts and the whole, and, on the other 
hand, the parts of a successive whole for example, 
a melody recall each other following their original 
order. Examples are unnecessary. It also appears 
unnecessary to reduce the third case, as is frequently 
done, to the fourth, because (as is said) even the per- 


ception of a simultaneous whole happens after all in 
the way of a succession ; since the eye with its 
glance runs over the forms and gradually becomes 
conscious of the connection of each point with the 
next. We certainly do attain accurate mental images 
only in the aforesaid manner ; still it is not to be 
denied that even an instantaneous apprehension of 
mental images can be left behind, the single parts 
of which will reproduce each other. 

We may therefore summarize all the facts in the 
following way : Every two ideas, whatever their con- 
tent may be, become associated in case they are 
produced either simultaneously or immediately (that 
is, without any intermediate member) following each 
other. And upon this fact would be founded with 
out further 'technicality the special facility with 
which we repeat a number of ideas according to 
their series but not outside of the series. 

Finally, if we designate as a special case the 
' immediate ' reproduction with which a is again 
awakened by the influence of a new stimulus that 
produces the same a, then we are to consider that 
the second a could not be distinguished at all 
from the first as a repetition of it, if both were 
completely alike. But the first, which is re-awakened 
by the second, reproduces in its turn the idea of 


the concomitant circumstances under which it was 
previously perceived ; and these are different from 
the circumstances of the present moment. There- 
fore the recognition of the same a depends after 
all on ' mediated ' reproduction, that is, reproduc- 
tion of other ideas through a. 

21. In the case of most ideas, each has become 
associated in the course of life with very many others 
in the same way. If, therefore, a definite f has 
returned again in consciousness, it still remains quite 
undecided which of the many other ideas, g, li, i, k, 
has just now reproduced it, since it was previously 
connected with them all. The grounds for the deci- 
sion of this point will generally lie, partly in the 
course which the ideas before f have taken, and into 
the connection of which g, h, i, k, do not all fit equally 
well ; partly in our common feeling or the mood 
in which we are at each moment as respects the 
vitality or the restraints of our whole existence ; 
and finally, partly in special conditions of our cor- 
poreal life, that are to be altogether excluded from 
this part of the discussion, but of which we shall 
speak later on. 

The foregoing points of view only admit of being 
brought forward in a general way. On the contrary, 


it is impossible to form a theory from them which 
enters into particulars ; and just as impossible in 
any single case really to demonstrate the reasons 
which have in fact led to the course of our thoughts, 
appearing often so capricious as it does. 



22. Thus far we have spoken of the relations 
and interchange of ideas. There is in our interior 
life, however, besides this, a mental representation 
of these relations and of this interchange. 

The two are very different things. We know that 
if the idea of 'blue,' and at the same time that of 
red, originates within us, the two by no means min- 
gle and produce 'violet.' Were this, however, to 
happen, then a third simple idea would merely have 
taken the place of the two others, and a compar- 
ison of these two would have been made impos- 
sible by their vanishing. Every comparison, and in 
general every relation between two elements (in this 
case, red and blue), presupposes that both points 
of relation remain separate, and that an ideating 
activity passes over from the one a to the other 
b, and at the same time becomes conscious of that 
alteration which it has experienced in this transi- 
tion from the act of forming the idea of a to that 
of forming b. 


Such an activity do we exercise in case we com- 
pare red and blue ; and thereupon there originates 
in us the new idea of a qualitative similarity which 
we ascribe to both. 

If at the same time a strong and a weak light 
are perceived, then the sensation therefrom is not 
that of a single light which might be the sum of 
both ; both rather remain separate ; and again on 
passing from one to the other, we become conscious 
of another alteration in our state, namely, that 
of the merely quantitative more or less of one and 
the same impression. 

Finally, if two quite similar impressions have 
been able to originate as distinct ideas within us, 
then they no longer fuse into a third ; but when 
we compare them in the foregoing way and, on the 
transition from one to the other, become conscious 
of no alteration of our mental representation, the 
new idea of ' Likeness ' originates in our minds. 

23. It is important to make it obvious that all 
these new ideas, which we may designate as ideas 
of a higher order, by no means arise as result- 
ants from a mere reciprocal action of the original 
simple ideas, in the same way as a third motion is 
constructed in mechanics from the coincidence of 
two others. 


The foregoing analogy by no means holds good in 
the spiritual domain. The rather are both the im- 
pressions a and b always to be regarded merely 
as stimuli, that act upon the entire peculiar and 
'monadic' nature of an ideating subject, and stir 
up as a reaction in this subject the activity by 
means of which the new ideas, for example, of 
similarity, likeness, contrast, etc., originate ; nor 
would such ideas, without the excitation of this 
new spiritual activity, originate from the mere 
co-working of the single impressions. 

24. In the same manner as the aforesaid new 
ideas does all that originate which we designate as 
' general notions.' 

It is customary to assert that those factors of the 
ideas compared, which are of unlike kind, annul each 
other by their opposition, and that the remainder 
which is of like kind then, of itself alone, exhibits 
the so-called "general" factor. 

But the single examples from which we form a 
general notion by no means perish thereupon ; on 
the contrary, their ideas continue to maintain them- 
selves side by side with the general one, which is 
merely added to them as a new product. The gen- 
eral notion also never constitutes anything which 
admits of being mentally represented in intuitive 


form, as a definite image, in the same way as do the 
individual examples from which it originated. Thus 
' color in general ' is not representable by an idea ; 
it looks neither green nor red, but has no look 
whatever. And just so there is no definite and 
fixed mental image whatever of animal in general, 
having an intuitive character similar to the image 
of each individual species of animal. 

All such general notions, therefore, are not prod- 
ucts of a cooperation of many individual ideas ; for 
in that case they would have the same character as 
do these their components. The names by which 
we designate them for example, ' colors ' - are, 
strictly speaking, nothing more than demands made 
upon us mentally to represent a series of different 
individual impressions ; though with the adjunct 
thought that what is contained in them belongs not 
to them, but to what they have in common, and yet 
does not admit of being separated from them as an 
idea of like kind. 

25. The different narrower and broader mean- 
ings of the term Consciousness are connected with 
the foregoing subject. 

It often happens that we perceive a multiplicity of 
elements, but still do not at the instant know how 
to specify the definite relations between them. On 


the other hand, it is possible subsequently to become 
conscious of the relations, after the aforesaid sen- 
suous impressions are already past. It follows from 
this that these impressions themselves are by no 
means unconscious ; otherwise they would not sub- 
sequently be remembered. On the contrary, the 
relating activity of the mind, which enumerates 
them and also mentally represents the relations 
that actually exist between them, has not been 

We see from this that the two operations are 
separable from each other : the relating activity 
can never originate as a higher form without the 
simple conscious sensation to which it is related ; 
but the latter, as the lower form, does not need to 
be accompanied by the former. 

Ordinary experiences show that there are very 
many circumstances which hinder the appearance 
of this higher activity. In the case of manifold 
movements of the mind, we hear the tones but do 
not understand the words ; or understand the words 
but not their meaning ; or, finally, this too, but 
nothing of the significance which it has for our 
interests. Even bodily conditions, of which we yet 
know almost nothing, bring it about that the matter 
stops with the mere sensation of impressions : and 
neither their external and intuitive, nor their 


interior, connection comes into consciousness {^soul- 
blindness '). 

26. What we have here depicted is, funda- 
mentally considered, nothing else but the series of 
different degrees of Attention. 

This was formerly considered as an activity exer- 
cised by the spirit, which, like a light waxing and 
waning, illumines to greater clearness the of them- 
selves unconscious impressions. Later (Herbart) 
this thought of an activity has been wholly aban- 
doned : and it has been supposed that the sentence, 
"we are attentive to something," only signifies: 
The idea of this something rises into our conscious- 
ness by its own strength. 

We cannot accede to this latter assumption ; but 
just as little do we understand attention to be 
merely a stronger illumination of a given content. 
By attention we gain something merely in case the 
content mentally represented gives occasion for its 
work to our relating and comparing faculty of 
knowledge. Even an altogether simple content is 
at least compared by us with other simple contents, 
or with itself at different moments of its duration. 
If we disregard this fact, then the mere persistence 
of the content, with whatever intensity it may 
occur, is of absolutely no help to us. 


It is understood, finally, that this relation of one 
content to another can be carried further at pleas- 
ure. We can therefore certainly distinguish yet 
other different degrees of consciousness concerning 
the content of an idea ; and this according as we 
mentally represent merely the idea itself and its 
own nature, or its connection with other ideas, or, 
finally, its value and significance for the totality of 
our personal life. 



27. Metaphysic raises the doubt, whether space 
is actually extended and we, together with 'Things,' 
are contained in it ; whether just the reverse 
the whole spatial world is not rather only a form 
of intuition in us. 

This question we for the present leave one side, 
and in the meantime take our point of departure 
from the assumption, previously alluded to, with 
which we are all conversant. But since Things in 
space can never become the object of our per- 
ception by virtue of their bare existence, and, on 
the contrary, become such solely through the 
effects which they exercise upon us, the question 
arises : How do the Things by their influence 
upon us bring it to pass, that we are compelled 
mentally to represent them in the same reciprocal 
position in space, in which they actually exist 
outside of us ? 

28. In the case of the eye, nature has devised a 
painstaking structure, such that the rays of light 
which come from a luminous point are collected 


again at one point on the retina, and that the differ- 
ent points of the image, which originate here, assume 
the same reciprocal relation toward one another as 
the points of the object outside of us, to which they 
correspond. Without doubt, this so-called ' image of 
the object/ so carefully prepared, is an indispensable 
condition of our being able mentally to present the 
object in its true form and position. But it is the 
source of all the errors in this matter, to believe that 
the bare existence of this image, without anything 
else, explains our idea of the position of its parts. 
The entire image is essentially nothing but a repre- 
sentative of the external object, transposed into the 
interior of the organ of sense ; and how we know 
and experience aught of it, is now just as much the 
question as the question previously was, How can 
we perceive the external object ? 

29. If one wished to conceive of the soul itself 
as an extended being, then the impressions on the 
retina would, of course, be able to transplant them- 
selves, with all their geometrical regularity, to the 
soul. One point of the soul would be excited as 
green, the other red, a third yellow ; and these three 
would lie at the corners of a triangle precisely in the 
same way as the three corresponding excitations on 
the retina. 


It is also obvious, however, that there is no real 
gain in all this. The bare fact that three differ- 
ent points of the soul are excited is, primarily, a dis- 
connected three-fold fact. A knowledge thereof, 
however, and therefore a knowledge of this three-fold- 
ness, and of the reciprocal positions of the three 
points, is, nevertheless, by no means given in this 
way : but such knowledge could be brought about 
only by means of a uniting and relating activity ; 
and this itself, like every activity, would be per- 
fectly foreign to all predicates of extension and 
magnitudes in space. 

30. The same thought is more immediately obvi- 
ous if we surrender this useless notion of the soul 
being extended, and consider it as a supersensible 
essence, which, in case we wish to bring it at all 
into connection with spatial determinations, could 
be represented only as an indivisible point. 

On making the transition into this indivisible 
point, the manifold impressions must obviously lose 
all the geometrical relations which they might still 
have upon the extended retina, just in the same 
way as the rays of light, which converge at the 
single focus of a lens, are not side by side with one 
another, but only all together, in this point. Beyond 
the focus, the rays diverge in the same order as that 


in which they entered it. Nothing analogous to 
this, however, happens in our consciousness ; that 
is to say, the many impressions, which were pre- 
viously side by side with one another, do not actually 
again separate from each other ; but, instead of this, 
the aforesaid activity of mental presentation simply 
occurs, and it transposes their images to different 
places in the space that is only ' intuited ' by it. 

Here, too, the previous observation holds good : 
The mental presentation is not that which it pre- 
sents ; and the idea of a point on the left does not lie 
on the left of the idea of a point on the right ; but of 
one mental presentation, which in itself has no spa- 
tial properties whatever, both points are merely 
themselves so presented before the mind, as though 
one lay to the left, the other to the right. 

31. The following result now stands before us : 
Many impressions exist conjointly in the soul, al- 
though not spatially side by side with one another; 
but they are merely together in the same way as the 
synchronous tones of a chord ; that is to say, quali- 
tatively different, but not side by side with, above 
or below, one another. Notwithstanding, the mental 
presentation of a spatial order must be produced 
again from these impressions. The question is, 
therefore, in the first place, to be raised : How in 


general does the soul come to apprehend these 
impressions, not in the form in which they actually 
are, to wit, non-spatial, but as they are not, in 
a spatial juxtaposition? 

The satisfactory reason obviously cannot lie in the 
impressions themselves, but must lie solely in the 
nature of the soul in which they appear, and upon 
which they themselves act simply as stimuli. 

On this account, it is customary to ascribe to the 
soul this tendency to form an intuition of space, as 
an originally inborn capacity. And indeed we are 
compelled to rest satisfied with this. All the ' deduc- 
tions ' of space, hitherto attempted, which have tried 
to show on what ground it is necessary to the nature 
of the soul to develop this intuition of space, have 
utterly failed of success. Nor is there any reason to 
complain over this matter ; for the simplest modes of 
the experience of the soul must always merely be 
recognized as given facts, just as, for example, 
no one seriously asks why we only hear, and do 
not rather taste, the waves of air. 

32. The second question is much more impor- 
tant. Let it be assumed that the soul once for all 
lies under the necessity of mentally presenting a 
certain manifold as in juxtaposition in space ; How 
does it come to localize every individual impression 


at a definite place in the space intuited by it, in such 
manner that the entire image thus intuited is similar 
to the external object which acted on the eye ? 

Obviously, such a clue must lie in the impressions 
themselves. The simple quality of the sensation 
' green ' or ' red ' does not, however, contain it ; for 
every such color can in turn appear at every point in 
space, and on this account does not, of itself, require 
always to be referred to the one definite point. 

We now remind ourselves, however, that the care- 
fulness with which the regular position on the retina 
of the particular excitations is secured, cannot be 
without a purpose. To be sure, an impression is 
not seen at a definite point on account of its being 
situated at such point ; but it may perhaps by 
means of this definite situation act on the soul 
otherwise than if it were elsewhere situated. 

Accordingly we conceive of this in the follow- 
ing way : Every impression of color r for exam- 
ple, red produces on all places of the retina, 
which it reaches, the same sensation of redness. 
In addition to this, however, it produces on each 
of these different places, a, b, c, a certain accessory 
impression, a, p, -y, which is independent of the 
nature of the color seen, and dependent merely 
on the nature of the place excited. This second 
local impression would therefore be associated with 


every impression of color r, in such manner that 
ra signifies a red that acts on the point a, rfl sig- 
nifies the same red in case it acts on the point b. 
These associated accessory impressions would, ac- 
cordingly, render for the soul the clue, by following 
which it transposes the same red, now to one, now 
to another spot, or simultaneously to different spots 
in the space intuited by it. 

In order, however, that this may take place in a 
methodical way, these accessory impressions must 
be completely different from the main impressions, 
the colors, and must not disturb the latter. They 
must be, however, not merely of the same kind 
among themselves, but wholly definite members of 
a series or a system of series ; so that for every 
impression r there may be assigned, by the aid of 
this adjoined 'local sign,' not merely a particular, 
but a quite definite spot among all the rest of the 

33. The foregoing is the theory of 'Local 
Signs' Their fundamental thought consists in this, 
that all spatial differences and relations among the 
impressions on the retina must be compensated for 
by corresponding non-spatial and merely intensive 
relations among the impressions which exist to- 
gether without space-form in the soul ; and that 


from them in reverse order there must arise, not 
a new actual arrangement of these impressions 
in extension, but only the mental presentation of 
such an arrangement in us. To such an extent do 
we hold this principle to be a necessary one. 

