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As may be seen from the original programme 
printed in Erdmann s History of Philosophy under 
the date 1890, the Library of Philosophy was 
designed as a contribution to the History of Modern 
Philosophy under the heads: first of different 
Schools of Thought Sensationalist, Realist, Ideal 
ist, Intuitivist; secondly of different Subjects 
Psychology, Ethics, Esthetics, Political Phil- 
osphy, Theology. While much had been done 
in England in tracing the course of evolution in 
nature, history, economics, morals, and religion, 
little had been done in tracing the development 
of thought on these subjects. Yet "the evolution 
of opinion is part of the whole evolution". 

By the co-operation of different writers in 
carrying out this plan it was hoped that a thorough 
ness and completeness of treatment, otherwise 
unattainable, might be secured. It was believed 
also that from writers mainly British and American 
fuller consideration of English Philosophy than it 
had hitherto received might be looked for. In 
the earlier series of books containing, among 
others, Bosanquet s History of Msthetic, Pfleiderer s 
Rational Theology since Kant, Albee s History of 
English Utilitarianism, Bonar s Philosophy and 
Political Economy, Brett s History of Psychology, 
Ritchie s Natural Rights, these objects were to a 
large extent effected. 

In the meantime original work of a high order 
was being produced both in England and America 


by such writers as Bradley, Stout, Bertrand 
Russell, Baldwin, Urban, Montague, and others, 
and a new interest in foreign works, German, 
French, and Italian, which had either become 
classical or were attracting public attention, had 
developed. The scope of the Library thus became 
extended into something more international, and 
it is entering on the fifth decade of its existence 
in the hope that it may contribute in this highest 
field of thought to that Intellectual Co-operation 
which is one of the most significant objects of the 
United Nations and kindred organizations. 



ANALYTIC PSYCHOLOGY By Prof. G. F. Stout. Two Vols. 

$th Impression. 

ATTENTION By Prof. W. B. Pillsbury. -2nd Impression. 
HISTORY OF AESTHETIC By B. Bosanquet. 6th Impression. 

2nd Edition. 


Vol. I. ANCIENT AND MEDIAEVAL, tfh Impression. 
Vol. II. MODERN. 6th Impression. 
Vol. III. SINCE HEGEL, jth Impression. 
MATTER AND MEMORY By Henri Bergson. Translated by 

N. M. Paul and W. S. Palmer. 6th Impression. 
NATURAL RIGHTS By D. G. Ritchie, yd Edition. 

^th Impression. 


Translated by Prof. J. B. Baillie. 

TIME AND FREE WILL By Prof. Henry Bergson. Trans 
lated by F. G. Pogson. 6th Impression. 


G. M. Stratton. 2nd Edition. 

THE GREAT PROBLEMS By Bernardino Varisco. Trans 
lated by Prof. R. C. Lodge. 
KNOW THYSELF By Bernardino Varisco. Translated by 

Dr. Guglielmo Salvadori. 

Translated by Prof. Edward L. Schaub. yd Impression. 

J. S. Mackenzie. 2nd Impression. 
SOCIAL PURPOSE By H. J. W. Hetherington and Prof. J. H. 

Muirhead. 2nd Impression. 

Bertrand Russell, F.R.S. yd Impression. 

Clement C. J. Webb. (Part I.) 2nd Impression. 

LECTURES) By Prof. Clement C. J. Webb. (Part II.) 

2nd Impression. 


MODERN PHILOSOPHY By Guido de Ruggiero. Translated 
by A . Howard Hannay and R. G. Collingwood. 

THE ANALYSIS OF MIND By Bertrand Russell, F.R.S. 
yd Impression. 

Translated by Morris Ginsberg. 

INDIAN PHILOSOPHY By Prof. S. Radhakrishnan. 2nd 
Edition. Two volumes. 

J. H. Muirhead. Two volumes. 

OSOPHY By Prof. W. P. Montague. 2nd Impression. 



r G Mackenzie 

VALUE By Prof. W. M. Urban. 

Prof. George P. Adams and Prof. Wm. Pepperell Montague. 
Two volumes. 

HEGEL S SCIENCE OF LOGIC Translated by W. H. Johnston 
and L. G. Struthers. Two volumes. 

IDENTITY AND REALITY By Emile Meyerson. Trans 
lated by Kate Loewenberg. 

MORAL SENSE By James Bonar. 


Edmund Husserl. Translated by W. R. Boyce Gibson 

OSOPHY By Prof. J. H. Muirhead. 

ETHICS By Nicolai Hartmann. Translated by Stanton Coit. 
Three volumes. 

J. E. Turner. 



S. Radhakrishnan and Prof. J. H. Muirhead 

Dr. Rudolf Metz. Translated by Prof. J. W. Harvey Prof 

T. E. Jessop, Henry Sturt. 
LANGUAGE AND REALITY By Wilbur Marshall Urban 

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An Essay on the Immediate Data 
of Consciousness 

Authorised Translation by 





This book is copyright under the Berne Convention 

No portion may be reproduced by any process without 

written permission. Inquiries should be addressed 

to the publishers 

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ML 22 1957 



HENRI Louis BERGSON was born in Paris, October 
18, 1859. He entered the Ecole normale in 
1878, and was admitted agrege de philosophie 
in 1881 and docteur es lettres in 1889. After 
holding professorships in various provincial and 
Parisian lycees, he became maitre de conferences 
at the Ecole normale superieure in 1897, and 
since 1900 has been professor at the College de 
France. In 1901 he became a member of the 
Institute on his election to the Academic des 
Sciences morales et politiques. 

A full list of Professor Bergson s works is given 
in the appended bibliography. In making the 
following translation of his Essai sur les donnees 
immediate^ de la conscience I have had the great 
advantage of his co-operation at every stage, 
and the aid which he has given has been most 
generous and untiring. The book itself was 
worked out and written during the years 1883 
to 1887 and was originally published in 1889. 
The foot-notes in the French edition contain a 
certain number of references to French trans 
lations of English works. In the present trans 
lation I am responsible for citing these references 
from the original English. This will account 



for the fact that editions are sometimes referred 
to which have appeared subsequently to 1889. 
I have also added fairly extensive marginal 
summaries and a full index. 

In France the Essai is already in its seventh 
edition. Indeed, one of the most striking facts 
about Professor Bergson s works is the extent 
to which they have appealed not only to the 
professional philosophers, but also to the ordinary 
cultivated public. The method which he pursues 
is not the conceptual and abstract method which 
has been the dominant tradition in philosophy. 
For him reality is not to be reached by any 
elaborate construction of thought : it is given 
in immediate experience as a flux, a continuous 
process of becoming, to be grasped by intuition, 
by sympathetic insight. Concepts break up the 
continuous flow of reality into parts external to 
one another, they further the interests of language 
and social life and are useful primarily for prac 
tical purposes. But they give us nothing of the 
life and movement of reality ; rather, by sub 
stituting for this an artificial reconstruction, a 
patchwork of dead fragments, they lead to the 
difficulties which have always beset the intel- 
lectualist philosophy, and which on its premises 
are insoluble. Instead of attempting a solution 
in the intellectualist sense, Professor Bergson 
calls upon his readers to put these broken frag 
ments of reality behind them, to immerse them 
selves in the living stream of things and to 


find their difficulties swept away in its resistless 

In the present volume Professor Bergson first 
deals with the intensity of conscious states. He 
shows that quantitative differences are applicable 
only to magnitudes, that is, in the last resort, 
to space, and that intensity in itself is purely 
qualitative. Passing then from the consideration 
of separate conscious states to their multiplicity, 
he finds that there are two forms of multiplicity : 
quantitative or discrete multiplicity involves the 
intuition of space, but the multiplicity of conscious 
states is wholly qualitative. This unfolding 
multiplicity constitutes duration, which is a 
succession without distinction, an interpenetration 
of elements so heterogeneous that former states 
can never recur. The idea of a homogeneous 
and measurable time is shown to be an artificial 
concept, formed by the intrusion of the idea of 
space into the realm of pure duration. Indeed, 
the whole of Professor Bergson s philosophy 
centres round his conception of real concrete 
duration and the specific feeling of duration which 
our consciousness has when it does away with 
convention and habit and gets back to its natural 
attitude. At the root of most errors in philosophy 
he finds a confusion between this concrete duration 
and the abstract time which mathematics, physics, 
and even language and common sense, substitute 
for it. Applying these results to the problem 
of free will, he shows that the difficulties arise 


from taking up one s stand after the act has been 
performed, and applying the conceptual method 
to it. From the point of view of the living, 
developing self these difficulties are shown to be 
illusory, and freedom, though not definable in 
abstract or conceptual terms, is declared to be 
one of the clearest facts established by observa 

It is no doubt misleading to attempt to sum 
up a system of philosophy in a sentence, but 
perhaps some part of the spirit of Professor Berg- 
son s philosophy may be gathered from the motto 
which, with his permission, I have prefixed to 
this translation : " If a man were to inquire 
of Nature the reason of her creative activity, 
and if she were willing to give ear and answer, 
she would say Ask me not, but understand 
in silence, even as I am silent and am not wont 
to speak. 

June, 1910. 



(a) Books. 

Quid Aristoteles de loco senserit, (Thesis), Paris, 1889. 
Essai sur les donne"es immediates de la conscience, Paris, 

1889, 1910. 
Matire et M6moire, Essai sur la relation du corps avec 

1 esprit, Paris, 1896, 1910. 6 
Le Rire, Essai sur la signification du comique, Paris, 1900, 

1910. (First published in the Revue de Paris, 1900, 

Vol. I., pp. 5 T 2-545 and 759-791-) 
L E volution cre atrice, Paris, 1907, 1910. 

(b) Articles. 

La Spe cialite . (Address at the distribution of prizes at 
the lyce"e of Angers, Aug. 1882.) 

De la simulation inconsciente dans l 6tat d hypnotisme. 
Revue philosophique, Vol. 22, 1886, pp. 525-531. 

Le bon sens et les eludes classiques. (Address at the 
distribution of prizes at the " Concours general des 
lyce es et colleges," 1895.) 

Memoire et reconnaissance. (Revue philos. Mar., Apr. 
1896, pp. 225-248 and 380-399. Republished in Matiere 
et Memoire.} 

Perception et matiere. (Rev. de Met. et de Mor. May 
1896, pp. 257-277. Republished in Matiere et Memoire.) 

Note sur les origines psychologiques de notre croyance a la 
loi de causalite". (Lecture at the Philosophical Con 
gress in Paris, 1900, published in the Bibliotheque du 
Congres International de Philosophic ; cf. Revue de Meta- 
physique et de Morale, Sept. 1900, pp. 655 f.) 

Le Reve. (Lecture at the Institut psychologique interna 
tional : published in the Bulletin de I Institut psych, intern. 
May 1901 ; cf. Revue scientifique , 4* S., Vol. 15, June 8, 
1901, pp. 705-713, and Revue de Philosophic, June 1901, 
pp. 486-488.) 

Le Parallelisme psycho-physique et la metaphysique posi- 



tive. Bulletin de la Societe francaise de Philosophic^ 

June 1901. 

L Effort intellectuel. Revue philosophique, Jan. 1902. 
Introduction a la me taphysique. Revue de Met. et de Mor. 

Jan. 1903. 
Le Paralogisme psycho-physiologique. (Lecture at the 

Philosophical Congress in Geneva, 1904, published in the 

Revue de Met. et de Mor. Nov. 1904, pp. 895-908 ; see 

also pp. 1027-1036.) 
L Id6e de ne"ant, Rev. philos. Nov. 1906, pp. 449-466. 

(Part of Chap. 4 of L Evolution creatrice.} 
Notice sur la vie et les ceuvres de M. Felix Ravaisson- 

Mollien. (Lecture before the Academie des Sciences 

morales et politiques : published in the Proceedings of 

the Academy, Vol. 25, pp. I ff. Paris, 1907.) 
Le Souvenir du prdsent et la fausse reconnaissance. Rev. 

philos. Dec. 1908, pp. 561-593. 

(c) Miscellaneous. 
Lucrece : Extraits . . . avec une e"tude sur la poe"sie, la 

philosophic, la physique, le texte et la langue de Lucrece. 

Paris, 1884. 
Principes de me taphysique et de psychologic d apres 

M. Paul Janet. Revue philos., Vol. 44, Nov. 1897, pp. 

Collaboration au Vocabulaire philosophique, Bulletin de la 

Soc. fr. de Phil. July 1902, Aug. 1907, Aug. 1908, Aug. 

Remarques sur la place et le caractere de la Philosophic 

dans 1 Enseignement secondaire, Bulletin de la Soc. fr. de 

Phil. Feb. 1903, pp. 44 ff. 
Remarques sur la notion de la liberte" morale, Bulletin de 

la Soc. fr. de Phil. Apr. 1903; pp. 101-103. 
Remarques a propos de la philosophic sociale de Cournot, 

Bulletin de la Soc. fr. de Phil. Aug. 1903, p. 229. 
Preface de la Psychologie rationnelle de M. Lubac, Paris, 

Alcan, 1904. 
Sur sa relation a W. James, Revue philosophique, Vol. 60, 

I 95. P- 229 f. 
Sur sa the~orie de la perception, Bulletin de la Soc. fr. d 

Philos. Mar. 1905, pp. 94 ft 


Rapport sur le concours pour le prix Bordin, 1905, ayant 

pour sujet Maine de Biran. (Memoires de I Academie 

des Sciences morales et politiques, Vol. 25, pp. 809 f. 

Paris, 1907.) 
Rapport sur le concours pour le prix Le Dissez de Penanmn, 

1907. (Memoires de V Academic des Sciences morales ei 

politiques, Vol. 26, pp. 771 ff. Paris, 1909.) 
Sur revolution creatrice, Revue du Mois, Sept. 1907, p. 351. 
A propos de Involution de 1 intelligence geometrique, 

Revue de Met. et de Mor. Jan. 1908, pp. 28-33. 
Sur 1 influence de sa philosophic sur les eleves des lyce es, 

Bulletin de la Soc. jr. de Philos., Jan. 1908, p. 21 ; cf. 

L Annee psychologique, 1908, pp. 229-231. 
R6ponse a une enquete sur la question religieuse (La 

Question religieuse par Fre de ric Charpin, Paris, 1908). 
Remarques sur 1 organisation des Congrs de Philosophic. 

Bulletin de la Soc. fr. de Phil. Jan. 1909, p. u f. 
Preface a un volume de la collection Les grands philosophes, 

(G. Tarde, par ses fils). Paris. Michaud, 1909. 
Remarques & propos d une these soutenue par M. Dwel- 

shauvers " L inconscient dans la vie mentale." Bulletin 

de la Soc. fr. de Phil., Feb. 1910. 
A propos d un article de Mr. W. B. Pitkin intitule "James 

and Bergson." Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and 

Scientific Methods, Vol. VII, No. 14, July 7, 1910, pp. 



(Arranged alphabetically under each language.) 
5. Alexander, Matiere et Memoir e, (Mind, Oct. 1897, pp. 

B. H. Bode, L Evolution creatrice, (Philosophical Review, 

1908, pp. 84-89). 
W. Boyd, L Evolution creatrice, (Review of Theology and 

Philosophy, Oct. 1907, pp. 249-251). 
H. Wildon Carr, Bergson s Theory of Knowledge, (Pro- 

ctedings of the Aristotelian Society, London, 1909. New 

Series, Vol. IX, pp. 41-60). 
H. Wildon Carr, Bergson s Theory of Instinct, (Proceedings 

of the Aristotelian Society, London, icuo, N.S., Vol. X). 


//. Wildon Can, The Philosophy of Bergson, (Hibberi 

Journal, July 1910, pp. 873-883). 
W. J. Ferrar, L Evolution creatrice, (Commonwealth, Dec. 

1909, pp. 364-367)- 

H. N. Gardiner, Memoire et reconnaissance, (Psychological 

Review, 1896, pp. 578-580). 
T. E. Hidme, The New Philosophy, (New Age, July I, 29, 

William James, A Pluralistic Universe, London, 1909, 

pp. 225-273. 
William James, The Philosophy of Bergson, (Hibberi 

Journal, April 1909, pp. 562-577. Reprinted in A 

Pluralistic Universe; see above). 
William James, Bradley or Bergson ? (Journal of Philosophy, 

Psychology and Scientific Methods, Vol. VII, No. 2, Jan. 20, 

1910, pp. 29-33). 

H. M. Kallen, James, Bergson and Mr. Pitkin, (Journal of 
Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods, June 23, 

1910, pp. 353-357) 
A. Lalande, Philosophy in France, 1907, (Philosophical 

Review, May, 1908). 
/. A. Leighton, On Continuity and Discreteness, (Journal 

of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods, Apr. 

28, 1910, pp. 231-238). 
T. Loveday, L Evolution creatrice, (Mind, July 1908, pp. 

A. 0. Lovejoy, The Metaphysician of the Life-Force, (Nation, 

New York, Sept. 30, 1909). 
A. Mitchell, L Evolution creatrice, (Journal of Philosophy, 

Psychology and Scientific Methods, Vol. V, No. 22, Oct. 

22, 1908, pp. 603-612). 

W. Scott Palmer, Presence and Omnipresence, (Contem 
porary Review, June 1908, pp. 734-742). 
W. Scott Palmer, Thought and Instinct, (Nation, June 5, 

W. Scott Palmer, Life and the Brain, (Contemporary Review, 

Oct., 1909, pp. 474-484). 
W. B. Pitkin, James and Bergson ; or, Who is against 

Intellect ? (Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and 

Scientific Methods, Apr. 28, 1910, pp. 225-231). 


G. R. T. Ross, A New Theory of Laughter, (Nation, Nov. 
28, 1908). 

G. R. T. Ross, The Philosophy of Vitalism, (Nation, Mar. 
13, 1909). 

/. Royce, The Reality of the Temporal, (Int. Journal of 
Ethics, Apr. 1910, pp. 257-271). 

G. M. Sauvage, The New Philosophy in France, (Catholic 
University Bulletin, Washington, Apr. 1906, Mar. 1908). 

Norman Smith, Subjectivism and Realism in Modern Philo 
sophy, (Philosophical Review, Apr. 1908, pp. 138-148). 

G. F. Stout, Free Will and Determinism, (Speaker, London, 
May 10, 1890). 

/. H. Tufts, Humor, (Psychological Review, 1901, pp. 98-99). 

G. Tyrrell, Creative Evolution, (Hibbert Journal, Jan. 1908, 

PP- 435-442). 

T. Whittaker, Essai sur les donnees immediates de la con 
science, (Mind, Apr. 1890, pp. 292-3). 

G. Aimel, Individualisme et philosophic bergsonienne, 

(Revue de Philos., June 1908). 
Balthasar, Le probleme de Dieu d apres la philosophic 

nouvelle, (Revue neo-scolastique, Nov. 1907). 
G. Batault, La philosophic de M. Bergson, (Mercure de 

France, Mar. 16, 1908, pp. 193-211). 
G. Belot, Une thdorie nouvelle de la liberty (Revue philoso- 

phique, Vol. XXX, 1890, pp. 360-392). 
G. Belot, Un nouveau spiritualisme, Matiere et Memoir e, 

(Rev. philos. Vol. XLIV, 1897, pp. 183-199). 
Jean Blum, La philosophic de M. Bergson et la poe sie 

symboliste, (Mercure de France, Sept. 15, 1906). 
C. Bougie, Syndicalistes et Bergsoniens, (Revue du Mois, 

Apr. 1909, pp. 403-416). 
G. Cantecor, La philosophic nouvelle et la vie de 1 esprit, 

(Rev. philos. Mar. 1903, pp. 252-277). 
P. Cercsole, Le parallelisme psycho- physiologique et 1 argu 
ment de M. Bergson, (Archives de Psychologic, Vol. V, 

Oct. 1905, pp. 1 1 2-1 20). 
A. Chaumeix, La philosophic de M. Bergson, (Journal des 

Debats, May 24, 1908. Reprinted in Pragmatisme et 

Modernisme, Paris, Alcan, 1909). 


A. Chaumeix, Les critiques du rationalisme, (Revue Heb- 

domadaire, Paris, Jan. I, 1910, pp. i-33) 
A. Chide, Le mobilisme moderne, Paris, Alcan, 1908. (See 

also Revue philos., Apr. 1908, Dec. 1909). 
C. Coignet.KdiTit et Bergson, (Revue Chretienne, July 1904). 
C. Coignet, La vie d apres M. Bergson, (Bericht iiber den 

III Kongress fur Philosophic, Heidelberg, 1909, pp. 

L. Constant, Cours de M. Bergson sur 1 histoire de I id6e 

de temps, (Revue de Philos. Jan. 1904, pp. 105-111. 

Summary of lectures). 
P. L. Couchoud, La metaphysique nouvelle, a propos de 

Matilre et Memoire de M. Bergson, (Revue de Metaphysique 

et de Morale, Mar. 1902, pp. 225-243). 
L. Couturat, La th<orie du temps de Bergson, (Rev. de 

Met. et de Mor. 1896, pp. 646-669). 
Leon Cristiani, Le probleme de Dieu et le pragmatisme, 

Paris, Bloud et Cie., 1908. 

F. Le Dantec, L Evolution creatrice, (Revue du Mois, Aug. 
1907. Reprinted in Science et Conscience, Paris, Flam- 
marion, 1908). 

L. Dauriac, Le Rire, (Revue philos. Dec. 1900, pp. 665-670) . 
V. Delbos, Matiere et Memoir e, (Rev. de Met. et de Mot 
May 1897, pp. 353-389)- 

G. L. Duprat, La spatialite" des faits psychiques, (Rev. 
philos., May 1907, pp. 492-501). 

G. Dwelshauvers , Raison et Intuition, Etude sur la philo 
sophic de M. Bergson, (La Belgique artistique et litteraire, 
Nov. Dec. 1905, Apr. 1906). 

G. Dwelshauvers, M. Bergson et la methode intuitive, 
(Revue du Mois, Sept. 1907, pp. 336-350). 

G. Dwelshauvers, De 1 intuition dans 1 acte de 1 esprit, (Rev. 
de Met. et de Mor. Jan. 1908, pp. 55-65). 

A. Farges, Le probleme de la contingence d apr&s M. Berg 
son, (Revue pratique d apologetique, Apr. 15, 1909). 

A. Farges, L erreur fondamentale de la philosophic nouvelle, 
(Revue thomiste, May-June, 1909). 

A. Farges, Theorie fondamentale de 1 acte, avec la critique 
de la philosophic nouvelle de M. Bergson, Paris, Berche 
et Tralin, 1909. 


Alfred Fouillee, Le mouvement idealiste et la reaction centre 

la science positive, Paris, Alcan, 1896, pp. 198-206. 
Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, Le sens commun, la philosophic de 

1 etre et les formules dogmatiques, Paris, Beauchesne, 

Jules de Gaultier, Le re"alisme du continu, (Revue philos., 

Jan. 1910, pp. 39-64). 
Rene Gillouin, Henri Bergson, Paris, 1910. (A volume in 

the series Les grands philosophes) . 

A. Hollar d, L Evolution creatrice, (Foiet Vie, Sept. 16, 1907, 

PP- 545-550). 

B. Jacob, La philosophic d hier et celle d aujourd hui, 
(Rev. de Met. et de Mor. Mar. 1898, pp. 170-201). 

G. Lechalas, Le nombre et le temps dans leurs rapports 
avec 1 espace, (Ann. de Phil, chret. N.S. Vol. 22, 1890, 

pp. 5i6-54o)- t 
G. Lechalas, Matiere et Memoir e, (Ann. de Phil, chret. N.S. 

Vol. 36, 1897, pp. 149-164 and 314-334)- 
A. Joussain, Roman tisme et Religion, Paris, Alcan, 1910. 
Legendre, M. Bergson et son Evolution creatrice, (Bulletin de 

la Semaine, May 6, 1908). 
Lenoble, L Evolution creatrice, (Revue du Clerge francais, 

Jan., 1908). 
E. Le Roy, Science et Philosophic, (A Series of articles in 

the Rev. de Met. et de Mor. 1899 and 1900). 
L. Levy-Bruhl, L Essai sur les donnees immediates de la 

conscience, (Rev. philos., Vol. 29, 1890, pp. 519-538). 
G. H. Luquet, Idees generates de psychologic, Paris, 1906. 
/. Lux, Nos philosophes, M. Henri Bergson, (Revue Bleue, 

Dec. i, 1906). 
X. Moisant, La notion de multiplicity dans la philosophic 

de M. Bergson, (Revue de Philos., June, 1902). 
X. Moisant, Dieu dans la philosophic de M. Bergson, (Revue 

de Philos., May, 1905). 
G. Mondain, Remarques sur la th6orie materialiste, (Foi 

et Vie, June 15, 1908, pp. 369-373)- 
D. Parodi, Le Rire, par H. Bergson, (Rev. de Met. et de Mor. 

Mar. 1901, pp. 224-236). 

T. M. Pegues L Evolution creatrice (Revue thomiste, May- 
June 1908, pp. 137-163). 


C. Piat, De 1 insuffisance des philosophies de 1 intuition, 

Paris, 1908. 
Maurice Pradines, Principes de toute philosophic de 1 action, 

Paris, 1910. 
G. Rageot, L Evolution creatrice, (Rev. philos., July 1907). 

Reprinted and enlarged in Les savants et la philosophic, 

Paris, Alcan, 1907. 
F. Rank, La conscience du devenir, (Rev. de Met. et de Mor. 

Nov. 1897, pp. 659-681, and Jan. 1898, pp. 38-60). 

F. Rauh, Sur la position du probleme du libre arbitre, (Rev. 
de Met. et de Mor. Nov. 1904, pp. 977-1006). 

P. P. Raymond, La philosophic de 1 intuition et la philo 
sophic du concept, (Etudes franciscaines, June 1909). 

E. Seilliere, L Allemagne et la philosophic bergsonienne, 
(L Opinion, July 3, 1909). 

G. Sorel, L Evolution creatrice, (Le Mouvemeni socialiste, 
Oct. Dec. 1907, Jan. Mar. Apr. 1908). 

T. Stceg, Henri Bergson : Notice biographique avec por 
trait, (Revue universelle, Jan. 1902, pp. 15-16). 

/. de Tonquebec, La notion de la ve rite dans la philosophic 
nouvelle, Paris, 1908. 

/. de Tonquebec, Comment interpreter 1 ordre du monde 4 
propos du dernier ouvrage de M. Bergson, Paris, Beau- 
chesne, 1908. 

H.Trouche, L Evolution creatrice, (Revue de Philos. Nov.i9o8). 

H. Villasscre, L Evolution creatrice, (Bulletin critique, Sept. 
1908, pp. 392-411). 

Tancrede de Visan, La philosophic de M. Bergson et le 
lyrisme contemporain, (Vers et Prose, Vol. XXI, 1910, pp. 

L. Weber, L Evolution creatrice, (Rev. de Met. et de Mot. 
Sept. 1907, pp. 620-670). 

V. Wilbois, L esprit positif, (A series of articles in the Rev. 
de Met. et de Mor. 1900 and 1901). 

I. Benrubi, Henri Bergson, (Die Zukunft, June 4, 1910).- 
K. Bornhausen, Die Philosophic Henri Bergsons und ihre 
Bedeutung fiir den Religionsbegriff, (Zeitschrift fur 
Theologie und Kirche, Tubingen, Jahrg. XX, Heft I 
1910, pp. 39-77. 


0. Braun, Materie und Geddchtnis, (Archiv fur die gcsamte 

Psychologic, Vol. 15, 1909, Heft 4, pp. 13-15). 
Hans Driesch, H. Bergson, der biologische Philosoph., 

(Zeitschrift fur den Ausbau der Entwickelungslehre, Jahrg. 

II, Heft 1/2, Stuttgart, 1908). 
V. Eschbach, Henri Bergson, (Kolnische Volkszeitung, Jan. 

20, 1910). 
Giessler, Le Reve, (Zeitschrift fur Psychologic und Physio- 

logie der Sinnesorgane, Vol. 29, 1902, p. 231). 
/. Goldstein, Henri Bergson und der Zeitlosigkeitsidealismus, 

(Frankfurter Zeitung, May 2, 1909). 
/. Goldstein, Henri Bergson und die Sozialwissenschaft, 

(Archiv fur Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik, Bd. 

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WE necessarily express ourselves by means of 
words and we usually think in terms of space. 
That is to say, language requires us to establish 
between our ideas the same sharp and precise 
distinctions, the same discontinuity, as between 
material objects. This assimilation of thought to 
things is useful in practical life and necessary in 
most of the sciences. But it may be asked whether 
the insurmountable difficulties presented by certain 
philosophical problems do not arise from our 
placing side by side in space phenomena which 
do not occupy space, and whether, by merely 
getting rid of the clumsy symbols round which 
we are fighting, we might not bring the fight to 
an end. When an illegitimate translation of the 
unextended into the extended, of quality into 
quantity, has introduced contradiction into the 
very heart of the question, contradiction must, 
of course, recur in the answer. 

The problem which I have chosen is one which 
is common to metaphysics and psychology, the 
problem of free will. What I attempt to prove 
is that all discussion between the determinists 
and their opponents implies a previous confusion 



of duration with extensity, of succession with 
simultaneity, of quality with quantity : this 
confusion once dispelled, we may perhaps witness 
the disappearance of the objections raised against 
free will, of the definitions given of it, and, in a 
certain sense, of the problem of free will itself. 
To prove this is the object of the third part of 
the present volume : the first two chapters, 
which treat of the conceptions of intensity and 
duration, have been written as an introduction 
to the third. 

February, 1888. 



Quantitative differences applicable to magnitudes but not 
to intensities, 1-4 ; Attempt to estimate intensities by 
objective causes or atomic movements, 4-7 ; Different 
kinds of intensities, 7 ; Deep-seated psychic states : 
desire, 8, hope, 9, joy and sorrow, 10 ; Aesthetic feelings, 
11-18 : grace, 12, beauty, 14-18, music, poetry, art, 
15-18 ; Moral feelings, pity, 19 ; Conscious states involv 
ing physical symptoms, 20 : muscular effort, 21-26, 
attention and muscular tension, 27-28 ; Violent emotions, 
29-31 : rage, 29, fear, 30 ; Affective sensations, 32-39 : 
pleasure and pain, 33-39, disgust, 36 ; Representative 
sensations, 39-60 : and external causes, 42, sensation of 
sound, 43, intensity, pitch and muscular effort, 45-6, 
sensations of heat and cold, 46-7, sensations of pressure 
and weight, 47-50, sensation of light, 50-60, photometric 
experiments, 52-60, Delboeuf s experiments, 56-60 ; 
Psychophysics, 60-72 : Weber and Fechncr, 61-65, 
Delboeuf, 67-70, the mistake of regarding sensations as 
magnitudes, 70-72 ; Intensity in (i) representative, (2) 
affective states, intensity and multiplicity, 72-74. 

pp. 1-74 



Number and its units, 75-77, number and accompanying 
intuition of space, 78-85 ; Two kinds of multiplicity, of 



material objects and conscious states, 85-87, impene 
trability of matter, 88-89, homogeneous time and pure 
duration, 90-91 ; Space and its contents, 92, empirical 
theories of space, 93-94, intuition of empty homogeneous 
medium peculiar to man, 95-97, time as homogeneous 
medium reducible to space, 98-99 ; Duration, succession 
and space, 100-104, pure duration, 105-106 ; Is duration 
measurable ? 107-110 ; Is motion measurable ? m- 
112 ; Paradox of the Eleatics, 113-115 ; Duration and 
simultaneity, 115-116 ; Velocity and simultaneity, 117- 
119 ; Space alone homogeneous, duration and succes 
sion belong to conscious mind, 120-121 ; Two kinds of 
multiplicity, qualitative and quantitative, 121-123, super 
ficial psychic states invested with discontinuity of their 
external causes, 124-126, these eliminated, real duration 
is felt as a quality, 127-128 ; The two aspects of the self, 
on the surface well-defined conscious states, deeper down 
states which interpenetrate and form organic whole, 
129-139, solidifying influence of language on sensation, 
129-132, analysis distorts the feelings, 132-134, deeper 
conscious states forming a part of ourselves, 134-136 ; 
Problems soluble only by recourse to the concrete and 
living self, 137-139. 