On the contrary, only hypotheses are possible in 
order to answer the question, In what do those 
accessory impressions requisite consist, so far as 
the sense of sight is concerned ? We propose the 
following conjecture: 

In case a bright light falls upon a lateral part 
of the retina, on which as is well known the 
sensitiveness to impressions is more obtuse than 
in the middle of the retina, then there follows a 
rotation of the eye until the most sensitive middle 
part of the retina, as the receptive organ, is brought 
beneath this light : we are accustomed to style 
this the "fixation of vision" upon the aforesaid 
light. Such motion happens involuntarily, without 
any original cognition of its purpose, and uniformly 
without cognition of the means by which it is 
brought about. We may therefore reckon it among 
the so-called reflex motions, which originate by 
means of an excitation of one nerve, that serves at 
other times for sensation, being transplanted to 
motor nerves without any further assistance from 
the soul and in accordance with the pre-existing ana- 


tomical connections ; and these latter nerves being 
therefore stimulated to execute a definite motion in 
a perfectly mechanical way. Now in order to 
execute such a rotation of the eye as serves the 
purpose previously alluded to, every single spot 
in the retina, in case it is stimulated, must occasion 
a magnitude and direction of the aforesaid rota- 
tion peculiar to it alone. But at the same time all 
these rotations of the eye would be perfectly com- 
parable motions, and, of course, members of a 
system of series that are graded according to mag- 
nitude and direction. 

34. The application of the foregoing hypothesis 
(many more minute particular questions being dis- 
regarded) we conceive of as follows : In case a 
bright light falls upon a lateral point P of a retina, 
which has not yet had any sensation of light what- 
ever, then there arises, in consequence of the con- 
nection in the excitation of the nerves, such a rota- 
tion of the eye as that, instead of the place P, 
the place E of clearest vision is brought beneath 
the approaching stimulus of the light. Now while 
the eye is passing through the arc PE, the soul 
receives at each instant a feeling of its momentary 
position, a feeling of the same kind as that by 
which we are, when in the dark, informed of the 


position of our limbs. To the arc PE there corre- 
sponds then a series of constantly changing feelings 
of position, the first member of which we call IT, 
and the last of which we call e. 

If now, in a second instance, the place P is again 
stimulated by the light, then there originates not 
simply the rotation PE for a second time, but the 
initial member of the series of feelings of position, 
w, reproduces in memory the entire series asso- 
ciated with it, TO; and this series of mental pre- 
sentations is independent of the fact that at the 
same time also the rotation of the eye PE actually 

Exactly the same thing would hold good of 
another point R; only the arc RE, the series of 
) I feelings p, and also the initial member of the series, 
P, would have other values. 

Now finally, in case it came about that both 
places, P and R, were simultaneously stimulated 
with an equal intensity, and that the arcs PE and 
RE were equal but in opposite directions to each 
other, then the actual rotation of the eye PE and 
RE could not take place ; on the other hand, the 
excitation upon the places P and R is nevertheless 
not without effect ; each reproduces the series of 
feelings of position belonging to it, respectively, 
ire and P e. Although therefore the eye does not 


now move, yet there is connected with every exci- 
tation of the places P and K the mental presen- 
tation of the magnitude and of the qualitative 
peculiarity of a series of changes, which conscious- 
ness or the common feeling would have to expe- 
rience, in order that these excitations may fall upon 
the place of clearest vision, or, according to the 
customary expression, in the line of vision. 

And now we assert that to see anything ' to the 
right 'or 'to the left ' of this line of vision means 
nothing more than this, to be conscious of the 
magnitude of the achievement which would be 
necessary to bring the object into this line. 

35. By the foregoing considerations nothing 
further would be established than the relative 
position of the single colored points in the field of 
vision. The entire image, on the contrary, would 
still have no place at all in a yet larger space ; 
indeed, even the mental presentation of such a 
place would as yet have no existence. 

Now this image first attains a place with refer- 
ence to the eye, the repeated opening and clos- 
ing of which, since it can become known to us in 
another way, is the condition of its existence or 
non-existence. That is to say, the visible world 
is in front before our eyes. What is behind us 


not merely has no existence whatever for us, but 
we do not once know that there is anything which 
should be called 'behind.' 

The motions of the body lead us further. If the 
field of vision in a position of rest contains from 
left to right the images a be, and we then turn 
ourselves to the right upon our axis, a vanishes, 
but d appears on the right, and therefore the images 
bed, cde, def, . . . xyz, yza, zab, a be, succeed in 
order. As a result of such recurrence of the images 
with which we began, the two following thoughts 
originate ; namely, that the visible world of objects 
exists in a closed circuit of extension about us, and 
that the alteration of our own position, which 
we perceive by means of the changing feelings of 
position while turning, depends upon an alteration 
of our relation to this immovable world of objects, 
that is to say, upon a.^motion. 

It is easily understood that the mental picture 
of a spherical extension originates from the afore- 
said mental picture of a closed horizon by means 
of repeatedly turning in a similar way in various 
other directions. 

36. But, nevertheless, this spherical surface also 
would always have only a superficial extension ; 
no intimation would as yet exist of a depth to space. 


Now the mental presentation, to the effect that 
something like a third dimension of space in general 
exists, cannot originate of itself, but only through 
the experience which we have in case we move 
about among the visible objects. From the manifold 
displacements which the particular visual images 
experience, in a manner that is tedious to describe 
but very easy to imagine, we gain the impression, 
that each line in an image originally seen is the 
beginning of new surfaces which do not coincide 
with that previously seen, but which lead out into 
this space, now extended on all sides, to greater 
or less distances from the line. 

Another question to be treated subsequently is 
this: By what means do we estimate the different 
magnitudes of the distance into this depth of 
space ? 

37. The crossing of the rays of light in the nar- 
row opening of the pupil is the cause of the image of 
the upper points of the object being formed beneath, 
that of the lower points above on the retina ; and of 
the whole picture having therefore a position the 
reverse of the object. But it is a prejudice on this 
account to consider seeing in inverse position to be 
natural, and seeing in upright position to be mysteri- 
ous. Like every geometrical property of the image, 


so this one of its position, too, on passing into con- 
sciousness, is completely lost ; and the position in 
which we see things is in no way prejudiced by the 
aforesaid position of the image on the retina. 

Now, however, in order that we may be able to 
ascribe to objects a position at all, in order therefore 
that the expressions 'above/ 'below/ 'upright/ and 
* inverted/ may have a meaning, we must have, inde- 
pendent of all sensation by sight, a mental picture of 
a space in which the entire content of the field of 
vision shall be arranged, and in which ' above ' and 
' below ' are two qualitatively opposite and, on this 
account, not exchangeable directions. 

The muscular feeling affords us such a mental 
presentation. ' Below ' is the place toward which 
the direction of gravity moves; 'above/ the opposite. 
Both directions are distinguished perfectly for us by 
means of an immediate feeling ; and, on this account, 
we are never deceived even in the dark about the 
position and situation of our body. 

Accordingly we see objects 'upright' in case the 
lower points of the object are reached by one and 
the same movement of the eyes simultaneously 
with those points of our own body which are 
' below ' according to the testimony of the aforesaid 
muscular feeling ; and the upper points by a move- 
ment which, according to the same testimony, 


renders visible simultaneously the upper parts of our 
own selves. 

Now it is exactly such agreement that is secured 
in our eye, in which the axis lies in front of the 
sensitive retina, by means of the inverted position of 
the retinal image. In an other eye, in which the 
sensitive surface should be placed in front of the 
axis, and yet the greatest sensitiveness also should 
appear in the middle portion of that surface, the 
retinal image would have to stand upright to serve 
the same purpose. 

38. The final and valid answer to the question, 
why we have single vision with two eyes, is not to be 
given. As is well known, it does not always happen. 
The rather must two impressions fall on two quite 
definite points of the retina in order to coalesce. 
We see double, on the contrary, if they fall on other 
points. Naturally, we shall say : The two places which 
belong together would have to impart like local signs 
to their impressions, and thereby render them indis- 
tinguishable ; but we are not able to demonstrate in 
what manner this postulate is fulfilled. Physiology, 
too, in the last analysis, satisfies itself with a mere 
term for the fact ; it calls ' identical ' those places in 
both retinas which give one simple impression, and 
' non-identical ' those which give a double impression. 


39. Irritations of the skin we naturally refer at 
once to the place of the skin on which we see them 
acting. But in case of their repetition, when we are 
not able to see them, we have no assistance from re- 
membering them ; for the most ordinary stimuli have 
already in the course of our life touched all possible 
places of the skin, and could therefore now as well be 
referred to one place as to another. In order that they 
may be correctly localized, they would have at every 
instant to tell us anew where they belong ; that is to 
say, there must be attached to the main impression 
(impact, pressure, heat or cold) an auxiliary impres- 
sion which is independent of the latter and, on the 
contrary, dependent on the place of the skin that is 

The skin can supply such local signs ; for since it 
is connected without interruption, a single point of 
it cannot be irritated at all, without the surrounding 
portion experiencing a displacement, pulling, stretch- 
ing, or concussion of some kind. But, further, since 
the skin possesses at different places a different thick- 
ness, different tension or liability to displacement, 
extends sometimes above the firm surfaces of the 
bones, sometimes over the flesh of the muscles, some- 
times over cavities ; since, moreover, the members 
being manifold, these relations change from one 
stretch of skin to another ; therefore the aforesaid 


sum of secondary effects around the point irritated 
will be different for each one from the remainder ; 
and such effects, if they are taken up by the nerve- 
endings and act on consciousness, may occasion the 
feelings so difficult to describe, according to which 
we distinguish a contact at one place from the same 
contact at another. 

It cannot be said, however, that each point of the 
skin has its special local sign. It is known from the 
investigations of E. H. Weber, that on the margin of 
the lips, the tip of the tongue, the tips of the fingers, 
being touched in two places (by the points of a pair 
of compasses) can be distinguished as two at an 
interval of only J line ; while there are places on 
the arms, legs, and on the back, which require for 
making the distinction a distance between them of 
as much as 20 lines. We interpret this in the 
following way. Where the structure of the skin 
changes little for long stretches, the local signs also 
alter only a little from point to point. And if two 
stimuli act simultaneously, and accordingly a recipro- 
cal disturbance of these secondary effects occurs, they 
will be undistinguishable ; on the contrary, in cases 
where both stimuli act successively, and therefore the 
aforesaid disturbance ceases, both are still frequently 
distinguishable. On the other hand, we know nothing 
further to allege as to how the extraordinary sensitive- 
ness for example of the lips is occasioned. 


40. The preceding statement merely explains 
the possibility of distinguishing impressions made 
at different places ; but each impression must also 
be referred to the definite place at which it acts. 

This is easy for one who sees, since he already 
possesses a picture of the surface of his own body ; 
and, on this account, he now by means of the 
unchanging local sign, even in the dark, translates 
each stimulus which he has once seen act on a 
definite place, to the same place in this picture 
of the body that is mentally presented before him. 
One born blind would be compelled to construct 
such a picture first by means of the sense of touch ; 
and this naturally is accomplished through motions 
of the tactual members and by estimating the dis- 
tances which they would have to travel in order to 
reach from contact at the point a to contact at the 
other point to. It is to be considered, however, 
that these motions which in this case are not 
seen are perceivable only by so-called muscular 
feelings ; that is to say, by feelings which in 
themselves are merely certain species of the way 
we feely and do not of themselves at all indicate the 
motions which are in fact the causes of them. 

Now it cannot be described, how it is that this 
interpretation of the muscular feelings actually 
originates in the case of those born blind ; but the 


helps which lead to it are very probably found in 
the fact, that the sense of touch as well as the eye 
can receive many impressions simultaneously, and 
that, in case of a movement, the previous impres- 
sion does not vanish without trace and have its 
place taken by a wholly new one ; but that, in the 
manner previously alleged, the combinations a be, 
bed, etc., follow one another, and therefore some 
part in common is always left over for the next two 
impressions. By this alone does it seem possible to 
awaken the idea that the same occurrence, from 
which the series of changeable muscular feelings 
originates for us, consists in an alteration of our 
relation to a series of objects previously existent 
side by side and to be found arranged in a definite 
order ; it consists, therefore, in a motion. 

- 41. It is questionable whether the mental pic- 
ture of space which one born blind attains solely by 
the sense of touch will be altogether like that of 
one who sees ; it is rather to be assumed that a 
much less intuitable system of mental presenta- 
tions of time, of the magnitude of motion, and of 
the exertion which is needed in order to reach 
from contact at one point to that at another, takes 
the place of the clear, easy, and at once all-com- 
prehending intuition, with which he who sees is 



42. A simple impression of sense represents 
only itself, and tells nothing concerning the ' Things ' 
to which it belongs, either as property, state, or 
action. This further interpretation is certainly, as 
the saying is, an affair of the Understanding ; and 
it is the understanding that is deceived in case it 
permits itself to be led astray by means of a mental 
presentation a, which it previously, under secondary 
conditions (c) imperfectly apprehended, found com- 
bined with a presentation b, so as to think an a, 
when repeated under other conditions d, to be 
connected with the same b. 

But the senses are not always so innocent. The 
eye, for example, when it pictures the world as 
extended in three dimensions on a plane, gives us 
absolutely false relations between the images of the 
single objects. In this case, therefore, in which 
sense yields what is false, while the intellect must 
furnish the corrections, we have a right to speak of 
"errors of sense." Under this class belong, for 


example, the incorrect diminishing of remote objects, 
the convergence of parallel lines in the distance, the 
elevation of the level of the sea above the coast, 
pure phenomena which persist for the intuitions of 
sense, even after the intellect is no longer uncer- 
tain concerning the true state of affairs. 

43. The same magnitudes of space we estimate 
as greater when they are bright-colored ; smaller, 
when they are dark. The surface filled with mani- 
fold objects appears larger to the eye; the empty 
one, smaller. To the sense of touch the rough 
surface appears larger than the smooth. In that 
direction which is made prominent by a manifold 
repetition of lines, things appear to extend farther 
than they actually do. All this is made use of in 
manifold ways by the decorative arts. 

Distances we estimate (very indefinitely) as smaller 
for bright objects, larger for the dark ones ; (much 
more accurately) as smaller so long as the interior 
delineation of things continues to be clear, larger 
in case it makes a confused impression as a whole. 

We principally employ, however, three factors ; 
the actual magnitude of a thing, its apparent mag- 
nitude, and the distance, in order from two of them 
to ascertain the third. If the true magnitude is 
given (for example, by our knowing that the object 


in question is a man or a child) and likewise the 
apparent magnitude, then we estimate the distance 
as so much the greater the smaller the second is 
in comparison with the first. If we know, besides 
the apparent magnitude, the distance, then we 
can reckon the actual magnitude in the same way. 
Finally, if we know the true magnitude and the 
distance, then we can find the apparent magnitude, 
which for example painting must give to the 
picture of an object, in order to make it appear at 
this distance. But where objects for example, 
mountains and watercourses have no natural 
measure, and therefore merely the apparent magni- 
tude is given, we can make a conclusion with some 
accuracy to the actual magnitude and the distance 
directly, only by separating the latter into parts, and 
estimating each one of them according to the rela- 
tion of the apparent magnitude of some well-known 
object found in them, to its true magnitude. 

A very important means, finally, is the parallax, 
that is to say, the magnitude of the displacement 
which the image of an object C experiences as seen 
against points definitely marked, P, Q, R, on an im- 
movable background, in case we consider it from 
the two terminal points, A and B, of a line AB. It 
is greater for nearer, and smaller for more remote 
objects. We daily employ this means of assistance, 


since we fixate the object alternately with one eye 
or the other, or incline the head to the right and 
left, or actually move hither and thither. Science 
has made manifold use of this means, since it per- 
forms this experiment carefully and with the addi- 
tional help of finer instruments of measurement. 

44. The comparison of sensible qualities (colors, 
tones, tastes, degrees of heat) requires a certain mod- 
erateness of the impression, whether it be intensity, 
or extension in space, or duration in time. It requires, 
besides, that the testing organ be the same through- 
out, in order that the different local signs of different 
organs may not modify the impressions. Accord- 
ingly, we do not test the heat of two bodies of water 
with two fingers simultaneously, but successively 
with the same finger, etc. In such cases the other 
snare is to be shunned, that of taking the interval 
too great to leave both impressions still lively enough 
in consciousness, or too small, so that the after-effects 
of the first impression are mingled with the second. 

These after-effects are of a two-fold kind. If they 
are strong and recent, they obscure the second 
impression. But very frequently, and in different 
senses, the other result also occurs, namely, 
that a nerve which has been for a considerable time 
thrown into the same one-sided excitation by an 


impression a, after the cessation of this stimulus, 
assumes of itself another form of excitation through 
which it returns to its impartial condition of equi- 
librium. These counter-excitations also produce 
sensations. Thus, for example, an eye that has 
been a long time busy with green, red, or yellow, 
subsequently sees the complementary colors, red, 
green, and violet. In the domain of the sense of 
touch and of the muscular feeling, as well, these 
' sensations of contrast ' occur. 

45. We hold an object to be moved, the image 
of which travels over our retina. And such an 
appearance takes place, not merely in case we are 
moving through the objects with a perfectly passive 
motion (for example, sailing on a vessel), but also 
in case we are moving through them in the con- 
sciousness of our actual motion and in the convic- 
tion that they are unmoved. Naturally the apparent 
^notion of the objects has then the opposite direction 
2o our own. 

The well-known rotating motion, with which 
objects hasten by us after we have been for a long 
Jime rotating on the axis of our body and then 
immediately stand still, appears to have its basis in 
this, that the eyes unconsciously to ourselves still 
follow for some time the direction in which the body 


previously turned, and when they have reached the 
extreme angle of vision immediately turn back to 
begin anew the same course. Therefore it is always 
the same objects which ceaselessly pass by before 
us without vanishing from sight. 

46. In case some object or other (for example, a 
stick) is brought into a rather loose connection with 
our body (for example, the hand), such as admits of 
displacements of its position, then at each momen- 
tary position a new and special combination of sen- 
sations of pressure (for example, on the different 
fingers) is occasioned. In accordance with earlier 
experiences which we have had, we form for ourselves 
out of each such combination a mental picture of the 
position which the object (the stick) has at the mo- 
ment. Now if it discovers in all positions the same 
resistance to an external object, and if also this 
pressure by the stick acts constantly on our hand, 
then we not only transfer the seat of this resistance 
to the common point of intersection of all these suc- 
cessive positions, but we believe with an altogether 
immediate perspicuity that we have a direct sensa- 
tion of it at the spot where the resistance is accom- 
plished, exactly as though we were just as much 
present, with our capacity for sensation, at the end 
of this stick, as in the surface of the hand where 
the other end of the stick is pressing. 


These feelings of * double contact/ which occur 
in almost innumerable examples, introduce into our 
mental presentations of external things a very pecu- 
liar life-likeness. Above all do they alone avail to 
make possible the serviceable use of many tools, 
for example, probes, knifes, forks, pens ; since we 
believe that by means of them we perceive the 
resistances or hinderances which these instruments 
find at the surface of their objects, quite directly 
in loco ; and since we are able to apply the counter 
means that are each moment appropriate. They are 
further instructive concerning many properties of 
things, for example, concerning the length of 
a balanced pole, concerning the breadth of a ladder- 
rung when stepped on, concerning the length of the 
thread fastened to which a ball is swung round in 
a circle. Finally, they give us in general the agree- 
able feeling of our spiritual presence being ex- 
tended beyond the real limits of our body ; and 
this is the reason for the many, in part elegant, 
and in part bizarre, movable additions or appendages 
to our bodies, of which the passion for dress is wont 
to avail itself. 



47. We apply the name ' Feelings ' exclusively 
to states of pleasure and pain, in contrast with 
sensations as indifferent perceptions of a certain 

We do not thereby assert that these two spiritual 
performances occur separate from each other ; we 
find it much more probable that primarily no menta^ 
presentation is completely indifferent, and that rather 
the value of pleasure or pain attached to it only 
escapes our attention, because, in educated life the 
meaning, and the significance, which the impres- 
sions have for our purposes in life, has become more 
important to us than the consideration of the im- 
pression itself. 

On the other hand, we adhere to the statement 
that, judged by the very notion of them, sensations 
and feelings are two different performances which, 
although always connected, are nevertheless, not de- 
ducible from each other. A mere relation of some 
sort between different simultaneous impressions or 
states does not, therefore, of itself produce a feel- 


ing ; this is done only by means of the relation act- 
ing as a stimulus on the entire nature of the soul, 
and, since it encites a capacity of the soul of which 
we have not previously taken account, inducing the 
soul to a reaction, namely, to the production of 
the feeling. 

48. It is not demonstrable, but a natural pre- 
judgment, and a probable hypothesis, that feelings 
are the results and tokens of the agreement or dis- 
agreement between the excitations produced in us, 
and the conditions of our permanent well-being. 
Pleasure would therefore depend upon every encite- 
ment to the use of our natural capacities within the 
limits of these conditions, and it would rise in de- 
gree with the intensity of these encitements ; on 
the contrary, pain would depend upon the fact that 
the excitations suffered are at strife with the 
aforesaid conditions, in part as respects their 
strength, and in part also, as respects their form 
(a thing commonly overlooked). 

The foregoing statement does not mean that 
the soul first observes the excitations, and then their 
relation with respect to these conditions ; and finally, 
according to its view of these acts, decides whether 
to experience pleasure or pain. The rather, just as 
sensation for example, that of red is merely 
the result of a series of processes in the nerves, 


but tells us nothing whatever concerning these 
processes ; so is feeling simply the last result of 
the aforesaid strife or concord, and it only makes 
its appearance in consciousness after these uncon- 
scious processes. 

49. Pleasure and pain are general designations, 
which, in this form of generality (exactly as, for 
example, 'color,' too) express nothing actual. The 
rather has every actual pleasure or pain its own 
entirely specific character, and it can by no means 
be made up out of various component parts of a 
general pleasure and pain ; just as the different 
colors are not produced by different mixtures of 
bright and dark. 

Concerning the conditions, under which the feel- 
ings, in general, or definite forms of them, originate, 
we know almost nothing. 

The first group which we are able to distinguish, 
the feelings of sense, that is to say, those directly 
dependent on sense-stimuli, are in the case of 
the different senses so much the more intensive, 
the less these senses are capable of fine objective 
perceptions. Colors and their contrasts merely 
excite satisfaction or dissatisfaction ; dissonances of 
tones cause suffering to the hearer personally ; the 
pleasure and pain of smell and taste are much more 


intensive ; but it is only in the skin, which of itself 
alone furnishes little cognition, and in the interior 
/' parts, which contribute to cognition nothing what- 
ever, that the pain assumes the character of physi- 
cal suffering. The purposeful nature of this arrange- 
ment is manifest ; its mechanical basis is unknown. 

50. These less intense feelings of the higher 
senses form the transition to a second class, the 
(Esthetic feelings, which are not quite exclusively, 
but in the main, attached to a simultaneous mul- 
tiplicity of impressions, and in the simplest cases, 
as a matter of fact, depend on the simplicity or 
difficulty of the relations which obtain between 
them. The precise reason, however, on account 
of which this simplicity for example, in the case 
of consonant tones acts favorably upon us is 
unknown ; for as a rule we do not perceive these 
relations of fact as such. The character of these 
aesthetic feelings of satisfaction and dissatisfaction 
can be expressed, in contrast to sensuous comfort 
or discomfort, by saying that only the universal 
spirit in us, and not our merely personal well-being, 
is furthered or disturbed by these impressions. 

In this class are included the ethical feelings, of 
which we are compelled to speak on this account, 
because moral approbation or disapprobation is 


nothing else but the expression of a value, or 
absence of value, which we perceive only in feel- 
ing, and which is, on this account, totally distinct 
from a merely theoretical judgment concerning the 
truth or untruth of a proposition. 

51. A further description of the feelings is 
useless ; it is of use, on the other hand, to distin- 
guish two states thereof. 

That is frequently called feeling which is more 
precisely to be called ' Affection,' and which does 
not consist in a quiet state or a mere disposition of 
the mind, but in a movement (as in the case of 
rage and terror) that also produces disorder in the 
train of ideas, and besides ordinarily includes un- 
conscious movements, partly mere gestures, and 
partly the beginnings of actions which would pro- 
ceed from the inducement given, unless they 
should be restrained. 

In like manner must we distinguish the ' Sen- 
timents/ that is to say, permanent species of 
mental constitution, which proceed from this, that 
a definite value is once for all placed upon certain 
contents of ideas ; they are, therefore, for ex- 
ample, piety or patriotism, not themselves simple 
definite feelings, but causes from which the differ- 
ent species of feelings can originate according to 
the nature of circumstances. 


52. More important still is the connection of 
feeling with ' Self-consciousness.' 

The latter includes two things : first, that we 
form some picture or other of us (similar or dissimi- 
lar) ; and, secondly, that we recognize this picture as 
the picture of ourselves. 

As far as the first point is concerned, we under- 
stand how the picture of our body, because it intrudes 
into the recollection of all our experiences, appears 
as the point of issue for our entire spiritual life ; and 
that other experiences likewise incite us to con- 
ceive of ourselves as not, to be sure, identical with 
the body, but as in an obscure manner connected 
with it. Beyond this point of standing we do not 
get in ordinary life. It is science which first 
attempts further to explain (and such, too, will be 
the task we set ourselves later on) this essential 
being of the soul itself as well as also the manner 
of its connection with the body. 

On the other hand, we are here met by the second 
question, namely : How do we come to hold such 
a mental picture when attained, not as the picture 
of some object or other, but as the picture of our 
own selves, and to separate this ' ego ' of ours from 
all the rest of the world by an absolute distinction 
which has quite another value than the distinction 
of any other Thing from a second or a third ? 


It is obvious that the foregoing question cannot be 
answered by a definition of the general character 
of ' egohood' ; for example, by the following: The 
'Ego' is that subject which is at the same time its 
own object. For such a general notion corresponds 
to every * ego/ and therefore to ' thee ' and to ' him ' 
just as well as to 'me/ Self-consciousness, however, 
ought to set forth, not merely the general spiritual 
property which is common to all persons, but it 
ought to distinguish ' me ' from every other person. 

And now it may be said : I am the subject of my 
world of thought, and thou art the subject of thine. 

But to say this would be useless, as long as we 
were not to possess an immediate perspicuity con- 
cerning the distinction of what is mine from that 
which is not mine. 

No merely theoretical consideration can teach the 
aforesaid distinction. We should be betrayed into 
an endless circle if we should wish to say, for exam- 
ple : Mine is what I have, and thine is what thou 

Nothing else remains, therefore, but to recognize 
the fact, that that which is my state announces 
itself, in a manner wholly immediate and admit- 
ting of no further deduction, as something in 
itself altogether special ; as something, that is to 
say, which is distinguished from that which is not 


my state, not merely as this state foreign to me is 
from a third, but in such manner that we have ample 
reason for separating this state of our own from all 
else that occurs in the world, by an incomparable 

Now what is referred to above happens in real- 
ity in a very simple way, just by means of feeling. 
Each of our own states, everything which we our- 
selves actually surfer, are sensible of, or do, is desig- 
nated by means of a feeling being immediately 
attached to it (of pleasure, of pain, of interest, etc.) ; 
while this accompaniment is wanting to that which 
we merely represent mentally as the states, the 
doing, sensation, suffering, of other beings, but do 
not ourselves experience or suffer. 

Accordingly, no difficult intermediation whatever is 
necessary, in order to answer the second of the ques- 
tions proposed above. It amounts only to affirming 
that a bare knowing in general cannot furnish the 
impulse for this altogether unexampled distinction 
by means of which every being with a soul sets itself 
over opposite to all the rest of the world. 

53. In the way described above, as we believe, 
does the meaning of the possessive pronoun ' mine ' 
first become perspicuous. It is not until afterward, 
when we direct our reflective thought to these cir- 


cumstances, that we also form the substantive name 
of the ' ego ' as the being to which that belongs 
which is called ' mine.' 

And here a two-fold distinction must be made. 
The mental picture which we form for ourselves of 
our own being may be more or less apt or errone- 
ous ; that depends upon the elevation of the power 
of cognition by means of which every being endeav- 
ors theoretically to render to itself an explanation 
concerning this centre of its own mental states. 
On the other hand, the perspicuity and intimateness 
with which each being that has feeling distinguishes 
itself from the entire world does not at all depend on 
the aptness of this insight of it into its own being, 
but is expressed in the case of the lowest animals, in 
so far as they recognize their states as their own by 
means of physical pain or of pleasure, in just as 
lively fashion as is the case with the most intelligent 
spirit. A spirit, however, which should penetrate 
everything, but have no interest of pleasurable or 
painful sort in anything, would surely neither be 
capable of opposing itself as an ' ego ' to the rest of 
the world, nor would it have any inducement so to do. 
It would only appear to itself as one, but not as one 
in any way to be preferred, of the many examples of 
a being which is at the same time subject and 
object of thought. 


And these two achievements, of knowing its own 
being and of feeling itself as a ' self/ are therefore 
not necessarily connected with each other. But the 
first of the two we have to consider as being 
just that immediate self-feeling, whose presence as 
well as its liveliness is altogether independent of the 
degree of the self-cognition which we ordinarily 
think of, under the name of 'self-consciousness.' 
The latter is rather nothing more than the interpre- 
tation which thought, as it progresses in the further 
course of our spiritual development, gives to that 
inner experience which is originally possible only in 
the form of feeling. 



54. We execute our bodily movements without 
knowledge of the means necessary to them, 
the muscles and their contractility ; and in particular, 
without knowing how we must set about to induce 
thereto a definite motor nerve, that it may throw 
the muscles necessary for a definite motion into 
a fitting state of excitation. It follows from this, 
that in no case does the soul bring the move- 
ments about, and execute them in particular, by its 
own laying hand to it, as it were. The rather 
does it, without exception, beget nothing more 
than a certain inner state confined to itself (as 
of wishing, willing, desiring). With such state, an 
order of nature, unapproachable to our conscious- 
ness and wholly independent of our will, has there- 
upon connected the originating of a bodily movement 
as a result in fact. Primarily, therefore, we have 
nothing to do but to learn to know the different 
psychical states which are in this manner the 
occasion of the bodily movements. 


55. In a living body changes are ceaselessly 
happening that also have an influence upon the 
motor nerves, and occasion motions in the produc- 
tion of which the soul does not participate at all. 
Nevertheless they are important. For only by 
means of the fact that motions happen of them- 
selves, and then become objects of its observa- 
tion, does the soul of an animal arrive at the 
thought that its body is movable, and that its 
motions stand in connection with its own inner 
states ; a thought, at which it would not arrive, 
if it were dwelling in a body which was never of 
itself, or by external causes, thrown into motion. 

56. Of the before-mentioned motions we may 
bring forward, as a special class, the reflex motions. 
These are such as originate through the excitation 
of a sensory nerve by external or internal stimuli 
being transferred, without the soul's cooperation, 
in the central organ, to the motor nerves, in such 
a manner that it arouses to motion with a single 
shock a group of muscles coordinated for some 
purposeful action. In this case a conscious sen- 
sation may originate at the same time ; but the 
excitation may also, without begetting any such sen- 
sation, bend aside, as it were, and produce the same 
motions without consciousness having any share 


in them. Many of these motions like coughing, 
sneezing, the changes of the pupils of the eye when 
stimulated by light admit of being apprehended 
as reactions which nature has arranged for in the 
structure of the body as a means of guarding it 
against injuries. They are shown to be purely 
mechanical results of the excitations, by the fact 
that they not only proceed involuntarily, but cannot 
even be inhibited by a mere will to the contrary ; 
for this they rather require some artificial counter- 
acting agency. 

57. In the mimetic and physiognomic motions 
laughing, weeping, sobbing, and the like the 
point of starting in the first instance is a psychical 
state, a state, that is, of the mind. As a whole, 
they do not admit of being counterfeited artificially 
except in a very imperfect way ; even such an 
imperfect counterfeit is brought about only by 
artificially transposing one's self through fancy 
into the same mood of mind as that which is the 
actual cause of them. All these motions like- 
wise take place without knowledge of their reason 
and their use ; for we cannot tell exactly why 
we are compelled to laugh at joy and to weep 
at pain, and not rather the reverse. They are 
therefore, too, motions which an order of nature, not 


contrived, and also not understood by us, has 
attached as results in fact to our states of mind. 

58. Another class is composed of the imita- 
tive motions with which, for example, the observer 
undesignedly accompanies the thrusts of the fencer 
or of the player at nine-pins ; and with which the 
uneducated narrator imitates the motions 'that he 
describes. In this case it is the mental picture, 
and of course that of a definite motion, which, 
without further knowledge and volition, of itself 
passes over into the execution of the movement. 