PP- 75-139 



Dynamism and mechanism, 140-142 ; Two kinds of deter 
minism, 142 ; Physical determinism, 143-155 : and 
molecular theory of matter, 143, and conservation of 
energy, 144, if conservation universal, physiological and 
nervous phenomena necessitated, but perhaps not con 
scious states, 145-148, but is principle of conversation 
universal ? 149, it may not apply to living beings and 
conscious states, 150-154, idea of its universality depends 
on confusion between concrete duration and abstract 
time, 154-155 ; Psychological determinism, 155-163 : 


implies associationist conception of mind, 155-158, this 
involves defective conception of self, 159-163 ; The free 
act : freedom as expressing the fundamental self, 165- 
170 ; Real duration and contingency, 172-182 : could 
our act have been different ? 172-175, geometrical repre 
sentation of process of coming to a decision, 175-178, 
the fallacies to which it leads determinists and libertarians, 
179-183 ; Real duration and prediction, 183-198 : con 
ditions of Paul s prediction of Peter s action (r) being 
Peter (2) knowing already his final act, 184-189, the three 
fallacies involved, 190-192, astronomical prediction de 
pends on hypothetical acceleration of movements, 193- 
195, duration cannot be thus accelerated, 196-198 ; 
Real duration and causality, 199-221 : the law " same 
antecedents, same consequents," 199-201, causality as 
regular succession, 202-203, causality as prefiguring : two 
kinds (i) prefiguring as mathematical pre-existence ; 
implies non-duration, but we endure and therefore may be 
free, 204-210, (2) prefiguring as having idea of future act 
to be realized by effort; does not involve determinism, 211- 
214, determinism results from confusing these two senses, 
215-218 ; Freedom real but indefinable, 219-221. 

pp. 140-221 


States of self perceived through forms borrowed from external 
world, 223 ; Intensity as quality, 225 ; Duration as 
qualitative multiplicity, 226 ; No duration in the external 
world, 227 ; Extensity and duration must be separated, 
229 ; Only the fundamental self free, 231 ; Kant s mis 
taken idea of time as homogeneous, 232, hence he put the 
self which is free outside both space and time, 233 ; Dura 
tion is heterogeneous, relation of psychic state to act is 
unique, and act is free, 235-240. pp. 222-240 





IT is usually admitted that states of consciousness, 

sensations, feelings, passions, efforts, are capable 

of growth and diminution ; we are 

Can there be ... 

quantitative even told that a sensation can be said 

differences in J.-L- / , 

conscious to be twice, thnce, four times as intense 
as another sensation of the same kind. 
This latter thesis, which is maintained by psycho- 
physicists, we shall examine later ; but even the 
opponents of psychophysics do not see any harm 
in speaking of one sensation as being more intense 
than another, of one effort as being greater than 
another, and in thus setting up differences of 
quantity between purely internal states. Com 
mon sense, moreover, has not the slightest hesita 
tion in giving its verdict on this point ; people 
say they are more or less warm, or more or less 
sad, and this distinction of more and less, even 
when it is carried over to the region of subjec 
tive facts and un extended objects, surprises nobody. 
But this involves a very obscure point and a 
much more important problem than is usually 

When we assert that one number is greater than 


another number or one body greater than another 

body, we know very well what we mean. 

SS ca-For in both cases we allude to unequal 

Sta to b!Hlt spaces, as shall be shown in detail a 

to Intensities. ^^ further on> and we call that Space 

the greater which contains the other. But how 
can a more intense sensation contain one of less 
intensity ? Shall we say that the first implies the 
second, that we reach the sensation of higher 
intensity only on condition of having first passed 
through the less intense stages of the same sensa 
tion, and that in a certain sense we are concerned, 
here also, with the relation of container to con 
tained ? This conception of intensive magnitude 
seems, indeed, to be that of common sense, but we 
cannot advance it as a philosophical explanation 
without becoming involved in a vicious circle. 
For it is beyond doubt that, in the natural series of 
numbers, the later number exceeds the earlier, 
but the very possibility of arranging the numbers 
in ascending order arises from their having to 
each other relations of container and contained, 
so that we feel ourselves able to explain precisely 
in what sense one is greater than the other. The 
question, then, is how we succeed in forming a 
series of this kind with intensities, which cannot 
be superposed on each other, and by what sign 
we recognize that the members of this series in 
crease, for example, instead of diminishing : but 
this always comes back to the inquiry, why an 
intensity can be assimilated to a magnitude. 


It is only to evade the difficulty to distinguish, 

as is usually done, between two species of quantity, 

the first extensive and measurable, the 

Alleged distinc- . . , . . . , 

tion between second intensive and not admitting of 

two kinds of - . , . , . , 

Quantity : ex- measure, but of which it can neverthe- 
intensive mag- less be said that it is greater or less than 

nitude. . . __> . . . _ 

another intensity. For it is recognized 
thereby that there is something common to these 
two forms of magnitude, since they are both 
termed magnitudes and declared to be equally 
capable of increase and diminution. But, from 
the point of view of magnitude, what can there 
be in common between the extensive and the 
intensive, the extended and the unextended ? 
If, in the first case, we call that which contains 
the other the greater quantity, why go on speak 
ing of quantity and magnitude when there is 
no longer a container or a contained ? If a 
quantity can increase and diminish, if we 
perceive in it, so to speak, the less inside 
the more, is not such a quantity on this very 
account divisible, and thereby extended ? Is 
it not then a contradiction to speak of an inex- 
tensive quantity ? But yet common sense agrees 
with the philosophers in setting up a pure inten 
sity as a magnitude, just as if it were something 
extended. And not only do we use the same word, 
but whether we think of a greater intensity or a 
greater extensity, we experience in both cases 
an analogous impression ; the terms " greater " 
and " less " call up in both cases the same idea. 


If we now ask ourselves in what does this idea 
consist, our consciousness still offers us the image 
of a container and a contained. We picture to 
ourselves, for example, a greater intensity of effort 
as a greater length of thread rolled up, or as a 
spring which, in unwinding, will occupy a greater 
space. In the idea of intensity, and even in the 
word which expresses it, we shall find the image 
of a present contraction and consequently a future 
expansion, the image of something virtually 
extended, and, if we may say so, of a compressed 
space. We are thus led to believe that we 
translate the intensive into the extensive, and 
that we compare two intensities, or at least 
express the comparison, by the confused intuition 
of a relation between two extensities. But it is 
just the nature of this operation which it is diffi 
cult to determine. 

The solution which occurs immediately to the 
mind, once it has entered upon this path, consists 

in defining the intensity of a sensation, 

or 0* any state whatever of the ego, by 
Sve es c b a y usei ec the number and magnitude of the objec- 
! tive > and therefore measurable, causes 

whic h have given rise to it. Doubtless, 
e the a more i ntense sensation of light is the 

one which has been obtained, or is 
obtainable, by means of a larger number of lumi 
nous sources, provided they be at the same dis 
tance and identical with one another. But, in 
the immense majority of cases, we decide about 


the intensity of the effect without even knowing 
the nature of the cause, much less its magnitude : 
indeed, it is the very intensity of the effect which 
often leads us to venture an hypothesis as to the 
number and nature of the causes, and thus to 
revise the judgment of our senses, which at first 
represented them as insignificant. And it is no use 
arguing that we are then comparing the actual 
state of the ego with some previous state in which 
the cause was perceived in its entirety at the same 
time as its effect was experienced. No doubt 
this is our procedure in a fairly large number of 
cases ; but we cannot then explain the differences 
of intensity which we recognize between deep- 
seated psychic phenomena, the cause of which is 
within us and not outside. On the other hand, 
we are never so bold in judging the intensity of a 
psychic state as when the subjective aspect of 
the phenomenon is the only one to strike us, or 
when the external cause to which we refer it does 
not easily admit of measurement. Thus it seems 
evident that we experience a more intense pain 
at the pulling out of a tooth than of a hair ; the 
artist knows without the possibility of doubt that 
the picture of a master affords him more intense 
pleasure than the signboard of a shop ; and there 
is not the slightest need ever to have heard of 
forces of cohesion to assert that we expend less 
effort in bending a steel blade than a bar of iron. 
Thus the comparison of two intensities is usually 
made without the least appreciation of the 


number of causes, their mode of action or their 

There is still room, it is true, for an hypothesis 

of the same nature, but more subtle. We know 

that mechanical, and especially kinetic, 

Attempt to dis- theories aim at explaining the visible 

tinfuish Inten- r 

sities by atomic and sensible properties oi bodies by 

movements. . 

But it is the sen- we n defined movements of their ulti- 

sation which is 

&iven in con- mate parts, and many of us foresee the 

sciousness, and . . 

not the move- time when the intensive differences of 


qualities, that is to say, of our sensa 
tions, will be reduced to extensive differences 
between the changes taking place behind them. 
May it not be maintained that, without knowing 
these theories, we have a vague surmise of them, 
that behind the more intense sound we guess the 
presence of ampler vibrations which are propa 
gated in the disturbed medium, and that it is 
with a reference to this mathematical relation, 
precise in itself though confusedly perceived, that 
we assert the higher intensity of a particular 
sound ? Without even going so far, could it not 
be laid down that every state of consciousness 
corresponds to a certain disturbance of the mole 
cules and atoms of the cerebral substance, and 
that the intensity of a sensation measures the 
amplitude, the complication or the extent of these 
molecular movements ? This last hypothesis is 
at least as probable as the other, but it no more 
solves the problem. For, quite possibly, the in 
tensity of a sensation bears witness to a more or 


less considerable work accomplished in our or 
ganism ; but it is the sensation which is given to 
us in consciousness, and not this mechanical work. 
Indeed, it is by the intensity of the sensation 
that we judge of the greater or less amount of 
work accomplished : intensity then remains, at 
least apparently, a property of sensation. And 
still the same question recurs : why do we say 
of a higher intensity that it is greater ? Why 
do we think of a greater quantity or a greater 
space ? 

Perhaps the difficulty of the problem lies chiefly 

in the fact that we call by the same name, and 

picture to ourselves in the same way, 

Different ... , . , ,.-.. 

kinds of in- intensities which are very different in 

tensities. (1) , -<< v 

deep-seated nature, e.g. the intensity of a feeling 

psychio states , , - . 

(2) muscular and that of a sensation or an effort. 

effort. Inten- ,,,., .. . . , . , 

sity is more I he effort is accompanied by a muscular 
bie in the for- sensation, and the sensations themselves 
are connected with certain physical con 
ditions which probably count for something in 
the estimate of their intensity : we have here to 
do with phenomena which take place on the surface 
of consciousness, and which are always connected, 
as we shall see further on, with the perception 
of a movement or of an external object. But 
certain states of the soul seem to us, rightly or 
wrongly, to be self-sufficient, such as deep joy or 
sorrow, a reflective passion or an aesthetic emo 
tion. Pure intensity ought to be more easily 


definable in these simple cases, where no extensive 
element seems to be involved. We shall see, in 
fact, that it is reducible here to a certain quality 
or shade which spreads over a more or less con 
siderable mass of psychic states, or, if the expres 
sion be preferred, to the larger or smaller number 
of simple states which make up the fundamental 

For example, an obscure desire gradually be 
comes a deep passion. Now, you will see that 
Take, !or -^ e feeble intensity of this desire con- 
SSrw^oi a sisted at first in its appearing to be 
isolated and, as it were, foreign to the 
remainder of your inner life. But little by little 
it permeates a larger number of psychic elements, 
tingeing them, so to speak, with its own colour : 
and lo ! your outlook on the whole of your 
surroundings seems now to have changed radi 
cally. How do you become aware of a deep 
passion, once it has taken hold of you, if 
not by perceiving that the same objects no 
longer impress you in the same manner ? All 
your sensations and all your ideas seem to brighten 
up : it is like childhood back again. We experi 
ence something of the kind in certain dreams, in 
which we do not imagine anything out of the 
ordinary, and yet through which there resounds 
an indescribable note of originality. The fact is 
that, the further we penetrate into the depths 
of consciousness, the less right we have to treat 
psychic phenomena as things which are set side 


by side. When it is said that an object occupies 

a large space in the soul or even that it fills it 

entirely, we ought to understand by this simply 

that its image has altered the shade of a thousand 

perceptions or memories, and that in this sense 

it pervades them, although it does not itself come 

into view. But this wholly dynamic way of 

looking at things is repugnant to the reflective 

consciousness, because the latter delights in clean 

cut distinctions, which are easily expressed in 

words, and in things with well-defined outlines, 

like those which are perceived in space. It will 

assume then that, everything else remaining 

identical, such and such a desire has gone up a 

scale of magnitudes, as though it were permissible 

still to speak of magnitude where there is neither 

multiplicity nor space ! But just as consciousness 

(as will be shown later on) concentrates on a given 

point of the organism the increasing number of 

muscular contractions which take place on the 

surface of the body, thus converting them into 

one single feeling of effort, of growing intensity, 

so it will hypostatize under the form of a growing 

desire the gradual alterations which take place 

in the confused heap of co-existing psychic states. 

But that is a change of quality rather than of 


What makes hope such an intense pleasure 
is the fact that the future, which we dispose of to 
our liking, appears to us at the same time under 
a multitude of forms, equally attractive and equally 


possible. Even if the most coveted of these be 
comes realized, it will be necessary to give up the 
others, and we shall have lost a great deal. The 
idea of the future, pregnant with an infinity of 
possibilities, is thus more fruitful than the future 
itself, and this is why we find more charm in hope 
than in possession, in dreams than in reality. 

Let us try to discover the nature of an increasing 
intensity of joy or sorrow in the exceptional 
The emotions cases where no physical symptom inter- 
sJr!ow. an Their venes. Neither inner joy nor passion 
successive j s an i so i a ted inner state which at first 

luL&cS corrs~ 

uuve chXes occupies a corner of the soul and gradu- 
5 oS e P8 ychic aNy spreads. At its lowest level it is 
tates. verv iik e a turning of our states of con 

sciousness towards the future. Then, as if their 
weight were diminished by this attraction, our ideas 
and sensations succeed one another with greater 
rapidity ; our movements no longer cost us 
the same effort. Finally, in cases of extreme 
joy, our perceptions and memories become tinged 
with an indefinable quality, as with a kind of heat 
or light, so novel that now and then, as we stare 
at our own self , we wonder how it can really exist. 
Thus there are several characteristic forms of 
purely inward joy, all of which are successive 
stages corresponding to qualitative alterations 
in the whole of our psychic states. But the num 
ber of states which are concerned with each of 
these alterations is more or less considerable, and, 
without explicitly counting them, we know very 


well whether, for example, our joy pervades all 
the impressions which we receive in the course of 
the day or whether any escape from its influence. 
We thus set up points of division in the interval 
which separates two successive forms of joy, and 
this gradual transition from one to the other makes 
them appear in their turn as different intensities 
of one and the same feeling, which is thus sup 
posed to change in magnitude. It could be easily 
shown that the different degrees of sorrow also 
correspond to qualitative changes. Sorrow begins 
by being nothing more than a facing towards the 
past, an impoverishment of our sensations and 
ideas, as if each of them were now contained 
entirely in the little which it gives out, as if the 
future were in some way stopped up. And it 
ends with an impression of crushing failure, the 
effect of which is that we aspire to nothingness, 
while every new misfortune, by making us under 
stand better the uselessness of the struggle, 
causes us a bitter pleasure. 

The aesthetic feelings offer us a still more 
striking example of this progressive stepping in 
The aesthetic f new elements, which can be detected 
S in the fundamental emotion and which 
differ- seem to increase its magnitude, although 
ent feelings. j n rea ijty they do nothing more than 
alter its nature. Let us consider the simplest 
of them, the feeling of grace. At first it is only 
the perception of a certain ease, a certain facility 
in the outward movements. And as those move- 


ments are easy which prepare the way for others, 
we are led to find a superior ease in the movements 
which can be foreseen, in the present attitudes 
in which future attitudes are pointed out and, as 
it were, prefigured. If jerky movements are 
wanting in grace, the reason is that each of them 
is self-sufficient and does not announce those 
which are to follow. If curves are more graceful 
than broken lines, the reason is that, while a curved 
line changes its direction at every moment, every 
new direction is indicated in the preceding one. 
Thus the perception of ease in motion passes over 
into the pleasure of mastering the flow of time 
and of holding the future in the present. A third 
element comes in when the graceful movements 
submit to a rhythm and are accompanied by music. 
For the rhythm and measure, by allowing us to fore 
see to a still greater extent the movements of the 
dancer, make us believe that we now control them. 
As we guess almost the exact attitude which 
the dancer is going to take, he seems to obey us 
when he really takes it : the regularity of the 
rhythm establishes a kind of communication be 
tween him and us, and the periodic returns of the 
measure are like so many invisible threads by 
means of which we set in motion this imaginary 
puppet. Indeed, if it stops for an instant, our 
hand in its impatience cannot refrain from making 
a movement, as though to push it, as though to 
replace it in the midst of this movement, the 
rhythm of which has taken complete possession 


of our thought and will. Thus a kind of physical 
sympathy enters into the feeling of grace. Now, 
in analysing the charm of this sympathy, you will 
find that it pleases you through its affinity with 
moral sympathy, the idea of which it subtly sug 
gests. This last element, in which the others are 
merged after having in a measure ushered it in, 
explains the irresistible attractiveness of grace. 
We could hardly make out why it affords us such 
pleasure if it were nothing but a saving of effort, 
as Spencer maintains. 1 But the truth is that 
in anything which we call very graceful we imagine 
ourselves able to detect, besides the lightness 
which is a sign of mobility, some suggestion of a 
possible movement towards ourselves, of a virtual 
and even nascent sympathy. It is this mobile 
sympathy, always ready to offer itself, which is 
just the essence of higher grace. Thus the in 
creasing intensities of aesthetic feeling are here 
resolved into as many different feelings, each one 
of which, already heralded by its predecessor, 
becomes perceptible in it and then completely 
eclipses it. It is this qualitative progress which 
we interpret as a change of magnitude, because 
we like simple thoughts and because our language 
is ill-suited to render the subtleties of psychological 

To understand how the feeling of the beautiful 
itself admits of degrees, we should have to submit 

1 Essays, (Library Edition, 1891), Vol. ii, p. 381, 


it to a minute analysis. Perhaps the difficulty 
The feeling of which we experience in defining it is 
to : p largely owing to the fact that we look 
upon the beauties of nature as an- 
terior to those of art: the processes 
of art are thus supposed to be nothing 
more than means by which the artist expresses 
the beautiful, and the essence of the beautiful 
remains unexplained. But we might ask our 
selves whether nature is beautiful otherwise than 
through meeting by chance certain processes of 
our art, and whether, in a certain sense, art is not 
prior to nature. Without even going so far, it 
seems more in conformity with the rules of a sound 
method to study the beautiful first in the works 
in which it has been produced by a conscious effort, 
and then to pass on by imperceptible steps from 
art to nature, which may be looked upon as an 
artist in its own way. By placing ourselves at this 
point of view, we shall perceive that the object of 
art is to put to sleep the active or rather resistant 
powers of our personality, and thus to bring us 
into a state of perfect responsiveness, in which 
we realize the idea that is suggested to us and sym 
pathize with the feeling that is expressed. In the 
processes of art we shall find, in a weakened form, a 
refined and in some measure spiritualized version 
of the processes commonly used to induce the state 
of hypnosis. Thus, hi music, the rhythm and 
measure suspend the normal flow of our sensations 
and ideas by causing our attention to swing to and 


fro between fixed points, and they take hold of us 
with such force that even the faintest imitation 
of a groan will suffice to fill us with the utmost 
sadness. If musical sounds affect us more power 
fully than the sounds of nature, the reason is that 
nature confines itself to expressing feelings, where 
as music suggests them to us. Whence indeed 
comes the charm of poetry ? The poet is he with 
whom feelings develop into images, and the images 
themselves into words which translate them while 
obeying the laws of rhythm. In seeing these 
images pass before our eyes we in our turn experi 
ence the feeling which was, so to speak, their 
emotional equivalent : but we should never realize 
these images so strongly without the regular move 
ments of the rhythm by which our soul is lulled 
into self-forgetfulness, and, as in a dream, thinks 
and sees with the poet. The plastic arts obtain 
an effect of the same kind by the fixity which 
they suddenly impose upon life, and which a 
physical contagion carries over to the attention of 
the spectator. While the works of ancient sculp 
ture express faint emotions which play upon them 
like a passing breath, the pale immobility of the 
stone causes the feeling expressed or the move 
ment just begun to appear as if they were fixed for 
ever, absorbing our thought and our will in their 
own eternity. We find in architecture, in the 
very midst of this startling immobility, certain 
effects analogous to those of rhythm. The sym 
metry of form, the indefinite repetition of the same 


architectural motive, causes our faculty of percep 
tion to oscillate between the same and the same 
again, and gets rid of those customary incessant 
changes which in ordinary life bring us back with 
out ceasing to the consciousness of our personality : 
even the faint suggestion of an idea will then be 
enough to make the idea fill the whole of our mind. 
Thus art aims at impressing feelings on us rather 
than expressing them ; it suggests them to us, and 
willingly dispenses with the imitation of nature 
when it finds some more efficacious means. Nature, 
like art, proceeds by suggestion, but does not com 
mand the resources of rhythm. It supplies the 
deficiency by the long comradeship, based on 
influences received in common by nature and by 
ourselves, of which the effect is that the slightest 
indication by nature of a feeling arouses sympathy 
in our minds, just as a mere gesture on the 
part of the hypnotist is enough to force the 
intended suggestion upon a subject accus 
tomed to his control. And this sympathy is 
shown in particular when nature displays to us 
beings of normal proportions, so that our atten 
tion is distributed equally over all the parts of the 
figure without being fixed on any one of them : 
our perceptive faculty then finds itself lulled and 
soothed by this harmony, and nothing hinders 
any longer the free play of sympathy, which is 
ever ready to come forward as soon as the obstacle 
in its path is removed. 

It follows from this analysis that the feeling of 


the beautiful is no specific feeling, but that every 
feeling experienced by us will assume 

Stages in the > f. , . , , ,, 

aesthetic emo- an aesthetic character, provided that it 
has been suggested, and not caused. It 
will now be understood why the aesthetic emotion 
seems to us to admit of degrees of intensity, and 
also of degrees of elevation. Sometimes the feel 
ing which is suggested scarcely makes a break in 
the compact texture of psychic phenomena of 
which our history consists ; sometimes it draws 
our attention from them, but not so that they 
become lost to sight ; sometimes, finally, it puts 
itself in their place, engrosses us and completely 
monopolizes our soul. There are thus distinct 
phases in the progress of an aesthetic feeling, 
as in the state of hypnosis ; and these phases 
correspond less to variations of degree than to 
differences of state or of nature. But the merit 
of a work of art is not measured so much by the 
power with which the suggested feeling takes hold 
of us as by the richness of this feeling itself : in 
other words, besides degrees of intensity we 
instinctively distinguish degrees of depth or eleva 
tion. If this last concept be analysed, it will be 
seen that the feelings and thoughts which the artist 
suggests to us express and sum up a more or less 
considerable part of his history. If the art which 
gives only sensations is an inferior art, the reason 
is that analysis often fails to discover in a sensa 
tion anything beyond the sensation itself. But 
the greater number of emotions are instinct with a 


thousand sensations, feelings or ideas which pervade 
them : each one is then a state unique of its kind 
and indefinable, and it seems that we should have 
to re-live the life of the subject who experiences it 
if we wished to grasp it in its original complexity. 
Yet the artist aims at giving us a share in this 
emotion, so rich, so personal, so novel, and at 
enabling us to experience what he cannot make us 
understand. This he will bring about by choos 
ing, among the outward signs of his emotions, 
those which our body is likely to imitate mechani 
cally, though slightly, as soon as it perceives them, 
so as to transport us all at once into the indefin 
able psychological state which called them forth. 
Thus will be broken down the barrier interposed 
by time and space between his consciousness and 
ours : and the richer in ideas and the more preg 
nant with sensations and emotions is the feeling 
within whose limits the artist has brought us, the 
deeper and the higher shall we find the beauty thus 
expressed. The successive intensities of the aes 
thetic feeling thus correspond to changes of state 
occurring in us, and the degrees of depth to the 
larger or smaller number of elementary psychic 
phenomena which we dimly discern in the funda 
mental emotion. 

The moral feelings might be studied in the same 

The moral W ^ ^ 6 ^ US ^^ P^ V aS an exam pl e 

feelings. Pity. It consists in the first place in putting 

Iti increasing 

" * Onese ^ mentally in the place of others, in 
suffering their pain. But if it were 


nothing more, as some have maintained, it would 
inspire us with the idea of avoiding the wretched 
rather than helping them, for pain is naturally 
abhorrent to us. This feeling of horror may indeed 
be at the root of pity ; but a new element soon 
comes in, the need of helping our fellow-men and of 
alleviating their suffering. Shall we say with La 
Rochefoucauld that this so-called sympathy is a 
calculation, " a shrewd insurance against evils to 
come " ? Perhaps a dread of some future evil 
to ourselves does hold a place in our compassion 
for other people s evil. These however are but 
lower forms of pity. True pity consists not so 
much in fearing suffering as in desiring it. The 
desire is a faint one and we should hardly wish to 
see it realized ; yet we form it in spite of ourselves, 
as if Nature were committing some great injustice 
and it were necessary to get rid of all suspicion 
of complicity with her. The essence of pity is thus 
a need for self-abasement, an aspiration down 
wards. This painful aspiration nevertheless has a 
charm about it, because it raises us in our own 
estimation and makes us feel superior to those 
sensuous goods from which our thought is tem 
porarily detached. The increasing intensity of 
pity thus consists in a qualitative progress, in a 
transition from repugnance to fear, from fear 
to sympathy, and from sympathy itself to hu 

We do not propose to carry this analysis any fur- 


ther. The psychic states whose intensity we have 

just defined are deep-seated states which 

conscious J Q no t se em to have any close relation to 

states oonnec- ** J 


te< ^ - tne i r external cause or to involve the per- 
s~ ception of muscular contraction. But such 
states are rare. There is hardly any pas 
sion or desire, any joy or sorrow, which is not accom 
panied by physical symptoms ; and, where these 
symptoms occur, they probably count for some 
thing in the estimate of intensities. As for the 
sensations properly so called, they are manifestly 
connected with their external cause, and though 
the intensity of the sensation cannot be defined 
by the magnitude of its cause, there undoubtedly 
exists some relation between these two terms. 
In some of its manifestations consciousness even 
appears to spread outwards, as if intensity were 
being developed into extensity, e.g. in the case of 
muscular effort. Let us face this last phenomenon 
at once : we shall thus be transported at a bound 
to the opposite extremity of the series of psychic 

If there is a phenomenon which seems to be 
presented immediately to consciousness under the 
Muscoiar ei- f rm * quantity or at least of magni- 
flXXt?oS tu de, it is undoubtedly muscular effort. 
We picture to our minds a psychic force 
imprisoned in the soul like the winds in the cave 
of Aeolus, and only waiting for an opportunity to 
burst forth : our will is supposed to watch over 


this force and from time to time to open a passage 
for it, regulating the outflow by the effect which 
it is desired to produce. If we consider the matter 
carefully, we shall see that this somewhat crude 
conception of effort plays a large part in our belief 
in intensive magnitudes. Muscular force, whose 
sphere of action is space and which manifests itself 
in phenomena admitting of measure, seems to us 
to have existed previous to its manifestations, but 
in smaller volume, and, so to speak, in a compressed 
state : hence we do not hesitate to reduce this 
volume more and more, and finally we believe that 
we can understand how a purely psychic state, 
which does not occupy space, can nevertheless 
possess magnitude. Science, too, tends to strength 
en the illusion of common sense with regard to 
this point. Bain, for example, declares that " the 
sensibility accompanying muscular movement 
coincides with the outgoing stream of nervous 
energy : " x it is thus just the emission of nerv 
ous force which consciousness perceives. Wundt 
also speaks of a sensation, central in its origin, 
accompanying the voluntary innervation of the 
muscles, and quotes the example of the paralytic 
" who has a very distinct sensation of the force 
which he employs in the effort to raise his leg, 
although it remains motionless." a Most of the 

1 The Senses and iht Intellect, 4th ed., (1894), p. 79. 
* Grundzuge der Physiologischen Psychologic, 2nd ed. 
(1880), Vol. i, p. 375. 



authorities adhere to this opinion, which would 
be the unanimous view of positive science were it 
not that several years ago Professor William James 
drew the attention of physiologists to certain 
phenomena which had been but little remarked, 
although they were very remarkable. 

When a paralytic strives to raise his useless 
limb, he certainly does not execute this move 
ment, but, with or without his will, 

The feeling of ,10 

effort, we he executes another, borne movement 

are conscious . t .1 

not of an - is carried out somewhere : otherwise 

penditure of . . . , T . . 

force but of there is no sensation of effort. 1 Vulpian 
muscular had already called attention to the 
fact that if a man affected with hemi- 
plegia is told to clench his paralysed fist, he 
unconsciously carries out this action with the 
fist which is not affected. Ferrier described a 
still more curious phenomenon. 2 Stretch out 
your arm while slightly bending your forefinger, 
as if you were going to press the trigger of a 
pistol ; without moving the finger, without 
contracting any muscle of the hand, without 
producing any apparent movement, you will yet 
be able to feel that you are expending energy. 
On a closer examination, however, you will 
perceive that this sensation of effort coincides 

1 W. James, Le sentiment de I effort (Critique philosoph-ique, 
1880, Vol. ii,) [cf. Principles of Psychology, (1891), Vol. ii, 
chap, xxvi.] 