In this class are to be reckoned the most of 
our every-day motions, such as we frequently call 
'actions.' As soon as, at the end of a series of 
thoughts, the idea of a motion based upon them 
emerges in us, and no resistance from any quarter 
is brought to bear against it, this idea passes 
over into motion of itself and without our having 
to assume, or being able to demonstrate, an impulse 
of the will expressly directed toward the motion. 
This is true in a very special manner of dexterities 
previously acquired, for example, writing, or play- 
ing the piano, where the mere idea of a sound, 
to be fixed upon or brought forth, immediately 
induces the necessary motions, without a clear idea 
of the latter needing to be previously developed in 


59. The foregoing considerations appear to 
annul a distinction between voluntary and involun- 
tary motions. In fact they do not. 

Whatever may be our conviction (subsequently to 
be developed), concerning the nature of the will, we 
can in no case impute to it the power to do more 
than to will. That an accomplishment of the thing 
willed follows thereupon, does not depend on it at 
all, but only on the fact that with it, in so far as it 
is a definite state of the soul different from other 
states, an order of nature entirely independent of 
it has connected a definite change, different from 
other changes, in the state of the motor nerves. 
Where this is not the case, the will, which is then 
no more than a futile wish, remains without any 

An action is therefore ' voluntary ' in case the 
interior initial state, from which a motion would 
originate as a result, does not merely take place but 
is approbated or adopted or endorsed by the will. 
Every action is ' involuntary ' which, mechanically 
considered, issues from the same initial point, and 
wholly in the same manner, but without having 
experienced such approbation. 

The control of the will over the motions of the 
body may, accordingly, be compared perhaps to our 
use of the alphabet. New sounds or letters we are 


not able to fabricate, but are bound to those which 
our instruments of speech make possible for us. 
We can combine them, however, in innumerable 
ways. And just so the soul, when it combines 
according to its designs those inner initial states, in 
whatever series it prefers, can also compound these 
elements of motions, corporeally made ready as they 
are beforehand, into the most varied actions for 
the expression of its will. 






60. After the foregoing complete review of the 
individual elements of the inner life, we inquire 
concerning the Nature of the Subject in which they 
all occur, or are possible. Our final conviction on 
this point will be made clear in the simplest way 
if, for the present, we let the current views hold, 
such views, that is, as are wont in the first in- 
stance to be formed on the inducement of experi- 
ence; and then gradually transform them, in order 
to adapt them to the solution of difficulties which 
they could not solve in their earlier form. It 
must therefore be considered that everything can- 
not be said at once, and that only the final form 
which our view will assume, is our permanent 

61. The constant connection of the spiritual- life 
with that of the body, in which alone it is the sub- 


ject of observation, makes the attempt natural to 
apprehend it, too, as simply the product of the 
bodily functions. 

Nevertheless it is an ancient truth, which has no 
need whatever of a modern re-discovery, that the 
origin of a spiritual condition is never analytically 
comprehensible from all possible combinations of 
material conditions. Or, more simply said: If we 
conceive of material elements in such a way that 
we presuppose nothing in them which does not 
strictly belong to the conception of matter ; if we 
therefore apprehend them merely as space-filling 
realities, which are movable and can produce 
motions in each other by means of the forces 
belonging to them ; if, finally, we conceive of these 
motions, whether of one or of many elements, as 
no matter how much varied or combined ; still the 
moment never comes when we should be able to 
say : Now it is self-evident that this motion last 
produced can no longer remain motion, but must 
pass over into sensation. 

A Materialism, therefore, which should neverthe- 
less assert that the spiritual life could proceed from 
bare physical states or motions of corporeal atoms, 
would be a perfectly barren assumption ; and in 
this .form, too, materialism has hardly ever been 
proposed in earnest. The materialistic views which 


have actually had faith in their own principles, have 
always taken their point of departure from the other 
presupposition, namely, that what they proceed 
to style ' matter ' is actually something much better 
than the name tells, and than what it appears to be 
from the outside. It is assumed to contain in itself 
a fundamental property, from which the spiritual 
states would be able to develop in just the same 
way as the physical predicates of extension, impene- 
trability, etc., develop from another fundamental 
property which it likewise possesses. 

Accordingly the new form of the attempt arose ; 
exactly as physiology deduces the corporeal life 
from the reciprocal actions of the physical forces of 
all the corporeal elements, exactly so has psychology 
to explain the spiritual life from the joint action of 
the psychical forces of these elements. 

62. The foregoing view not inconceivable pre- 
vious to investigation nevertheless goes to wreck 
upon the fact that, it is impossible for it to compre- 
hend the origin of that Unity of Consciousness, 
which is a fact of experience, and from which we 
are not at liberty arbitrarily to withdraw our atten- 
tion, simply because it is very enigmatical, in order 
then more conveniently to explain the remainder of 
the content of experience. 


It is an error for one to think that it is pos- 
sible to construe this " unity of consciousness " 
according to the analogy of the composition of 
physical forces. For if it is said, that just as a 
single resultant originates from two different mo- 
tions, and no further regard is paid to the duality 
of the causes from which it sprung, so also, can 
a perfect unity of consciousness proceed from a 
multiplicity of psychical motions when united; 
then this analogy derived from mechanics has been 
only inaccurately expressed. In truth, the assertion 
amounts to this : If two motions act upon one 
and the same indivisible point, or on the same 
real element, they produce a single resultant, which 
does not then hover in mid-air, but exists only as 
a state of the very same simple element on which 
the components act. 

Thus completed, the analogy by no means leads 
to the result wished for, but directly back to the 
ordinary view. That is to say, the many elements, 
even in case they should possess psychical capacity, 
would produce the unity of consciousness only if 
there were some one indivisible ' unit-element,' 
into which all their influences might discharge, as 
it were, and which by its own nature would be 
capable of focusing all these impressions in its own 


63. If we call a, b . . . z, the single corporeal 
elements, each of which may be at the same time 
physically and psychically endowed, then the ques- 
tion arises, What result, at a given time, can the 
reciprocal action of each with every other have ? 

Were they all of like species, and under like 
conditions, then scarcely anything else could happen 
but that, at the end of the time, all would be in the 
same terminal state Z. Were this Z, therefore, a 
consciousness, then it would be such, and of course 
with the same content, repeated as many times 
over as there are elements which act on each 
other. On the contrary, a unity of consciousness 
apart from this similarity of all the exemplars of 
consciousness, would not originate. 

In reality, however, the elements a, b . . . z, are 
not of like species ; but they certainly are sub- 
ject, in the structure of the organism, to very 
diverse conditions. Some of them, on account of 
their inferior nature, and their unfavorable situ- 
ation, can only receive a few influences from 
without in an immediate and lively way; others, 
in themselves superior or more favorably placed, 
develop a much richer consciousness representing 
in itself all possible states of the others. Which 
now of these many dissimilar examples of con- 
sciousness is our own, the one we know through 
inner experience ? 


We should naturally assume it would be the con- 
sciousness of the most preeminent element of all, 
the central monad of our body according to Leibnitz. 
For we find that the changes of our body are 
most intimately connected with the states of our 
ego, and that very little happens in it which we 
should have reason to ascribe to the activity of 
other centres of consciousness. 

64. According to the foregoing it follows, there- 
fore, that we can in no way get rid of regarding 
the one and indivisible subject of our conscious- 
ness as a party separate by itself ; while the other 
party consists in the body, that is, in an aggre- 
gate or ordered multiplicity of elements which, 
taken singly, are perhaps kindred to the nature 
of the soul, and yet are in no case identical with 
it, but of a different essence. 

This assumption in itself conceivable of a 
psychical life in every element of the body, remains 
otherwise wholly useless for the explanation of our 
soul-life ; for if we can never transport ourselves 
into these states of the elements, they have a 
value for us merely in so far as they act upon 
our soul as stimuli, and cause the latter to pro- 
duce its own inner states, which are the only 
ones known to us. On this account, the material 


elements also can be further considered merely as 
being material. 

The other assumption, intimately connected with 
the foregoing, that the soul also on its side has 
physical properties, perhaps answers to some use ; 
but the ordinary mode of conception has not main- 
tained it, but has set the soul as an immaterial 
essence, in opposition to the material elements, and 
has thus at once produced the difficulties of the 
following chapter. 



65. If the possibility of an immaterial essence 
is conceded (on which point, see later), it is custo- 
mary to object further, in that case a reciprocal 
action between it and the body is at least impos- 

The latter, it is said, would find no point of at- 
tachment for its physical forces to the compara- 
tively phantom-like soul ; the soul would exercise 
no motor force by means of its inner states upon 
the masses of the body ; the perfect incompara- 
bility of the two therefore abolishes all action be- 
tween them. 

66. To this it is to be replied : We deceive 
ourselves if we believe we are able in any case to 
comprehend how it is that a reciprocal action takes 
place ; and if we then regard the relation between 
body and soul as an inconvenient exception in which 
this effort at explanation does not succeed. 

If we observe the motive power of a machine and 
the way in which its component parts work on each 


other, we believe we understand its action ; because 
our intuition has in this case attained a view of 
various things about it. On further reflection, how- 
ever, we discover that we do not understand the 
two conditions on which the action of all machines 
depends, namely, the cohesion of the solid parts 
and the communication of motion. We can of 
course multiply words about the matter : but, in the 
last result, we are still in ignorance how one part of 
a solid body manages to hold its neighbor firmly 
attached to itself; or how it manages to cause a 
motion, in which it is itself caught, to cease and 
to reappear in another place. What we therefore 
actually observe in such cases is merely the exter- 
nal scenery which a series of processes runs through, 
every single one of which is connected with its 
successor in a perfectly invisible and incomprehen- 
sible manner. 

In the relation between body and soul we are not 
able to follow this series of processes quite so far 
as we might wish. But if we could follow it, for 
example, up to the point where the physical excita- 
tions act on the soul, this last transition would, of 
course, be in no respects a matter of intuitive knowl- 
edge ; but still it would not be in the least degree 
more incomprehensible than the transition of a 
motion from one material element to the other. 


67. The reason that awakens the doubt to which 
we alluded is the false assertion frequently to be 
met with even in antiquity that only like things 
(or what is of like species) can act on each other and 
be acted on by each other. 

One can be tempted to make the foregoing asser- 
tion only in case one regards the effect to be pro- 
duced as a state which is pre-existent ready-made in 
the efficient cause a, and is assumed to be trans- 
ferred unchanged to b, and on this account naturally 
requires in b a lodgement similar to that which it 
has in a, and therefore a comparability in general of 
b with a. 

In opposition to such a view we derive from meta- 
physic the conviction, that such a loosing of a state 
from that of which it is a state, and a transition of it 
to another subject, is wholly inconceivable. With- 
out any exception the action of an a upon a b con- 
sists in this, that, according to a general order of 
the world (about which nothing is to be said in this 
connection) a state a of a is for b the compelling 
occasion, on which this b produces from its own 
nature a new state p, which as a rule need have 
no similarity whatever to the state a of a ; for, as 
even the most ordinary experience teaches, one and 
the same influence a has very different results ac- 
cording as the objects b, c, d are different, on which 
it falls. 


We have therefore no justification at all for setting 
up conditions, which must be fulfilled, if an a is to 
have any effect whatever on a b. The likeness or 
similarity of the two imparts to the possibility of 
their action no greater comprehensibility or proba- 
bility ; and their unlikeness, or even their perfect 
incomparability, no less. 

68. The demand is frequently made for come 
bond between body and soul, in order to comprehend 
the possibility of their reciprocal action. 

But ' bonds ' are needed only to unite those things 
which do not of themselves act on each other, but 
are indifferent to each other. The binding power 
of the bond depends, however, upon this, that its 
single parts are attached to each other; and this 
fact we cannot always be explaining over and over 
by new bonds between ; but in the last result it 
depends upon a perfectly immediate reciprocal ac- 
tion of the single elements which hold each other 
fast without any conceivable machinery intervening. 

We should therefore make use of a bond between 
body and soul only in case we regarded them as 
wholly indifferent to each other. But even if we 
had such a bond, it would be of no service to us ; 
for the definite forms in which the body would ac- 
cordingly act on the soul, and the soul on it, would 


by no means proceed from the bare conception of the 
aforesaid bond, but only from the specific natures of 
the two elements bound together, and of their obli- 
gation to reciprocal action. 

Instead, therefore, of one such vain bond, we assert 
that the two are connected by very many peculiarly 
constituted bonds ; each single reciprocal action, to 
which they are by their natures necessitated, is such 
a bond, which holds them together, not in a merely 
general but in a definite way. 

69. We proceeded upon the concession that the 
conception of the soul as an immaterial essence is 
possible. But now even this is denied. Only 
things of sense, it is said, are accredited by imme- 
diate observation ; supersensible matters are invari- 
ably products of phantasy. 

But only the most elementary view of nature would 
believe in the sensible properties of colors, taste, 
hardness, etc., as directly constituting the real being 
of the ' Thing ' apparent. It is now a long time since 
the conviction gained ground that all these predi- 
cates are only phenomena which arise in our con- 
sciousness at the excitation of an external some- 
what. What, on the other hand, this external 
reality is, through whose influence these predicates 
come to be, they do not inform us. 


The science of nature therefore -very early re- 
nounced the pretence of having actual intuitions 
through the senses of the simplest elements of real- 
ity. But in its conception of the atoms, it still for 
a long time thought of them as formally similar to 
bodies perceivable by the senses, such as might be 
supposed to spring from compounding the atoms ; 
that is to say, as being of a very minute and yet of 
a certain extension, and of an unknown and yet 
definite shape, and as filling this small volume with 
a perfect impenetrability. 

Manifold difficulties, in which this conception is 
involved, have also led to the attempt in physics to 
apprehend the atoms as absolutely without extension 
or as points that are distinguished from empty points 
of space merely by their being centres of forces 
which act outward, as well as real points of seizure, 
as it were, for forces that come from without. Such 
a thought has no other meaning than this, that the 
atoms, too, are in themselves supersensible beings : 
that is to say, such beings as are not merely in fact, 
on account of their minuteness, perfectly unapproach- 
able to our perception by the senses, but on account 
of their nature are so to every such perception ; and 
that all the intuitions of sense, which at first appear 
to set before us with exactness what is in itself real, 
are merely secondary phenomena in which the re- 


suits of the reciprocal actions of elements, in them- 
selves wholly supersensible, reach our perception. 

Accordingly it is not the conception of immaterial^ 
but that of material being, which is to be scrupled at ; 
and the gap does not exist, which appears to us at 
first to separate body and soul as two perfectly 
heterogeneous elements, and to render their recipro- 
cal action impossible. 



70. An immaterial real being can have no exten- 
sion in space : it may, however, have a position ; and 
this we define as the point up to which all influences 
from without must be transplanted, in order to make 
an impression on this being, and from which alone 
outward this being exercises immediate effects upon 
its environment. In reference to the soul no one 
doubts that it is present only within its own body ; 
for it is only here that it acts immediately upon 
the whole external world, although solely through 
the mediation of the body. 

71. Now the attempt has been made to conceive 
of the spatial relation of the soul to the body, in the 
first place, according to the analogy of our ideas con- 
cerning the omnipresence of God. 

By this we mean that God is alike near to every 
point of the world with his immediate activity ; that 
consequently, his will is neither compelled to traverse 
any way whatever in order to reach an element of 
the universe z ; nor does it need any intermediate 
agency, in order to act on z. But we by no means 


intend by this that the infinite extension of the 
arena which God thus controls belongs as a spatial 
property to God himself. 

Now in just the same way is the soul assumed to 
be present everywhere in its body without being 
itself a space-magnitude. 

The foregoing analogy is, however, wholly unser- 
viceable. We have already (to wit, on the occasion 
of considering the " feelings of double contact") 
seen, by how complicated means it is that nature 
succeeds in producing this illusion, so indispensable 
to the beauty of our life, as though we were present 
immediately sensitive and moving about in every part 
of our body. On the contrary, physiological experi- 
ments show that the soul stands in immediate reci- 
procity with absolutely no more than the central 
organs of the nervous system ; and with all the 
rest of the body only mediately through the nerves 

72. Just as inapplicable is the analogy involved 
in a second way of representation, to which natural 
science accustoms us ; to wit, that of a physical force 
which acts immediately, and without any intervening 
mechanism, in all infinitely remote regions, but with 
a graded intensity, that is, one that diminishes with 
the distance. On account of the first circumstance 


we should be able to say of that body which is the 
conveyer of the force, It is in space everywhere ; 
on account of the second, we still ascribe to it a 
limited situation in space, namely, there where its 
action is greatest. 

But the smallest interruption in the continuity of 
a nerve, even in the closest proximity to the brain, 
abolishes the reciprocal action of the soul with that 
region of the body over which the same nerve is 
expanded. It has therefore no power which acts at 
a distance, such as would be able to stretch itself 
over and beyond this interruption. 

Nothing remains for us then but the third analogy, 
namely, that of effects which follow upon contact by 
communication of motions. 

73. The last analogy has been chiefly followed, 
and search has been made for such a point in the 
central organs, in which all the sensory nerves unite, 
in order there to render their messages, and from 
which all the motor nerves issue forth, in order to 
conduct the excitations there received over to the 

The above-mentioned idea not only has certain 
inner difficulties, but is essentially out of accord 
with our empirical cognition. Not merely is it true 
that no such terminal point for the entire net-work 


of nerves has hitherto been discovered ; but there 
is even the most well-founded cause for the asser- 
tion that it never will be found. 

The question now arises, how we can ever still 
maintain under these circumstances the conception 
of a seat for the soul. 

74. We recur to our original definition of such a 
seat, but we interpret it still further by the following 

We are in error if we say that a being is first in a 
place, and then in consequence thereof is able to act 
on its environment. As long as we continue to 
abstract from the effects, it can by no means be 
made clear, precisely in what the Thing's being at 
this place consists ; and whereby this is distinguished 
from its being at another place, at which the Thing 
would exist exactly as well as at the former place. 
We believe rather that the order of the thoughts 
must be reversed, and we must say : If it is in- 
volved in the nature of a being a, in general to in- 
terchange actions and reactions with b, c, d, then its 
systematic position in the coherency of things is 
determined thereby, and in the spatial arrangement 
of the world it is that point whose immediate envi- 
ronment is constituted by b, c, and d. 

Now in general, the connection of all things may 


be so many-sided that an element a is not merely 
destined to enter into reciprocal action with the 
group b, c, d, but also just as immediately with 
another group p, q, r; while, nevertheless, p, q, r on 
account of other different relations do not possess 
their systematic position with b, c, d, and therefore 
do not have their spatial position in the neighbor- 
hood of the latter, but separated by a distance from 
them. In this case the active element a will have 
not one but, with equal right, several special positions 
without on this account itself falling into a multitude 
of pieces ; precisely as we should think of God as 
present everywhere and still not in Himself ex- 
tended. Omnipresence would, of course, compre- 
hend all space : in this case, on the contrary, we 
should be compelled to require in particular that 
several positions separated in space should be as- 
cribed to the immaterial being ; and that these 
positions should be separated from each other by 
intervening spaces in which its presence would not 
be found in the same way. But no special difficulty 
is involved in this. We have merely to overcome 
the customary propensity of our power of imagina- 
tion, which might persist in apprehending the im- 
material being after the model of a corporeal atom, 
and in ascribing to it, on this account, a visible 
circumscribed magnitude and form, and accordingly 
also only one position in space. 


75. The question still remains unanswered, Why 
then should single parts of the brain have the 
preference of being ' seats ' of the soul, and other 
parts, on the contrary, not be thus preferred ; 
although still, so far as we know, there exist no 
significant differences in their structure or compo- 
sition ? 

On this point, too, we are compelled to alter a 
customary representation. An element a is not 
destined to stand at all times in reciprocal rela- 
tions with a certain other sort of element b, and 
not with a third sort c ; the rather is every being 
a interested, or excited to action, only through what 
happens in other beings. If this X, on occurring, 
is, according to the plan of the whole arrangement 
of the world, the conditioning premise from which 
the new state is to originate in a, then it, too, does 
originate ; and in such case a experiences the in- 
fluence of this X, whether this came about in b or 
in c. If, on the contrary, X is not such premise, 
then a remains in equilibrium and unaltered, whether 
now X takes place in a b or in a c. 

Now just so will the soul enter into reciprocal 
action only with those points of the central organs 
in which all the combinations, equilibrations, and 
elaborations of the physical excitations are executed ; 
and only after the perfecting of the former do the 


latter, it is assumed, reach the soul's cognition or 
become legitimate encitements of its activity. 

76. If therefore any one should be able to 
observe with a microscope what goes on in the 
interior of the brain, just as accurately as the ana- 
tomical structure admits of being observed, super- 
ficially everything would appear precisely as mate- 
rialism asserts. That is to say, at different points 
of the brain individual psychical processes would 
be set up on occasion of the physical processes 
taking their course thither ; and nowhere would a 
being of the soul in its unity show itself as the 
object of such contemplation. 

But the interpretation, which materialism gives of 
this matter of fact, we do not share. These psychi- 
cal functions do not originate from those physical 
processes as an addendum, or a product, that carries 
its own explanation with it : they are invariably 
possible only in case we apprehend these latter as 
mere stimuli which act upon the peculiar nature 
of the soul's essential being, everywhere present 
here and not bound to one seat of the form of a 
mathematical point, and which cause it to exer- 
cise its own capacities. 



77. Mere experience could only lead us to the 
thought : The soul originates with the body, and 
with it perishes as well. Necessities of quite an- 
other order, which are foreign to this theoretical 
investigation, have excited the wish to make sure 
of its immortality; and the attempt has been made 
to do this by subordinating it under a conception 
of ' Substance/ which would per se contain the 
predicate of indestructibility. 

Such subordination leads, in the first place, to two 
inconvenient consequences, which one would gladly 
avoid. That is to say, the reasons on account of 
which the human soul might be subordinated under 
this conception of substance would also hold good 
for every animal soul. On the other hand, inde- 
structibility would include, not merely immortality 
after death, but also unending pre-existence before 
the present life ; and with the latter we neither 
know how to make a beginning, nor do we find in 
our experience any evidence for such a previous life. 

Finally, moreover, the question would be asked : 


Whether, in case the conception of substance in- 
cludes such an impossibility of ceasing to be, it is 
of any use whatever, and not a mere figment of the 
brain ; and whether, in the former case, the soul cer- 
tainly belongs to what must be included under the 

78. Now 4 Substance ' is in fact nothing but a 
title which is attached to everything that has the 
power to act on something else, and be acted upon 
by something else, to experience different states, 
and in the interchange of such states to do work 
as a permanent unity. 

On the contrary, it is a figment of the brain to 
believe we can discover yet further explanations on 
the point, how the capacity for such mode of behav- 
ior is brought to pass ; and to seek for such expla- 
nation in thinking of a bit of rigid and indestructible 
substance as being included in everything, and of 
all the rest of the properties or states, by which one 
such thing is distinguished from another, as being 
grouped about this firm kernel. If one attempts 
actually to make use of such a conception, it uni- 
formly shows itself completely useless in explain- 
ing the phenomena for the sake of which it was 
assumed. It does not admit of being shown how 
such a substantial kernel could consist with the 


manifoldness and changeableness of the properties 
of which it is asserted (and this, too, again with a 
word devoid of meaning) that they 'inhere' in it. 

Briefly expressed, then : Things are not ' things ' 
by means of a so-called substance being concealed 
in them ; but, because they are such as they are, 
and behave themselves in the manner in which they 
do behave themselves, they produce for our imagina- 
tion the false appearance, as though such a substance 
existed in them as the basis of their behavior. 

Now the soul, so long as it does not merely 
exhibit itself to others as a "unit-subject" of its 
interior states, but is itself conscious thereof, de- 
serves in the fullest measure this title of a "sub- 
stance " or real being. 

On the other hand, nothing whatever justifies us 
in making the assertion that just this capacity, if it 
is once exercised, must then eternally be exercised, 
and cannot in the course of things be originated or 
perish again. 

79. To reach a decision on this point, we bor- 
row from Metaphysic a conviction that stands in 
opposition to the ideas to which the investigation 
of nature has accustomed us. 

For the latter believes that the course of the 
world admits of being explained by the assumption 


of a multiplicity of original elements, which are held 
to be independent of each other in such manner that 
each could exist alone even if all the others were 
not ; which, further, have in themselves no necessary 
relation to one another, but in fact have either been 
subsequently drawn into such relations or have stood 
in them even from eternity ; and which, finally, are 
compelled by general laws to exercise this reciprocal 
action in this relation, and another action in a differ- 
ent relation. 

On the contrary, we affirm briefly this : No influ- 
ence whatever of one element on another is really 
conceivable without self-contradiction, as long as 
these elements are thought of as originally inde- 
pendent of each other and devoid of relation toward 
each other. Such influence is only possible in case 
we consider them all simply as modifications, de- 
pendent and constantly related to each other, of 
One single truly existent Being, which is in them 
all as the ground of their existence ; the ground, 
further, on account of which they are compelled to 
effectuate somewhat definite under fixed conditions, 
and the ground, finally, of this also, that these pre- 
scribed obligations are able to attain to accomplish- 


Or, to express the same truth in another way, 
all ' Things ' are what they are, and accomplish what 


they do accomplish, not by means of a natural right 
which became theirs previous to the existence of the 
world, so that subsequently the world was compelled 
to govern itself accordingly, and could only actualize 
that which these privileged ones allowed. The rather 
is it true that Things are and accomplish all, only 
on the commission, as it were, of this One true 
Being ; and all which we commonly regard as 
ultimate unchangeable elements and laws of the 
world's course, has this unchangeableness and this 
value, too, only on commission of the plan for the 
actualization of which it is bound to serve. 

80. The foregoing way of apprehending the 
matter has not been devised, for the first time, in 
favor of our present inquiry. It is rather necessary, 
in order to comprehend even the most insignificant 
action of one element on another. But it admits of 
an application to the case we are now considering. 

It may even be a part of the plan of actuality, 
that over a wide domain all its changing phenomena 
are effectuated by means of combinations of unalter- 
able elements and according to the rule of universal 
laws. Accordingly, there exist in the world these 
constant masses, the activity of which always results 
in like manner, and which are nothing else but 
" actions " uniformly maintained or exercised by the 
aforesaid sole Existence. 


But in the same way it may be a part of the be- 
fore-mentioned plan, that other elements make their 
appearance only at definite points of time in the 
world's course, that is to say, when all the prelim- 
inary conditions are actualized, which, according to 
the plan of the whole, may form the basis of their 
existence. But nothing hinders these elements, too, 
in case they have originated, from maintaining them- 
selves as real units, indivisible and independent 
centres of ingoing and outgoing effects. 

Among such elements do we reckon the Soul. 
But a further inquiry, as to how this its independence 
is brought about, we dismiss as quite out of place. 
We should just as little be able to specify how it is 
reached, or brought about, that one of those con- 
stant elemental masses can exist and maintain itself 

81. At the place where, and at the moment 
when, the germ of an organic being is formed amid 
the coherent system of the physical course of nature, 
this fact furnishes the encitement or the moving 
reason, which induces that all-comprehending One 
Being, present not otherwheres, but even here, 
to beget from himself, besides, as a consistent sup- 
plement to such physical fact, the soul belonging to 
this organism. 


Superficially regarded, therefore, Materialism has 
the right of it here also ; that is to say, the soul also 
originates in and with the body, but, in sooth, not of 
and through it. And all inquiries are useless con- 
cerning the manner in which it is, as it were, joined 
from the outside with the body. 

Touching Immortality, on the other hand, it is 
no subject for theoretical decision. In general we 
simply hold the principle to be valid, that everything 
which has once originated will endure forever, as 
soon as it possesses an unalterable value for the 
coherent system of the world ; but it will, as a 
matter of course, in turn cease to be, if this is not 
the case. However, this principle is wholly inappli- 
cable in our human hands ; we cannot presume to 
tell in what the merits might consist which justify 
such duration ; or in what the deficiency which 
makes it impossible. 



82. In investigating the ' Essence ' of a Thing 
we may wish to know, in the first place : whereby 
this thing is distinguished from others ; and second : 
how it is possible for the content thus designated to 
exist as real Thing. 

The second inquiry admits of being answered in 
the case of objects whose distinguishing character 
consists simply in the shaping of a previously ex- 
isting material ; we are then wont to consider just 
this material as the essence and the aforesaid form 
as only unessential. But a simple material itself, 
like every simple essence, can never consist of some- 
what other than it is itself. 

On the other hand, to specify how it is brought 
about that any so-called ' content ' whatever can be, 
act, and be acted upon, as a ' Thing,' we have already 
often declined to consider, as an unanswerable 
inquiry. Accordingly, our discourse can only be 
of this : by what peculiar character, which consti- 


tutes its essence, the soul is distinguished from 
other substances. 

83. We have no other way of learning what 
is the nature of any Thing, even that of matter, 
except by its achievements and its effects. It is 
therefore no fault of psychology, but the most nat- 
ural way of procedure, to determine in this manner, 
by reasoning backward, the nature of the soul. 

The first systematic attempt at this, the doctrine 
of the soul's faculties, has certainly remained without 
result. The various psychical achievements were 
classified according to their similarity ; and it was 
then of course correct to assume, besides, a ' faculty ' 
for every such group of actual achievements. But 
this conception was not so fruitful as that of ' force ' 
for the science of physics. For the physicist does 
not speak of force seriously until the time when 
he is able to specify, not merely a form of action, 
but also a law according to which the magnitude 
of the action alters in proportion to the alteration 
of certain conditions. 

The faculties of the soul, on the contrary, were 
merely abstracted from the form of the achievements 
themselves, and no law for them was known ; it 
amounted, accordingly, merely to the tautology that, 
for example, the faculty of sensation produces sen- 


sations ; but nothing was known as to what sensa- 
tions under what conditions. 

On the other hand, physics is only so far perfected 
as it is possible to reduce all natural processes to 
mere motions of masses. By means of such specific 
likeness in what happens, it is possible accurately 
to determine the result which originates from 
the simultaneous co-operation of different forces 
upon the same object. On the contrary, the psychi- 
cal states could be reduced to no such common 
measure. What must originate, therefore, in case 
an act of the faculty of feeling coincides with an 
act of the faculty of representation, does not admit 
in the least of being conjectured on grounds of this 
theory. What is known on that point is known 
independently of the theory, on grounds of expe- 
rience and knowledge of men. 

Neither of these two deficiencies is to be set aside 
by any improved carrying out of this theory. It 
can therefore hold good simply as a summary cata- 
logueing of spiritual achievements, but not as an 

84. The unproductiveness of the above-men- 
tioned theory, and the slight account that it took 
of the connection of the different faculties, which 
it nevertheless always regarded as expressions of a 


soul that is a unity in the strictest sense, induced 
Herbart to attempt to demonstrate all spiritual ac- 
tivities and all these faculties as a series of results 
that spring successively from a single primitive 
activity of the soul. 

The soul, he held, is one of those supersensible 
real beings of perfectly simple quality, which left to 
themselves alone would always remain unmoved the 
same, but which, on the other hand, would exercise 
activities of ' self-preservation ' as soon as they are 
exposed to external stimuli whose influence, if it 
took effect, would cause a disturbance of their nature. 
And indeed these acts of self-preservation are differ- 
ent in kind, according as the disturbances through 
which they are induced are different. Of the rest 
of real things, for example, those which lie at 
the basis of matter, we are not able to know 
precisely in what their self-preservation consists. 
Of the soul, on the contrary, we do know, or believe 
that we are bound to assume, that they are univer- 
sally in the form of the idea. By means of physical 
stimuli, whose influence Herbart did not follow 
further, these inducements to self-preservation are 
imparted to the soul, and the ideas here originating 
that is, simple sensations, of a definite color, of 
a tone, of a taste are now the simple elements out 
of whose further reciprocal action the totality of the 
rest of the soul's life is assumed to originate. 