2 Functions of the Brain, 2nd ed. (1886), p. 386. 


with the fixation of the muscles of your chest, 
that you keep your glottis closed and actively 
contract your respiratory muscles. As soon as 
respiration resumes its normal course the con 
sciousness of effort vanishes, unless you really 
move your finger. These facts already seemed 
to show that we are conscious, not of an expendi 
ture of force, but of the movement of the muscles 
which results from it. The new feature in Pro 
fessor James s investigation is that he has verified 
the hypothesis in the case of examples which 
seemed to contradict it absolutely. Thus when 
the external rectus muscle of the right eye is 
paralysed, the patient tries in vain to turn his 
eye towards the right ; yet objects seem to him 
to recede towards the right, and since the act of 
volition has produced no effect, it follows, said 
Helmholtz, 1 that he is conscious of the effort of 
volition. But, replies Professor James, no account 
has been taken of what goes on in the other eye. 
This remains covered during the experiments ; 
nevertheless it moves and there is not much trouble 
in proving that it does. It is the movement of 
the left eye, perceived by consciousness, which 
produces the sensation of effort together with the 
impression that the objects perceived by the right 
eye are moving. These and similar observations 
lead Professor James to assert that the feeling 

1 Handbuch der Physiologischen Opiik, ist ed. (1867), pp. 


of effort is centripetal and not centrifugal. We 
are not conscious of a force which we are supposed 
to launch upon our organism : our feeling of 
muscular energy at work " is a complex afferent 
sensation, which comes from contracted muscles, 
stretched ligaments, compressed joints, an immo 
bilized chest, a closed glottis, a knit brow, clenched 
jaws," in a word, from all the points of the periphery 
where the effort causes an alteration. 

It is not for us to take a side in the dispute. 
After all, the question with which we have to 
intensity of deal * s not whether the feeling of effort 
fort^ropJr- 6 *" comes from the centre or the periphery, 
teT 1 of o x ur b ut m wnat does our perception of its 
body affected, intensity exactly consist ? Now, it is 
sufficient to observe oneself attentively to reach 
a conclusion on this point which Professor James 
has not formulated, but which seems to us quite 
in accord with the spirit of his teaching. We 
maintain that the more a given effort seems to us 
to increase, the greater is the number of muscles 
which contract in sympathy with it, and that the 
apparent consciousness of a greater intensity of 
effort at a given point of the organism is reducible, 
in reality, to the perception of a larger surface of 
the body being affected. 

Try, for example, to clench the fist with increas 
ing force. You will have the impression of a 
sensation of effort entirely localized in your 
hand and running up a scale of magnitudes. 
In reality, what you experience in your hand 


remains the same, but the sensation which was 

at first localized there has affected 

scionsness of your arm and ascended to the shoulder ; 

an increase of ... , , , 

muscular et- finally, the other arm stiffens, both legs 

fort consists in , , . . , , , 

the perception do the same, the respiration is checked ; 
er number of it is the whole body which is at work, 
sensations (2) But you fail to notice distinctly all these 

a qualitative . . , 

change in concomitant movements unless you are 
warned of them : till then you thought 
you were dealing with a single state of consciousness 
which changed in magnitude. When you press 
your lips more and more tightly against one another, 
you believe that you are experiencing in your lips 
one and the same sensation which is continually 
increasing in strength : here again further reflec 
tion will show you that this sensation remains 
identical, but that certain muscles of the face and 
the head and then of all the rest of the body have 
taken part in the operation. You felt this gradual 
encroachment, this increase of the surface affected, 
which is in truth a change of quantity ; but, as 
your attention was concentrated on your closed 
lips, you localized the increase there and you 
made the psychic force there expended into a 
magnitude, although it possessed no extensity. 
Examine carefully somebody who is lifting heavier 
and heavier weights : the muscular contraction 
gradually spreads over his whole body. As for 
the special sensation which he experiences in the 
arm which is at work, it remains constant for a 
very long time and hardly changes except in 


quality, the weight becoming at a certain moment 
fatigue, and the fatigue pain. Yet the sub 
ject will imagine that he is conscious of a con 
tinual increase in the psychic force flowing 
into his arm. He will not recognize his mistake 
unless he is warned of it, so inclined is he to measure 
a given psychic state by the conscious movements 
which accompany it ! From these facts and from 
many others of the same kind we believe we can 
deduce the following conclusion : our conscious 
ness of an increase of muscular effort is reducible 
to the twofold perception of a greater number 
of peripheral sensations, and of a qualitative 
change occurring in some of them. 

We are thus led to define the intensity of a 

superficial effort in the same way as that of a 

deep-seated psychic feeling. In both 

The same de- . ,.. .. j 

finition of m- cases there is a qualitative progress and 

tensity applies . . , , j- , .-. 

to superficial an increasing complexity, indistinctly 

efforts, deep- i -n 

seated feelings perceived. But COnSClOUSnCSS, aCCUS- 

ujriJcUate be- tomed to think in terms of space and to 
translate its thoughts into words, will 
denote the feeling by a single word and will 
localize the effort at the exact point where it 
yields a useful result : it will then become aware 
of an effort which is always of the same nature 
and increases at the spot assigned to it, and a 
feeling which, retaining the same name, grows 
without changing its nature. Now, the same 
illusion of consciousness is likely to be met with 
again in the case of the states which are inter- 


mediate between superficial efforts and deep- 
seated feelings. A large number of psychic states 
are accompanied, in fact, by muscular contractions 
and peripheral sensations. Sometimes these super 
ficial elements are co-ordinated by a purely specu 
lative idea, sometimes by an idea of a practical 
order. In the first case there is intellectual effort 
or attention ; in the second we have the emotions 
which may be called violent or acute : anger, terror, 
and certain varieties of joy, sorrow, passion and 
desire. Let us show briefly that the same de 
finition of intensity applies to these intermediate 

Attention is not a purely physiological pheno 
menon, but we cannot deny that it is accompanied 
The interme- ^Y movements. These movements are 
neither the cause nor the result of the 

i- phenomenon ; they are part of it, they 
traction. express it in terms of space, as Ribot 
has so remarkably proved. l Fechner had already 
reduced the effort of attention in a sense-organ to 
the muscular feeling * produced by putting in 
motion, by a sort of reflex action, the muscles 
which are correlated with the different sense 
organs." He had noticed the very distinct sen 
sation of tension and contraction of the scalp, the 
pressure from without inwards over the whole 
skull, which we experience when we make a great 
effort to recall something. Ribot has studied 

1 Le mecanisme de V attention. Alcan, 1888. 


more closely the movements which are character 
istic of voluntary attention. " Attention con 
tracts the frontal muscle : this muscle . . . 
draws the eyebrow towards itself, raises it and 
causes transverse wrinkles on the forehead. . . . 
In extreme cases the mouth is opened wide. With 
children and with many adults eager attention gives 
rise to a protrusion of the lips, a kind of pout." 
Certainly, a purely psychic factor will always 
enter into voluntary attention, even if it be 
nothing more than the exclusion by the will of all 
ideas foreign to the one with which the subject 
wishes to occupy himself. But, once this exclusion 
is made, we believe that we are still conscious of a 
growing tension of soul, of an immaterial effort 
which increases. Analyse this impression and 
you will find nothing but the feeling of a muscular 
-Contraction which spreads over a wider surface or 
changes its nature, so that the tension becomes 
pressure, fatigue and pain. 

Now, we do not see any essential difference 
between the effort of attention and what may be 
intensity called the effort of psychic tension : 
acute desire, uncontrolled anger, passion- 
ion - ate love, violent hatred. Each of these 
states may be reduced, we believe, to a system of 
muscular contractions co-ordinated by an idea ; but 
in the case of attention, it is the more or less reflec 
tive idea of knowing ; in the case of emotion, the 
unrefiective idea of acting. The intensity of these 
violent emotions is thus likely to be nothing but 


the muscular tension which accompanies them. 
Darwin has given a remarkable description of the 
physiological symptoms of rage. The action of 
the heart is much accelerated. . . . The face red 
dens or may turn deadly pale. The respiration is 
laboured, the chest heaves, and the dilated nostrils 
quiver. The whole body often trembles. The 
voice is affected. The teeth are clenched or ground 
together and the muscular system is commonly 
stimulated to violent, almost frantic action. The 
gestures . . . represent more or less plainly the 
act of striking or fighting with an enemy." l We 
shall not go so far as to maintain, with Professor 
James, 2 that the emotion of rage is reducible to the 
sum of these organic sensations : there will always 
be an irreducible psychic element in anger, if this 
be only the idea of striking or fighting, of which 
Darwin speaks, and which gives a common direction 
to so many diverse movements. But, though this 
idea determines the direction of the emotional state 
and the accompanying movements, the growing in 
tensity of the state itself is, we believe, nothing but 
the deeper and deeper disturbance of the organism, 
a disturbance which consciousness has no difficulty 
in measuring by the number and extent of the 
bodily surfaces concerned. It will be useless to 
assert that there is a restrained rage which is all 
the more intense. The reason is that, where -J 

emotion has free play, consciousness does not ^ 


1 The Expression of the Emotions, ist ed., (1872), p. 74. c >" 
1 " What is an Emotion ? " Mind, 1884, p. 189. 




J* f 

dwell on the details of the accompanying move 
ments, but it does dwell upon them and is concen 
trated upon them when its object is to conceal them. 
Eliminate, in short, all trace of organic disturbance, 
all tendency towards muscular contraction, and 
all that will be left of anger will be the idea, or, if 
you still insist on making it an emotion, you will 
be unable to assign it any intensity. 

" Fear, when strong," says Herbert Spencer, 
" expresses itself in cries, in efforts to escape, in 
palpitations, in tremblings." l We go 
refl sl move- further, and maintain that these move- 
wsentiai dif- ments form part of the terror itself : by 

ferencc be- ,, ,-, -, 

tween inten- their means the terror becomes an 

emotion capable of passing through 
violent "^mo- different degrees of intensity. Suppress 

them entirely, and the more or less 
intense state of terror will be succeeded by an 
idea of terror, the wholly intellectual representation 
of a danger which it concerns us to avoid. There 
are also high degrees of joy and sorrow, of desire, 
aversion and even shame, the height of which will 
be found to be nothing but the reflex movements 
begun by the organism and perceived by conscious 
ness. When lovers meet," says Darwin, " we 
know that their hearts beat quickly, their breathing 
is hurried and their faces flushed." 2 Aversion 
is marked by movements of repugnance which we 
repeat without noticing when we think of the 

1 Principles of Psychology, 3rd. ed., (1890), Vol. i, p. 482. 
1 The Expression of the Emotions, ist ed., p. 78. 


object of our dislike. We blush and involuntarily 
clench the fingers when we feel shame, even if it be 
retrospective. The acuteness of these emotions 
is estimated by the number and nature of the 
peripheral sensations which accompany them. 
Little by little, and in proportion as the emotional 
state loses its violence and gains in depth, the 
peripheral sensations will give place to inner 
states ; it will be no longer our outward move 
ments but our ideas, our memories, our states of 
consciousness of every description, which will 
turn in larger or smaller numbers in a definite 
direction. There is, then, no essential difference 
from the point of view of intensity between the 
deep-seated feelings, of which we spoke at the 
beginning, and the acute or violent emotions 
which we have just passed in review. To say that 
love, hatred, desire, increase in violence is to 
assert that they are projected outwards, that they 
radiate to the surface, that peripheral sensations 
are substituted for inner states : but super 
ficial or deep-seated, violent or reflective, the 
intensity of these feelings always consists in the 
multiplicity of simple states which consciousness 
dimly discerns in them. 

We have hitherto confined ourselves to feelings 
and efforts, complex states the intensity of which 

Magnitude of does not absolutely depend on an ex- 
sensations. . 
Affective and ternal cause. But sensations seem to us 


sensations. simple states i in what will their magnitude 


consist ? The intensity of sensations varies with 
the external cause of which they are said to be 
the conscious equivalent : how shall we explain the 
presence of quantity in an effect which is inexten- 
sive, and in this case indivisible ? To answer this 
question, we must first distinguish between the 
so-called affective and the representative sensa 
tions. There is no doubt that we pass gradually 
from the one to the other and that some affective 
element enters into the majority of our simple 
representations. But nothing prevents us from 
isolating this element and inquiring separately, 
in what does the intensity of an affective sensation, 
a pleasure or a pain, consist ? 

Perhaps the difficulty of the latter problem is prin 
cipally due to the fact that we are unwilling to see 
Affective sen- m tne affective state anything but the 
"redo S?- conscious expression of an organic disturb- 

irbanoe. ^HCC, the mward echo Q f an outwar( i C aUS6. 

We notice that a more intense sensation generally 
corresponds to a greater nervous disturbance ; 
but inasmuch as these disturbances are uncon 
scious as movements, since they come before con 
sciousness in the guise of a sensation which has 
no resemblance at all to motion, we do not see 
how they could transmit to the sensation anything 
of their own magnitude. For there is nothing 
in common, we repeat, between superposable 
magnitudes such as, for example, vibration- 
amplitudes, and sensations which do not occupy 


space. If the more intense sensation seems to 
us to contain the less intense, if it assumes for 
us, like the physical impression itself, the form of a 
magnitude, the reason probably is that it retains 
something of the physical impression to which it j, 
corresponds. And it will retain nothing of it if it * 
is merely the conscious translation of a movement 
of molecules ; for, just because this movement is 
translated into the sensation of pleasure or pain, 
it remains unconscious as molecular movement. 

But it might be asked whether pleasure and 
pain, instead of expressing only what has just 
pleasure and occurred, or what is actually occurring, 
m * ne organism, as is usually believed, 
could not also point out what is going to, 
or what is tending to take place. It 
past stimulus. seems indeed somewhat improbable that 
nature, so profoundly utilitarian, should have here 
assigned to consciousness the merely scientific task 
of informing us about the past or the present, 
which no longer depend upon us. It must be 
noticed in addition that we rise by imperceptible 
stages from automatic to free movements, and 
that the latter differ from the former principally 
in introducing an affective sensation between the 
external action which occasions them and the 
volitional reaction which ensues. Indeed, all our 
actions might have been automatic, and we can 
surmise that there are many organized beings in 
whose case an external stimulus causes a definite 
reaction without calling up consciousness as an 



intermediate agent. If pleasure and pain make 
their appearance in certain privileged beings, it is 
probably to call forth a resistance to the automatic 
reaction which would have taken place : either 
sensation has nothing to do, or it is nascent free 
dom. But how would it enable us to resist the 
reaction which is in preparation if it did not 
acquaint us with the nature of the latter by some 
definite sign ? And what can this sign be except 
the sketching, and, as it were, the prefiguring of 
the future automatic movements in the very 
midst of the sensation which is being experienced ? 
The affective state must then correspond not merely 
to the physical disturbances, movements or phe 
nomena which have taken place, but also, and 
especially, to those which are in preparation, those 
which are getting ready to be. 

It is certainly not obvious at first sight how this 
hypothesis simplifies the problem. For we are 

intensity oi tr Y m g to ^ n ^ wnat there can be in 
common, from the point of view of magni- 
tude between a physical phenomenon 
an( * a state f consciousness, and we 
seem to have merely turned the difficulty 
round by making the present state of 
consciousness a sign of the future reaction, rather 
than a psychic translation of the past stimulus. 
But the difference between the two hypotheses is 
considerable. For the molecular disturbances 
which were mentioned just now are necessarily 
unconscious, since no trace of the movements 

con n scio b u e sness r 


themselves can be actually perceived in the 
sensation which translates them. But the auto 
matic movements which tend to follow the stimulus 
as its natural outcome are likely to be conscious 
as movements : or else the sensation itself, whose 
function is to invite us to choose between this 
automatic reaction and other possible movements, 
would be of no avail. The intensity of affective 
sensations might thus be nothing more than our 
consciousness of the involuntary movements which 
are being begun and outlined, so to speak, within 
these states, and which would have gone on in 
their own way if nature had made us automata 
instead of conscious beings. 

If such be the case, we shall not compare a pain 

of increasing intensity to a note which grows 

louder and louder, but rather to a 

Intensity o! a .... 

pain estim- symphony, in which an increasing num- 

ated by extent / r , ,1 

of organism ber of instruments make themselves 
heard. Within the characteristic sen 
sation, which gives the tone to all the others, 
consciousness distinguishes a larger or smaller 
number of sensations arising at different points 
of the periphery, muscular contractions, organic 
movements of every kind : the choir of these 
elementary psychic states voices the new demands 
of the organism, when confronted by a new situa 
tion. In other words, we estimate the intensity 
of a pain by the larger or smaller part of the 
organism which takes interest in it. Richet l 

1 L homme tt I intelligence, p, 36. 


has observed that the slighter the pain, the more 
precisely is it referred to a particular spot ; if it 
becomes more intense, it is referred to the whole 
of the member affected. And he concludes by 
saying that " the pain spreads in proportion as 
it is more intense." l We should rather reverse 
the sentence, and define the intensity of the pain 
by the very number and extent of the parts of 
the body which sympathize with it and react, 
and whose reactions are perceived by conscious 
ness. To convince ourselves of this, it will be 
enough to read the remarkable description of 
disgust given by the same author : "If the stimu 
lus is slight there may be neither nausea nor 
vomiting. ... If the stimulus is stronger, in 
stead of being confined to the pneumo-gastric 
nerve, it spreads and affects almost the whole 
organic system. The face turns pale, the smooth 
muscles of the skin contract, the skin is covered 
with a cold perspiration, the heart stops beating : 
in a word there is a general organic disturbance 
following the stimulation of the medulla oblongata, 
and this disturbance is the supreme expression 
of disgust." * But is it nothing more than 
its expression ? In what will the general sensa 
tion of disgust consist, if not in the sum of these 
elementary sensations ? And what can we un 
derstand here by increasing intensity, if it is not 
the constantly increasing number of sensations 

1 Ibid. p. 37. i ibid. p. 43. 


which join in with the sensations already experi 
enced ? Darwin has drawn a striking picture 
of the reactions following a pain which becomes 
more and more acute. " Great pain urges all 
animals ... to make the most violent and 
diversified efforts to escape from the cause of 
suffering. . . . With men the mouth may 
be closely compressed, or more commonly the 
lips are retracted with the teeth clenched or 
ground together. . . . The eyes stare wildly 
... or the brows are heavily contracted. 
Perspiration bathes the body. . . . The cir 
culation and respiration are much affected." 1 
Now, is it not by this very contraction of the 
muscles affected that we measure the intensity 
of a pain ? Analyse your idea of any suffering 
which you call extreme : do you not mean that 
it is unbearable, that is to say, that it urges the 
organism to a thousand different actions in order 
to escape from it ? I can picture to myself a 
nerve transmitting a pain which is independent 
of all automatic reaction ; and I can equally 
understand that stronger or weaker stimulations 
influence this nerve differently. But I do not 
see how these differences of sensation would 
be interpreted by our consciousness as differences 
of quantity unless we connected them with the 
reactions which usually accompany them, and 
which are more or less extended and more or 

1 The Expression of the Emotions, ist ed., pp. 72, 69, 70. 


less important. Without these subsequent re 
actions, the intensity of the pain would be a 
quality, and not a magnitude. 

We have hardly any other means of comparing 
several pleasures with one another. What do 
pleasures com- we mean b Y a reater pleasure except a 
S"taci5ation! pleasure that is preferred ? And what 
can our preference be, except a certain 
disposition of our organs, the effect of which 
is that, when two pleasures are offered simultane 
ously to our mind, our body inclines towards one 
of them ? Analyse this inclination itself and 
you will find a great many little movements which 
begin and become perceptible in the organs con 
cerned, and even in the rest of the body, as if the 
organism were coming forth to meet the pleasure 
as soon as it is pictured. When we define inclina 
tion as a movement, we are not using a metaphor. 
When confronted by several pleasures pictured 
by our mind, our body turns towards one of them 
spontaneously, as though by a reflex action. 
It rests with us to check it, but the attraction 
of the pleasure is nothing but this movement 
that is begun, and the very keenness of the plea 
sure, while we enjoy it, is merely the inertia 
of the organism, which is immersed in it and 
rejects every other sensation. Without this vis 
inertiae of which we become conscious by the 
very resistance which we offer to anything that 
might distract us, pleasure would be a state, 
but no longer a magnitude. In the moral as in 


the physical world, attraction serves to define 
movement rather than to produce it. 

We have studied the affective sensations separ 
ately, but we must now notice that many repre- 
The intensity sentative sensations possess an affective 
tive sensations, character, andthus call forth a reaction 

Many also af- . 

fectiveandin- on our part which we take into account 

tensity is mea- . . . , . . . . 

sored by re- in estimating their intensity. A con- 
action called . 11- r v -U.L " j 

forth, in siderable increase of light is represented 

others a new . , . ... . . 

element enters- for us by a characteristic sensation 
which is not yet pain, but which is analogous 
to dazzling. In proportion as the amplitude 
of sound-vibrations increases, our head and 
then our body seem to us to vibrate or to receive 
a shock. Certain representative sensations, 
those of taste, smell and temperature, have a 
fixed character of pleasantness or unpleasantness. 
Between flavours which are more or less bitter 
you will hardly distinguish anything but differ 
ences of quality ; they are like different shades 
of one and the same colour. But these differ 
ences of quality are at once interpreted as differ 
ences of quantity, because of their affective char 
acter and the more or less pronounced movements 
of reaction, pleasure or repugnance, which they 
suggest to us. Besides, even when the sensation 
remains purely representative, its external cause 
cannot exceed a certain degree of strength or 
weakness without inciting us to movements which 
enable us to measure it. Sometimes indeed 


we have to make an effort to perceive this sensa 
tion, as if it were trying to escape notice ; some 
times on the other hand it obsesses us, forces 
itself upon us and engrosses us to such an extent 
that we make every effort to escape from it and 
to remain ourselves. In the former case the 
sensation is said to be of slight intensity, and in 
the latter case very intense. Thus, in order to 
perceive a distant sound, to distinguish what 
we call a faint smell or a dim light, we strain all 
our faculties, we " pay attention." And it is 
just because the smell and the light thus require 
to be reinforced by our efforts that they seem 
to us feeble. And, inversely, we recognize a 
sensation of extreme intensity by the irresistible 
reflex movements to which it incites us, or by 
the powerlessness with which it affects us. When 
a cannon is fired off close to our ears or a dazzling 
light suddenly flares up, we lose for an instant 
the consciousness of our personality ; this state 
may even last some time in the case of a very 
nervous subject. It must be added that, even 
within the range of the so-called medium inten 
sities, when we are dealing on even terms with a 
representative sensation, we often estimate its 
importance by comparing it with another which 
it drives away, or by taking account of the per 
sistence with which it returns. Thus the ticking 
of a watch seems louder at night because it easily 
monopolizes a consciousness almost empty of 
sensations and ideas. Foreigners talking to one 


another in a language which we do not under 
stand seem to us to speak very loudly, because 
their words no longer call up any ideas in our 
mind, and thus break in upon a kind of intellectual 
silence and monopolize our attention like the 
ticking of a watch at night. With these so-called 
medium sensations, however, we approach a 
series of psychic states, the intensity of which 
is likely to possess a new meaning. For, in 
most cases, the organism hardly reacts at all, at 
least in a way that can be perceived ; and yet 
we still make a magnitude out of the pitch of 
a sound, the intensity of a light, the saturation 
of a colour. Doubtless, a closer observation of 
what takes place in the whole of the organism 
when we hear such and such a note or perceive 
such and such a colour has more than one sur 
prise in store for us. Has not C. Fere shown 
that every sensation is accompanied by an in 
crease in muscular force which can be measured 
by the dynamometer ? * But of an increase of this 
kind there is hardly any consciousness at all, 
and if we reflect on the precision with which we 
distinguish sounds and colours, nay, even weights 
and temperatures, we shall easily guess that 
some new element must come into play in our 
estimate of them. 

Now, the nature of this element is easy to deter- 
1 C. F6r, Sensation et Mouvcment. Paris, 1887. 


mine. For, in proportion as a sensation loses 
its affective character and becomes 

The purely re- ... 

presentative representative, the reactions which it 

sensations are 

S5 B StenS called f rtn n OUr P art tend t0 dlS " 

causes. appear, but at the same time we per 
ceive the external object which is its cause, or 
if we do not now perceive it, we have perceived 
it, and we think of it. Now, this cause is ex 
tensive and therefore measurable : a constant 
experience, which began with the first glimmer 
ings of consciousness and which continues 
throughout the whole of our life, shows us a 
definite shade of sensation corresponding to a 
definite amount of stimulation. We thus associ 
ate the idea of a certain quantity of cause with a 
certain quality of effect ; and finally, as happens 
in the case of every acquired perception, we trans 
fer the idea into the sensation, the quantity of 
the cause into the quality of the effect. At this 
very moment the intensity, which was nothing 
but a certain shade or quality of the sensation, 
becomes a magnitude. We shall easily understand 
this process if, for example, we hold a pin in our 
right hand and prick our left hand more and 
more deeply. At first we shall feel as it were a 
tickling, then a touch which is succeeded by a 
prick, then a pain localized at a point, and finally 
the spreading of this pain over the surrounding 
zone. And the more we reflect on it, the more 
clearly shall we see that we are here dealing 
with so many qualitatively distinct sensations, 


so many varieties of a single species. But yet 
we spoke at first of one and the same sensation 
which spread further and further, of one prick 
which increased in intensity. The reason is that, 
without noticing it, we localized in the sensation 
of the left hand, which is pricked, the progressive 
effort of the right hand, which pricks. We thus 
introduced the caus^ into the effect, and uncon 
sciously interpreted quality as quantity, intens 
ity as magnitude. Now, it is easy to see that 
the intensity of every representative sensation 
ought to be understood in the same way. 

The sensations of sound display well marked 

degrees of intensity. We have already spoken 

of the necessity of taking into account 

The sensa- . J 

tions of sound, the affective character of these sensa- 

Intensity mea- . 

iured by effort tions, the shock received by the whole 

necessary to J 

produce a sim- o f the organism. We have shown that 

ilar sound. 

a very intense sound is one which en 
grosses our attention, which supplants all the 
others. But take away the shock, the well- 
marked vibration, which you sometimes feel 
in your head or even throughout your body : 
take away the clash which takes place between 
sounds heard simultaneously : what will be left 
except an indefinable quality of the sound which 
is heard ? But this quality is immediately inter 
preted as quantity because you have obtained 
it yourself a thousand times, e.g. by striking 
some object and thus expending a definite quan 
tity of effort. You know, too, how far you would 


have to raise your voice to produce a similai 
sound, and the idea of this effort immediately 
comes into your mind when you transform the 
intensity of the sound into a magnitude. Wundt * 
has drawn attention to the quite special con 
nexions of vocal and auditory nervous filaments 
which are met with in the human brain. And has 
it not been said that to hear is to speak to one 
self ? Some neuropaths cannot be present at 
a conversation without moving their lips ; this 
is only an exaggeration of what takes place in 
the case of every one of us. How will the ex 
pressive or rather suggestive power of music be 
explained, if not by admitting that we repeat 
to ourselves the sounds heard, so as to carry 
ourselves back into the psychic state out of which 
they emerged, an original state, which nothing 
will express, but which something may suggest, 
viz., the very motion and attitude which the 
sound imparts to our body ? 

Thus, when we speak of the intensity of a 
sound of medium force as a magnitude, we allude 
principally to the greater or less effort 
"* which we should have ourselves to 
*! expend in order to summon, by our 
own effort, the same auditory sensation. 
Now, besides the intensity, we distinguish another 
characteristic property of the sound, its pitch. 

1 Grundziige der Physiologischen Psychologic, 2nd ed., 
(1880), Vol. ii, p. 437. 


Are the differences in pitch, such as our ear 
perceives, quantitative differences ? I grant that 
a sharper sound calls up the picture of a higher 
position in space. But does it follow from 
this that the notes of the scale, as auditory 
sensations, differ otherwise than in quality ? 
Forget what you have learnt from physics, exa 
mine carefully your idea of a higher or lower note, 
and see whether you do not think simply of the 
greater or less effort which the tensor muscle 
of your vocal chords has to make in order to 
produce the note ? As the effort by which your 
voice passes from one note to another is discon 
tinuous, you picture to yourself these successive 
notes as points in space, to be reached by a series 
of sudden jumps, in each of which you cross an 
empty separating interval : this is why you 
establish intervals between the notes of the scale. 
Now, why is the line along which we dispose 
them vertical rather than horizontal, and why 
do we say that the sound ascends in some cases 
and descends in others ? It must be remembered 
that the high notes seem to us to produce some 
sort of resonance in the head and the deep notes 
in the thorax : this perception, whether real or 
illusory, has undoubtedly had some effect in 
making us reckon the intervals vertically. But 
we must also notice that the greater the tension 
of the vocal chords in the chest voice, the greater 
is the surface of the body affected, if the singer 
is inexperienced ; this is just the reason why the 


effort is felt by him as more intense. And as 
he breathes out the air upwards, he will attribute 
the same direction to the sound produced by the 
current of air ; hence the sympathy of a larger 
part of the body with the vocal muscles will be 
represented by a movement upwards. We shall 
thus say that the note is higher because the body 
makes an effort as though to reach an object which 
is more elevated in space. In this way it became 
customary to assign a certain height to each note 
of the scale, and as soon as the physicist was able 
to define it by the number of vibrations in a given 
time to which it corresponds, we no longer hesi 
tated to declare that our ear perceived differ 
ences of quantity directly. But the sound would 
remain a pure quality if we did not bring in the 
muscular effort which produces it or the vibra 
tions which explain it. 

The experiments of Blix, Goldscheider and 
Donaldson l have shown that the points on the 
The sensations surface of the body which feel cold are 
oli(L heat Th a ee not the same as those which feel heat. 
Lfle^tive^and Physiology is thus disposed to set up a 
e ?<Sn2 distinction of nature, and not merely of 
degree, between the sensations of heat 
and cold. But psychological observation goes 
further, for close attention can easily discover 
specific differences between the different sensa 
tions of heat, as also between the sensations of 

1 " On the Temperature Sense " Mind, 1885. 


cold. A more intense heat is really another kind of 
heat. We call it more intense because we have 
experienced this same change a thousand times 
when we approached nearer and nearer a source of 
heat, or when a growing surface of our body was 
affected by it. Besides, the sensations of heat 
and cold very quickly become affective and incite 
us to more or less marked reactions by which we 
measure their external cause : hence, we are 
inclined to set up similar quantitative differences 
among the sensations which correspond to lower 
intensities of the cause. But I shall not insist 
any further ; every one must question himself 
carefully on this point, after making a clean sweep 
of everything which his past experience has taught 
him about the cause of his sensations and coming 
face to face with the sensations themselves. The 
result of this examination is likely to be as follows : 
it will be perceived that the magnitude of a repre 
sentative sensation depends on the cause having 
been put into the effect, while the intensity of the 
affective element depends on the more or less 
important reactions which prolong the external 
stimulations and find their way into the sensation 

The same thing will be experienced in the case 
of pressure and even weight. When you say 
The sensa- that a pressure on your hand becomes 

tions of pres- 

sure and stronger and stronger, see whether you 

weight mea- 

sured by ex- do not mean that there first was a 

tent of organ- 

ism affected, contact, then a pressure, afterwards a 


pain, and that this pain itself, after having gone 
through a series of qualitative changes, has spread 
further and further over the surrounding region. 
Look again and see whether you do not bring in 
the more and more intense, i.e. more and more 
extended, effort of resistance which you oppose to 
the external pressure. When the psychophysi- 
cist lifts a heavier weight, he experiences, he 
says, an increase of sensation. Examine whether 
this increase of sensation ought not rather to be 
called a sensation of increase. The whole question 
is centred in this, for in the first case the sensation 
would be a quantity like its external cause, whilst 
in the second it would be a quality which had 
become representative of the magnitude of its 
cause. The distinction between the heavy and 
the light may seem to be as old-fashioned and as 
childish as that between the hot and the cold. 
But the very childishness of this distinction makes 
it a psychological reality. And not only do the 
heavy and the light impress our consciousness as 
generically different, but the various degrees of 
lightness and heaviness are so many species of 
these two genera. It must be added that the 
difference of quality is here translated spontane 
ously into a difference of quantity, because of the 
more or less extended effort which our body makes 
in order to lift a given weight. Of this you will 
soon become aware if you are asked to lift a basket 
which, you are told, is full of scrap-iron, whilst 
in fact there is nothing in it. You will think you 


are losing your balance when you catch hold of 
it, as though distant muscles had interested them 
selves beforehand in the operation and experi 
enced a sudden disappointment. It is chiefly 
by the number and nature of these sympathetic 
efforts, which take place at different points of the 
organism, that you measure the sensation of 
weight at a given point ; and this sensation would 
be nothing more than a quality if you did not thus 
introduce into it the idea of a magnitude. What 
strengthens the illusion on this point is that we 
have become accustomed to believe in the immedi 
ate perception of a homogeneous movement in a 
homogeneous space. When I lift a light weight 
with my arm, all the rest of my body remaining 
motionless, I experience a series of muscular sensa 
tions each of which has its " local sign," its pecu 
liar shade : it is this series which my conscious 
ness interprets as a continuous movement in space. 
If I afterwards lift a heavier weight to the same 
height with the same speed, I pass through a new 
series of muscular sensations, each of which differs 
from the corresponding term of the preceding 
series. Of this I could easily convince myself 
by examining them closely. But as I interpret 
this new series also as a continuous movement, 
and as this movement has the same direction, the 
same duration and the same velocity as the pre 
ceding, my consciousness feels itself bound to 
localize the difference between the second series 
of sensations and the first elsewhere than in the 


movement itself. It thus materializes this differ 
ence at the extremity of the arm which moves ; 
it persuades itself that the sensation of movement 
has been identical in both cases, while the sensa 
tion of weight differed in magnitude. But move 
ment and weight are but distinctions of the reflec 
tive consciousness : what is present to conscious 
ness immediately is the sensation of, so to speak, 
a heavy movement, and this sensation itself can 
be resolved by analysis into a series of muscular 
sensations, each of which represents by its shade 
its place of origin and by its colour the magnitude 
of the weight lifted. 

Shall we call the intensity of light a quantity, or 

shall we treat it as a quality ? It has not perhaps 

been sufficiently noticed what a large 

The sensation J 

of light. Qua- number of different factors co-operate in 

litative . 

chants of daily life in giving us information about 

colour inter- , 

preted as the nature of the luminous source. We 


chaws in know from long experience that, when we 

intensity ol , j rr 

luminous have a difficulty in distinguishing the 
outlines and details of objects, the light 
is at a distance or on the point of going out. 
Experience has taught us that the affective sensa 
tion or nascent dazzling that we experience in cer 
tain cases must be attributed to a higher intensity 
of the cause. Any increase or diminution in the 
number of luminous sources alters the way in 
which the sharp lines of bodies stand out and also 
the shadows which they project. Still more 
important are the changes of hue which coloured 


surfaces, and even the pure colours of the spec 
trum, undergo under the influence of a brighter 
or dimmer light. As the luminous source is 
brought nearer, violet takes a bluish tinge, green 
tends to become a whitish yellow, and red a bril 
liant yellow. Inversely, when the light is moved 
away, ultramarine passes into violet and yellow 
into green ; finally, red, green and violet tend to be 
come a whitish yellow. Physicists have remarked 
these changes of hue for some time ; J but what 
is still more remarkable is that the majority of men 
do not perceive them, unless they pay attention to 
them or are warned of them. Having made up 
our mind, once for all, to interpret changes of 
quality as changes of quantity, we begin by assert 
ing that every object has its own peculiar colour, 
definite and invariable. And when the hue of 
objects tends to become yellow or blue, instead of 
saying that we see their colour change under the 
influence of an increase or diminution of light, we 
assert that the colour remains the same but that 
our sensation of luminous intensity increases or 
diminishes. We thus substitute once more, for 
the qualitative impression received by our con 
sciousness, the quantitative interpretation given 
by our understanding. Helmholtz has described 
a case of interpretation of the same kind, but still 
more complicated : " If we form white with two 
colours of the spectrum, and if we increase or 

1 Rood, Modern Chromatics, (1879), pp. 181-187. 


diminish the intensities of the two coloured lights 
in the same ratio, so that the proportions of the 
combination remain the same, the resultant 
colour remains the same although the relative 
intensity of the sensations undergoes a marked 
change. . . . This depends on the fact that the 
light of the sun, which we consider as the normal 
white light during the day, itself undergoes simi 
lar modifications of shade when the luminous inten 
sity varies." l 

But yet, if we often judge of variations in the 

luminous source by the relative changes of hue of 

the objects which surround us, this is no 

Does eiperi- , , , 

ment prove longer the case in simple instances where 

that we can .... , ., /. 

measure di- a single object, e.g. a white surface, 

rectly our sen- .. , , ,.,, , 

ations oi passes successively through different de 
grees of luminosity. We are bound to 
insist particularly on this last point. For the 
physicist speaks of degrees of luminous intensity 
as of real quantities : and, in fact, he measures 
them by the photometer. The psychophysicist 
goes still further : he maintains that our eye 
itself estimates the intensities of light. Experi 
ments have been attempted, at first by Delbceuf, 2 
and afterwards by Lehmann and Neiglickj 3 with 

1 Handbuch der Physiologischen Optik, ist ed. (1867), pp. 

2 Elements de psychophysique. Paris, 1883. 

8 See the account given of these experiments in the Revue 
philosophiqiie, 1887, Vol. i, p. 71, and Vol. ii, p. 180. 


the view of constructing a psychophysical formula 
from the direct measurement of our luminous 
sensations. Of these experiments we shall not 
dispute the result, nor shall we deny the value 
of photometric processes ; but we must see how 
we have to interpret them. 

Look closely at a sheet of paper lighted e.g. by 
four candles, and put out in succession one, two, 
Photometric three of them. You say that the surface 
^ e p5c(5ve remains white and that its brightness 
?n fl d er affer h - ade8 diminishes. But you are aware that 
?rtt ds theS et as one candle has just been put out ; or, if 
~ y u do n t know it, you have often 
light, observed a similar change in the appear 
ance of a white surface when the illumination was 
diminished. Put aside what you remember of 
your past experiences and what you are accus 
tomed to say of the present ones ; you will find 
that what you really perceive is not a diminished 
illumination of the white surface, it is a layer of 
shadow passing over this surface at the moment 
the candle is extinguished. This shadow is a 
reality to your consciousness, like the light itself. 
If you call the first surface in all its brilliancy 
white, you will have to give another name to what 
you now see, for it is a different thing : it is, if 
we may say so, a new shade of white. We have 
grown accustomed, through the combined influence 
of our past experience and of physical theories, 
to regard black as the absence, or at least as the 
minimum, of luminous sensation, and the succes- 


sive shades of grey as decreasing intensities of 
white light. But, in point of fact, black has just 
as much reality for our consciousness as white, and 
the decreasing intensities of white light illuminat 
ing a given surface would appear to an unpre 
judiced consciousness as so many different shades, 
not unlike the various colours of the spectrum. 
This is the reason why the change in the sensation 
is not continuous, as it is in the external cause, 
and why the light can increase or decrease for a 
certain period without producing any apparent 
change in the illumination of our white surface : 
the illumination will not appear to change until the 
increase or decrease of the external light is suffi 
cient to produce a new quality. The variations in 
brightness of a given colour the affective sensa 
tions of which we have spoken above being left 
aside would thus be nothing but qualitative 
changes, were it not our custom to transfer the 
cause to the effect and to replace our immediate 
impressions by what we learn from experience and 
science. The same thing might be said of degrees 
of saturation. Indeed, if the different intensities 
of a colour correspond to so many different 
shades existing between this colour and black, the 
degrees of saturation are like shades intermediate 
between this same colour and pure white. Every 
colour, we might say, can be regarded under two 
aspects, from the point of view of black and from 
the point of view of white. And black is then to 
intensity what white is to saturation. 


The meaning of the photometric experiments 
will now be understood. A candle placed at a 
in photome- certain distance from a sheet of paper 
- illuminates it in a certain way : you 

SSl c ?ot double the distance and find that four 
buT a ph? 8 S icai candles are required to produce the same 
sensation. From this you conclude that 
if you had doubled the distance without increas 
ing the intensity of the luminous source, the result 
ant illumination would have been only one-fourth 
as bright. But it is quite obvious that you are 
here dealing with the physical and not the psy 
chological effect. For it cannot be said that you 
have compared two sensations with one another : 
you have made use of a single sensation in order 
to compare two different luminous sources with 
each other, the second four times as strong as the 
first but twice as far off. In a word, the physicist 
never brings in sensations which are twice or three 
times as great as others, but only identical sensa 
tions, destined to serve as intermediaries between 
two physical quantities which can then be equated 
with one another. The sensation of light here 
plays the part of the auxiliary unknown quantity 
which the mathematician introduces into his calcu 
lations, and which is not intended to appear in 
the final result. 

But the object of the psychophysicist is entirely 
different : it is the sensation of light itself which 
he studies, and claims to measure. Some 
times he will proceed to integrate infinitely small 


differences, after the method of Fechner ; some 
times he will compare one sensation 

The psycho- tJ r 

physicist directly with another. Ine latter 

claims to com J ^ t , . 

pare and method due to Plateau and Delbceur, 

measure sensa- . , 

tions. Dei- differs far less than has hitherto been 

boauf s ex- 1 . , 

periments. believed from Fechner s : but, as it bears 
more especially on the luminous sensations, we shall 
deal with it first. Delbceuf places an observer 
in front of three concentric rings which vary in 
brightness. By an ingenious arrangement he can 
cause each of these rings to pass through all the 
shades intermediate between white and black. 
Let us suppose that two hues of grey are simul 
taneously produced on two of the rings and kept 
unchanged ; let us call them A and B. Delbceuf 
alters the brightness, C, of the third ring, and asks 
the observer to tell him whether, at a certain 
moment, the grey, B, appears to him equally dis 
tant from the other two. A moment comes, in 
fact, when the observer states that the contrast 
A B is equal to the contrast B C, so that, according 
to Delbceuf, a scale of luminous intensities could 
be constructed on which we might pass from each 
sensation to the following one by equal sensible 
contrasts : our sensations would thus be measured 
by one another. I shall not follow Delbceuf 
into the conclusions which he has drawn from 
these remarkable experiments : the essential ques 
tion, the only question, as it seems to me, is whether 
a contrast A B, formed of the elements A and B, is 
really equal to a contrast B C, which is differently 


composed. As soon as it is proved that two sen 
sations can be equal without being identical, psy- 
chophysics will be established. But it is this 
equality which seems to me open to question : it 
is easy to explain, in fact, how a sensation of 
luminous intensity can be said to be at an equal 
distance from two others. 

Let us assume for a moment that from our birth 
onwards the growing intensity of a luminous source 
in what case na <i always called up in our conscious- 
cofour Qce might ness > one after the other, the different 
as dVEnces colours of the spectrum. There is no 
oi magnitude, ^oubt that these colours would then 
appear to us as so many notes of a gamut, as 
higher or lower degrees in a scale, in a word, as 
magnitudes. Moreover it would be easy for us to 
assign each of them its place in the series. For 
although the extensive cause varies continuously, 
the changes in the sensation of colour are discon 
tinuous, passing from one shade to another shade. 
However numerous, then, may be the shades inter 
mediate between the two colours, A and B, it 
will always be possible to count them in thought, 
at least roughly, and ascertain whether this num 
ber is almost equal to that of the shades which 
separate B from another colour C. In the latter 
case it will be said that B is equally distant from 
A and C, that the contrast is the same on one 
side as on the other. But this will always be 
merely a convenient interpretation : for although 
the number of intermediate shades may be equal 


on both sides, although we may pass from one to 
the other by sudden leaps, we do not know 
whether these leaps are magnitudes, still less 
whether they are equal magnitudes : above all it 
would be necessary to show that the intermedi 
aries which have helped us throughout our 
measurement could be found again inside the 
object which we have measured. If not, it is 
only by a metaphor that a sensation can be said 
to be an equal distance from two others. 

Now, if the views which we have before enu 
merated with regard to luminous intensities are 
nu3i.jtthe accepted, it will be recognized that the 
l different hues of grey which Delbceuf 
displays to us are strictly analogous, 
for our consciousness, to colours, and 
that if we declare that a grey tint is 
equi-distant from two other grey tints, it is in 
the same sense in which it might be said that 
orange, for example, is at an equal distance from 
green and red. But there is this difference, that 
in all our past experience the succession of grey 
tints has been produced in connexion with a 
progressive increase or decrease in illumination. 
Hence we do for the differences of brightness what 
we do not think of doing for the differences of 
colour : we promote the changes of quality into 
variations of magnitude. Indeed, there is no 
difficulty here about the measuring, because the 
successive shades of grey produced by a continuous 
decrease of illumination are discontinuous, as being 


qualities, and because we can count approximately 
the principal intermediate shades which separate 
any two kinds of grey. The contrast A B will 
thus be declared equal to the contrast B C when 
our imagination, aided by our memory, inserts 
between A and B the same number of intermediate 
shades as between B and C. It is needless to say 
that this will necessarily be a very rough estimate. 
We may anticipate that it will vary considerably 
with different persons. Above all it is to be ex 
pected that the person will show more hesitation 
and that the estimates of different persons will 
differ more widely in proportion as the difference 
in brightness between the rings A and B is increased, 
for a more and more laborious effort will be required 
to estimate the number of intermediate hues. 
This is exactly what happens, as we shall easily 
perceive by glancing at the two tables drawn up 
by Delboeuf. 1 In proportion as he increases the 
difference in brightness between the exterior 
ring and the middle ring, the difference between 
the numbers on which one and the same observer 
or different observers successively fix increases 
almost continuously from 3 degrees to 94, from 
5 to 73, from 10 to 25, from 7 to 40. But let 
us leave these divergences on one side : let 
us assume that the observers are always consist 
ent and always agree with one another ; will it 
then be established that the contrasts A B and 
B C are equal ? It would first be necessary to 
1 Elements de psychophysique, pp. 61, 69. 


prove that two successive elementary contrasts 
are equal quantities, whilst, in fact, we only know 
that they are successive. It would then be neces 
sary to prove that inside a given tint of grey we 
perceive the less intense shades which our imagina 
tion has run through in order to estimate the 
objective intensity of the source of light. In a 
word, Delbceuf s psychophysics assumes a the 
oretical postulate of the greatest importance, 
which is disguised under the cloak of an experi 
mental result, and which we should formulate as 
follows : When the objective quantity of light 
is continuously increased, the differences between 
the hues of grey successively obtained, each of 
which represents the smallest perceptible increase 
of physical stimulation, are quantities equal to one 
another. And besides, any one of the sensations 
obtained can be equated with the sum of the 
differences which separate from one another all 
previous sensations, going from zero upwards." 
Now, this is just the postulate of Fechner s psy 
chophysics, which we are going to examine. 

Fechner took as his starting-point a law 
discovered by Weber, according to which, given 

Fechner s P sy- * certain stimulus which calls forth 
chophysics. a certain sensation, the amount by 

Weber i Law. . * 

which the stimulus must be increased 
for consciousness to become aware of any change 
bears a fixed relation to the original stimulus. 
Thus, if we denote by E the stimulus which 
corresponds to the sensation S, and by AE 


the amount by which the original stimulus must 
be increased in order that a sensation of difference 


may be produced, we shall have -=-= const. 


This formula has been much modified by the 
disciples of Fechner, and we prefer to take no 
part in the discussion ; it is for experiment to 
decide between the relation established by Weber 
and its substitutes. Nor shall we raise any 
difficulty about granting the probable existence 
of a law of this nature. It is here really a question 
not of measuring a sensation but only of deter 
mining the exact moment at which an increase 
of stimulus produces a change in it. Now, if a 
definite amount of stimulus produces a definite 
shade of sensation, it is obvious that the minimum 
amount of stimulus required to produce a change 
in this shade is also definite ; and since it is not 
constant, it must be a function of the original 
stimulus. But how are we to pass from a re 
lation between the stimulus and its minimum 
increase to an equation which connects the " amount 
of sensation " with the corresponding stimulus ? 
The whole of psychophysics is Involved in this 
transition, which is therefore worthy of our closest 

We shall distinguish several different artifices 
The underiy- in the process of transition from We- 

ing assump- i / 

tions and the ber s experiments, or from any other 

process by / , > , 

which Fech- series ot similar observations, to a psy- 
?e e ache aw " chophysical law like Fechner s. It is 


first of all agreed to consider our consciousness 
of an increase of stimulus as an increase of the 
sensation S : this is therefore called S. It is the n 
asserted that all the sensations AS, which corre 
spond to the smallest perceptible increase of stimu 
lus, are equal to one another. They are therefore 
treated as quantities, and while, on the one hand, 
these quantities are supposed to be always equal, 
and, on the other, experiment has given a certain 
relation AE = / (E) between the stimulus E 
and its minimum increase, the constancy of AS 

is expressed by writing AS = C -^- , C being a 

constant quantity. Finally it is agreed to replace 
the very small differences AS and AE by the 
infinitely small differences dS and dE, whence 
an equation which is, this time, a differential 


one : dS = C-=-. We shall now simply have to in- 

tegrate on both sides to obtain the desired rela 

tion 1 :S=C I --=-. And the transition will thus be 

made from a proved law, which only concerned 
the occurrence of a sensation, to an unprovable 
law which gives its measure. 

Without entering upon any thorough discussion 

1 In the particular case where we admit without restriction 

A f* "C* 

Weber s Law - - =const., integration gives S=C log. . 

Q being a constant. This is Fechner s " logarithmic law." 



of this ingenious operation, let us show in a few 
words how Fechner has grasped the real difficulty 
of the problem, how he has tried to overcome it, 
and where, as it seems to us, the flaw in his reason 
ing lies. 

Fechner realized that measurement could not be 

introduced into psychology without first defining 

what is meant by the equality and 

Can two sen- , ,.,. , . . , 

sations be addition of two simple states, e.g. two 

equal without .. _ ,. . , ,. 

being identi- sensations. But, unless they are identi 
cal, we do not at first see how two 
sensations can be equal. Undoubtedly in the 
physical world equality is not synonymous with 
identity. But the reason is that every phenomenon, 
every object, is there presented under two aspects, 
the one qualitative and the other extensive : 
nothing prevents us from putting the first one 
aside, and then there remains nothing but terms 
which can be directly or indirectly superposed on 
one another and consequently seen to be identical. 
Now, this qualitative element, which we begin by 
eliminating from external objects in order to 
measure them, is the very thing which psycho- 
physics retains and claims to measure. And it is 
no use trying to measure this quality Q by some 
physical quantity Q which lies beneath it : for 
it would be necessary to have previously shown 
that Q is a function of Q , and this would not be 
possible unless the quality Q had first been measured 
with some fraction of itself. Thus nothing pre 
vents us from measuring the sensation of heat by 


the degree of temperature ; but this is only a 
convention, and the whole point of psychophysics 
lies in rejecting this convention and seeking how 
the sensation of heat varies when you change the 
temperature. In a word, it seems, on the one hand, 
that two different sensations cannot be said to 
be equal unless some identical residuum remains 
after the elimination of their qualitative difference ; 
but, on the other hand, this qualitative difference 
being all that we perceive, it does not appear 
what could remain once it was eliminated. 

The novel feature in Fechner s treatment is 
that he did not consider this difficulty insur- 
mountable. Taking advantage of the 
^ c ^ that sensation varies by sudden 
j um p s while the stimulus increases con 
tinuously, he did not hesitate to call these differ 
ences of sensation by the same name : they are 
all, he says, minimum differences, since each cor 
responds to the smallest perceptible increase in 
the external stimulus. Therefore you can set 
aside the specific shade or quality of these suc 
cessive differences ; a common residuum will 
remain in virtue of which they will be seen to be 
in a manner identical : they all have the common 
character of being minima. Such will be the defini 
tion of equality which we were seeking. Now, the 
definition of addition will follow naturally. For if 
we treat as a quantity the difference perceived by 
consciousness between two sensations which succeed 
one another in the course of a continuous increase 



of stimulus, if we call the first sensation S, and the 
second S-f-AS, we shall have to consider every 
sensation S as a sum, obtained by the addition 
of the minimum differences through which we 
pass before reaching it. The only remaining 
step will then be to utilize this twofold definition 
in order to establish, first of all, a relation between 
the differences AS and AE, and then, through 
the substitution of the differentials, between the 
two variables. True, the mathematicians may 
here lodge a protest against the substitution of 
differential for difference ; the psychologists may 
ask, too, whether the quantity AS, instead of 
being constant, does not vary as the sensation 
S itself ; x finally, taking the psychophysical law 
for granted, we may all debate about its real 
meaning. But, by the mere fact that AS is re 
garded as a quantity and S as a sum, the funda 
mental postulate of the whole process is accepted. 
Now it is just this postulate which seems to 
us open to question, even if it can be understood. 
Break-down Assume that I experience a sensation 
Son he St UI the s and that > increasing the stimulus 
e con t muous ly I perceive this increase 
after a certain time. I am now notified 
Quantities. o f ^he increase of the cause : but why 
should I call this notification an arithmetical 
difference ? No doubt the notification consists 
in the fact that the original state S has changed : 

1 Latterly it has been assumed that AS is proportional to S. 


it has become S ; but the transition from S to S 
could only be called an arithmetical difference 
if I were conscious, so to speak, of an interval 
between S and S , and if my sensation were felt 
to rise from S to S by the addition of something. 
By giving this transition a name, by calling it AS, 
you make it first a reality and then a quantity. 
Now, not only are you unable to explain in what 
sense this transition is a quantity, but reflection 
will show you that it is not even a reality ; the 
only realities are the states S and S through which 
I pass. No doubt, if S and S were numbers, 
I could assert the reality of the difference S S 
even though S and S 7 alone were given ; the 
reason is that the number S S, which is a certain 
sum of units, will then represent just the successive 
moments of the addition by which we pass from 
S to S . But if S and S are simple states, in 
what will the interval which separates them con 
sist ? And what, then, can the transition from 
the first state to the second be, if not a mere act 
of your thought, which, arbitrarily and for the 
sake of the argument, assimilates a succession of 
two states to a differentiation of two magnitudes ? 
Either you keep to what consciousness presents 
to you or you have recourse to a conventional 
we can speak rnode of representation. In the first 
tfcai d- me ~ case you will find a difference between 
a n c C o e nven n tionS S and S like that between the shades 
of the rainbow, and not at all an interval 
of magnitude. In the second case you may intro- 


duce the symbol AS if you like, but it is only 
in a conventional sense that you will speak here 
of an arithmetical difference, and in a conventional 
sense, also, that you will assimilate a sensation 
to a sum. The most acute of Fechner s critics, 
Jules Tannery, has made the latter point per 
fectly clear. "It will be said, for example, that 
a sensation of 50 degrees is expressed by the num 
ber of differential sensations which would succeed 
one another from the point where sensation is 
absent up to the sensation of 50 degrees. ... I 
do not see that this is anything but a definition, 
which is as legitimate as it is arbitrary." l 

We do not believe, in spite of all that has been 
said, that the method of mean gradations has 
DeiboBuf s re- se * psychophysics on a new path. The 
nun plausible, novel feature in Delbceuf s investi- 
aKchophy- gation was that he chose a particular 
3 I ev ?icious case > ^ n which consciousness seemed to 
decide in Fechner s favour, and in which 
common sense itself played the part of the psycho- 
physicist. He inquired whether certain sensa 
tions did not appear to us immediately as equal 
although different, and whether it would not be 
possible to draw up, by their help, a table of 
sensations which were double, triple or quadruple 
those which preceded them. The mistake which 
Fechner made, as we have just seen, was that 
he believed in an interval between two successive 

1 Revue scicntifique, March 13 and April 24, 1875. 


sensations S and S , when there is simply a passing 
from one to the other and not a difference in 
the arithmetical sense of the word. But if the 
two terms between which the passing takes place 
could be given simultaneously, there would then 
be a contrast besides the transition ; and al 
though the contrast is not yet an arithmetical 
difference, it resembles it in a certain respect ; 
for the two terms which are compared stand here 
side by side as in a case of subtraction of two 
numbers. Suppose now that these sensations 
belong to the same genus and that in our past 
experience we have constantly been present at 
their march past, so to speak, while the physical 
stimulus increased continuously : it is extremely 
probable that we shall thrust the cause into the 
effect, and that the idea of contrast will thus 
melt into that of arithmetical difference. As 
we shall have noticed, moreover, that the sen 
sation changed abruptly while the stimulus rose 
continuously, we shall no doubt estimate the dis 
tance between two given sensations by a rough 
guess at the number of these sudden jumps, 
or at least of the intermediate sensations which 
usually serve us as landmarks. To sum up, the 
contrast will appear to us as a difference, the 
stimulus as a quantity, the sudden jump as an 
element of equality : combining these three fac 
tors, we shall reach the idea of equal quantitative 
differences. Now, these conditions are nowhere 
so well realized as when surfaces of the same 


colour, more or less illuminated, are simultaneously 
presented to us. Not only is there here a con 
trast between similar sensations, but these sen 
sations correspond to a cause whose influence 
has always been felt by us to be closely connected 
with its distance ; and, as this distance can vary 
continuously, we cannot have escaped noticing 
in our past experience a vast number of shades 
of sensation which succeeded one another along 
with the continuous increase in the cause. We 
are therefore able to say that the contrast between 
one shade of grey and another, for example, seems 
to us almost equal to the contrast between the 
latter and a third one ; and if we define two equal 
sensations by saying that they are sensations 
which a more or less confused process of reasoning 
interprets as such, we shall in fact reach a law 
like that proposed by Delbceuf. But it must 
not be forgotten that consciousness has here 
passed through the same intermediate steps as 
the psychophysicist, and that its judgment is 
worth here just what psychophysics is worth ; 
it is a symbolical interpretation of quality as 
quantity, a more or less rough estimate of the 
number of sensations which can come in between 
two given sensations. The difference is thus 
not as great as is believed between the method of 
least noticeable differences and that of mean 
gradations, between the psychophysics of Fechner 
and that of Delbceuf. The first led to a con 
ventional measurement of sensation ; the second 


appeals to common sense in the particular cases 
where common sense adopts a similar convention. 
In a word, all psychophysics is condemned by 
its origin to revolve in a vicious circle, for the 
theoretical postulate on which it rests condemns 
it to experimental verification, and it cannot 
be experimentally verified unless its postulate 
is first granted. The fact is that there is no 
point of contact between the unextended and 
the extended, between quality and quantity. 
We can interpret the one by the other, set up 
the one as the equivalent of the other ; but sooner 
or later, at the beginning or at the end, we shall 
have to recognize the conventional character of 
this assimilation. 

In truth, psychophysics merely formulates with 
precision and pushes to its extreme consequences 
a conception familiar to common sense. 

pushes to its As speech dominates over thought, 

extreme oonse- 11. 1-1 

quences the as external objects, which are common 


but natural to us all, are more important to us 

mistake of re- . . 

gardmg sensa- than the subjective states through 

tions as mag- 

nitudes. which each of us passes, we have every 
thing to gain by objectifying these states, by 
introducing into them, to the largest possible 
extent, the representation of their external cause. 
And the more our knowledge increases, the more 
we perceive the extensive behind the intensive, 
quantity behind quality, the more also we tend 
to thrust the former into the latter, and to 
treat our sensations as magnitudes. Physics, 


whose particular function it is to calculate the 
external cause of our internal states, takes the 
least possible interest in these states themselves : 
constantly and deliberately it confuses them with 
their cause. It thus encourages and even exag 
gerates the mistake which common sense makes 
on the point. The moment was inevitably bound 
to come at which science, familiarized with this 
confusion between quality and quantity, between 
sensation and stimulus, should seek to measure 
the one as it measures the other : such was the 
object of psychophysics. In this bold attempt 
Fechner was encouraged by his adversaries them 
selves, by the philosophers who speak of intensive 
magnitudes while declaring that psychic states can 
not be submitted to measurement. For if we grant 
that one sensation can be stronger than another, 
and that this inequality is inherent in the sensa 
tions themselves, independently of all association 
of ideas, of all more or less conscious consideration 
of number and space, it is natural to ask by how 
much the first sensation exceeds the second, 
and to set up a quantitative relation between 
their intensities. Nor is it any use to reply, 
as the opponents of psychophysics sometimes do, 
that all measurement implies superposition, and 
that there is no occasion to seek for a numerical 
relation between intensities, which are not super- 
posable objects. For it will then be necessary 
to explain why one sensation is said to be more 
intense than another, and how the conceptions 




of greater and smaller can be applied to things 
which, it has just been acknowledged, do not 
admit among themselves of the relations of con 
tainer to contained. If, in order to cut short 
any question of this kind, we distinguish two 
kinds of quantity, the one intensive, which admits 
only of a " more or less," the other extensive, 
which lends itself to measurement, we are not far 
from siding with Fechner and the psychophysicists. 
For, as soon as a thing is acknowledged to be 
capable of increase and decrease, it seems natural 
to ask by how much it decreases or by how much 
it increases. And, because a measurement of 
this kind does not appear to be possible directly, 
it does not follow that science cannot successfully 
accomplish it by some indirect process, either by 
an integration of infinitely small elements, as 
Fechner proposes, or by any other roundabout 
way. Either, then, sensation is pure quality, or, 
if it is a magnitude, we ought to try to measure it. 