We here simply refer with gratitude to the ex- 
planations previously alluded to, which the course 
of ideas has received, in accordance with general 
mechanical laws, by means of the above-mentioned 
view. On the other hand, we cannot accord with 
the attempt to derive all the soul's higher activities 
as self-evident mechanical products of this course 
of ideas without presupposing any one of those 
faculties that have not as yet attained to an expres- 
sion of themselves. This principle was not at all 
necessary, for Herbart himself confessed that even 
the simple sensations divide up into quite different 
classes, colors, tones, tastes, etc., no one of which 
is deducible from the others ; that the soul, there- 
fore, really possesses quite distinct faculties which 
we are not able really to deduce from its unity, 
although we certainly hold fast by such unity. 
Nothing therefore would have hindered the as- 
sumption that these simple sensations also and their 
relations to each other acted as new stimuli upon 
the whole soul, and then called forth in it wholly 
new reactions which could by no means be derived 
from the aforesaid inducements alone. 

Such an assumption as the foregoing could be 
refuted only by the demonstration that it is unnec- 
essary, and that in reality all higher spiritual activi- 
ties are perfectly self-evident consequences of the 


mutual impact, as it were, of the simple ideas. Such 
demonstration has not succeeded; on which point 
reference may be made to the following examples. 

85. We have already in previous articles found 
it to be impossible that a soul, were it simply an 
ideating being, should apprehend the relations be- 
tween its ideas otherwise than they are, and there- 
fore as spatial while they are really non-spatial. 
If it nevertheless does so, then it manifestly adds 
out of its own nature to this matter of fact something 
new which does not follow of itself. 

Just as impossible was it to regard attention as 
mere intensity of the idea itself ; for then the subject 
would be wanting, which exercises all those relating 
activities in which every actual work of attention 

Just now we found it quite as impossible to con- 
sider feelings of pleasure or pain as self-evident 
results of the different situations in which the ideas 
can come to be toward each other during their 
course. Were the soul simply an 'ideating being' 
then it would only ideate all these facts, even if 
they contained its own destruction, with accuracy 
and complete indifference. That it takes an inter- 
est therein, is a new fact which must flow from 
another peculiarity of its essential being. 


Finally, no one will be persuaded that what we 
mean when we say, "I will," has no other sig- 
nificance than the arising in consciousness of an 
idea, in a struggle with forces which seek to hin- 
der it. However obscure and mysterious the other 
thing which we mean by that expression may be, 
namely, that in this case not a mere occurrence 
but a deed is before us, which is accomplished by 
ourselves as the one subject of our entire world of 
ideas ; still the fact itself, which we do thus des- 
ignate and discover in immediate inner experience, 
cannot be got out of the way by this hypothe- 
sis, utterly failing as it does, to explain how even 
the simple appearance of such acting (in contrast 
with mere happening) can originate in our view. 

We accordingly conclude with the following con- 
viction : It was possible and necessary to entrust 
to the soul as a unity much more than the 
bare capacity for having ideas ; and even those 
acts of self-preservation of the primary order, which 
arose as * ideas' in consequence of external stim- 
uli, could subsequently by means of their relations 
and combinations come to be new internal stimuli 
by which the other capacities of the soul, not pre- 
viously taken into account, were induced to express 


86. We should therefore be compelled to sur- 
render the attempt to comprehend the origin of the 
higher spiritual activities from the lower. Instead 
of such a mechanical construction, however, an- 
other way of apprehending the matter admits of 
being substituted, a way which would show that, 
in any case, the collective whole of spiritual expres- 
sions let them originate as they will fit into 
one another, and are collectively necessary in order 
perfectly to actualize the Idea which expresses the 
soul's destiny. Such an attempt did the idealistic 
systems make ; and, last, that of Hegel. 

The world in general, they held, is no mere fact, 
but has also a meaning. In this totality every in- 
dividual has its definite place ; and the essence of 
each Thing consists, strictly speaking, only in the 
partial idea whose actualization is committed to it, 
and by means of which it makes its own contribu- 
tion to the uninterrupted fulfilment of the highest 
or total Idea of the world. Could we now formu- 
late for this highest Idea an accurate and exhaus- 
tive expression, then we should be able to deduce 
from it the shape of each Thing, the collective 
whole of the capacities necessary to it, and, finally, 
the general laws according to which these must act 
in order to attain the aforesaid destiny. 

But since the foregoing presupposition does not 


admit of fulfilment, instead of a scientific deduc- 
tion that is accessible to proof and counter-proof, 
only such an one can be secured as, with more or 
less of taste, greater or less of aesthetic justifica- 
tion, places the individual spiritual activities in con- 
nection with a more or less profoundly apprehended 
expression which is thought to have been discovered 
for the aforesaid highest Idea. 

The ingenious conceptions, which are after all 
still possible, and which have not been wanting, 
have moreover been rendered one-sided by an his- 
torical circumstance. The inquiry into the kind 
and truth of our cognition, or into the relation 
between subject and object, had so much riveted 
all attention, that the process by which the Exist- 
ent attains to the apprehension of itself that is 
to say, the development of self-consciousness was 
held to be the genuine goal or ultimate content of 
the entire ordering of the world. And now the 
soul, too, appeared destined to solve this problem 
of 'self-mirroring' within the bounds of the earthly 
life ; and the different forms in which this problem 
of pure intelligence is progressively more and more 
completely solved, occupied pretty nearly the whole 
space in psychology. But the content of that 
which is known by sense, intuited, or conceived, 
withdrew on the other hand, as much into the 


background, as all the rest of the soul's life, the 
feelings and efforts ; and the latter themselves came 
again into consideration only in so far as they also 
could be put into relation with the aforesaid for- 
mal problem of self-objectifying. 



87. The life of the soul does not consist in 
the uniform possession but in the changeable ex- 
ercise of its capacities. In this regard we find it 
in manifest dependence on the body ; but for the 
most part attain the possibility of more accu- 
rately defining this dependence only on occasion 
of definite disturbances of the body. 

The observations which may be made on this 
subject admit, however, of three interpretations. 
In the first place, it might be that an organ now 
destroyed has been the productive cause of the 
spiritual function which becomes impossible after 
the destruction of the organ. It might be in the 
second place, that this organ has been the exclu- 
sive medium of those stimuli of which the soul 
has need, in order that it may be induced to the 
exercise of a function that is otherwise comprehen- 
sible only from the soul's own nature. Lastly, and 
in the third place, it might be that the destruction 
of the organ, either immediately or by virtue of the 
alteration by which it is followed in other organs, 
exercises upon the soul a positive effect, although 


of an inhibitory kind ; and thereby prevents for a 
time the expression of a capacity which, in itself 
considered, continues to exist. 

Only the first of these interpretations appears to 
us in itself untenable, on account of the impossi- 
bility of comprehending psychical functions as self- 
evident products of physical processes. But if we 
desired to know how both are to be understood 
simply as united in fact, then one of the two other 
interpretations besides would be necessary in each 
individual case. Only the latter, therefore, need be 
tested further. 

88. If by Consciousness we understand what 
we yet more clearly call our ' waking state,' then 
the question arises, first : Upon what does its 
opposite, namely, unconsciousness, depend, the 
primary example of which is normal sleep. 

Now in relation to this it is perfectly manifest 
that, in general, both the above-mentioned modes 
of explanation are admissible ; but that, still the 
occurrence of sleep (which in the case of healthy 
persons results very quickly, and after having found 
them only a moment since in the full possession 
of their spiritual powers), and the possibility of its 
interruption, does not argue an exhaustion of the 
nervous forces, which would now be unable longer 


to supply the stimuli necessary for the maintenance 
of the waking condition, but rather a positive inhi- 
bition consisting in all manner of minute feelings 
of weariness, that, in the aggregate, diminish the 
interest of the soul in the carrying-on of the life 
of thought, and that have attained a heightened 
effectiveness just on account of this surrender of 
the soul to them. 

Sudden unconsciousness from fright appears to 
originate in like manner. Considered as a mere 
physical stimulus, the frightful sight or report is 
very insignificant and harmless. It is only our re- 
flection, which interprets the significance thereof in 
its total connection with our life, that gives to what 
is perceived this power to frighten us. From this 
point on, the course of our spiritual functions may 
immediately be disturbed, and the bodily powerless- 
ness which follows thereupon may simply be the 
reaction of the psychical disturbances. 

Even unconsciousness in sickness, or after in- 
juries of the brain, does not wholly exclude this 
view of the subject. The inhibitory influences 
are partially observable in the form of pain ; this 
is not, however, necessary. Just as we observe 
nothing whatever of the states prevailing in our 
nerves previous to sensation, but only the latter 
itself appears in consciousness, so may conscious- 


ness also vanish without the work of the forces 
which inhibited it needing previously to become 
an object of perception. 

89. Manifold thought has been bestowed in re- 
cent times upon the effectiveness of certain stimuli 
in maintaining the state of waking, or of their ab- 
sence in producing unconsciousness. 

From experiments in hypnotism it has been con- 
cluded that, by the complete exclusion of external 
sense-stimuli, and by the prevention of motion, the 
whole spiritual movement becomes so depressed 
that the waking state cannot be maintained, but 
complete unconsciousness takes place, a process 
which in a few cases has been observed even in 
human beings, but which affords no trustworthy 

As for the rest, we know that if our inner move- 
ment of thought, which is maintained by some in- 
terest or other, does not take place, therefore, 
in states of ennui, even the influence of exter- 
nal stimuli that do still actually take place, does 
not prevent our falling asleep. 

Positive influences too are known, which dispose 
us to falling asleep ; such as a number of regu- 
larly recurring rhythmic movements of the body, 
rocking, stroking, combing the head, constant look- 


ing at large illuminated uniform surfaces, the con- 
vergence of the axes of the eyes in squinting, etc. 
Finally, the manipulations of the mesmerist be- 
long under this head. But all these methods are 
not a fit basis for critical judgment, on account of 
the fact that the instances of their inefficacy are 
extraordinarily frequent, and they consequently ad- 
mit of the assumption of some adjunct condition 
of their result as yet unknown. 

But in all cases, at the very most, only the 
external means on the one hand, and its effect on 
the other hand, are known to us ; the intermediate 
processes which connect the former with the latter 
are quite obscure. 

90. If the minimum of the waking state that 
is, the sensation of external impressions be pres- 
ent, it is not necessary on this account that the next 
higher activity, that is, the consciousness of the 
relations between the single impressions, should 
also be connected therewith. It is well known that, 
in our quite ordinary experience, this latter action 
is often wanting ; for example, in cases when the 
impressions are foreign to a train of thought which 
we are attentively following, or in cases when our 
mind is moved with painful emotions Moreover, 
there are also pathological disturbance , of a nature 


indeed as yet unknown, which form the conditions 
( 25) of this incapacity (recently called ' soul-blind- 
ness ') for reflective combination or for the under- 
standing of impressions perceived by the senses. 

91. The unconsciousness of sleep is in general 
of varied depth, which admits of being measured by 
the magnitude of the excitations that are necessary 
for waking. It is, however, very frequently imper- 
fect in so far as, for example, excitements of the 
sense of hearing and of touch still act on the con- 
sciousness and occasion the corresponding sensa- 

Nevertheless, since in sleep there is an absence 
of the attention guided by design, which, during 
waking hours and principally by the help of the 
sense of sight, is conscious of the entire connection 
of the surrounding reality, those sensations now re- 
produce, without any selection of what is probable, 
such others* as they cohere with in respect to their 
bare content, or as have been brought into coher- 
ency by means of some earlier train of ideas. 

Accordingly, that phantastic character dreams 
have is set agoing, which very frequently gather 
close around some small nucleus of an actual sen- 
sation details of scenery that, although in accord 
with it, have no connection at all with the reality. 


Such activity of consciousness in sleep admits of 
being heightened so that questions may be answered 
correctly ; and it is, therefore, so far forth made pos- 
sible for the spirit of one who is awake to direct to 
some extent the course of the dreamer's thought, 
and perhaps even his actions. For in such a case 
no collective consciousness of actual surroundings, 
and of one's personal situation in them, stands in 
the way of the immediate transition of the idea of 
an action, when once aroused, into actual accom- 

92. For the retention of ideas once acquired 
and therefore for the fact of Memory, we should not 
suppose that a corporeal basis is needed ; since even 
in the case of material elements we are unable to 
demonstrate how far it is exactly their materiality 
which is the basis of the observed persistence of 
their states. On this account we might as well 
ascribe this property to every immaterial subject 
which is at all capable of acting and being acted 

But the necessity for thinking of innumerable 
different impressions as enduring unmixed in the 
perfect unity of the soul would favor the other 
thought, that this problem could be much better 
satisfied by a great multiplicity of elements. We 


should not think of it as though the impressions left 
behind them a state of quiescence as an after-effect. 
We should rather follow the analogy of the vibrations 
of light and sound, and conceive of motions which 
extend over many elements and, in spite of single 
disturbances, are further transplanted after their 
intersection. Only it would be impossible to make 
this general analogy of any value in detail. Each 
image of an approaching object would at every 
instant be the source for new vibrations which are 
not covered by the preceding ones. How one idea 
of the object is to originate from these ; again, how 
two simultaneous motions are to be associated with 
one another in such manner that the renewal of the 
one sets the other agoing again, without resulting in 
a special new impact for the latter ; finally, how it 
comes about that a motion which belongs to a 
partial impression of a composite image re-awakens 
exactly those others which belong with it as other 
parts of the same image ; for the answer to all 
these questions there is a complete lack of physical 

If, accordingly, a corporeal basis of memory 
appears unnecessary, still pathological observations 
show that such a basis nevertheless exists in some 
manner or other. The fact that those events which 
immediately precede an attack of illness easily 


remain forgotten may be put upon the ground that 
their mental picture has been associated with a 
general feeling of illness, which no longer exists 
after recovery, so that such recollections want the 
lever that could reproduce them. But other facts, 
such as the incapacity for recalling certain groups 
of ideas that are substantially similar for example, 
surnames or single parts of speech have hitherto 
been inaccessible to explanation. 

93. We ascribe considerable influence over the 
course of all the spiritual states to the Tempera- 
ments ; by which we understand nothing more 
than the differences, in kind and degree, of excit- 
ability for external impressions ; the greater or less 
extent to which the ideas excited reproduce others ; 
the rapidity with which the ideas vary ; the strength 
with which feelings of pleasure and pain are asso- 
ciated with them ; finally, the ease with which ex- 
ternal actions associate with these inner states 

Immeasurably different as the temperaments, in 
this meaning of the word, are, nevertheless the four 
well-known ones may be mentioned as the most 
definite types : the sanguine with its great rapid- 
ity of change and lively excitability ; the phleg- 
matic, with slightly varied and slow, but not on 


this account, weak reactions ; the choleric, with 
one-sided receptivity and great energy in single 
directions ; instead of the melancholic and prefera- 
bly, the sentimental, distinguished by special re- 
ceptivity for the feeling of the value of all possible 
relations, but indifferent toward bare matter of fact. 
One must guard one's self against confusing the 
temperaments with various pathological conditions 
or peculiarities of character ; although it is perfectly 
obvious that each has its own peculiar strong and 
weak sides, for moral culture and bodily health. 
Concerning the corporeal basis of temperaments we 
know nothing decisive. 

94. Phrenology or cranioscopy has believed that 
it could demonstrate a series of organs for the indi- 
vidual spiritual functions. Its belief is, indeed, with- 
out any foundation in so far as it separated these 
organs in space and sought to define their position ; 
on the contrary, it was certainly not entirely base- 
less, when it regarded certain external formations - 
for example, of the skull merely as indications 
which betray and guarantee the fact that conditions, 
otherwise wholly unknown, exist, on which depend 
the realization or the particular intensity of the 
aforesaid functions, in a manner not further de- 
monstrable but given as matter of fact. 


It was moreover prevented from making such a 
useful collection of facts, by another fault. Only 
those functions or talents could profitably be taken 
into account, the meaning of which is unambigu- 
ous, and which can neither well be concealed when 
present, nor counterfeited when absent for exam- 
ple, musical, artistic, mathematical talents ; of all of 
which we have examples enough as inherited within 
a family. On the contrary, characteristics which 
can on?y be estimated by a refined knowledge of 
men, and even then never with certainty, and which 
in a given case may be the product not merely of 
natural disposition but of education and of accident, 
are not at all adapted for being determined in this 
way, although they have been most frequently so 

95. A sensorium commune, and in more recent 
times, a motorium commune have been distinguished. 

A necessary function for the first of the two might 
perhaps be found in this, that the individual impres- 
sions do not as such become an object for the soul's 
cognition, but only after combinations or other 
adjustments have taken place. This work of elabo- 
ration the organ would have to accomplish ; a mere 
collecting of the impressions in one place would 
seem superfluous. Now how far such a process 


extends we do not know ; apparently it accords with 
what was previously said in reference to our space- 
intuitions, to which perhaps a greater part of the 
brain is appropriated. 