To sum up what precedes, we have found the 
notion of intensity to present itself under a double 
Thus inten- aspect, according as we study the states 
5? i ud fejre- * consciousness which represent an 
external cause, or those which are self- 
511 016111 - In the former case the per- 
ception of intensity consists in a certain 
Sty ^f piy- estimate of the magnitude of the cause 
c P n ~ by means of a certain quality in the 
volvwL effect: it is, as the Scottish philoso- 


phers would have said, an acquired perception. 
In the second case, we give the name of intensity 
to the larger or smaller number of simple psychic 
phenomena which we conjecture to be involved 
in the fundamental state : it is no longer an 
acquired perception, but a confused perception. 
In fact, these two meanings of the word usually 
intermingle, because the simpler phenomena in 
volved in an emotion or an effort are generally 
representative, and because the majority of re 
presentative states, being at the same time affect 
ive, themselves include a multiplicity of element 
ary psychic phenomena. The idea of intensity 
is thus situated at the junction of two streams, 
one of which brings us the idea of extensive mag 
nitude from without, while the other brings us 
from within, in fact from the very depths of 
consciousness, the image of an inner multiplicity. 
Now, the point is to determine in what the latter 
image consists, whether it is the same as that of 
number, or whether it is quite different from it. 
In the following chapter we shall no longer con 
sider states of consciousness in isolation from 
one another, but in their concrete multiplicity, 
in so far as they unfold themselves in pure duration. 
And, in the same way as we have asked what 
would be the intensity of a representative sen 
sation if we did not introduce into it the idea of 
its cause, we shall now have to inquire what the 
multiplicity of our inner states becomes, w/hat 
form duration assumes, when the space in which 


it unfolds is eliminated. This second question 
is even more important than the first. For, if 
the confusion of quality with quantity were 
confined to each of the phenomena of conscious 
ness taken separately, it would give rise to obscuri 
ties, as we have just seen, rather than to problems. 
But by invading the series of our psychic states, 
by introducing space into our perception of dura 
tion, it corrupts at its very source our feeling 
of outer and inner change, of movement, and 
of freedom. Hence the paradoxes of the Eleatics, 
hence the problem of free will. We shall insist 
rather on the second point ; but instead of seeking 
to solve the question, we shall show the mistake 
of those who ask it. 



NUMBER may be defined in general as a collection 
of units, or, speaking more exactly, as the synthesis 
what is num- f the one and the many. Every num- 
ber{> her is one, since it is brought before the 

1 I had already completed the present work when I read 
in the Critique philosophique (for 1883 and 1884) F. Pillon s 
very remarkable refutation of an interesting article by G. Noel 
on the interconnexion of the notions of number and space. 
But I have not found it necessary to make any alterations in 
the following pages, seeing that Pillon does not distinguish 
between time as quality and time as quantity, between the mul 
tiplicity of juxtaposition and that of interpenetration. With 
out this vital distinction, which it is the chief aim of the present 
chapter to establish, it would be possible to maintain, with 
Pillon, that number may be built up from the relation of 
co-existence. But what is here meant by co-existence ? If 
the co-existing terms form an organic whole, they will never 
lead us to the notion of number ; if they remain distinct, 
they are in juxtaposition and we are dealing with space. It 
is no use to quote the example of simultaneous impressions 
received by several senses. We either leave these sensations 
their specific differences, which amounts to saying that we do 
not count them ; or else we eliminate their differences, and 
then how are we to distinguish them if not by their position or 
that of their symbols ? We shall see that the verb to dis 
tinguish " has two meanings, the one qualitative, the other 


mind by a simple intuition and is given a name ; 
but the unity which attaches to it is that of a sum, 
it covers a multiplicity of parts which can be con 
sidered separately. Without attempting for the 
present any thorough examination of these con 
ceptions of unity and multiplicity, let us inquire 
whether the idea of number does not imply the 
representation of something else as well. 

It is not enough to say that number is a collec 
tion of units ; we must add that these units are 
identical with one another, or at least 
whiciTmake that they are assumed to be identical 
must b^iden- when they are counted. No doubt we 
can count the sheep in a flock and say 
that there are fifty, although they are all different 
from one another and are easily recognized by the 
shepherd : but the reason is that we agree in that 
case to neglect their individual differences and to 
take into account only what they have in common. 
On the other hand, as soon as we fix our attention 
on the particular features of objects or individuals, 
we can of course make an enumeration of them, 
but not a total. We place ourselves at these two 
very different points of view when we count the 
soldiers in a battalion and when we call the roll. 
Hence we may conclude that the idea of number 
implies the simple intuition of a multiplicity of 
parts or units, which are absolutely alike. 

quantitative : these two meanings have been confused, in my 
opinion, by the philosophers who have dealt with the relations 
between number and space. 


And yet they must be somehow distinct from 
one another, since otherwise they would merge 

into a single unit. Let us assume that 
also be dis- all the sheep in the flock are identical ; 

they differ at least by the position which 
they occupy in space, otherwise they would not 
form a flock. But now let us even set aside the 
fifty sheep themselves and retain only the idea 
of them. Either we include them all in the same 
image, and it follows as a necessary consequence 
that we place them side by side in an ideal space, 
or else we repeat fifty times in succession the 
image of a single one, and in that case it does 
seem, indeed, that the series lies in duration 
rather than in space. But we shall soon find out 
that it cannot be so. For if we picture to ourselves 
each of the sheep in the flock in succession and 
separately, we shall never have to do with more 
than a single sheep. In order that the number 
should go on increasing in proportion as we 
advance, we must retain the successive images 
and set them alongside each of the new units 
which we picture to ourselves : now, it is in space 
that such a juxtaposition takes place and not in 
pure duration. In fact, it will be easily granted 
that counting material objects means thinking all 
these objects together, thereby leaving them in 
space. But does this intuition of space accom 
pany every idea of number, even of an abstract 
number ? 

Any one can answer this question by reviewing 

CHAP, n 


the various forms which the idea of number has 
we cannot assumed for him since his childhood. 

orTde 8 ?^* 86 Jt wi 11 be seen that we be S an bv imagin- 
numberwith- m g e> gr a row o f balls, that these balls 

out the ac- o o 

SfiaSfS afterwards became points, and, finally, 
ipac. this image itself disappeared, leaving 

behind it, as we say, nothing but abstract number. 
But at this very moment we ceased to have an 
image or even an idea of it ; we kept only the 
symbol which is necessary for reckoning and 
which is the conventional way of expressing num 
ber. For we can confidently assert that 12 is 
half of 24 without thinking either the number 12 
or the number 24 : indeed, as far as quick calcu 
lation is concerned, we have everything to gain 
by not doing so. But as soon as we wish to picture 
number to ourselves, and not merely figures or 
words, we are compelled to have recourse to an 
extended image. What leads to misunderstanding 
on this point seems to be the habit we have fallen 
into of counting in time rather than in space. In 
order to imagine the number 50, for example, 
we repeat all the numbers starting from unity, 
and when we have arrived at the fiftieth, we 
believe we have built up the number in duration 
and in duration only. And there is no doubt that 
in this way we have counted moments of duration 
rather than points in space ; but the question is 
whether we have not counted the moments of 
duration by means of points in space. It is cer 
tainly possible to perceive in time, and in time 


only, a succession which is nothing but a succes 
sion, but not an addition, i.e. a succession which 
culminates in a sum. For though we reach a 
sum by taking into account a succession of different 
terms, yet it is necessary that each of these terms 
should remain when we pass to the following, 
and should wait, so to speak, to be added to the 
others : how could it wait, if it were nothing but 
an instant of duration ? And where could it wait 
if we did not localize it in space ? We involun 
tarily fix at a point in space each of the moments 
which we count, and it is only on this condition 
that the abstract units come to form a sum. No 
doubt it is possible, as we shall show later, to con 
ceive the successive moments of time independently 
of space ; but when we add to the present moment 
those which have preceded it, as is the case when 
we are adding up units, we are not dealing with 
these moments themselves, since they have van 
ished for ever, but with the lasting traces which 
they seem to have left in space on their passage 
through it. It is true that we generally dispense 
with this mental image, and that, after having 
used it for the first two or three numbers, it is 
enough to know that it would serve just as well 
for the mental picturing of the others, if we needed 
it. But every clear idea of number implies a 
visual image in space ; and the direct study of the 
units which go to form a discrete multiplicity will 
lead us to the same conclusion on this point as the 
examination of number itself. 


Every number is a collection of units, as we have 
said, and on the other hand every number is itself 
a unit, in so far as it is a synthesis of 
oi a the units which compose it. But is the 
k4 Ol word unit taken in the same sense in 
tfecauie both cases ? When we assert that num- 
" ber is a unit, we understand by this 
that we master the whole of it by a 
simple and indivisible intuition of the mind ; this 
unity thus includes a multiplicity, since it is the 
unity of a whole. But when we speak of the units 
which go to form number, we no longer think of 
these units as sums, but as pure, simple, irreducible 
units, intended to yield the natural series of num 
bers by an indefinitely continued process of ac 
cumulation. It seems, then, that there are two 
kinds of units, the one ultimate, out of which a 
number is formed by a process of addition, and 
the other provisional, the number so formed, 
which is multiple in itself, and owes its unity to 
the simplicity of the act by which the mind per 
ceives it. And there is no doubt that, when we 
picture the units which make up number, we be 
lieve that we are thinking of indivisible com 
ponents : this belief has a great deal to do with 
the idea that it is possible to conceive number 
independently of space. Nevertheless, by looking 
more closely into the matter, we shall see that all 
unity is the unity of a simple act of the mind, and 
that, as this is an act of unification, there must be 
some multiplicity for it to unify. No doubt, at 


the moment at which I think each of these units 
separately, I look upon it as indivisible, since I 
am determined to think of its unity alone. But 
as soon as I put it aside in order to pass to the 
next, I objectify it, and by that very deed I make 
it a thing, that is to say, a multiplicity. To con 
vince oneself of this, it is enough to notice that 
the units by means of which arithmetic forms 
numbers are provisional units, which can be sub 
divided without limit, and that each of them is 
the sum of fractional quantities as small and as 
numerous as we like to imagine. How could we 
divide the unit, if it were here that ultimate unity 
which characterizes a simple act of the mind ? 
How could we split it up into fractions whilst 
affirming its unity, if we did not regard it implicitly 
as an extended object, one in intuition but multiple 
in space ? You will never get out of an idea 
which you have formed anything which you 
have not put into it ; and if the unity by means of 
which you make up your number is the unity of 
an act and not of an object, no effort of analysis 
will bring out of it anything but unity pure and 
simple. No doubt, when you equate the number 
3 to the sum of i + i + i, nothing prevents you 
from regarding the units which compose it as 
indivisible : but the reason is that you do not 
choose to make use of the multiplicity which is 
enclosed within each of these units. Indeed, it 
is probable that the number 3 first assumes to 
our mind this simpler shape, because we think 


rather of the way in which we have obtained it 
than of the use which we might make of it. But we 
soon perceive that, while all multiplication implies 
the possibility of treating any number whatever 
as a provisional unit which can be added to itself, 
inversely the units in their turn are true numbers 
which are as big as we like, but are regarded as 
provisionally indivisible for the purpose of com 
pounding them with one another. Now, the very 
admission that it is possible to divide the unit 
into as many parts as we like, shows that we regard 
it as extended. 

For we must understand what is meant by the 

discontinuity of number. It cannot be denied 

that the formation or construction of 

Number in , ... , . , / T 

procew of tor- a number implies discontinuity. In 

mation If dis- . , 111 

continuous, other words, as we remarked above, 
formed, " in- each of the units with which we form 
the continuity the number 3 seems to be indivisible 
while we are dealing with it, and we 
pass abruptly from one to the other. Again, if 
we form the same number with halves, with 
quarters, with any units whatever, these units, 
in so far as they serve to form the said number, 
will still constitute elements which are provision 
ally indivisible, and it is always by jerks, by sudden 
jumps, so to speak, that we advance from one to 
the other. And the reason is that, in order to get 
a number, we are compelled to fix our attention 
successively on each of the units of which it is com 
pounded. The indivisibility of the act by which 


we conceive any one of them is then represented 
under the form of a mathematical point which is 
separated from the following point by an interval of 
space. But, while a series of mathematical points 
arranged in empty space expresses fairly well the 
process by which we form the idea of number, 
these mathematical points have a tendency to 
develop into lines in proportion as our attention 
is diverted from them, as if they were trying to 
reunite with one another. And when we look at 
number in its finished state, this union is an accom 
plished fact : the points have become lines, the 
divisions have been blotted out, the whole displays 
all the characteristics of continuity. This is why 
number, although we have formed it according 
to a definite law, can be split up on any system 
we please. In a word, we must distinguish be 
tween the unity which we think of and the unity 
which we set up as an object after having thought 
of it, as also between number in process of forma 
tion and number once formed. The unit is irre 
ducible while we are thinking it and number is 
discontinuous while we are building it up : but, 
as soon as we consider number in its finished state, 
we objectify it, and it then appears to be divisible 
to an unlimited extent. In fact, we apply the 
term subjective to what seems to be completely 
and adequately known, and the term objective 
to what is known in such a way that a constantly 
increasing number of new impressions could be 
substituted for the idea which we actually have 


of it. Thus, a complex feeling will contain a 
fairly large number of simple elements ; but, as 
long as these elements do not stand out with per 
fect clearness, we cannot say that they were com 
pletely realized, and, as soon as consciousness has 
a distinct perception of them, the psychic state 
which results from their synthesis will have changed 
for this very reason. But there is no change in 
the general appearance of a body, however it is 
analysed by thought, because these different 
analyses, and an infinity of others, are already 
visible in the mental image which we form of 
the body, though they are not realized : this actual 
and not merely virtual perception of subdivisions 
in what is undivided is just what we call objectivity. 
It then becomes easy to determine the exact part 
played by the subjective and the objective in the 
idea of number. What properly belongs to the 
mind is the indivisible process by which it con 
centrates attention successively on the different 
parts of a given space ; but the parts which have 
thus been isolated remain in order to join with the 
others, and, once the addition is made, they may 
be broken up in any way whatever. They are 
therefore parts of space, and space is, accordingly, 
the material with which the mind builds up number, 
the medium in which the mind places it. 

Properly speaking, it is arithmetic which teaches 
us to split up without limit the units of which 
number consists. Common sense is very much 
inclined to build up number with indivisibles. 


And this is easily understood, since the pro- 
it follows visional simplicity of the component units 
what the y owe to the mmd > and 

SSJo5ti5n atne latter P a y s more attention to its 
in space. own ac ^- s than to the material on which it 

works. Science confines itself, here, to drawing 
our attention to this material : if we did not 
already localize number in space, science would 
certainly not succeed in making us transfer it 
thither. From the beginning, therefore, we must 
have thought of number as of a juxtaposition in 
space. This is the conclusion which we reached 
at first, basing ourselves on the fact that all addi 
tion implies a multiplicity of parts simultaneously 

Now, if this conception of number is granted, 

it will be seen that everything is not counted in 

the same way, and that there are two 

Two kinds of . . . r ..... 

multiplicity: very different kinds of multiplicity. 

(1) material J i i_- 

objects, When we speak of material objects, we 

counted in r -V-T, t -, 

space; (2) refer to the possibility of seeing and 

conscious IT xr 

states, not touching them ; we localize them in 

countable un- T . . 

less symbolic- space. In that case, no effort ol the 
sented in inventive faculty or of symbolical repre- 

space. . . . 

sentation is necessary in order to count 
them ; we have only to think them, at first separ 
ately, and then simultaneously, within the very 
medium in which they come under our observation. 
The case is no longer the same when we consider 
purely affective psychic states, or even mental 


images other than those built up by means of 
sight and touch. Here, the terms being no longer 
given in space, it seems, a priori, that we can 
hardly count them except by some process of 
symbolical representation. In fact, we are well 
aware of a representation of this kind when 
we are dealing with sensations the cause of 
which is obviously situated in space. Thus, when 
we hear a noise of steps in the street, we have 
a confused vision of somebody walking along : 
each of the successive sounds is then localized at 
a point in space where the passer-by might tread : 
we count our sensations in the very space in which 
their tangible causes are ranged. Perhaps some 
people count the successive strokes of a distant 
bell in a similar way, their imagination pictures 
the bell coming and going ; this spatial sort of 
image is sufficient for the first two units, and the 
others follow naturally. But most people s minds 
do not proceed in this way. They range the suc 
cessive sounds in an ideal space and then fancy 
that they are counting them in pure duration. 
Yet we must be clear on this point. The sounds 
of the bell certainly reach me one after the other ; 
but one of two alternatives must be true. Either 
I retain each of these successive sensations in order 
to combine it with the others and form a group 
which reminds me of an air or rhythm which I 
know : in that case I do not count the sounds, I 
limit myself to gathering, so to speak, the qualita 
tive impression produced by the whole series. Or 


else I intend explicitly to count them, and then I 
shall have to separate them, and this separation 
must take place within some homogeneous medium 
in which the sounds, stripped of their qualities, 
and in a manner emptied, leave traces of their 
presence which are absolutely alike. The question 
now is, whether this medium is time or space. 
But a moment of time, we repeat, cannot persist 
in order to be added to others. If the sounds are 
separated, they must leave empty intervals between 
them. If we count them, the intervals must 
remain though the sounds disappear : how could 
these intervals remain, if they were pure duration 
and not space ? It is in space, therefore, that the 
operation takes place. It becomes, indeed, more 
and more difficult as we penetrate further into the 
depths of consciousness. Here we find ourselves 
confronted by a confused multiplicity of sensa 
tions and feelings which analysis alone can dis 
tinguish. Their number is identical with the 
number of the moments which we take up when 
we count them ; but these moments, as they 
can be added to one another, are again points 
in space. Our final conclusion, therefore, is that 
there are two kinds of multiplicity : that of 
material objects, to which the conception of num 
ber is immediately applicable ; and the multiplicity 
of states of consciousness, which cannot be re 
garded as numerical without the help of some 
symbolical representation, in which a necessary 
element is space. 


As a matter of fact, each of us makes a distinc 
tion between these two kinds of multiplicity 
The impene- whenever he speaks of the impenetra- 
ratteHs not & bility f matter. We sometimes set up 
iSci al n b ees- impenetrability as a fundamental pro 
perty of bodies, known in the same way 
and put on the same level as e.g. weight or resist 
ance. But a purely negative property of this kind 
cannot be revealed by our senses ; indeed, cer 
tain experiments in mixing and combining things 
might lead us to call it in question if our minds 
were not already made up on the point. Try to 
picture one body penetrating another : you will 
at once assume that there are empty spaces in the 
one which will be occupied by the particles of the 
other ; these particles in their turn cannot pene 
trate one another unless one of them divides in 
order to fill up the interstices of the other ; and our 
thought will prolong this operation indefinitely in 
preference to picturing two bodies in the same 
place. Now, if impenetrability were really a 
quality of matter which was known by the senses, 
it is not at all clear why we should experience more 
difficulty in conceiving two bodies merging into 
one another than a surface devoid of resistance or 
a weightless fluid. In reality, it is not a physical 
but a logical necessity which attaches to the 
proposition : Two bodies cannot occupy the 
same place at the same time." The contrary 
assertion involves an absurdity which no con 
ceivable experience could succeed in dispelling. 


In a word, it implies a contradiction. But does 
not this amount to recognizing that the very 
idea of the number 2, or, more generally, of any 
number whatever, involves the idea of juxtaposi 
tion in space ? If impenetrability is generally 
regarded as a quality of matter, the reason is that 
the idea of number is thought to be independent 
of the idea of space. We thus believe that we are 
adding something to the idea of two or more 
objects by saying that they cannot occupy the 
same place : as if the idea of the number 2, even 
the abstract number, were not already, as we have 
shown, that of two different positions in space ! 
Hence to assert the impenetrability of matter is 
simply to recognize the inter-connexion between 
the notions of number and space, it is to state a 
property of number rather than of matter. Yet, 
it will be said, do we not count feelings, sensations, 
ideas, all of which permeate one another, and each 
of which, for its part, takes up the whole of the 
soul ? Yes, undoubtedly ; but, just because they 
permeate one another, we cannot count them unless/ 
we represent them by homogeneous units whichf 
occupy separate positions in space and conse^ 
quently no longer permeate one another. Im 
penetrability thus makes its appearance at the 
same time as number ; and when we attribute this 
quality to matter in order to distinguish it from 
everything which is not matter, we simply state 
under another form the distinction established 
above between extended objects, to which the 


conception of number is immediately applicable, 
and states of consciousness, which have first of 
all to be represented symbolically in space. 

It is advisable to dwell on the last point. If, 
in order to count states of consciousness, we have 
Homogeneous to represent them symbolically in space, 
in 9 is it not likely that this symbolical repre- 
states sentation will alter the normal con 

form discrete .... , . i -\ -r 

This ditions of inner perception ? Let us 

recall what we said a short time ago 
pu ei duration about the intensity of certain psychic 

is something T-. ,. . . . , , 

different, states. Representative sensation, looked 
at in itself, is pure quality ; but, seen through the 
medium of extensity, this quality becomes in a 
certain sense quantity, and is called intensity. In 
the same way, our projection of our psychic states 
into space in order to form a discrete multiplicity 
is likely to influence these states themselves and 
to give them in reflective consciousness a new 
form, which immediate perception did not at 
tribute to them. Now, let us notice that when 
we speak of time, we generally think of a homo 
geneous medium in which our conscious states are 
ranged alongside one another as in space, so as 
to form a discrete multiplicity. Would not time, 
thus understood, be to the multiplicity of our 
psychic states what intensity is to certain of them, 
a sign, a symbol, absolutely distinct from true 
duration ? Let us ask consciousness to isolate 
itself from the external world, and, by a vigorous 
effort of abstraction, to become itself again. We 

I 91 / 


shall then put this question to it : does the multi 
plicity of our conscious states bear the slightest 
resemblance to the multiplicity of the units of a 
number ? Has true duration anything to do 
with space ? Certainly, our analysis of the idea 
of number could not but make us doubt this 
analogy, to say no more. For if time, as the 
reflective consciousness represents it, is a medium 
in which our conscious states form a discrete series 
so as to admit of being counted, and if on the other 
hand our conception of number ends in spreading 
out in space everything which can be directly 
counted, it is to be presumed that time, under 
stood in the sense of a medium in which we make 
distinctions and count, is nothing but space. That 
which goes to confirm this opinion is that we are 
compelled to borrow from space the images by 
which we describe what the reflective consciousness 
feels about time and even about succession ; it 
follows that pure duration must be something 
different. Such are the questions which we have 
been led to ask by the very analysis of the notion 
of discrete multiplicity. But we cannot throw any 
light upon them except by a direct study of the 
ideas of space and time in their mutual relations. 

We shall not lay too much stress on the question 
of the absolute reality of space : perhaps we might 
Does space as well ask whether space is or is not in 

exist inde- T , 

pendentiy oi space. In snort, our senses perceive 

its contents, as , ... .. , ,. .. 

Kant held p the qualities of bodies and space along 


with them : the great difficulty seems to 
have been to discover whether extensity is an 
aspect of these physical qualities a quality of 
quality or whether these qualities are essentially 
unextended, space coming in as a later addition, 
but being self-sufficient and existing without 
them. On the first hypothesis, space would be 
reduced to an abstraction, or, speaking more 
correctly, an extract ; it would express the com 
mon element possessed by certain sensations called 
representative. In the second case, space would 
be a reality as solid as the sensations themselves, 
although of a different order. We owe the exact 
formulation of this latter conception to Kant : 
the theory which he works out in the Transcen 
dental Aesthetic consists in endowing space 
with an existence independent of its content, in 
laying down as de jure separable what each of 
us separates de facto, and in refusing to regard 
extensity as an abstraction like the others. In 
this respect the Kantian conception of space differs 
less than is usually imagined from the popular be 
lief. Far from shaking our faith in the reality of 
space, Kant has shown what it actually means 
and has even justified it. 

Moreover, the solution given by Kant does not 
seem to have been seriously disputed since his 
time : indeed, it has forced itself, sometimes 
without their knowledge, on the majority of 
those who have approached the problem anew, 
whether nativists or empiricists. Psychologists 


agree in assigning a Kantian origin to the na- 
The empiri- tivistic explanation of Johann Miiller ; 

Lotze s hypothesis of local signs, 
Stensitycan- Bain s theory, and the more comprehen- 
faom es ?j^the- s i ye explanation suggested by Wundt, 
traded wmsa- ma y seem a * nrs * sight quite independent 
tions without o f ^ ne Xranscen dental Aesthetic. The 

an act of the 

*"** authors of these theories seem indeed to 

have put aside the problem of the nature of space, in 
order to investigate simply by what process our 
sensations come to be situated in space and to be 
set, so to speak, alongside one another : but this 
very question shows that they regard sensations 
as inextensive and make a radical distinction, just 
as Kant did, between the matter of representation 
and its form. The conclusion to be drawn from 
the theories of Lotze and Bain, and from Wundt s 
attempt to reconcile them, is that the sensations 
by means of which we come to form the notion of 
space are themselves unextended and simply 
qualitative : extensity is supposed to result from 
their synthesis, as water from the combination of 
two gases. The empirical or genetic explanations 
have thus taken up the problem of space at the 
very point where Kant left it : Kant separated 
space from its contents : the empiricists ask how 
these contents, which are taken out of space by 
our thought, manage to get back again. It is true 
that they have apparently disregarded the activity 
of the mind, and that they are obviously inclined 
to regard the extensive form under which we repre- 


sent things as produced by a kind of alliance of the 
sensations with one another : space, without being 
extracted from the sensations, is supposed to 
result from their co-existence. But how can we 
explain such an origination without the active 
intervention of the mind ? The extensive differs 
by hypothesis from the inextensive : and even if 
we assume that extension is nothing but a relation 
between inextensive terms, this relation must still 
be established by a mind capable of thus associ 
ating several terms. It is no use quoting the 
example of chemical combinations, in which the 
whole seems to assume, of its own accord, a form 
and qualities which did not belong to any of the 
elementary atoms. This form and these qualities 
owe their origin just to the fact that we gather up 
the multiplicity of atoms in a single perception : 
get rid of the mind which carries out this synthesis 
and you will at once do away with the qualities, 
that is to say, the aspect under which the synthesis 
of elementary parts is presented to our conscious 
ness. Thus inextensive sensations will remain 
what they are, viz., inextensive sensations, if 
nothing be added to them. For their co-existence 
to give rise to space, there must be an act of the 
mind which takes them in all at the same time and 
sets them in juxtaposition : this unique act is 
very like what Kant calls an a priori form of 

If we now seek to characterize this act, we see 
that it consists essentially in the intuition, or 


rather the conception, of an empty homo- 
TWS act con- geneous medium. For it is scarcely 
oi the possible to give any other definition of 
space i space is what enables us to dis- 
a number of identical and 

not simultaneous sensations from one an- 

animais. other ; it is thus a principle of differentia 
tion other than that of qualitative differentiation, 
and consequently it is a reality with no quality. 
Someone may say, with the believers in the theory of 
local signs, that simultaneous sensations are never 
identical, and that, in consequence of the diversity 
of the organic elements which they affect, there 
are no two points of a homogeneous surface which 
make the same impression on the sight or the 
touch. We are quite ready to grant it, for if these 
two points affected us in the same way, there would 
be no reason for placing one of them on the right 
rather than on the left. But, just because we after 
wards interpret this difference of quality in the sense 
of a difference of situation, it follows that we must 
have a clear idea of a homogeneous medium, i.e. 
of a simultaneity of terms which, although identical 
in quality, are yet distinct from one another. The 
more you insist on the difference between the 
impressions made on our retina by two points 
of a homogeneous surface, the more do you 
thereby make room for the activity of the mind, 
which perceives under the form of extensive 
homogeneity what is given it as qualitative 
heterogeneity. No doubt, though the repre- 


sentation of a homogeneous space grows out of 
an effort of the mind, there must be within 
the qualities themselves which differentiate two 
sensations some reason why they occupy this 
or that definite position in space. We must 
thus distinguish between the perception of 
extensity and the conception of space : they 
are no doubt implied in one another, but, the 
higher we rise in the scale of intelligent beings, 
the more clearly do we meet with the independent 
idea of a homogeneous space. It is therefore 
doubtful whether animals perceive the external 
world quite as we do, and especially whether they 
represent externality in the same way as ourselves. 
Naturalists have pointed out, as a remarkable 
fact, the surprising ease with which many verte 
brates, and even some insects, manage to find their 
way through space. Animals have been seen to 
return almost in a straight line to their old home, 
pursuing a path which was hitherto unknown to 
them over a distance which may amount to several 
hundreds of miles. Attempts have been made to 
explain this feeling of direction by sight or smell, 
and, more recently, by the perception of magnetic 
currents which would enable the animal to take 
its bearings like a living compass. This amounts 
to saying that space is not so homogeneous for the 
animal as for us, and that determinations of space, 
or directions, do not assume for it a purely geome 
trical form. Each of these directions might appear 
to it with its own shade, its peculiar quality. We 


shall understand how a perception of this kind is 
possible if we remember that we ourselves distin 
guish our right from our left by a natural feeling, 
and that these two parts of our own extensity do 
then appear to us as if they bore a different quality ; 
in fact, this is the very reason why we cannot give 
a proper definition of right and left. In truth, 
qualitative differences exist everywhere in nature, 
and I do not see why two concrete directions should 
not be as marked in immediate perception as two 
colours. But the conception of an empty homo 
geneous medium is something far more extraordi 
nary, being a kind of reaction against that hetero 
geneity which is the very ground of our experience. 
Therefore, instead of saying that animals have a 
special sense of direction, we may as well say that 
men have a special faculty of perceiving or con 
ceiving a space without quality. This faculty is 
not the faculty of abstraction : indeed, if we notice 
that abstraction assumes clean-cut distinctions 
and a kind of externality of the concepts or their 
symbols with regard to one another, we shall find 
that the faculty of abstraction already implies the 
intuition of a homogeneous medium. What we 
must say is that we have to do with two 
different kinds of reality, the one heterogene 
ous, that of sensible qualities, the other homo 
geneous, namely space. This latter, clearly con 
ceived by the human intellect, enables us to use 
clean-cut distinctions, to count, to abstract, and 
perhaps also to speak. 


Now, if space is to be defined as the homogene 
ous, it seems that inversely every homogeneous 
rime, in o an( ^ unbounded medium will be space. 
eneous a For > homogeneity here consisting in the 
absence of every quality, it is hard to 

reducible to See n W ^ WO ^ orms f the homOgenCOUS 

space. could be distinguished from one another. 