It would be required of the motorium commune 
that it should combine the individual motor nerve- 
roots with each other in such various ways that a 
series of subordinated centres originates, each of 
which needs only a single excitation in order simul- 
taneously to set agoing several motions that are com- 
bined in a purposeful way. But the nature of the 
influence which the soul itself exercises upon these 
points is certainly incorrectly represented, if we con- 
ceive of impulses as proceeding from the soul, that 
are of the same species and distinguished in their 
effects merely by the direction which they take, 
and hence by the different terminal points which 
they reach. To determine such a direction would 
be impossible for the soul without a knowledge of 
the structure of the brain, with which we cannot 
credit it. We therefore assert, on the contrary, 
that every idea of a motion a, which originates in 
the soul, is a qualitatively different state from the 
other idea of a motion b. To a, accordingly, be- 
longs a resulting state a, to Ib another, p. These 
two states could only originate in those points of 
the nervous mass, which by their organization are 


exactly capable of being stimulated to produce them ; 
just as a glass, for example, resounds only to those 
tones which, on its being struck, it would produce 
by virtue of its own tension. The impulses of the 
soul do not therefore need to be directed, but spon- 
taneously find the places where they are effective ; 
naturally, when the case is rightly understood, in 
such a way that they do not have to traverse a 
certain distance from a given point to that place. 

In similar manner should we conceive of the func- 
tion of the organ of speech the only one which has 
thus far been discovered with any great certainty at 
a definite spot in the hemispheres of the large brain. 
Extirpation of this spot destroys the capacity for 
combining the representative ' sound-pictures ' of a 
word with the excitement of the motions in the 
muscles of speech, as would be required for the 
actual utterance of the word. Although we can in 
this case form but little conception of the kind of 
action which constitutes the function of this organ, 
we are yet more in the dark as to how such a dis- 
turbance of its action can be brought about as is 
presented to us in the type of disease called 
* aphasia.' 

96. For all the higher spiritual capacities, which 
consist in judgment of the relations of given concep- 


tions, we neither know how empirically to demon- 
strate a definite bodily organ, nor should we know 
how to conceive precisely what, that is of any use, 
such an organ could contribute toward the solution 
of the most essential part of this problem that is, 
the pronouncing of the judgment itself. It is con- 
ceivable, on the other hand, that these higher activi- 
ties might presuppose the complete and clear repre- 
sentation of the content about which the judgment 
is to be passed; and, consequently, also the undis- 
turbed function of those organs which contribute 
first to perception by the senses, then to its repro- 
duction and combination with other perceptions, 
and, finally, to the appropriate attachment of feel- 
ings of value to each of them. 

97. There remains a large number of narratives 
concerning extraordinary spiritual activity in states 
of bodily ailment. The various points thereof are 
not all alike unworthy of belief. 

The assertion that there are cases of an imme- 
diate (without the agency of any physical medium) 
'rapport' between consciousness and distant parts 
of the external world, does not admit of refutation 
a priori ; for all effects through media must, in the 
last analysis, be based upon immediate effects. Only 
experience can teach us where such effects are 


met with, and where not ; and it certainly does 
teach us that the entire spiritual life, awake and 
healthy, and so accessible to safe experiment, is 
universally connected with the external world only 
through physical media. 

On the other hand, the assumption is at all events 
senseless, that the precise phenomena which are sup- 
posed to be perceived can be explained in the lump 
by the efflux and influx of an animal magnetism. 

Again, it is not impossible that the same sim- 
ple sensation for example, that of light may also 
originate in other nerves which are not specifically 
designed for it ; on the contrary, it is quite impos- 
sible that an orderly apprehension of a multiplicity 
of sensations for example, the reading of a letter 
-should result through the nerves of the skin, 
which are not (like the optic nerve) constructed 
for such a combination of impressions. 

It is possible, finally, that all manner of spir- 
itual functions take place with more liveliness 
in such pathological conditions as diminish the 
regular intercourse with the external world, and 
thereby remove all the minute circumspection and 
timorousness which in ordinary life oppose the 
exercise of a given capacity. In such cases for 
example, when problems previously insoluble are 
solved in somnambulance this achievement is 


never accomplished except with the help of the 
capacities which have been gained in waking life. 
Finally, that in such states nothing higher is at- 
tained than would be attainable to ordinary human 
nature, is shown by the insignificant content of all 
the revelations alleged to be received in them ; as 
well as by the fact that the many examples of such 
cases in history have never been allied with any 
advance in our knowledge. 



98. The requirement that we should speak of a 
' soul ' is of course first made upon us at the point 
where facts would be incomprehensible without this 
assumption. In reality, however, the endowing of 
things with a soul may extend further than this 

In fact all Things have been spoken of as though 
endowed with souls ; but this thought, for which we 
may have good grounds, has thus far been unfruitful 
for the explanation of individual phenomena. With 
still greater predilection have 'plant-souls' been 
spoken of (Fechner, " Nanna or the soul-life of plants." 
Leipzig, 1848). And certainly the possession of a 
soul is by no means bound to the centralized struc- 
ture which we observe in the animal and find wanting 
in the plant. Nevertheless, the more the organiza- 
tion of the plant and consequently also the expres- 
sions by means of which it might make intelligible 
to us whatever inner life it happens to have, vary 
from such structure, so much the less is it possible 


to construct from this fancy, however correct, an 
object of science. 

The animal kingdom alone remains, therefore, as 
affording us an ascending series of spiritual life. 

99. It would be an error to regard all animal 
souls as beings of originally the same sort, which 
were merely afterwards either equipped with more 
or fewer faculties, or else adapted for their greater 
or less elevation and for the peculiarities of their 
spiritual culture, by the variety of the external im- 
pressions made upon them. As before, so now we 
consider the word ' Soul ' simply as a title which 
belongs to all beings that have an experience of 
their own inner states and reactions upon stimuli, 
in the form of ideas, feelings, and acts of will. But 
what is expressed in this common term that is, 
the peculiar essence of the soul may be as radi- 
cally different as we conceive gold, silver, and lead 
originally to be, although they all have the power 
of expressing themselves only by differences in de- 
gree of the same physical transactions, gravity, 
cohesion, hardness, etc. 

The question may arise as to where we begin to 
deal with the Instinct of animals ; under which is 
to be reckoned not merely certain wonderful artistic 
impulses, but, properly speaking, the entire typical 


mode of life of each species of animals. Perhaps, 
especially in the lower classes of animals, the souls 
are by no means destined, to the same extent as 
human souls, for learning from experience ; but, in 
accordance with their bodily organization, have an 
original content of consciousness, by which they are 
controlled just as we sometimes are by an idea that 
has arisen perchance in a dream. But this assump- 
tion cannot be turned to further profit. As an ad- 
ditional aid in explanation it is to be said further, 
that, in case of a wholly different structure of the 
nervous system, the vegetative processes, of which 
we remain entirely unconscious, are in the lower ani- 
mals permanent objects of perception and points of 
starting for acts which appear to us groundless. 
And not less may there be sensations of external 
circumstances for which we lack the requisite or- 
gans, for example, sensations of minute electrical 
changes in the environment, from which the sensi- 
tiveness to changes of weather results not as fore- 
sight of the future but as perception of what has 
already occurred. 

It would, nevertheless, be incorrect to limit all the 
soul-life of animals to such ' instinct ' ; the rather 
does an accommodation to the circumstances take 
place in their actions, so that obviously the same in- 
terpretation and use of experience as that on which 


our every-day life is based, must have taken place 
in their case also. 

100. If the Intellect and its function namely, 
thinking be considered as characteristic of man, 
what we mean by this is, that the intellect does not 
simply suffer the course of ideas to occur of itself 
as it occurs when regulated by mechanical laws, but 
that it exercises an activity which separates again 
the ideas that do not belong together ; and not 
merely permits those that belong together to re- 
main so, but is likewise conscious, in the form of 
general notions or principles, of those valid rea- 
sons on account of which they belong together. 
We have no reason to credit the animals with such 
a far-reaching reflection, in order to make possible 
their purposeful behavior and the way they adapt 
themselves to circumstances. For them the ordi- 
nary course of ideas is quite sufficient (since even 
in it what belongs together is gradually more firmly 
associated than aught else) ; just as man also in a 
great part of his every-day life entrusts himself to 
it alone. 

If therefore the intellect, or thinking, is held to be 
a distinguishing talent of man, then among the cir- 
cumstances which favor its cultivation the following 
may be adduced as pre-eminent : the long helpless 


childhood, which induces the accumulation of many 
experiences before it makes conduct possible ; the 
skillfulness of the hand which makes man the born 
experimenter and permits a multitude of coherent 
observations ; finally, speech partly because the 
articulate sounds as symbols for ideas fix their con- 
tent, and serve to make the combination of many 
ideas into the object of an inner intuition ; partly, 
and principally, because communication develops 
further the course of each individual's ideas by 
means of the stimulating, enriching, and correcting 
intervention of another's course of thought. 

101. Most definitively is Reason regarded as the 
characteristic of man ; and by this is understood the 
capacity for perceiving eternal verities immediately 
per se, as soon as external experiences have furnished 
consciousness with the matter of fact, about which 
these same verities have to express a judgment, 
principally one of moral approbation or disappro- 

We know nothing about a primary psychological 
origin for these simplest principles of Conscience ; 
and we accordingly have reason to consider them as 
one of those reactions of the original nature of the 
spirit, that are never explicable however often, to 
be sure, the attempt is made by the external 


inducements which they certainly require in order to 
be awakened. It is, moreover, an indifferent matter 
whether they are regarded as endowment inborn or 
as gained by the experience of life ; if only it be 
admitted that, after they have originated within us, 
they are the expressions of a truth which, although 
it is discovered by experience, is with respect to its 
content and its value quite independent thereof. 

102. Moral truths exist in order to determine 
the will. Of this, too, we speak only in the case of 
men ; to the animals we do not impute what they do, 
because we consider it as the natural result of 
instinct, but not as the actions of a will. 

Instincts are primarily nothing but feelings ; and 
that, chiefly, of pain or at any rate uneasiness. They 
are wont, however, to be connected with motor 
impulses, that, in the manner of reflex motions, lead 
to all kinds of movements by which, after more or 
less of error, the means are discovered for doing 
away with the aforesaid pain. It is only after the 
idea of that action by which the pain is relieved, 
has combined with feeling, that an instinct, strictly 
speaking, has been formed, such as has a goal to 
reach and such that the soul of the animal is in- 
stinctively moved by it. 

In the same manner do innumerable so-called 


' actions' of the human life occur, of which we say, 
incorrectly, They are ' willed? But the fact simply 
is, that there has been no will active in order to 
prevent their occurrence. 

It is correct to speak of ' willing,' only in case 
the motives for different actions, and their values, 
have been compared with full consciousness, and 
then a decision for one of them has been reached. 
It is utterly groundless to assert that we even then 
express by the proposition, " I will," nothing more 
than the foresight of the future tense, "I shall." 
This would hold good only in case the verb, whose 
future tense we employ, has itself the significance 
of an action in the very conception of which there 
is inherent an antecedent volition. Otherwise, un- 
prejudiced observation will admit that the peculiar 
approval of the action conceived, or the adoption 
of a decision that proceeds from the personal ego, 
however impossible it may be to construe such 
a thing further, is nevertheless a process in our 
inner life that is given in fact and is explicable by 
no mechanism of ideas. 

103. Even if such a nature of the will be 
recognized, we should still be able to conceive of 
it as determined in every one of its expressions 
according to definite laws, in case we rely solely 
upon explanatory science. 


Now if Ethics believes that it needs freedom of 
the will for establishing its views, then Psychol- 
ogy must at least not be misused in the attempt 
to decide about the possibility of such an assump- 
tion, on grounds of so-called experience. 

It is not true that we find in our self-observa- 
tion the determining causes for all our actions. 
Very frequently we find nothing of the kind. But 
even where we suppose we find such a thing, the 
matter is ambiguous. For if the motives for two 
opposed actions, a and b, have been for a long time 
compared in reflection, and then a decision for a 
has taken place, it must always afterward appear 
as though the reasons for a had prevailed over 
those for b by their very strength in a mechani- 
cal way ; and such an appearance would have to 
originate in exactly the same manner, if the deci- 
sion for a were in fact accomplished by means of 
a perfectly undetermined freedom. 

To Metaphysic must the question be relegated, 
whether in other regards the conception of such a 
freedom is capable of being harmonized with our 
entire way of regarding the world ; and to Prac- 
tical Philosophy, the question whether it promises 
the advantages for the sake of which we venture 
to make it. 




Affections, nature of, 77. 

Animals, souls of, 145 f. ; instinct of, 146 f. 

Aphasia, 141. 

Association of Ideas, fact of, 35 f. ; laws of, 36 f. 

Attention, 40 ff. ; degrees of, 45 f. 


Body, picture of, how formed, 64 f. ; action of, on soul, 98 f. ; bonds of, 101. 
Brain, as seat of soul, nof. 


Color, prismatic arrangement of, nf.; stimuli of sensations of, 23; blind- 
ness to, 25 ; fundamental forms of, 25 ; impressions of, 52 f. 

Comparison, act of, 40 f. ; of sensations, 69. 

Consciousness, ideas in, 29 f., 35 f.; meanings of, 43 f. ; degrees of, 44; of 
self, 78 f. ; psychical unity of, 93 f., 95 f. ; feelings of, 126 f. ; as waking 
state, 130 f.; loss of, 131, 133 f. ; abnormal phenomena of, 142. 

Corti, organ of, 24. 


Ego, the, in self-consciousness, 79 f., 81 f. 

Eye, structure of, 24, 47 f., 59; use in intuiting space, 53 f., 55 f., 59 f. 


Faculties of the soul, 120 f. 

Feelings, of double contact, 71 f. ; definition of the, 73 ; always specific, 75 ; 

of sense, 75 f. ; aesthetic, 76 ; ethical, 76 f. ; of self-consciousness, 124 f. 
Freedom, fact of, 151 f. 

God, omnipresence of, 105, 108 f. 


Hegel, doctrine of the soul, 126. 

Herbart, on attention, 45; and faculties of the soul, 122, 123 f. 

1 56 INDEX. 


Ideas, nature of, 28 ; course of, 28 ff., 31 f., 35 f. ; relation to consciousness, 
28 f. ; mechanics of, 31 f., 34; simple and obscure, 32 f. ; opposition of, 
33 f. ; association of, 35 f., 37 f. 

Immortality of the soul, 112, 114, n8. 

Instinct, 146 f., 150. 

Intellect, characteristic of man, 148 f. 


Knowledge, relative, 40 f. 


Leibnitz, monad of, 96. 

Likeness, origin of idea of, 41 f. 

Local signs, theory of, 52, 53 ff., 61 f. ; of the eye, 53 f. ; of the skin, 62 f. 

Localization, of the eye, 53 f. ; of the skin, 62 f. ; in the whole body, 64 f. 


Materialism, assumptions of, 92 f., 101, 118. 
Matter, incapable of psychical states, 92 f. 
Mechanics, psychical, 31 f., 34. 
Mechanism, and force, 106. 

Memory, phenomena of, 29 f. ; physical basis of, 135 f. 
Motion, concepts of, 58 f. ; judgments of, 70 f. 
Motions, the bodily, 83 ; the reflex, 84 f. ; the mimetic, 85 f. ; the imitative, 

86 f. ; voluntary and involuntary, 87. 
Motorium commune, 139 f. 

Nerve-fibre, excitement of, 6, 12 ; propagation in, 7 f. ; specific energy of, 

22 f. ; kinds of, in the eye, 25. 
Nerve-process, nature physical, 6 f. 
Notion, the general, 42 f. 