Nevertheless it is generally agreed to regard time 
as an unbounded medium, different from space 
but homogeneous like the latter : the homogene 
ous is thus supposed to take two forms, according 
as its contents co-exist or follow one another. It 
is true that, when we make time a homogeneous 
medium in which conscious states unfold them 
selves, we take it to be given all at once, which 
amounts to saying that we abstract it from dura 
tion. This simple consideration ought to warn us 
that we are thus unwittingly falling back upon 
space, and really giving up time. Moreover, we 
can understand that material objects, being ex 
terior to one another and to ourselves, derive both 
exteriorities from the homogeneity of a medium 
which inserts intervals between them and sets off 
their outlines : but states of consciousness, even 
when successive, permeate one another, and in the 
simplest of them the whole soul can be reflected. 
We may therefore surmise that time, conceived 
under the form of a homogeneous medium, is 
some spurious concept, due to the trespassing of 
the idea of space upon the field of pure conscious 
ness. At any rate we cannot finally admit two 


iorms of the homogeneous, time and space, without 
first seeking whether one of them cannot be re 
duced to the other. Now, externality is the dis 
tinguishing mark of things which occupy space, 
while states of consciousness are not essentially 
external to one another, and become so only by 
being spread out in time, regarded as a homogene 
ous medium. If, then, one of these two supposed 
forms of the homogeneous, namely time and space, 
is derived from the other, we can surmise a priori 
that the idea of space is the fundamental datum. 
But, misled by the apparent simplicity of the idea 
of time, the philosophers who have tried to reduce 
one of these ideas to the other have thought that 
they could make extensity out of duration. While 
showing how they have been misled, we shall see 
that time, conceived under the form of an un 
bounded and homogeneous medium, is nothing but 
the ghost of space haunting the reflective conscious 

The English school tries, in fact, to reduce 
relations of extensity to more or less complex 
Mistake of relations of succession in time. When, 
deriJe^rTia-* with our eyes shut, we run our hands 
t2ty from" a l n g a surface, the rubbing of our 
cess?on ! Ti c ~ fingers against the surface, and especially 
jSe ti0 dura! * ne var i ec ^ P^ a Y f our joints, provide 
tion -" a series of sensations, which differ only 

by their qualities and which exhibit a certain order 
in time. Moreover, experience teaches us that 
this series can be reversed, that we can, by an 


effort of a different kind (or, as we shall call it 
later, in an opposite direction), obtain the same 
sensations over again in an inverse order : relations 
of position in space might then be defined as 
reversible relations of succession in time. But 
such a definition involves a vicious circle, or at 
least a very superficial idea of time. There are, 
indeed, as we shall show a little later, two possible 
conceptions of time, the one free from all alloy, 
the other surreptitiously bringing in the idea of 
space. Pure duration is the form which the suc 
cession of our conscious states assumes when our 
ego lets itself live, when it refrains from separat 
ing its present state from its former states. For 
this purpose it need not be entirely absorbed in the 
passing sensation or idea ; for then, on the con 
trary, it would no longer endure. Nor need 
it forget its former states : it is enough that, 
in recalling these states, it does not set them 
alongside its actual state as one point along 
side another, but forms both the past and the 
present states into an organic whole, as happens 
when we recall the notes of a tune, melting, 
so to speak, into one another. Might it not 
be said that, even if these notes succeed one 
another, yet we perceive them in one another, and 
that their totality may be compared to a living 
being whose parts, although distinct, permeate 
one another just because they are so closely con 
nected ? The proof is that, if we interrupt the 
rhythm by dwelling longer than i<, right on one 


note of the tune, it is not its exaggerated length, 
as length, which will warn us of our mistake, but 
the qualitative change thereby caused in the 
whole of the musical phrase. We can thus con 
ceive of succession without distinction, and think 
of it as a mutual penetration, an interconnexion 
and organization of elements, each one of which 
represents the whole, and cannot be distinguished 
or isolated from it except by abstract thought. 
Such is the account of duration which would be 
given by a being who was ever the same and ever 
changing, and who had no idea of space. But, 
familiar with the latter idea and indeed beset by 
it, we introduce it unwittingly into our feeling of 
pure succession ; we set our states of consciousness 
side by side in such a way as to perceive them 
simultaneously, no longer in one another, but 
alongside one another ; in a word, we project 
time into space, we express duration in terms of 
extensity, and succession thus takes the form of a 
continuous line or a chain, the parts of which touch 
without penetrating one another. Note that the 
mental image thus shaped implies the perception, 
no longer successive, but simultaneous, of a before 
and after, and that it would be a contradiction to 
suppose a succession which was only a succession, 
and which nevertheless was contained in one and 
the same instant. Now, when we speak of an 
order of succession in duration, and of the reversi 
bility of this order, is the succession we are dealing 
with pure succession, such as we have just denned 


it, without any admixture of extensity, or is it 
succession developing in space, in such a way that 
we can take in at once a number of elements which 
are both distinct and set side by side ? There is no 
doubt about the answer : we could not introduce 
order among terms without first distinguishing 
them and then comparing the places which they 
occupy ; hence we must perceive them as multiple, 
simultaneous and distinct ; in a word, we set them 
side by side, and if we introduce an order in what 
is successive, the reason is that succession is con 
verted into simultaneity and is projected into 
space. In short, when the movement of my 
finger along a surface or a line provides me with 
a series of sensations of different qualities, one 
of two things happens : either I picture these 
sensations to myself as in duration only, and in 
that case they succeed one another in such a way 
that I cannot at a given moment perceive a number 
of them as simultaneous and yet distinct ; or else 
I make out an order of succession, but m that case 
I display the faculty not only of perceiving a suc 
cession of elements, but also of setting them out in 
line after having distinguished them : in a word, 
I already possess the idea of space. Hence the 
idea of a reversible series in duration, or even 
simply of a certain order of succession in time, itself 
implies the representation of space, and cannot 
be used to define it. 

To give this argument a stricter form, let us 
imagine a straight line of unlimited length, and 


on this line a material point A, which moves. 

succession ^ this point were conscious of itself, it 
would feel itself change, since it moves : 
it would perceive a succession; but 
would this succession assume for it the 

dimensions. f orm Q f a ^ ne p ^ Q d ou bt it WOUld, if 

it could rise, so to speak, above the line which it 
traverses, and perceive simultaneously several 
points of it in juxtaposition : but by doing so it 
would form the idea of space, and it is in space and 
not in pure duration that it would see displayed 
the changes which it undergoes. We here put 
our finger on the mistake of those who regard pure 
duration as something similar to space, but of a 
simpler nature. They are fond of setting psychic 
states side by side, of forming a chain or a 
line of them, and do not imagine that they are 
introducing into this operation the idea of space 
properly so called, the idea of space in its totality, 
because space is a medium of three dimensions. 
But how can they fail to notice that, in order 
to perceive a line as a line, it is necessary to take 
up a position outside it, to take account of the 
void which surrounds it, and consequently to think 
a space of three dimensions ? If our conscious 
point A does not yet possess the idea of space 
and this is the hypothesis which we have agreed 
to adopt the succession of states through which 
it passes cannot assume for it the form of a line ; 
but its sensations will add themselves dynamically 
to one another and will organize themselves, like 


the successive notes of a tune by which we allow 
ourselves to be lulled and soothed. In a word, 
pure duration might well be nothing but a suc 
cession of qualitative changes, which melt into 
and permeate one another, without precise out 
lines, without any tendency to externalize them 
selves in relation to one another, without any 
affiliation with number : it would be pure hetero 
geneity. But for the present we shall not insist 
upon this point ; it is enough for us to have shown 
that, from the moment when you attribute the 
least homogeneity to duration, you surreptitiously 
introduce space. 

It is true that we count successive moments 
of duration, and that, because of its relations with 
Pore dura- number, time at first seems to us to be 
wholly quail- a measurable magnitude, just like space, 
be But there is here an important dis- 
tinction to be made. I say, e.g., that 
a minute has just elapsed, and I mean 
by this that a pendulum, beating the 
seconds, has completed sixty oscillations. If I 
picture these sixty oscillations to myself all at 
once by a single mental perception, I exclude by 
hypothesis the idea of a succession. I do not think 
of sixty strokes which succeed one another, but 
of sixty points on a fixed line, each one of which 
symbolizes, so to speak, an oscillation of the 
pendulum. If, on the other hand, I wish to picture 
these sixty oscillations in succession, but without 
altering the way they are produced in space, I shall 


be compelled to think of each oscillation to the 
exclusion of the recollection of the preceding one, 
for space has preserved no trace of it ; but by 
doing so I shall condemn myself to remain for 
ever in the present ; I shall give up the attempt 
to think a succession or a duration. Now if, 
finally, I retain the recollection of the preceding 
oscillation together with the image of the present 
oscillation, one of two things will happen. Either 
I shall set the two images side by side, and we then 
fall back on our first hypothesis, or I shall per 
ceive one in the other, each permeating the other and 
organizing themselves like the notes of a tune, so 
as to form what we shall call a continuous or 
qualitative multiplicity with no resemblance to 
number. I shall thus get the image of pure dura 
tion ; but I shall have entirely got rid of the idea 
of a homogeneous medium or a measurable quan 
tity. By carefully examining our consciousness 
we shall recognize that it proceeds in this way 
whenever it refrains from representing duration 
symbolically. When the regular oscillations of the 
pendulum make us sleepy, is it the last sound 
heard, the last movement perceived, which pro 
duces this effect ? No, undoubtedly not, for why 
then should not the first have done the same ? 
Is it the recollection of the preceding sounds or 
movements, set in juxtaposition to the last one ? 
But this same recollection, if it is later on set in 
juxtaposition to a single sound or movement, will 
remain without effect. Hence we must admit 


that the sounds combined with one another and 
acted, not by their quantity as quantity, but by 
the quality which their quantity exhibited, i.e. 
by the rhythmic organization of the whole. Could 
the effect of a slight but continuous stimulation 
be understood in any other way ? If the sensa 
tion remained always the same, it would continue 
to be indefinitely slight and indefinitely bearable. 
But the fact is that each increase of stimulation is 
taken up into the preceding stimulations, and that 
the whole produces on us the effect of a musical 
phrase which is constantly on the point of ending 
and constantly altered in its totality by the addi 
tion of some new note. If we assert that it is 
always the same sensation, the reason is that we 
are thinking, not of the sensation itself, but of its 
objective cause situated in space. We then set 
it out in space in its turn, and in place of an 
organism which develops, in place of changes which 
permeate one another, we perceive one and the 
same sensation stretching itself out lengthwise, 
so to speak, and setting itself in juxtaposition to 
itself without limit. Pure duration, that which 
consciousness perceives, must thus be reckoned 
among the so-called intensive magnitudes, if inten 
sities can be called magnitudes : strictly speaking, 
however, it is not a quantity, and as soon as we 
try to measure it, we unwittingly replace it by 

But we find it extraordinarily difficult to think 
of duration in its original purity ; this is due, 


no doubt, to the fact that we do not endure 
Time, ta dealt alone, external objects, it seems, endure 
Str b onoier the as we do, and time, regarded from 
!?" tn i s point of view, has every appear- 
ance f a homogeneous medium. Not 
onlv do tne m o m ents of this duration 
seem to be external to one another, like 
bodies in space, but the movement perceived by 
our senses is the, so to speak, palpable sign of a 
homogeneous and measurable duration. Nay 
more, time enters into the formulae of mechanics, 
into the calculations of the astronomer, and even 
of the physicist, under the form of a quantity. 
We measure the velocity of a movement, implying 
that time itself is a magnitude. Indeed, the 
analysis which we have just attempted requires 
to be completed, for if duration properly so-called 
cannot be measured, what is it that is measured 
by the oscillations of the pendulum ? Granted 
that inner duration, perceived by consciousness, 
is nothing else but the melting of states of 
consciousness into one another, and the gradual 
growth of the ego, it will be said, notwithstanding, 
that the time which the astronomer introduces 
into his formulae, the time which our clocks 
divide into equal portions, this time, at least, is 
something different : it must be a measurable 
and therefore homogeneous magnitude. It is 
nothing of the sort, however, and a close examina 
tion will dispel this last illusion. 

When I follow with my eyes on the dial of a 


clock the movement of the hand which corre- 
Butwhatwe spends to the oscillations of the pen- 
caij measuring d u i um I do not measure duration, as 

time is notn- 

SlsimnStTet seems to be thought ; I merely count 
tl e ken T as e ??* simultaneities, which is very different, 
illustration. Outside of me, in space, there is never 
more than a single position of the hand and 
the pendulum, for nothing is left of the 
past positions. Within myself a process of 
organization or interpenetration of conscious 
states is going on, which constitutes true duration. 
It is because I endure in this way that I picture 
to myself what I call the past oscillations of the 
pendulum at the same time as I perceive the 
present oscillation. Now, let us withdraw for a 
moment the ego which thinks these so-called suc 
cessive oscillations : there will never be more 
than a single oscillation, and indeed only a single 
position, of the pendulum, and hence no duration. 
Withdraw, on the other hand, the pendulum and 
its oscillations ; there will no longer be anything 
but the heterogeneous duration of the ego, 
without moments external to one another, with 
out relation to number. Thus, within our ego, 
there is succession without mutual externality ; 
outside the ego, in pure space, mutual externality 
without succession: mutual externality, since 
the present oscillation is radically distinct from 
the previous oscillation, which no longer exists ; 
but no succession, since succession exists solely 
for a conscious spectator who keeps the past in 


mind and sets the two oscillations or their sym 
bols side by side in an auxiliary space. Now, 
between this succession without externality and 
this externality without succession, a kind of 
exchange takes place, very similar to what physi 
cists call the phenomenon of endosmosis. As the 
successive phases of our conscious life, although 
interpenetrating, correspond individually to an 
oscillation of the pendulum which occurs at the 
same time, and as, moreover, these oscillations 
are sharply distinguished from one another, we 
get into the habit of setting up the same distinc 
tion between the successive moments of our con 
scious life : the oscillations of the pendulum 
break it up, so to speak, into parts external to 
one another : hence the mistaken idea of a homo 
geneous inner duration, similar to space, the 
moments of which are identical and follow, with 
out penetrating, one another. But, on the other 
hand, the oscillations of the pendulum, which 
are distinct only because one has disappeared 
when the other appears on the scene, profit, as 
it were, from the influence which they have thus 
exercised over our conscious life. Owing to the 
fact that our consciousness has organized them 
as a whole in memory, they are first preserved 
and afterwards disposed in a series : in a word, 
we create for them a fourth dimension of space, 
which we call homogeneous time, and which 
enables the movement of the pendulum, although 
taking place at one spot, to be continually set in 


juxtaposition to itself. Now, if we try to deter 
mine the exact part played by the real and the 
imaginary in this very complex process, this is 
what we find. There is a real space, without 
duration, in which phenomena appear and disap 
pear simultaneously with our states of conscious 
ness. There is a real duration, the heterogeneous 
moments of which permeate one another ; each 
moment, however, can be brought into relation with 
a state of the external world which is contempor 
aneous with it, and can be separated from the 
other moments in consequence of this very pro 
cess. The comparison of these two realities gives 
rise to a symbolical representation of duration, 
derived from space. Duration thus assumes the 
illusory form of a homogeneous medium, and 
the connecting link between these two terms, space 
and duration, is simultaneity, which might be 
defined as the intersection of time and space. 

If we analyse in the same way the concept of 
motion, the living symbol of this seemingly homo- 
Two elements geneous duration, we shall be led to 
the a ^ m ake a distinction of the same kind. 
to?o d io5We generally say that a movement 
SBe M2?Se takes place in space, and when we assert 
S, OI indS tnat motion is homogeneous and divis- 
SSj SJ co e nl ible > it is 0* the space traversed that 
we are thinking, as if it were inter 
changeable with the motion itself. Now, if we 
reflect further, we shall see that the successive 
positions of the moving body really do occupy 


space, but that the process by which it passes 
from one position to the other, a process which 
occupies duration and which has no reality ex 
cept for a conscious spectator, eludes space. We 
have to do here not with an object but with a 
progress : motion, in so far as it is a passage from 
one point to another, is a mental synthesis, a 
psychic and therefore unextended process. Space 
contains only parts of space, and at whatever point 
of space we consider the moving body, we shall 
get only a position. If consciousness is aware 
of anything more than positions, the reason is 
that it keeps the successive positions in mind and 
synthesizes them. But how does it carry out a 
synthesis of this kind ? It cannot be by a fresh 
setting out of these same positions in a homo 
geneous medium, for a fresh synthesis would be 
necessary to connect the positions with one 
another, and so on indefinitely. We are thus com 
pelled to admit that we have here to do with a 
synthesis which is, so to speak, qualitative, a 
gradual organization of our successive sensations, 
a unity resembling that of a phrase in a melody. 
This is just the idea of motion which we form 
when we think of it by itself, when, so to speak, 
from motion we extract mobility. Think of 
what you experience on suddenly perceiving a 
shooting star : in this extremely rapid motion 
there is a natural and instinctive separation be 
tween the space traversed, which appears to you 
under the form of a line of fire, and the absolutely 


indivisible sensation of motion or mobility. A 
rapid gesture, made with one s eyes shut, will 
assume for consciousness the form of a purely 
qualitative sensation as long as there is no thought 
of the space traversed. In a word, there are 
two elements to be distinguished in motion, the 
space traversed and the act by which we traverse 
it, the successive positions and the synthesis of 
these positions. The first of these elements is a 
homogeneous quantity : the second has no reality 
except in a consciousness : it is a quality or an 
intensity, whichever you prefer. But here again 
we meet with a case of endosmosis, an inter 
mingling of the purely intensive sensation of 
mobility with the extensive representation of the 
space traversed. On the one hand we attribute 
to the motion the divisibility of the space which 
it traverses, forgetting that it is quite possible 
to divide an object, but not an act : and on the 
other hand we accustom ourselves to projecting this 
act itself into space, to applying it to the whole 
of the line which the moving body traverses, in a 
word, to solidifying it : as if this localizing of a 
progress in space did not amount to asserting that, 
even outside consciousness, the past co-exists 
along with the present ! 

It is to this confusion between motion and the 
space traversed that the paradoxes of the Eleatics 
are due ; for the interval which separates two 
points is infinitely divisible, and if motion con 
sisted of parts like those of the interval itself, 


the interval would never be crossed. But the 
The common truth is that each of Achilles steps is 

tlon a simple indivisible act, and that, after 
a & ven number of these acts, Achilles 
paradoxes *rf ^^ have passed the tortoise. The mis- 
the Eieatics. take o f the Eleatics arises from their 
identification of this series of acts, each of which is 
of a definite kind and indivisible, with the homo 
geneous space which underlies them. As this 
space can be divided and put together again accord 
ing to any law whatever, they think they are 
justified in reconstructing Achilles whole move 
ment, not with Achilles kind of step, but with the 
tortoise s kind : in place of Achilles pursuing the 
tortoise they really put two tortoises, regulated 
by each other, two tortoises which agree to make 
the same kind of steps or simultaneous acts, so as 
never to catch one another. Why does Achilles 
outstrip the tortoise ? Because each of Achilles 
steps and each of the tortoise s steps are indivisible 
acts in so far as they are movements, and are 
different magnitudes in so far as they are space : 
so that addition will soon give a greater length 
for the space traversed by Achilles than is obtained 
by adding together the space traversed by the 
tortoise and the handicap with which it started. 
This is what Zeno leaves out of account when he 
reconstructs the movement of Achilles according 
to the same law as the movement of the tortoise, 
forgetting that space alone can be divided and 
put together again in any way we like, and thus 


confusing space with motion. Hence we do not 
think it necessary to admit, even after the acute 
and profound analysis of a contemporary thinker, 1 
that the meeting of the two moving bodies 
implies a discrepancy between real and imaginary 
.motion, between space in itself and indefinitely 
divisible space, between concrete time and abstract 
time. Why resort to a metaphysical hypothesis, 
however ingenious, about the nature of space, 
time, and motion, when immediate intuition shows 
us motion within duration, and duration outside 
space ? There is no need to assume a limit to 
the divisibility of concrete space ; we can admit 
that it is infinitely divisible, provided that we 
make a distinction between the simultaneous 
positions of the two moving bodies, which are in 
fact in space, and their movements, which cannot 
occupy space, being duration rather than extent, 
quality and not quantity. To measure the velo 
city of a movement, as we shall see, is simply to 
ascertain a simultaneity ; to introduce this velo 
city into calculations is simply to use a convenient 
means of anticipating a simultaneity. Thus mathe 
matics confines itself to its own province as long 
as it is occupied with determining the simul 
taneous positions of Achilles and the tortoise at a 
given moment, or when it admits d priori that 
the two moving bodies meet at a point X a 
meeting which is itself a simultaneity. But it goes 

1 Evellin, Infini et quantite. Paris, 1881. 


beyond its province when it claims to reconstruct 
what takes place in the interval between two 
simultaneities ; or rather it is inevitably led, 
even then, to consider simultaneities once more, 
fresh simultaneities, the indefinitely increasing 
number of which ought to be a warning that we 
cannot make movement out of immobilities, nor 
time out of space. In short, just as nothing will 
be found homogeneous in duration except a sym 
bolical medium with no duration at all, namely 
space, in which simultaneities are set out in line, 
in the same way no homogeneous element will be 
found in motion except that which least belongs 
to it, the traversed space, which is motionless. 

Now, just for this reason, science cannot deal 
with time and motion except on condition of first 
science has to eliminating the essential and qualita- 
r ~ tive element of time, duration, and of 
" motion, mobility. We may easily con- 
before v j nce ourselves of this by examining the 
with them. p ar {. pi a y e( i m astronomy and mechanics 
by considerations of time, motion, and velocity. 

Treatises on mechanics are careful to announce 
that they do not intend to define duration itself 
but only the equality of two durations. " Two 
intervals of time are equal when two identical 
bodies, in identical conditions at the beginning 
of each of these intervals and subject to the same 
actions and influences of every kind, have traversed 
the same space at the end of these intervals." In 
other words, we are to note the exact moment at 


which the motion begins, i.e. the coincidence of an 
external change with one of our psychic states; 
we are to note the moment at which the motion 
ends, that is to say, another simultaneity ; finally 
we are to measure the space traversed, the only 
thing, in fact, which is really measurable. Hence 
there is no question here of duration, but only of 
space and simultaneities. To announce that some 
thing will take place at the end of a time t is to 
declare that consciousness will note between now 
and then a number t of simultaneities of a certain 
kind. And we must not be led astray by the 
words " between now and then," for the interval 
of duration exists only for us and on account of 
the interpenetration of our conscious states. 
Outside ourselves we should find only space, and 
consequently nothing but simultaneities, of which 
we could not even say that they are objectively 
successive, since succession can only be thought 
through comparing the present with the past. That 
the interval of duration itself cannot be taken into 
account by science is proved by the fact that, if 
all the motions of the universe took place twice or 
thrice as quickly, there would be nothing to alter 
either in our formulae or in the figures which are 
to be found in them. Consciousness would have 
an indefinable and as it were qualitative impression 
of the change, but the change would not make 
itself felt outside consciousness, since the same 
number of simultaneities would go on taking place 
in space. We shall see, later on, that when the 


astronomer predicts, e.g., an eclipse, he does some 
thing of this kind : he shortens infinitely the inter 
vals of duration, as these do not count for science, 
and thus perceives in a very short time a few 
seconds at the most a succession of simultaneities 
which may take up several centuries for the con 
crete consciousness, compelled to live through the 
intervals instead of merely counting their extrem 

A direct analysis of the notion of velocity will 

bring us to the same conclusion. Mechanics gets 

this notion through a series of ideas, the 

This is seen in . .... 

the definition connexion of which it is easy enough to 

of velocity. 

trace. It first builds up the idea of 
uniform motion by picturing, on the one hand, 
the path AB of a certain moving body, and, on 
the other, a physical phenomenon which is re 
peated indefinitely under the same conditions, e.g., 
a stone always falling from the same height on to 
the same spot. If we mark on the path AB the 
points M, N, P . . . reached by the moving 
body at each of the moments when the stone 
touches the ground, and if the intervals AM, MN 
and NP are found to be equal to one another, the 
motion will be said to be uniform : and any one 
of these intervals will be called the velocity of the 
moving body, provided that it is agreed to adopt 
as unit of duration the physical phenomenon which 
has been chosen as the term of comparison. Thus, 
the velocity of a uniform motion is defined by 
mechanics without appealing to any other notions 


than those of space and simultaneity. Now let us 
turn to the case of a variable motion, that is, to the 
case when the elements AM, MN, NP ... are 
found to be unequal. In order to define the 
velocity of the moving body A at the point M, we 
shall only have to imagine an unlimited number of 
moving bodies A t , A 2 , A 3 ... all moving uni 
formly with velocities v lt v t , v 3 . . . which are 
arranged, e.g., in an ascending scale and which 
correspond to all possible magnitudes. Let us 
then consider on the path of the moving body A 
two points M and M", situated on either side of 
the point M but very near it. At the same time 
as this moving body reaches the points M , M, M", 
the other moving bodies reach points M\ M t M ^, 
M 2 M 2 M" 2 ... on their respective paths ; and 
there must be two moving bodies A* and A^ such 
that we have on the one hand M M = M * M A and 
on the other hand MM" = M, M V We shall then 
agree to say that the velocity of the moving body 
A at the point M lies between v k and v p . But 
nothing prevents our assuming that the points 
M and M" are still nearer the point M, and it will 
then be necessary to replace v h and v p by two 
fresh velocities v, and v n , the one greater than 
v h and the other less than v p . And in proportion 
as we reduce the two intervals M M and MM", we 
shall lessen the difference between the velocities 
of the uniform corresponding movements. Now, 
the two intervals being capable of decreasing right 
down to zero, there evidently exists between v t 


and v n a certain velocity v m , such that the differ 
ence between this velocity and v h , ^ ... on the 
one hand, and v p , v. ... on the other, can be 
come smaller than any given quantity. It is this 
common limit v m which we shall call the velocity 
of the moving body A at the point M. Now, in 
this analysis of variable motion, as in that of 
uniform motion, it is a question only of spaces once 
traversed and of simultaneous positions once 
reached. We were thus justified in saying that, 
while all that mechanics retains of time is simul 
taneity, all that it retains of motion itself 
restricted, as it is, to a measurement of motion 
is immobility. 

This result might have been foreseen by noticing 
that mechanics necessarily deals with equations, 
Mechanics an ^ that an algebraic equation always 
expresses something already done. Now, 
^ * s o * tne ver y essen ce of duration and 
processes? not m tion, as they appear to our conscious- 
Son 1 iXd d m ness > t b e something that is unceasingly 
being done ; thus algebra can represent 
the results gained at a certain moment of duration 
and the positions occupied by a certain moving 
body in space, but not duration and motion them 
selves. Mathematics may, indeed, increase the 
number of simultaneities and positions which it 
takes into consideration by making the intervals 
very small : it may even, by using the differential 
instead of the difference, show that it is possible 
to increase without limit the number of these 


intervals of duration. Nevertheless, however 
small the interval is supposed to be, it is the 
extremity of the interval at which mathematics 
always places itself. As for the interval itself, 
as for the duration and the motion, they are neces 
sarily left out of the equation. The reason is that 
duration and motion are mental syntheses, and 
not objects ; that, although the moving body 
occupies, one after the other, points on a line, 
motion itself has nothing to do with a line ; and 
finally that, although the positions occupied by 
the moving body vary with the different moments 
of duration, though it even creates distinct mo 
ments by the mere fact of occupying different 
positions, duration properly so called has no 
moments which are identical or external to one 
another, being essentially heterogeneous, continu 
ous, and with no analogy to number. 

It follows from this analysis that space alone is 

homogeneous, that objects in space form a discrete 

multiplicity, and that every discrete 

Conclusion : ...... 

space alone is multiplicity is got bv a process of un- 

homogene- . 

ous: dura- folding in space. It also follows that 

turn and sue- . . *" 

cession belong there is neither duration nor even sue- 
not to the ex 
ternal worm, cession in space, if we give to these words 

but to the , . . 

conscious the meaning in which consciousness 

mind. . 

takes them : each of the so-called suc 
cessive states of the external world exists alone ; 
their multiplicity is real only for a consciousness 
that can first retain them and then set them 
side by side by externalizing them in relation 


to one another. If it retains them, it is because 
these distinct states of the external world give rise 
to states of consciousness which permeate one 
another, imperceptibly organize themselves into 
a whole, and bind the past to the present by 
this very process of connexion. If it externalizes 
them in relation to one another, the reason is that, 
thinking of their radical distinctness (the one 
having ceased to be when the other appears on the 
scene), it perceives them under the form of a discrete 
multiplicity, which amounts to settingthem out in 
line, in the space in which each of them existed 
separately. The space employed for this purpose 
is just that which is called homogeneous time. 

But another conclusion results from this analysis, 

namely, that the multiplicity of conscious states, 

regarded in its original purity, is not at 

multiplicity: all like the discrete multiplicity which 

two senses of . _ 

the word "dis- goes to form a number. In such a case 

tinguish," the" . . , r , ,. , 

one quaiita- there is, as we said, a qualitative mul- 

tive and the .... . - , , . 

other quanti- tiplicitv. In short, we must admit two 

tative. . 

kinds of multiplicity, two possible senses 
of the word " distinguish," two conceptions, the 
one qualitative and the other quantitative, of the 
difference between same and other. Sometimes 
this multiplicity, this distinctness, this hetero 
geneity contains number only potentially, as 
Aristotle would have said. Consciousness, then, 
makes a qualitative discrimination without any 
further thought of counting the qualities or 
even of distinguishing them as several. In such 


a case we have multiplicity without quantity. 
Sometimes, on the other hand, it is a question of a 
multiplicity of terms which are counted or which 
are conceived as capable of being counted ; but 
we think then of the possibility of externalizing 
them in relation to one another, we set them out 
in space. Unfortunately, we are so accustomed to 
illustrate one of these two meanings of the same 
word by the other, and even to perceive the one 
in the other, that we find it extraordinarily difficult 
to distinguish between them or at least to express 
this distinction in words. Thus I said that several 
conscious states are organized into a whole, per 
meate one another, gradually gain a richer con 
tent, and might thus give any one ignorant of 
space the feeling of pure duration ; but the very 
use of the word " several " shows that I had already 
isolated these states, externalized them in relation 
to one another, and, in a word, set them side by 
side ; thus, by the very language which I was 
compelled to use, I betrayed the deeply ingrained 
habit of setting out time in space. From this 
spatial setting out, already accomplished, we are 
compelled to borrow the terms which we use to 
describe the state of a mind which has not yet 
accomplished it : these terms are thus misleading 
from the very beginning, and the idea of a mul 
tiplicity without relation to number or space, 
although clear for pure reflective thought, cannot 
be translated into the language of common sense. 
And yet we cannot even form the idea of discrete 


multiplicity without considering at the same time 
a qualitative multiplicity. When we explicitly 
count units by stringing them along a spatial 
line, is it not the case that, alongside this addition 
of identical terms standing out from a homogene 
ous background, an organization of these units 
is going on in the depths of the soul, a wholly 
dynamic process, not unlike the purely qualitative 
way in which an anvil, if it could feel, would 
realize a series of blows from a hammer ? In 
this sense we might almost say that the numbers 
in daily use have each their emotional equivalent. 
Tradesmen are well aware of it, and instead of 
indicating the price of an object by a round number 
of shillings, they will mark the next smaller 
number, leaving themselves to insert afterwards 
a sufficient number of pence and farthings. In a 
word, the process by which we count units and 
make them into a discrete multiplicity has two 
sides ; on the one hand we assume that they 
are identical, which is conceivable only on con 
dition that these units are ranged alongside each 
other in a homogeneous medium ; but on the 
other hand the third unit, for example, when 
added to the other two, alters the nature, the 
appearance and, as it were, the rhythm of the 
whole ; without this interpenetration and this, 
so to speak, qualitative progress, no addition 
would be possible. Hence it is through the 
quality of quantity that we form the idea of 
quantity without quality. 


It is therefore obvious that, if it did not betake 
itself to a symbolical substitute, our consciousness 
oar successive would never regard time as a homogene- 

are ous me di u m, in which the terms of a 

regarded as 

mutually ex- succession remain outside one another. 

ternal. like 

we na turally reach this symbolical 
s chiS representation by the mere fact that, 
"fc- in a series of identical terms, each term 

assumes a double aspect for our consciousness : 
one aspect which is the same for all of them, 
since we are thinking then of the sameness of the 
external object, and another aspect which is 
characteristic of each of them, because the super 
vening of each term brings about a new organiz 
ation of the whole. Hence the possibility of 
setting out in space, under the form of numerical 
multiplicity, what we have called a qualitative 
multiplicity, and of regarding the one as the 
equivalent of the other. Now, this twofold pro 
cess is nowhere accomplished so easily as in the 
perception of the external phenomenon which 
takes for us the form of motion. Here we cer 
tainly have a series of identical terms, since it is 
always the same moving body ; but, on the other 
hand, the synthesis carried out by our consciousness 
between the actual position and what our memory 
calls the former positions, causes these images to 
permeate, complete, and, so to speak, continue 
one another. Hence, it is principally by the help 
of motion that duration assumes the form of a 
homogeneous medium, and that time is projected 


into space. But, even if we leave out motion, 
any repetition of a well-marked external pheno 
menon would suggest to consciousness the same 
mode of representation. Thus, when we hear 
a series of blows of a hammer, the sounds form 
an indivisible melody in so far as they are pure 
sensations, and, here again, give rise to a dynamic 
progress ; but, knowing that the same objective 
cause is at work, we cut up this progress into 
phases which we then regard as identical ; and 
this multiplicity of elements no longer being con 
ceivable except by being set out in space, since 
they have now become identical, we are necessarily 
led to the idea of a homogeneous time, the sym 
bolical image of real duration. In a word, our 
ego comes in contact with the external world at 
its surface ; our successive sensations, although 
dissolving into one another, retain something of the 
mutual externality which belongs to their objective 
causes ; and thus our superficial psychic life 
comes to be pictured without any great effort as 
set out in a homogeneous medium. But the 
symbolical character of such a picture becomes 
more striking as we advance further into the 
depths of consciousness : the deep-seated self which 
ponders and decides, which heats and blazes up, 
is a self whose states and changes permeate one 
another and undergo a deep alteration as soon as we 
separate them from one another in order to set 
them out in space. But as this deeper self forms 
one and the same person with the superficial ego, 


the two seem to endure in the same way. And as 
the repeated picture of one identical objective 
phenomenon, ever recurring, cuts up our super 
ficial psychic life into parts external to one another, 
the moments which are thus determined deter 
mine in their turn distinct segments in the dynamic 
and undivided progress of our more personal con 
scious states. Thus the mutual externality which 
material objects gain from their juxtaposition in 
homogeneous space reverberates and spreads into 
the depths of consciousness : little by little our 
sensations are distinguished from one another like 
the external causes which gave rise to them, and 
our feelings or ideas come to be separated like the 
sensations with which they are contemporaneous. 
That our ordinary conception of duration 
depends on a gradual incursion of space into the 
Eliminate the domain of pure consciousness is proved by 

superficial r . . r 

psychic states, the fact that, in order to deprive the ego 
longer per- of the f acuity of perceiving a homogene- 

ceiTeahomo- ._, . G . 

geneons time ous time, it is enough to take away from 

or measure . 

duration, but it this outer circle of psychic states which 

leel it as a . , 1 i in. 

quality. it uses as a balance-wheel. These con 
ditions are realized when we dream ; for sleep, by 
relaxing the play of the organic functions, alters 
the communicating surface between the ego and 
external objects. Here we no longer measure 
duration, but we feel it ; from quantity it returns 
to the state of quality ; we no longer estimate 
past time mathematically : the mathematical 
estimate gives place to a confused instinct, 


capable, like all instincts, of committing gross 
errors, but also of acting at times with extraordin 
ary skill. Even in the waking state, daily experi 
ence ought to teach us to distinguish between 
duration as quality, that which consciousness 
reaches immediately and which is probably what 
animals perceive, and time so to speak materialized, 
time that has become quantity by being set out in 
space. Whilst I am writing these lines, the hour 
strikes on a neighbouring clock, but my inatten 
tive ear does not perceive it until several strokes 
have made themselves heard. Hence I have not 
counted them ; and yet I only have to turn my 
attention backwards to count up the four strokes 
which have already sounded and add them to 
those which I hear. If, then, I question myself 
carefully on what has just taken place, I perceive 
that the first four sounds had struck my ear and 
even affected my consciousness, but that the sen 
sations produced by each one of them, instead of 
being set side by side, had melted into one another 
in such a way as to give the whole a peculiar quality, 
to make a kind of musical phrase out of it. In 
order, then, to estimate retrospectively the number 
of strokes sounded, I tried to reconstruct this phrase 
in thought : my imagination made one stroke, then 
two, then three, and as long as it did not reach the 
exact number four, my feeling, when consulted, 
answered that the total effect was qualitatively 
different. It had thus ascertained in its own 
way the succession of four strokes, but quite other- 


wise than by a process of addition, and without 
bringing in the image of a juxtaposition of dis 
tinct terms. In a word, the number of strokes 
was perceived as a quality and not as a quantity : 
it is thus that duration is presented to immediate 
consciousness, and it retains this form so long as it 
does not give place to a symbolical representation 
derived from extensity. 

We should therefore distinguish two forms of 
multiplicity, two very different ways of regarding 
There are duration, two aspects of conscious life, 
mui- Below homogeneous .duration, which is 
d 411 " tne extensive symbol of true duration, 
conscious life. a c } ose psychological analysis distin 
guishes a duration whose heterogeneous moments 
permeate one another ; below the numerical 
multiplicity of conscious states, a qualitative 
multiplicity ; below the self with well-defined 
states, a self in which succeeding each other means 
melting into one another and forming an organic 
whole. But we are generally content with the 
first, i.e. with the shadow of the self projected 
into homogeneous space. Consciousness, goaded 
by an insatiable desire to separate, substitutes the 
symbol for the reality, or perceives the reality 
only through the symbol. As the self thus 
refracted, and thereby broken to pieces, is much 
better adapted to the requirements of social life 
in general and language in particular, consciousness 
prefers it, and gradually loses sight of the funda 
mental self. 


In order to recover this fundamental self, as 
the unsophisticated consciousness would perceive 
The two as- ^, a vigorous effort of analysis is neces- 
JonscioM our sar Y> which will isolate the fluid inner 
states. states from their image, first refracted, 
then solidified in homogeneous space. In other 
words, our perceptions, sensations, emotions and 
ideas occur under two aspects : the one clear and 
precise, but impersonal; the other confused, ever 
changing, and inexpressible, because language 
cannot get hold of it without arresting its mobility 
or fit it into its common-place forms without 
making it into public property. If we have been 
led to distinguish two forms of multiplicity, two 
forms of duration, we must expect each conscious 
state, taken by itself, to assume a different aspect 
according as we consider it within a discrete 
multiplicity or a confused multiplicity, in the 
time as quality, in which it is produced, or in the 
time as quantity, into which it is projected. 

When e.g. I take my first walk in a town in 
which I am going to live, my environment pro- 
One oi which duces on me two impressions at the 

Is due to the . , , . . , . 

solidifying in- same time, one of which is destined to 
temai objects last while the other will constantly 

and language , -.-^ T . , 

on our con- change. Every day I perceive the 

stantly chang- , j T i 1 J.-L 

ing feelings, same houses, and as I know that they 
are the same objects, I always call them by 
the same name and I also fancy that they always 
look the same to me. But if I recur, at the 
end of a sufficiently long period, to the impression 


which I experienced during the first few years, 
I am surprised at the remarkable, inexplicable, 
and indeed inexpressible change which has taken 
place. It seems that these objects, continually 
perceived by me and constantly impressing them 
selves on my mind, have ended by borrowing 
from me something of my own conscious existence ; 
like myself they have lived, and like myself they 
have grown old. This is not a mere illusion ; 
for if to-day s impression were absolutely identical 
with that of yesterday, what difference would 
there be between perceiving and recognizing, 
between learning and remembering ? Yet this 
difference escapes the attention of most of us ; we 
shall hardly perceive it, unless we are warned of 
it and then carefully look into ourselves. The 
reason is that our outer and, so to speak, social 
life is more practically important to us than our 
inner and individual existence. We instinctively 
tend to solidify our impressions in order to express 
them in language. Hence we confuse the feeling 
itself, which is in a perpetual state of becoming, 
with its permanent external object, and especially 
with the word which expresses this object. In 
the same way as the fleeting duration of our ego 
is fixed by its projection in homogeneous space, 
our constantly changing impressions, wrapping 
themselves round the external object which is 
their cause, take on its definite outlines and its 

Our simple sensations, taken in their natural 


state, are still more fleeting. Such and such a 

flavour, such and such a scent, pleased 

gua*e gives a me when I was a child though I dislike 

fixed lorm to , , Ar T .,, . , 

fleeting sensa- them to-day. Yet I still give the same 
name to the sensation experienced, and 
I speak as if only my taste had changed, whilst the 
scent and the flavour have remained the same. 
Thus I again solidify the sensation ; and when 
its changeableness becomes so obvious that I cannot 
help recognizing it, I abstract this changeableness 
to give it a name of its own and solidify it in the 
shape of a taste. But in reality there are neither 
identical sensations nor multiple tastes : for 
sensations and tastes seem to me to be objects as 
soon as I isolate and name them, and in the 
human soul there are only processes. What I 
ought to say is that every sensation is altered by 
repetition, and that if it does not seem to me to 
change from day to day, it is because I perceive 
it through the object which is its cause, through 
the word which translates it. This influence of 
language on sensation is deeper than is usually 
thought. Not only does language make us believe 
hi the unchangeableness of our sensations, but it 
wih 1 sometimes deceive us as to the nature of the 
sensation felt. Thus, when I partake of a dish 
that is supposed to be exquisite, the name which 
it bears, suggestive of the approval given to it, 
comes between my sensation and my consciousness; 
I may believe that the flavour pleases me when a 
slight effort of attention would prove the contrary. 


In short, the word with well-defined outlines, 
the rough and ready word, which stores up the 
stable, common, and consequently impersonal 
element in the impressions of mankind, over 
whelms or at least covers over the delicate and 
fugitive impressions of our individual conscious 
ness. To maintain the struggle on equal terms, 
the latter ought to express themselves in precise 
words ; but these words, as soon as they were 
formed, would turn against the sensation which 
gave birth to them, and, invented to show that 
the sensation is unstable, they would impose on 
it their own stability. 

This overwhelming of the immediate conscious 
ness is nowhere so striking as in the case of our 
HOW analysis feelings. A violent love or a deep 
tj d dSrt" melancholy takes possession of our 
the feelings. soul . here we feel a thousand different 

elements which dissolve into and permeate one 
another without any precise outlines, without 
the least tendency to externalize themselves in 
relation to one another ; hence their originality. 
We distort them as soon as we distinguish a 
numerical multiplicity in their confused mass : 
what will it be, then, when we set them out, 
isolated from one another, in this homogeneous 
medium which may be called either time or space, 
whichever you prefer ? A moment ago each 
of them was borrowing an indefinable colour from 
its surroundings : now we have it colourless, and 
ready to accept a name. The feeling itself is a 


being which lives and develops and is therefore con 
stantly changing ; otherwise how could it gradually 
lead us to form a resolution ? Our resolution 
would be immediately taken. But it lives because 
the duration in which it develops is a duration 
whose moments, permeate one another. By 
separating these moments from each other, by 
spreading out time in space, we have caused this 
feeling to lose its life and its colour. Hence, we 
are now standing before our own shadow : we 
believe that we have analysed our feeling, while 
we have really replaced it by a juxtaposition 
of lifeless states which can be translated into words, 
and each of which constitutes the common element, 
the impersonal residue, of the impressions felt in a 
given case by the whole of society. And this is 
why we reason about these states and apply our 
simple logic to them : having set them up as 
genera by the mere fact of having isolated them 
from one another, we have prepared them for 
use in some future deduction. Now, if some bold 
novelist, tearing aside the cleverly woven curtain 
of our conventional ego, shows us under this 
appearance of logic a fundamental absurdity, 
under this juxtaposition of simple states an 
infinite permeation of a thousand different im 
pressions which have already ceased to exist the 
instant they are named, we commend him for 
having known us better than we knew ourselves. 
This is not the case, however, and the very fact 
that he spreads out our feeling in a homogeneous 

134 TIME 

time, and expresses its elements by words, shows 
that he in his turn is only offering us its shadow : 
but he has arranged this shadow in such a way as 
to make us suspect the extraordinarj/ and illogical 
nature of the object which projects it ; he has 
made us reflect by giving outward expression to 
something of that contradiction, that interpene- 
tration, which is the very essence of the elements 
expressed. Encouraged by him, we have put 
aside for an instant the veil which we interposed 
between our consciousness and ourselves. He 
has brought us back into our own presence. 

We should experience the same sort of surprise 
if we strove to seize our ideas themselves in their 
on the sur- natural state, as our consciousness would 
s f ci C ous U s r ta C tes" perceive them if it were no longer beset 
! b Y s P ace - This breaking up of the 
. constituent elements of an idea, which 
oi i ssues m abstraction, is too convenient 
ourselves. f or us to ^ without it in ordinary life 
and even in philosophical discussion. But when 
we fancy that the parts thus artificially separ 
ated are the genuine threads with which the 
concrete idea was woven, when, substituting for 
the interpenetration of the real terms the jux 
taposition of their symbols, we claim to make 
duration out of space, we unavoidably fall into the 
mistakes of associationism. We shall not insist 
on the latter point, which will be the subject of a 
thorough examination in the next chapter. Let 
it be enough to say that the impulsive zeal with 


which we take sides on certain questions shows how 
our intellect has its instincts and what can an 
instinct of this kind be if not an impetus common 
to all our ideas, i.e. their very interpenetration ? 
The beliefs to which we most strongly adhere are 
those of which we should find it most difficult to 
give an account, and the reasons by which we 
justify them are seldom those which have led us to 
adopt them. In a certain sense we have adopted 
them without any reason, for what makes them 
valuable in our eyes is that they match the colour 
of all our other ideas, and that from the very 
first we have seen in them something of ourselves. 
Hence they do not take in our minds that common 
looking form which they will assume as soon as we 
try to give expression to them in words; and, 
although they bear the same name in other minds, 
they are by no means the same thing. The fact 
is that each of them has the same kind of life as a 
cell in an organism : everything which affects the 
general state of the self affects it also. But while 
the cell occupies a definite point in the organism, 
an idea which is truly ours fills the whole of our 
self. Not all our ideas, however, are thus incor 
porated in the fluid mass of our conscious states. 
Many float on the surface, like dead leaves on the 
water of a pond : the mind, when it thinks 
them over and over again, finds them ever the 
same, as if they were external to it. Among 
these are the ideas which we receive ready made, 
and which remain in us without ever being 


properly assimilated, or again the ideas which we 
have omitted to cherish and which have withered 
in neglect. If, in proportion as we get away 
from the deeper strata of the self, our conscious 
states tend more and more to assume the form of a 
numerical multiplicity, and to spread out in a 
homogeneous space, it is just because these con 
scious states tend to become more and more 
lifeless, more and more impersonal. Hence we 
need not be surprised if only those ideas which least 
belong to us can be adequately expressed in 
words : only to these, as we shall see, does the 
associationist theory apply. External to one 
another, they keep up relations among themselves 
in which the inmost nature of each of them counts 
for nothing, relations which can therefore be classi 
fied. It may thus be said that they are associated 
by contiguity or for some logical reason. But if, 
digging below the surface of contact between the 
self and external objects, we penetrate into the 
depths of the organized and living intelligence, we 
shall witness the joining together or rather the 
blending of many ideas which, when once dis 
sociated, seem to exclude one another as logically 
contradictory terms. The strangest dreams, in 
which two images overlie one another and show 
us at the same time two different persons, who 
yet make only one, will hardly give us an idea of the 
interweaving of concepts which goes on when 
we are awake. The imagination of the dreamer, 
cut off from the external world, imitates with 


mere images, and parodies in its own way, the 
process which constantly goes on with regard 
to ideas in the deeper regions of the intellectual life. 

Thus may be verified, thus, too, will be illus 
trated by a further study of deep-seated psychic 
phenomena the principle from which 

By separating f t j- t 

our conscious we started : conscious life displays two 

states we pro- , . . . 

mote social aspects according as we perceive it 

life, but raise ,/ ? 

problems soi- directly or by refraction through space, 
recourse to Considered in themselves, the deep- 

the concrete , . . ... 

and living seated conscious states have no relation 


to quantity, they are pure quality ; they 
intermingle in such a way that we cannot tell 
whether they are one or several, nor even examine 
them from this point of view without at once 
altering their nature. The duration which they 
thus create is a duration whose moments do not 
constitute a numerical multiplicity : to character 
ize these moments by saying that they encroach 
on one another would still be to distinguish them. 
If each of us lived a purely individual life, if there 
were neither society nor language, would our 
consciousness grasp the series of inner states in 
this unbroken form ? Undoubtedly it would not 
quite succeed, because we should still retain the 
idea of a homogeneous space in which objects are 
sharply distinguished from one another, and 
because it is too convenient to set out in such a 
medium the somewhat cloudy states which first 
attract the attention of consciousness, in order to 


resolve them into simpler terms. But mark that 
the intuition of a homogeneous space is already 
a step towards social life. Probably animals do 
not picture to themselves, beside their sensations, 
as we do, an external world quite distinct from 
themselves, which is the common property of all 
conscious beings. Our tendency to form a clear 
picture of this externality of things and the homo 
geneity of their medium is the same as the im 
pulse which leads us to live in common and to 
speak. But, in proportion as the conditions of 
social life are more completely realized, the cur 
rent which carries our conscious states from 
within outwards is strengthened ; little by little 
these states are made into objects or things ; they 
break off not only from one another, but from 
ourselves. Henceforth we no longer perceive 
them except in the homogeneous medium in which 
we have set their image, and through the word 
which lends them its commonplace colour. Thus 
a second self is formed which obscures the first, 
a self whose existence is made up of distinct 
moments, whose states are separated from one 
another and easily expressed in words. I do not 
mean, here, to split up the personality, nor to 
bring back in another form the numerical multi 
plicity which I shut out at the beginning. It is 
the same self which perceives distinct states at 
first, and which, by afterwards concentrating its 
attention, will see these states melt into one an 
other like the crystals of a snow-flake when touched 


for some time with the finger. And, in truth, for 
the sake of language, the self has everything to 
gain by not bringing back confusion where order 
reigns, and in not upsetting this ingenious arrange 
ment of almost impersonal states by which it has 
ceased to form " a kingdom within a kingdom." 
An inner life with well distinguished moments 
and with clearly characterized states will answer 
better the requirements of social life. Indeed, a 
superficial psychology may be content with de 
scribing it without thereby falling into error, on 
condition, however, that it restricts itself to the 
study of what has taken place and leaves out what 
is going on. But if, passing from statics to dynam 
ics, this psychology claims to reason about 
things in the making as it reasoned about things 
made, if it offers us the concrete and living self as 
an association of terms which are distinct from 
one another and are set side by side in a homo 
geneous medium, it will see difficulty after diffi 
culty rising in its path. And these difficulties 
will multiply the greater the efforts it makes to 
overcome them, for all its efforts will only bring 
into clearer light the absurdity of the fundamental 
hypothesis by which it spreads out time in space and 
puts succession at the very centre of simultaneity. 
We shall see that the contradictions implied in the 
problems of causality, freedom, personality, spring 
from no other source, and that, if we wish to get 
rid of them, we have only to go back to the real and 
concrete self and give up its symbolical substitute. 



IT is easy to see why the question of free will 
brings into conflict these two rival systems of 
nature, mechanism and dynamism. Dyna- 
mism starts from the idea of volun- 

and tree will. . . . , -i 

tary activity, given by consciousness, 
and conies to represent inertia by gradually empty 
ing this idea : it has thus no difficulty in conceiving 
free force on the one hand and matter governed 
by laws on the other. Mechanism follows the 
opposite course. It assumes that the materials 
which it synthesizes are governed by necessary 
laws, and although it reaches richer and richer 
combinations, which are more and more difficult 
to foresee, and to all appearance more and more 
contingent, yet it never gets out of the narrow 
circle of necessity within which it at first shut 
itself up. 

A thorough examination of these two concep 
tions of nature will show that they involve two 
For dynam- very different hypotheses as to the rela- 
raai than tions between laws and the facts which 
cism e- they govern. As he looks higher and 
tihid& The higher, the believer in dynamism thinks 

idea oi spon- ,-1 . / i -i i 

taneity gim- that he perceives facts which more and 

pier uiaii that ijji i t i 

of inertia, more elude the grasp of laws : he thus 



sets up the fact as the absolute reality, and the 
law as the more or less symbolical expression of 
this reality. Mechanism, on the contrary, dis 
covers within the particular fact a certain num 
ber of laws of which the fact is thus made to be the 
meeting point, and nothing else : on this hypothe 
sis it is the law which becomes the genuine reality. 
Now, if it is asked why the one party assigns a 
higher reality to the fact and the other to the 
law, it will be found that mechanism and dyna 
mism take the word simplicity in two very different 
senses. For the first, any principle is simple of 
which the effects can be foreseen and even calcu 
lated : thus, by the very definition, the notion of 
inertia becomes simpler than that of freedom, the 
homogeneous simpler than the heterogeneous, the 
abstract simpler than the concrete. But dynamism 
is not anxious so much to arrange the notions 
in the most convenient order as to find out their 
real relationship : often, in fact, the so-called 
simple notion that which the believer in mechan 
ism regards as primitive has been obtained by the 
blending together of several richer notions which 
seem to be derived from it, and which have 
more or less neutralized one another in this very 
process of blending, just as darkness may be pro 
duced by the interference of two lights. Re 
garded from this new point of view, the idea of 
spontaneity is indisputably simpler than that of 
inertia, since the second can be understood and 
defined only by means of the first, while the first 



is self-sufficient. For each of us has the immedi 
ate knowledge (be it thought true or fallacious) 
of his free spontaneity, without the notion 
of inertia having anything to do with this 
knowledge. But, if we wish to define the inertia 
of matter, we must say that it cannot move or 
stop of its own accord, that every body perseveres 
in the state of rest or motion so long as it is not 
acted upon by any force : and in both cases we are 
unavoidably carried back to the idea of activity. 
It is therefore natural that, a priori, we should 
reach two opposite conceptions of human activity, 
according to the way in which we understand the 
relation between the concrete and the abstract, 
the simple and the complex, facts and laws. 

A posteriori, however, definite facts are appealed 
to against freedom, some physical, others psycho 
logical. Sometimes it is asserted that 

Determinism : , . . , n 

(i) physical our actions are necessitated by our 

(3) psycholo- . , . 

gtcai. Former feelings, our ideas, and the whole pre- 

reduoible to . ... 

latter, which ceding series of our conscious states ; 

itself rests on r i i -11- 

inaccurate sometimes freedom is denounced as being 
multiplicity oi incompatible with the fundamental pro- 
tates m dor- perties of matter, and in particular with 
the principle of the conservation of 
energy. Hence two kinds of determinism, two 
apparently different empirical proofs of universal 
necessity. We shall show that the second of these 
two forms is reducible to the first, and that all 
determinism, even physical determinism, involves 
a psychological hypothesis : we shall then prove 


that psychological determinism itself, and the 
refutations which are given of it, rest on an inac 
curate conception of the multiplicity of conscious 
states, or rather of duration. Thus, in the light 
of the principles worked out in the foregoing 
chapter, we shall see a self emerge whose activ 
ity cannot be compared to that of any other 

Physical determinism, in its latest form, is 
closely bound up with mechanical or rather kinetic 
Physical de- theories of matter. The universe is 
stated in the pictured as a heap of matter which the 
the molecular imagination resolves into molecules and 

theory ol mat- <_, . , , 

ter. atoms. These particles are supposed to 

carry out unceasingly movements of every kind, 
sometimes of vibration, sometimes of translation ; 
and physical phenomena, chemical action, the 
qualities of matter which our senses perceive, heat, 
sound, electricity, perhaps even attraction, are 
thought to be reducible objectively to these 
elementary movements. The matter which goes 
to make up organized bodies being subject to the 
same laws, we find in the nervous system, for 
example, only molecules and atoms which are in 
motion and attract and repel one another. Now 
if all bodies, organized or unorganized, thus act 
and react on one another in their ultimate parts, 
it is obvious that the molecular state of the brain 
at a given momert will be modified by the shocks 
which the nervous system receives from the sur- 


rounding matter, so that the sensations, feelings 
and ideas which succeed one another in us can be 
defined as mechanical resultants, obtained by the 
compounding of shocks received from without 
with the previous movements of the atoms of the 
nervous substance. But the opposite phenomenon 
may occur ; and the molecular movements which 
go on in the nervous system, if compounded with 
one another or with others, will often give as result 
ant a reaction of our organism on its environment : 
hence the reflex movements, hence also the so- 
called free and voluntary actions. As, moreover, 
the principle of the conservation of energy has 
been assumed to admit of no exception, there is 
not an atom, either in the nervous system or in 
the whole of the universe, whose position is not 
determined by the sum of the mechanical actions 
which the other atoms exert upon it. And the 
mathematician who knew the position of the 
molecules or atoms of a human organism at a 
given moment, as well as the position and motion 
of all the atoms in the universe capable of 
influencing it, could calculate with unfailing 
certainty the past, present and future actions 
of the person to whom this organism belongs, 
just as one predicts an astronomical phenom 
enon. 1 

We shall not raise any difficulty about recog- 

1 On this point see Lange, History ,>/ Materialism, Vol. ii, 
Part ii. 


nizing that this conception of physiological phe- 
H principle oi nomena in general, and nervous phe- 

conservation , , 

oi energy is nomena in particular, is a very natural 
physiological deduction from the law of the conserva- 

and nervons . . ~ . , , , 

phenomena are tion of energy. Certainly, the atomic 

necessitated, , . ,.., , , 

but perhaps not theory of matter is still at the hypo- 
states, thetical stage, and the purely kinetic ex 
planations of physical facts lose more than they 
gain by being too closely bound ; up with it. We 
must observe, however, that, even if we leave aside 
the atomic theory as well as any other hypothesis 
as to the nature, of the ultimate elements of matter, 
the necessitating of physiological facts by their 
antecedents follows from the theorem of the con 
servation of energy, as soon as we extend this 
theorem to all processes going on in all living bodies. 
For to admit the universality of this theorem is to 
assume, at bottom, that the material points of 
which the universe is composed are subject solely 
to forces of attraction and repulsion, arising from 
these points themselves and possessing intensities 
which depend only on their distances : hence the 
relative position of these material points at a given 
moment whatever be their nature would be 
strictly determined by relation to what it was at 
the preceding moment. Let us then assume for 
a moment that this last hypothesis is true : we 
propose to show, in the first place, that it does not 
involve the absolute determination of our conscious 
states by one another, and then that the very 
universality of the principle of the conservation 


of energy cannot be admitted except in virtue of 
some psychological hypothesis. 

Even if we assumed that the position, the direc 
tion and the velocity of each atom of cerebral 
TO prove con- matter are determined at every moment 
of time, it would not at all follow that our 

8how d a h nlc e es- psychic life is subject to the same neces- 

io^ 7 between ^ty- ^Or WG snou ^ nrst nave to prOVC 

j JJfeSf 9 " that a strictly determined psychic state 
NO such proof, corresponds to a definite cerebral state, 
and the proof of this is still to be given. As a rule 
we do not think of demanding it, because we 
know that a definite vibration of the tympanum, 
a definite stimulation of the auditory nerve, gives 
a definite note on the scale, and because the 
parallelism of the physical and psychical series 
has been proved in a fairly large number of cases. 
But then, nobody has ever contended that we were 
free, under given conditions, to hear any note or 
perceive any colour we liked. Sensations of this 
kind, like many other psychic states, are obvi 
ously bound up with certain determining condi 
tions, and it is just for this reason that it has been 
possible to imagine or discover beneath them a 
system of movements which obey our abstract 
mechanics. In short, wherever we succeed in 
giving a mechanical explanation, we observe a 
fairly strict parallelism between the physiological 
and the psychological series, and we need not be 
surprised -at it, since explanations of this kind will 
assuredly not be met with except where the two 


series exhibit parallel terms. But to extend this 
parallelism to the series themselves in their totality 
is to settle a priori the problem of freedom. 
Certainly this may be done, and some of the 
greatest thinkers have set the example ; but 
then, as we said at first, it was not for reasons of a 
physical order that they asserted the strict corre 
spondence between states of consciousness and 
modes of extension. Leibniz ascribed it to a pre- 
established harmony, and would never have 
admitted that a motion could give rise to a per 
ception as a cause produces an effect. Spinoza 
said that the modes of thought and the modes of 
extension correspond with but never influence 
one another : they only express in two different 
languages the same eternal truth. But the theories 
of physical determinism which are rife at the 
present day are far from displaying the same 
clearness, the same geometrical rigour. They 
point to molecular movements taking place in the 
brain : consciousness is supposed to arise out of 
these at times in some mysterious way, or rather 
to follow their track like the phosphorescent line 
which results from the rubbing of a match. Or 
yet again we are to think of an invisible musician 
playing behind the scenes while the actor strikes 
a keyboard the notes of which yield no sound : 
consciousness must be supposed to come from an 
unknown region and to be superimposed on the 
molecular vibrations, just as the melody is on the 
rhythmical movements of the actor. But, what- 


ever image we fall back upon, we do not prove 
and we never shall prove by any reasoning that 
the psychic fact is fatally determined by the mole 
cular movement. For in a movement we may 
find the reason of another movement, but not the 
reason of a conscious state : only observation 
can prove that the latter accompanies the former. 
Now the unvarying conjunction of the two 
terms has not been verified by experience except 
in a very limited number of cases and with regard 
to facts which all confess to be almost independent 
of the will. But it is easy to understand why 
physical determinism extends this conjunction to 
all possible cases. 