Organs, the bodily, as related to consciousness, 129 f.; none, for higher 
faculties, 141 f. 


Phrenology, 138 f. 

Place, of a Thing, 108 ; of a spiritual Being, 108 f. 
Plants, psychical life of, 145. 
Psychology, definition of, i ; kinds of, i f. 


Reason, characteristic of man, 149 f. 

Retina, relation of, to intuitions of space, 49 f., 52 f., 55 f., 59; local signs 
of tS 4f.,6if. 

INDEX. 157 


Sensation, simple, 5 ff. ; processes of, 5 f. ; a psychical experience, 7 f., 9 f. ; 
elements of, 8 f. ; classes of, 10 f. ; intensity of, n f., 14 f., 16 f., 19 f. ; dur- 
ation of, 12 f. ; quality of, 16 f., 52 ; repetition of, 20 f. ; subjective, 21 f. ; 
subjectivity of, 25 f. ; in contrast to ideas, 27, 31 f. ; comparison of, 69; 
differs from feelings, 73. 

Senses, apprehension of world by, 66 ; errors of, 66 f. ; feelings of, 75. 

Sensorium commune, 139 f. 

Sentiments, nature of, 77. 

Skin, localization of sensations in, 62 f. ; Weber's investigations, 63. 

Sleep, causes of, 132, 134 f. 

Somnambulism, 143. 

Soul, life of, I ; relation of, to ideas, 29 f. ; unity of, 30 f., 42, 93 f. ; extension 
in, 48 f.; as subject, 91; connection with body, 91 f., 98 f., 101; states 
of, 96 f., 129 f., 132 f. ; as monad, 96 ; immaterial essence, 98 f., 102, 119 f. ; 
seat of, 105 f., no f. ; time-relations of, 112 f. ; immortality of, 112 f., 118 ; 
origin of, 117; faculties of, 120 f.; destiny of, 126. 

Sound, impressions of, 16 f. 

Space, intuitions of, 47 f., 49 f., 51 f., 55 f. ; deductions of, 51 ; construction 
of world in, 57 f., 64 f. ; depth of, 58 f. ; mental picture of, 65 ; magni- 
tudes in, 67 f. 

States, unconscious, 29 ; as related to ego, 79 f., 96 f. ; not separable from 
soul, ico. 

Stimuli, external, 5 f. ; relations of, to sensations, 10, 14 ff., 18 f. ; sensitive- 
ness to differences in, 13 f., 18 f., 63 f. ; internal, 21 f. ; of color sensations, 
22 f. ; influence of, 24 ; feelings due to, 75. 

Substance, the soul a, 112 f. ; meaning of a, 113 f. 


Temperaments, doctrine of, 137 ; kinds of, 137 f. 

Things, objective properties of, 26 f. ; relation to space, 47 ; and to one 
Being, 115 ; essence of, 119. 

Understanding, work of, 66. 


Vision, after-images of, 12 f. ; quality of sensations in, 17; causes of, 22 f.; 
organ of, 24, 47 f. ; use of eye in, 47 f., 55 f. ; image of, 48, 59 f. ; of re- 
verse objects, 60 f. ; reasons for single, 61. 


Weber, the law of, 15 ff., 19 f. ; investigations of skin sensations, 63. 
Will, relation to bodily motions, 87 f. ; meaning of the, 125 f., 150 f. 

i8 9I 


Empirical Psychology ; 

or, The Human Mind as Given in Consciousness. 

By LAURENS P. HICKOK, D.D., LL.D. Revised with the co-operation of 
JULIUS H. SEELYE, D.D., LL.D., President of Amherst College. 12mo. 
300 pages. Mailing Price, $1.25; Introduction, $1.12; Allowance, 40 

rpHE publishers believe that this book will be found to be re- 
markably comprehensive, and at the same time compact and 
clear. It gives a complete outline of the science, concisely pre- 
sented, and in precise and plain terms. 

It has proved of special value to teachers, as is evidenced by its 
recent adoption for several Reading Circles. 

John Bascom, Pres. of University 
of Wisconsin, Madison : It is an ex- 
cellent book. It has done much good 
service, and, as revised by President 
Seelye, is prepared to do much more. 
(Feb. 3, 1882.) 

I. W. Andrews, Prof, of Intellec- 

tual Philosophy, Marietta College, 
0. : This new edition may be confi- 
dently recommended as presenting a 
delineation of the mental faculties so 
clear and accurate that the careful 
student will hardly fail to recognize 
its truth in his own experience. 
(April 6, 1882.) 

Hichoh's Moral Science. 

By LAURENS P. HICKOK, D.D., LL.D. Revised with the co-operation of 
JULIUS H. SEELYE, D.D., LL.D., President of Amherst College. 12mo. 
Cloth. 288 pages. Mailing Price, $1.25; Introduction, $1.12; Allowance, 
40 cents. 

A S revised by Dr. Seelye, it is believed that this work will be 
found unsurpassed in systematic rigor and scientific precision, 
and at the same time remarkably clear and simple in style. 

G. P. Fisher, Prof, of Church His- 
tory, Yale College : The style is so 
perspicuous, and at the same time so 
concise, that the work is eminently 

adapted to serve as a text-book in 
colleges and higher schools. In mat- 
ter and manner it is a capital book, 
and I wish it God speed. 


Lotze's Philosophical Outlines. 

Dictated Portions of the Latest Lectures (at Gottingen and Berlin) of 
Hermann Lotze. Translated and edited by GEORGE T. LADD, Pro- 
fessor of Philosophy in Yale College. 12mo. Cloth. About 180 pages 
in each volume. Mailing Price per volume, $1.00; Introduction Price, 
80 cents. 

rflHE German from which the translations are made consists of 
the dictated portions of his latest lectures (at Gottingen, and 
for a few months at Berlin) as formulated by Lotze himself, 
recorded in the notes of his hearers, and subjected to the most 
competent and thorough revision of Professor Rehnisch of Got- 
tingen. The Outlines give, therefore, a mature and trustworthy 
statement, in language selected by this teacher of philosophy him- 
self, of what may be considered as his final opinions upon a 
wide range of subjects. They have met with no little favor in 

These translations have been undertaken with the kind permis* 
sion of the German publisher, Herr S. Hirzel, of Leipsic. 

Outlines of Metaphysic. 

rpHIS contains the scientific treatment of those assumptions 
which enter into all our cognition of Reality. It consists of 
three parts, Ontology, Cosmology, Phenomenology. The first 
part contains chapters on the Conception of Being, the Content of 
the Existent, Reality, Change, and Causation; the second treats 
of Space, Time, Motion, Matter, and the Coherency of Natural 
Events ; the third, of the Subjectivity and Objectivity of Cog- 
nition. The Metaphysic of Lotze gives the key to his entire 
philosophical system. 

Outlines of the Philosophy of Religion. 

T OTZE here seeks " to ascertain how much of the Content of 
Religion may be discovered, proved, or at least confirmed, 
agreeably to reason." He discusses the Proof for the Existence of 
God, the Attributes and Personality of the Absolute, the Concep- 
tions of the Creation, the Preservation, and the Government, of the 
World, and of the World-time. The book closes with brief discus 
sions of Religion and Morality, and Dogmas and Confessions. 


Outlines of Practical Philosophy. 

rpHIS contains a discussion of Ethical Principles, Moral Ideals, 
and the Freedom of the Will, and then an application of the 
theory to the Individual, to Marriage, to Society, and to the State. 
Many interesting remarks on Divorce, Socialism, Representative 
Government, etc., abound throughout the volume. Its style is 
more popular than that of the other works of Lotze, and it will 
doubtless be widely read. 

Outlines of Psychology. 

rpHE Outlines of Psychology treats of Simple Sensations, the 
Course of Representative Ideas, of Attention and Inference, 
of Intuitions, of Objects as in Space, of the Apprehension of the 
External World by the Senses, of Errors of the Senses, of Feelings, 
and of Bodily Motions. Its second part is " theoretical," and dis- 
cusses the nature, position, and changeable states of the Soul, its 
relations to time, and the reciprocal action of Soul and Body. 
It closes with a chapter on the "Kingdom of Souls." Lotze is 
peculiarly rich and suggestive in the discussion of Psychology. 

Outlines of /Esthetics. 

rPHE Outlines of ^Esthetics treats of the theory of the Beautiful 
and of Phantasy, and of the Realization and Different Species 
of the Beautiful. Then follow brief chapters on Music, Architec- 
ture, Plastic Art, Painting, and Poetry. This, like the other vol- 
umes, has a full index. 

Outlines of Logic. 

rpHIS discusses both pure and applied Logic. The Logic is 
followed by a brief treatise on the Encyclopaedia of Phi- 
losophy, in which are set forth the definition and method of 
Theoretical Philosophy, of Practical Philosophy, and of the Phi- 
losophy of Religion. This volume is about one-fifth larger than 
the others, and makes an admirable brief text-book in Logic. 

Mind, London, Eng. : No words 
are needed to commend such an en- 
terprise, now that Lotze's importance 

as a thinker is so well understood. 
The translation is careful and pains- 


A Brief History of Greek Philosophy. 

By B. C. BURT, M.A., formerly Fellow and Fellow by Courtesy in the 
Johns Hopkins University. 12mo. Cloth, xiv + 290 pages. 'Mailing 
Price, $1.25 ; for Introduction, $1.12. 

rPHIS work attempts to give a concise but comprehensive account 
of Greek Philosophy on its native soil and in Rome. It is 
critical and interpretative, as well as purely historical, its para- 
graphs of criticism and interpretation, however, being, as a rule, 
distinct from those devoted to biography and exposition. The 
wants of the reader or student who desires to comprehend, rather 
than merely to inform himself, have particularly been in the mind 
of the author, whose aim has been to let the subject unfold itself 
as far as possible. The volume contains a full topical table of con- 
tents, a brief bibliography of the subject it treats, and numerous 
foot-notes embracing references to original authorities and assist- 
ing the student towards a real contact with the Greek thinkers 
Wisconsin Journal of Education: 

It fills, and we believe it fills admi- 
rably, a want which has long been 
felt, of a brief, clear, connected 

The Independent, New York : We 
consider it a work highly creditable 

and suggestive guide to the history to Am( 
of Greek philosophy. 

The Philosophical System of Antonio-Rosmini- 

' Serbati. 

Translated, with a Sketch of the Author's Life, Bibliography, Introduc- 
tion, and Notes. By THOMAS DAVIDSON, M.A. 8vo. Cloth, cvii + 39G 
pages. Mailing Price, $2.75. 

Hickok's Philosophical Works. 

Rational Psychology. 

543 pages. 8vo. Mailing Price, $1.95; Introduction, $1.80. 

Creator and Creation. 

360 pages. 8vo. Mailing Price, $1.75 ; Introduction, $1.60. 
The Logic of Reason, Universal and Eternal. 

192 pages. 8vo. Mailing Price, $1.60 ; Introduction, $1.44. 

Humanity Immortal. 

362 pages. 8vo. Mailing Price, $1.75 ; Introduction, $1.60. 


Intro. Price 
Alexander : Introduction to the Study of Browning . . . $1.00 

Allen : Reader's Guide to English History 25 

Arnold : English Literature 1.50 

Bancroft : A Method of English Composition . . . . .50 

Browne : Shakspere's Versification 25 

Cook : Sidney's Defense of Poesy 

Shelley's Defense of Poesy 

Fulton & Trueblood : Choice Readings 1.50 

Chart Illustrating Principles of Vocal Expression . 2.00 
Garnett : English Prose from Elizabeth to Victoria . 
Genung : Handbook of Rhetorical Analysis 1.12 

Practical Elements of Rhetoric 1.25 

Gilmore : Outlines of the Art of Expression 60 

Ginn : Scott's Lady of the Lake . . Bds., .35 ; Cloth, .50 

Scott's Tales of a Grandfather . Bds., .40 ; Cloth, .50 

Selections from Ruskin . . . Bds., .30 ; Cloth, .40 
Goldsmith : Vicar of Wakefield .... Bds., .30 ; Cloth, .50 
Grote & Segur : The Two Great Retreats of History, Bds., .40 ; Cloth, .50 

Gummere : Handbook of Poetics 1.00 

Hudson: Harvard Shakespeare: 20 Vol. Edition. Cloth, retail, 25.00 

10 Vol. Edition. Cloth, retail, 20.00 

New School Shakespeare. Each Play, Pa. .30 ; cloth, .45 

Essays on Education, English Studies, etc. 

Text-Book of Poetry and of Prose. Each . 

Pamphlet Selections, Prose and Poetry. Each . 

Johnson : 
Lamb : 

Lockwood : 
Montgomery : 

Scott : 


Thayer : 

Thorn : 


Classical English Reader 

Rasselas Bds., .30 ; Cloth, 

Adventures of Ulysses . . . Bds., .25 ; Cloth, 
Tales from Shakespeare . . . Bds., .40 ; Cloth, 

Lessons in English 

Bryant's Thanatopsis and Other Favorite Poems 

Characteristics of English Poets 

Manual of English Prose Literature .... 

Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress 

Heroic Ballads .... Bds., .40; Cloth, .50 

Craik's English of Shakespeare 90 

Guy Mannering, Ivanhoe, and Rob Roy. 

Each Bds., .60; Cloth, .75 

Lay of the Last Minstrel. . . Bds., .30; Cloth, .40 
Quentin Durward .... Bds., .40 ; Cloth, .50 

Talismau Bds., .50; Cloth, .60 

Milton's Paradise Lost, and Lycidas . . . . .45 
Irving's Sketch-Book (Selections) . Bds., .25; Cloth, .35 

The Best Elizabethan Plays 1.25 

Shakespeare and Chaucer Examinations . . . 1.00 


GINN & COMPANY, Publishers, 





Becker & Mora : Spanish Idioms $1.80 

Collar : Eyseubach's German Lessons 1^20 

English into German Vj5 

Cook: Table of German Prefixes and Suffixes X)5 

Doriot : Illustrated Beginners' Book in French (Comp.), $0.80; Pt. II. .50 

Illustrated Beginners' Book in German .80 

Knapp: Modern French Readings : 80 

Modern Spanish Grammar 1.50 

Spanish Readings 1.50 

Lemly : New System of Written Spanish Accentuation 10 

Smith : Gramatica Practica de la Lengua Castellana 60 

Spiers : French-English General Dictionary 4.50 

English-French General Dictionary 4.50 

Stein : German Exercises 40 

Sumichrast : Les Trois Mousquetaires 70 

Van Daell : Memoires de Saint-Simon 64 


Burt : Brief History of Greek Philosophy 1.12 

Davidson: Rosmini's Philosophical System 250 

Hickok : Rational Psychology, $ 1.80; Creator and Creation 1.60 

Humanity Immortal, $1.60 ; Logic of Reason 1.44 

Ladd : Lotze's Philosophical Works. 

Metaphysic ; Philosophy of Religion ; Practical Phil- 
osophy ; Psychology ; Esthetics; Logic each .80 

Seelye : Hickok's Mental Science (Empirical.Psychologyj 1.12 

Hickok's Moral Science 1.12 


Burgess : Political Science and Comparative Constitutional Law, 

2 vols (retail) 5.00 

Calkins : Sharing the Profits .25 

Clark : Philosophy of Wealth 1.00 

Clark & Giddings : The Modern Distributive Process (retail) .75 

Macy : Our Government (revised edition) 70 

Political Science Quarterly (per vol.) 3.00 

Rupert: Guide to the Study of the History and Constitution of the 

United States 70 

Seligman : Railway Tariffs and the Interstate Law (retail) .75 


Arrowsmith : Kaegi's Rigveda (translation) 1.50 

Elwell: Nine Jatakas (Pali} 60 

Geldner : Avesta 4.50 

Jackson : A Hymn of Zoroaster 70 

Lanman : Sanskrit Reader, $1.80; Text only, $0.75; Notes to Reader .75 

Perry : Sanskrit Primer 1-50 

Whitney : Sanskrit Grammar (revised edition} 3.00 

Supplement to Sanskrit Grammar 1.80 

Copies sent to Teachers for Examination, with a vieiv to Introduction, 
on receipt of Introduction Price. 

GINN & COMPANY, Publishers, 


Acme Library Card Pocket 

Under Pat. " Ref. Index File."