Consciousness indeed informs us that the ma 
jority of our actions can be explained by motives. 
Physical But it does not appear that determina- 

determinism, . 

when assumed tion here means necessity, since common 

to be universal, .. , . _, - 

postulates sense believes in free will. The deter- 

psychological . . , , 

determinism, mmist, however, led astray by a concep 
tion of duration and causality which we shall 
criticise a little later, holds that the determina 
tion of conscious states by one another is absolute. 
This is the origin of associationist determinism, 
an hypothesis in support of which the testimony 
of consciousness is appealed to, but which cannot, 
in the beginning, lay claim to scientific rigour. It 
seems natural that this, so to speak, approximate 
determinism, this determinism of quality, should 
seek support from the same mechanism that 
underlies the phenomena of nature : the latter 


would thus convey to the former its own 
geometrical character, and the transaction would 
be to the advantage both of psychological 
determinism, which would emerge from it in a 
stricter form, and of physical mechanism, which 
would then spread over everything. A fortunate 
circumstance favours this alliance. The simplest 
psychic states do in fact occur as accessories 
to well-defined physical phenomena, and the 
greater number of sensations seem to be bound 
up with definite molecular movements. This 
mere beginning of an experimental proof is 
quite enough for the man who, for psychological 
reasons, is already convinced that our conscious 
states are the necessary outcome of the circum 
stances under which they happen. Henceforth 
he no longer hesitates to hold that the drama 
enacted in the theatre of consciousness is a literal 
and even slavish translation of some scenes per 
formed by the molecules and atoms of organized 
matter. The physical determinism which is 
reached in this way is nothing but psychological 
determinism, seeking to verify itself and fix its 
own outlines by an appeal to the sciences of nature. 
But we must own that the amount of freedom 
which is left to us after strictly complying with the 
is the princi- principle of the conservation of energy 

pie of conser- t * ... .. " 

vation oi is rather limited. For, even if this law 

energy uni- *.* a 

versaiiy valid? does not exert a necessitating in liuence 
over the course of our ideas, it will at least 
determine our movements. Our inner life will 


still depend upon ourselves up to a certain 
point ; but, to an outside observer, there will be 
nothing to distinguish our activity from absolute 
automatism. We are thus led to inquire whether 
the very extension of the principle of the conserva 
tion of energy to all the bodies in nature does 
not itself involve some psychological theory, and 
whether the scientist who did not possess a priori 
any prejudice against human freedom would 
think of setting up this principle as a universal 

We must not overrate the part played by the 
principle of the conservation of energy in the his 
tory of the natural sciences. In its 

It implies that J . 

a sysum can present form it marks a certain phase 

return to its f . . . , 

original in the evolution of certain sciences ; but 

itata. Keg- . , , . 

lecta duration, it has not been the governing factor in 

henoeinapplic- . . . . . , 

able to living this evolution and we should be wrong 
conscious hi making it the indispensable postulate 
of all scientific research. Certainly, 
every mathematical operation which we carry out 
on a given quantity implies the permanence of this 
quantity throughout the course of the operation, 
in whatever way we may split it up. In other 
words, what is given is given, what is not given is not 
given, and in whatever order we add up the same 
terms we shall get the same result. Science will 
for ever remain subject to this law, which is nothing 
but the law of non-contradiction ; but this law 
does not involve any special hypothesis as to the 
nature of what we ought to take as given, or what 


will remain constant. No doubt it informs us 
that something cannot come from nothing ; but 
experience alone will tell us which aspects or 
functions of reality must count for something, and 
which for nothing, from the point of view of posi 
tive science. In short, in order to foresee the 
state of a determinate system at a determinate 
moment, it is absolutely necessary that something 
should persist as a constant quantity throughout 
a series of combinations ; but it belongs to experi 
ence to decide as to the nature of this something, 
and especially to let us know whether it is found 
in all possible systems, whether, in other words, 
all possible systems lend themselves to our calcula 
tions. It is not certain that all the physicists before 
Leibniz believed, like Descartes, in the conservation 
of a fixed quantity of motion in the universe : 
were their discoveries less valuable on this account 
or their researches less successful ? Even when 
Leibniz had substituted for this principle that of 
the conservation of vis viva, it was not possible 
to regard the law as quite general, since it admitted 
of an obvious exception in the case of the direct 
impact of two inelastic bodies. Thus science has 
done for a very long time without a universal 
conservative principle. In its present form, and 
since the development of the mechanical theory 
of heat, the principle of the conservation of energy 
certainly seems to apply to the whole range of 
physico-chemical phenomena. But no one can 
tell whether the study of physiological pheno- 


mena in general, and of nervous phenomena in 
particular, will not reveal to us, besides the vis 
viva or kinetic energy of which Leibniz spoke, and 
the potential energy which was a later and neces 
sary adjunct, some new kind of energy which 
may differ from the other two by rebelling against 
calculation. Physical science would not thereby 
lose any of its exactitude or geometrical rigour, 
as has lately been asserted : only it would be 
realized that conservative systems are not the 
only systems possible, and even, perhaps, that in 
the whole of concrete reality each of these systems 
plays the same part as the chemist s atom in bodies 
and their combinations. Let us note that the 
most radical of mechanical theories is that which 
makes consciousness an epiphenomenon which, 
in given circumstances, may supervene on certain 
molecular movements. But, if molecular move 
ment can create sensation out of a zero of con 
sciousness, why should not consciousness in its 
turn create movement either out of a zero of kinetic 
and potential energy, or by making use of this 
energy in its own way ? Let us also note that the 
law of the conservation of energy can only be 
intelligibly applied to a system of which the points, 
after moving, can return to their former positions. 
This return is at least conceived of as possible, and 
it is supposed that under these conditions nothing 
would be changed in the original state of the 
system as a whole or of its elements. In short, 
time cannot bite into it ; and the instinctive, 


though vague, belief of mankind in the conserva 
tion of a fixed quantity of matter, a fixed quantity 
of energy, perhaps has its root in the very fact that 
inert matter does not seem to endure or to preserve 
any trace of past time. But this is not the case 
in the realm of life. Here duration certainly seems 
to act like a cause, and the idea of putting things 
back in their place at the end of a certain time 
involves a kind of absurdity, since such a turning 
backwards has never been accomplished in the 
case of a living being. But let us admit that the 
absurdity is a mere appearance, and that the 
impossibility for living beings to come back to the 
past is simply owing to the fact that the physico- 
chemical phenomena which take place in living 
bodies, being infinitely complex, have no chance 
of ever occurring again all at the same time : at 
least it will be granted to us that the hypothesis of 
a turning backwards is almost meaningless in the 
sphere of conscious states. A sensation, by the 
mere fact of being prolonged, is altered to the 
point of becoming unbearable. The same does 
not here remain the same, but is reinforced and 
swollen by the whole of its past. In short, while 
the material point, as mechanics understands it, 
remains in an eternal present, the past is a reality 
perhaps for living bodies, and certainly for con 
scious beings. While past time is neither a gain 
nor a loss for a system assumed to be conservative, 
it may be a gain for the living being, and it is 
indisputably one for the conscious being. Such 



being the case, is there not much to be said for the 
hypothesis of a conscious force or free will, which, 
subject to the action of time and storing up dura 
tion, may thereby escape the law of the conserva 
tion of energy ? 

In truth, it is not a wish to meet the requirements 
of positive science, but rather a psychological 
me idea of mistake which has caused this abstract 
it h y e oTSet- principle of mechanics to be set up as a 
on i0 co d n e S d n universal law. As we are not accustomed 
cr e ete ee duraS to observe ourselves directly, but per- 
tfme. abstract ceive ourselves through forms borrowed 
from the external world, we are led to believe that 
real duration, the duration lived by consciousness, 
is the same as the duration which glides over4he 
inert atoms without penetrating and altering 
them. Hence it is that we do not see any absurd 
ity in putting things back in their place after a 
lapse of time, in supposing the same motives 
acting afresh on the same persons, and in conclud 
ing that these causes would again produce the 
same effect. That such an hypothesis has no real 
meaning is what we shall prove later on. For the 
present let us simply show that, if once we enter 
upon this path, we are of course led to set up 
the principle of the conservation of energy as a 
universal law. For we have thereby got rid of 
just that difference between the outer and the inner 
world which a close examination shows to be the 
main one : we have identified true duration with 
apparent duration. After this it would be absurd 


to consider time, even our time, as a cause of gain 
or loss, as a concrete reality, or a force in its own 
way. Thus, while we ought only to say (if we 
kept aloof from all presuppositions concerning free 
will) that the law of the conservation of energy 
governs physical phenomena and may, one day, 
be extended to all phenomena if psychological 
facts also prove favourable to it, we go far beyond 
this, and, under the influence of a metaphysical 
prepossession, we lay down the principle of the 
conservation of energy as a law which should 
govern all phenomena whatever, or must be sup 
posed to do so until psychological facts have 
actually spoken against it. Science, properly so 
called, has therefore nothing to do with all this. 
We are simply confronted with a confusion between 
concrete duration and abstract time, two very 
different things. In a word, the so-called physical 
determinism is reducible at bottom to a psycho 
logical determinism, and it is this latter doctrine, 
as we hinted at first, that we have to examine. 

Psychological determinism, in its latest and 
most precise shape, implies an associationist 
Psychological conception of mind. The existing state 
^ consciousness is first thought of as 
of necessitated by the preceding states, but 
min(L it is soon realized that this cannot be 

a geometrical necessity, such as that which con 
nects a resultant, for example, with its components. 
For between successive conscious states there 


exists a difference of quality which will always 
frustrate any attempt to deduce any one of them 
a priori from its predecessors. So experience is 
appealed to, with the object of showing that the 
transition from one psychic state to another can 
always be explained by some simple reason, the 
second obeying as it were the call of the first. 
Experience really does show this : and, as for our 
selves, we shall willingly admit that there always 
is some relation between the existing state of 
consciousness and any new state to which 
consciousness passes. But is this relation, 
which explains the transition, the cause of 

May we here give an account of what we have 
personally observed ? In resuming a conversation 
The series of which had been interrupted for a few 


may be merely moments we have happened to notice 

an ex pott facto . 

attempt to that both we ourselves and our friend 

account lor a . . 

new idea. were thinking of some new object at the 
same time. The reason is, it will be said, that 
each has followed up for his own part the natural 
development of the idea at which the conversation 
had stopped : the same series of associations has 
been formed on both sides. No doubt this inter 
pretation holds good in a fairly large number of 
cases ; careful inquiry, however, has led us to an 
unexpected result. It is a fact that the two 
speakers do connect the new subject of conversa 
tion with the former one : they will even point 
out the intervening ideas ; but, curiously enough, 


they will not always connect the new idea, which 
they have both reached, with the same point of 
the preceding conversation, and the two series 
of intervening associations may be quite different. 
What are we to conclude from this, if not that this 
common idea is due to an unknown cause per 
haps to some physical influence and that, in 
order to justify its emergence, it has called forth 
a series of antecedents which explain it and 
which seem to be its cause, but are really its 
effect ? 

When a patient carries out at the appointed time 
the suggestion received in the hypnotic state, 
the act which he performs is brought 
from hypnotic about, according to him, by the preced- 

iuggestion. . . . . . . A7 

ing series of his conscious states. Yet 
these states are really effects, and not causes : 
it was necessary that the act should take place ; 
it was also necessary that the patient should 
explain it to himself ; and it is the future act 
which determined, by a kind of attraction, the 
whole series of psychic states of which it is to be 
the natural consequence. The determinists will 
seize on this argument : it proves as a matter of 
fact that we are sometimes irresistibly subject 
to another s will. But does it not also show us 
how our own will is capable of willing for willing* s 
sake, and of then leaving the act which has been 
performed to be explained by antecedents of which 
it has really been the cause ? 

If we question ourselves carefully, we shall see 

CHAP. Ill 


that we sometimes weigh motives and deliberate 
over them, when our mind is already made 

Illustration . in v 

tromdeiibera- up. An inner voice, hardly perceivable, 
whispers : " Why this deliberation ? 
You know the result and you are quite certain of 
what you are going to do." But no matter ! it 
seems that we make a point of safe-guarding the 
principle of mechanism and of conforming to the 
laws of the association of ideas. The abrupt inter 
vention of the will is a kind of coup d ttat which 
our mind foresees and which it tries to legitimate 
beforehand by a formal deliberation. True, it 
could be asked whether the will, even when it 
wills for willing s sake, does not obey some 
decisive reason, and whether willing for willing s 
sake is free willing. We shall not insist on 
this point for the moment. It will be enough 
for us to have shown that, even when adopt 
ing the point of view of associationism, it is 
difficult to maintain that an act is absolutely 
determined by its motive and our conscious states 
by one another. Beneath these deceptive appear 
ances a more attentive psychology sometimes 
reveals to us effects which precede their causes, 
and phenomena of psychic attraction which elude 
the known laws of the association of ideas. But 
the time has come to ask whether the very point 
of view which associationism adopts does not 
involve a defective conception of the self and of the 
multiplicity of conscious states. 

Associationist determinism represents the self as 


a collection of psychic states, the strongest of 
Association- which exerts a prevailing influence and 
deTeS 1V c e o S n- carries the others with it. This doctrine 
ceptwr IB ^^ sharply distinguishes co-existing 
psychic phenomena from one another. " I could 
have abstained from murder," says Stuart Mill, 
" if my aversion to the crime and my dread of its 
consequences had been weaker than the temptation 
which impelled me to commit it." 1 And a little 
further on : " His desire to do right and his 
aversion to doing wrong are strong enough to 
overcome . . . any other desire or aversion which 
may conflict with them." 2 Thus desire, aversion, 
fear, temptation are here presented as distinct 
things which there is no inconvenience in naming 
separately. Even when he connects these states 
with the self which experiences them, the English 
philosopher still insists on setting up clear-cut 
distinctions : " The conflict is between me and 
myself ; between (for instance) me desiring a 
pleasure and me dreading self-reproach." 3 Bain, 
for his part, devotes a whole chapter to the " Con 
flict of Motives." 4 In it he balances pleasures 
and pains as so many terms to which one might 
attribute, at least by abstraction, an existence of 
their own. Note that the opponents of determin 
ism agree to follow it into this field. They too 
speak of associations of ideas and conflicts of 

1 Cf. Examination of Sir W. Hamilton s Philosophy. 5th ed., 
(1878), p. 583. 2 Ibid. p. 585. 8 Ibid, p, 585. 

4 The Emotions and the Will, Chap. vi. 


motives, and one of the ablest of these philosophers, 
Alfred Fouillee, goes so far as to make the idea of 
freedom itself a motive capable of counterbalan 
cing others. 1 Here, however, lies the danger. Both 
parties commit themselves to a confusion which 
arises from language, and which is due to the 
fact that language is not meant to convey all the 
delicate shades of inner states. 

I rise, for example, to open the window, and I 

have hardly stood up before I forget what I had 

to do. All right, it will be said ; you 

This errone- , . . , . , , , / 

ous tendency have associated two ideas, that or an 

aided by Ian- . . , , . , ,. 

gnage. nius- end to be attained and that ot a move 
ment to be accomplished : one of the 
ideas has vanished and only the idea of the move 
ment remains. However, I do not sit down again ; 
I have a confused feeling that something remains 
to be done. This particular standing still, therefore, 
is not the same as any other standing still ; in the 
position which I take up the act to be performed 
is as it were prefigured, so that I have only to 
keep this position, to study it, or rather to feel it 
intimately, in order to recover the idea which had 
vanished for a moment. Hence, this idea must 
have tinged with a certain particular colouring 
the mental image of the intended movement and 
the position taken up, and this colouring, without 
doubt, would not have been the same if the end 
to be attained had been different. Nevertheless 

1 Fouillee, La Liberte et le Deter minisme. 


language would have still expressed the move 
ment and the position in the same way ; and 
associationism would have distinguished the two 
cases by saying that with the idea of the same 
movement there was associated this time the idea 
of a new end : as if the mere newness of the end 
to be attained did not alter in some degree the 
idea of the movement to be performed, even though 
the movement itself remained the same ! We 
should thus say, not that the image of a certain Jt 
position can be connected in consciousness with 
images of different ends to be attained, but rather 
that positions geometrically identical outside look 

different to consciousness from the, inside, accord- 

ing to the end contemplated. ^The mistake of 

associationism is that it first did away with the 
qualitative element in the act to be pefrormed and 
retained only the geometrical and impersonal 
element : with the idea of this act, thus rendered 
colourless, it was then necessary to associate some 
specific difference to distinguish it from many 
other acts. But this association is the work of 
the associationist philosopher who is studying my 
mind, rather than of my mind itself. 

I smell a rose and immediately confused recol 
lections of childhood come back to my memory. 
illustration ^ n truth, these recollections have not 
atio^s" as o i ci " been called up by the perfume of the 
smeii. rose . i breathe them in with the very 

scent ; it means all that to me. To others it will 
smell differently. It is always the same scent, 



you will say, but associated with different ideas. 
I am quite willing that you should express your 
self in this way ; but do not forget that you have 
first removed the personal element from the differ 
ent impressions which the rose makes on each one 
of us ; you have retained only the objective aspect, 
that part of the scent of the rose which is public 
property and thereby belongs to space. Only thus 
was it possible to give a name to the 

perfume! You then found it necessary, in order 
fo distinguish our personal impressions from one 
another, to add specific characteristics to the 
general idea of rose-scent. And you now say 
that our different impressions, our personal impres 
sions, result from the fact that we associate differ 
ent recollections with rose-scent. But the asso 
ciation of which you speak hardly exists except 
for you, and as a method of explanation. It is 
in this way that, by setting side by side certain 
letters of an alphabet common to a number of 
known languages, we may imitate fairly well such 
and such a characteristic sound belonging to a 
new one ; but not with any of these letters, nor 
with all of them, has the sound itself been built up. 
We are thus brought back to the distinction 
which we set up above between the multiplicity 
Association- f juxtaposition and that of fusion or 
interpenetration. Such and such a feel- 

in S> sucn and sucn an idea > contains an 
indefinite plurality of conscious states : 
oi fusion. but the p i ural i ty ^11 not be observed 


unless it is, as it were, spread out in this homogene 
ous medium which some call duration, but which is 
in reality space. We shall then perceive terms 
external to one another, and these terms will no 
longer be the states of consciousness themselves, 
but their symbols, or, speaking more exactly, the 
words which express thpim 1 There is, as we have 
pointed out, a close connexion between the faculty 
of conceiving a homogeneous medium, such as 
space, and that of thinking by means of general 
ideas. As soon as we try to give an account of a 
conscious state, to analyse it, this state, which is 
above all personal, will be resolved into imper 
sonal elements external to one another, each of 
which calls up the idea of a genus and is expressed 
by a word. But because our reason, equipped 
with the idea of space and the power of creating 
symbols, draws these multiple elements out of the 
whole, it does not follow that they were con 
tained in it. For within the whole they did not 
occupy space and did not care to express them 
selves by means of symbols ; they permeated 
and melted into one another. Associationism 
thus makes the mistake of constantly replacing 
the concrete phenomenon which takes place in 
the mind by the artificial reconstruction of it 
given by philosophy, and of thus confusing the 
explanation of the fact with the fact itself. We 
shall perceive this more clearly as we consider 
deeper and more comprehensive psychic states. 
The self comes into contact with the external 


world at its surface ; and as this surface retains 
the imprint of objects, the self will 
associate by contiguity terms which it 

deepe? a Ttates has perceived in juxtaposition : it is 

of the sell. t 1 1 i i 

connexions of this kind, connexions 
of quite simple and so to speak impersonal sensa 
tions, that the associationist theory fits. But, 
just in proportion as we dig below the surface and 
get down to the real self, do its states of conscious 
ness cease to stand in juxtaposition and begin to 
permeate and melt into one another, and each to be 
tinged with the colouring of all the others. Thus 
each of us has his own way of loving and hating ; 
and this love or this hatred reflects his whole 
personality. Language, however, denotes these 
states by the same words in every case : so that 
it has been able to fix only the objective and 

I impersonal aspect of love, hate, and the thousand 

r emotions which stir the soul. We estimate the 
talent of a novelist by the power with which he 
lifts out of the common domain, to which language 
had thus brought them down, feelings and ideas 
to which he strives to restore, by adding detail to 
detail, their original and living individuality. 
But just as we can go on inserting points between 
two positions of a moving body without ever filling 
up the space traversed, in the same way, by the 
mere fact that we associate states with states and 
that these states are set side by side instead of 
permeating one another, we fail to translate 
completely what our soul experiences : there 


is no common measure between mind and lan 

Therefore, it is only an inaccurate psychology, 
misled by language, which will show us the soul 
Theseiiisnot determined b y sympathy, aversion, or 
So<S5555 tfl nate as tnou gh by so man y forces 
lorn 8 is F seT P ressm upon it. These feelings, pro- 
Sfn si of de" v ^ ded that they go deep enough, each 
grees,andma y make up the whole soul, since the whole 

be curtailed by 

education. content of the soul is reflected in each 
of them. /To say that the soul is determined 
under the influence of any one of these feelings 
is thus to recognize that it is self-determined. ^)The 
associationist reduces the self to an aggregate 
of conscious states : sensations, feelings, and 
ideas. But if he sees in these various states no 
more than is expressed in their name, if he retains 
only their impersonal aspect, he may set them side 
by side for ever without getting anything but a 
phantom self, theShadow of the ego projecting 
itsel|_intospace. If, on the contrary, he takes 
these psychic states with the particular colouring 
which they assume in the case of a definite person, 
and which comes to each of them by reflection 
from all the others, then there is no need to asso 
ciate a number of conscious states in order to 
rebuild the person, for the whole personality is in 
a single one of them, provided that we know how 
to choose it. And the outward manifestation 
of this inner state will be just what is called a free 
act. since the self alone will have been the author 


of it, and since it will express the whole of the self. 
Freedom, thus understood, is not absolute, as a 
radically libertarian philosophy would have it ; 
it admits of degrees. For it is by no means the 
case that all conscious states blend with one an 
other as raindrops with the water of a lake. The 
self, in so far as it has to do with a homogeneous 
space, develops on a kind of surface, and on this 
surface independent growths may form and float. 
Thus a suggestion received in the hypnotic state 
is not incorporated in the mass of conscious states, 
but, endowed with a life of its own, it will usurp 
the whole personality when its time comes. A 
violent anger roused by some accidental circum 
stance, an hereditary vice suddenly emerging 
from the obscure depths of the organism to the 
surface of consciousness, will act almost like a 
hypnotic suggestion. Alongside these independ 
ent elements there may be found more complex 
series, the terms of which do permeate one another, 
but which never succeed in blending perfectly 
with the whole mass of the self. Such is the 
system of feelings and ideas which are the result 
of an education not properly assimilated, an 
education which appeals to the memory rather 
than to the judgment. Here will be found, within 
the fundamental self, a parasitic self which con 
tinually encroaches upon the other. Many live 
this kind of life, and die without having known 
true freedom. But suggestion would become 
persuasion if the entire self assimilated it ; pas- 


sion, even sudden passion, would no longer bear 
the stamp of fatality if the whole history of the 
person were reflected in it, as in the indignation 
of Alceste ; 1 and the most authoritative education 
would not curtail any of our freedom if it only 
imparted to us ideas and feelings capable of impreg 
nating the whole soul. It is the whole soul, in 
fact, which gives rise to the free decision : and the 
act will be so much the freer the more the dynamic 
series with which it is connected tends to be the 
fundamental self. 

Thus understood, free acts are exceptional, 
even on the part of those who are most given to 
our every-day controlling and reasoning out what they 
"ra AS- do - Jt nas been pointed out that we 
gmt n oriM generally perceive our own self by 
JS reany S S refraction through space, that our con- 
SefflaSen- scious states crystallize into words, and 
tai sen ^at our living and concrete self thus 
gets covered with an outer crust of clean-cut 
psychic states, which are separated from one 
another and consequently fixed. We added that, 
for the convenience of language and the promotion 
of social relations, we have everything to gain by 
not breaking through this crust and by assuming 
it to give an exact outline of the form of the object 
which it covers. It should now be added that 
our daily actions are called forth not so much 
by our feelings themselves, which are constantly 

1 In Moliere s comedy Le Misanthrope, (Tr.). 


changing, as by the unchanging images with which 
these feelings are bound up. In the morning, 
when the hour strikes at which I am accustomed 
to rise, I might receive this impression wv oXy 
TJI tyx?,, as Plato says ; I might let it blend with 
the confused mass of impressions which fill my 
mind ; perhaps in that case it would not determine 
me to act. But generally this impression, instead 
of disturbing my whole consciousness like a stone 
which falls into the water of a pond, merely stirs 
up an idea which is, so to speak, solidified on the 
surface, the idea of rising and attending to my 
usual occupations. This impression and this 
idea have in the end become tied up with one 
another, so that the act follows the impression 
without the self interfering with it. In this in 
stance I am a conscious automaton, and I am so 
because I have everything to gain by being so. 
It will be found that the majority of our daily 
v actions are performed in this way and that, 
owing to the solidification in memory of such and 
such sensations, feelings, or ideas, impressions 
from the outside call forth movements on our 
part which, though conscious and even intelligent, 
have many points of resemblance with reflex acts. 
It is to these acts, which are very numerous but 
for the most part insignificant, that the associa- 
tionist theory is applicable. They are, taken all 
together, the substratum of our free activity, and 
with respect to this activity they play the same 
part as our organic functions in relation to the 


whole of our conscious life. Moreover we will 
grant to determinism that we often resign our 
freedom in more serious circumstances, and that, 
by sluggishness or indolence, we allow this same 
local process to run its course when our whole \^ 
personality ought, so to speak, to vibrate. When 
our most trustworthy friends agree in advising us 
to take some important step, the sentiments 
which they utter with so much insistence lodge 
on the surface of our ego and there get solidified 
in the same way as the ideas of which we spoke 
just now. Little by little they will form a thick 
crust which will cover up our own sentiments ; ,/ 
we shall believe that we are acting freely, and it / 
is only by looking back to the past, later on, that v 
we shall see how much we were mistaken.^ But 
then, at the very minute when the act is going 
to be performed, something may revolt against it. 
It is the deep-seated self rushing up to the surface. 
It is the outer crust bursting, suddenly giving 
way to an irresistible thrust. Hence in the depths 
of the self, below this most reasonable pondering 
over most reasonable pieces of advice, something 
else was going on a gradual heating and a sudden 
boiling over of feelings and ideas, not unperceived, 
but rather unnoticed. If we turn back to them 
and carefully scrutinize our memory, we shall see 
that we had ourselves shaped these ideas, ourselves 
lived these feelings, but that, through some strange 
reluctance to exercise our will, we had thrust 
them back into the darkest depths of our soul 


whenever they came up to the surface. And this 
is why we seek in vain to explain our sudden 
change of mind by the visible circumstances which 
preceded it. We wish to know the reason why 
we have made up our mind, and we find that we 
have decided without any reason, and perhaps 
even against every reason. But, in certain cases, 
that is the best of reasons. For the action which 
has been performed does not then express some 
superficial idea, almost external to ourselves, 
distinct and easy to account for : it agrees with 
the whole of our most intimate feelings, thoughts 
and aspirations, with that particular conception 
of life which is the equivalent of all our past 
experience, in a word, with, our personal idea of 
happiness and of honour. (Hence it has been a 
mistake to look for examples in the ordinary and 
even indifferent circumstances of life in order 
to prove that man is capable of choosing without 
a motive.) It might easily be shown that these 
insignificant actions are bound up with some 
determining reason^ It is at the great and solemn 
crisis, decisive of our reputation with others, and 
yet more with ourselves, that we choosejn defiance 
of what is conventionally called a motive, and 
this absence of any tangible reason is the more 
striking the deeper our freedom goes. 

But the determinist, even when he refrains 
from regarding the more serious emotions or deep- 
seated psychic states as forces, nevertheless dis 
tinguishes them from one another and is thus 


led to a mechanical conception of the self. He 
Determinism w ^ show us this self hesitating between 
Stride ae two contrary feelings, passing from 
leu-identical one * * ne otner an ^ finally deciding in 
Sther 0n coS- favour of one of them. The self and the 
SSthiifimere * een n g s which stir it are thus treated 
symbolism. as we jj defined objects, which remain 
identical during the whole of the process. But if 
it is always the same self which deliberates, and 
if the two opposite feelings by which it is moved 
do not change, how, in virtue of this very principle 
of causality which determinism appeals to, will 
the self ever come to a decision ? The truth is 
that the self, by the mere fact of experiencing 
the first feeling, has already changed to a slight 
extent when the second supervenes : all the time 
that the deliberation is going on, the self is changing 
and is consequently modifying the two feelings 
which agitate it. A dynamic series of states is 
thus formed which permeate and strengthen one 
another, and which will lead by a natural evolu 
tion to a free act. But determinism, ever craving 
for symbolical representation, cannot help sub 
stituting words for the opposite feelings which 
share the ego between them, as well as for the ego 
itself. By giving first the person and then the 
feelings by which he is moved a fixed form by 
means of sharply defined words, it deprives them 
in advance of every kind of living activity. It 
will then see on the one side an ego always self- 
identical, and on the other contrary feelings, also 


self-identical, which dispute for its possession ; 
victory will necessarily belong to the stronger. 
But this mechanism, to which we have condemned 
ourselves in advance, has no value beyond that 
of a symbolical representation : it cannot hold 
good against the witness of an attentive conscious 
ness, which shows us inner dynamism as a fact. 
In short, we are free when our acts spring from 
our whole personality, when they express it, when 
Freedom and tnev nay e that indefinable resemblance 
to it which one sometimes finds between 
aot the artist and his work. It is no use 
f e a rlnt be o e r n c asserting that we are then yielding to 
it bejoretoid p ^h e all-powerful influence of our char 
acter. Our character is still ourselves ; and because 
we are pleased to split the person into two parts so 
that by an effort of abstraction we may consider 

Sin turn the self which feels or thinks and the self 
which acts, it would be very strange to conclude 
that one of the two selves is coercing the other. 
Those who ask whether we are free to alter our 
character lay themselves open to the same objec 
tion. Certainly our character is altering imper 
ceptibly every day, and our freedom would suffer 
if these new acquisitions were grafted on to our 
self and not blended with it. But, as soon as 
this blending takes place, it must be admitted that 
the change which has supervened in our character 
belongs to us, that we have appropriated it. fin 
a word, if it is agreed to call every act free which 
v ) springs from the self and from the self alone, the 


act which bears the mark of our personality is 
truly free, for our self alone will lay claim to its V 
paternity.N It would thus be recognized that 
free will is a fact, if it were agreed to look for it 
in a certain characteristic of the decision which is - 
taken, in the free act itself. (But the determinist * 
feeling that he cannot retain his hold on this posi 
tion, takes refuge in the past or the future. Some 
times he transfers himself in thought to some 
earlier period and asserts the necessary determina 
tion, from this very moment, of the act which is 
to come ; sometimes, assuming in advance that 
the act is already performed, he claims that it 
could not have taken place in any other way. 
The opponents of determinism themselves will 
ingly follow it on to this new ground and agree 
to introduce into their definition of our free act 
perhaps not without some risk the anticipation 
of what we might do and the recollection of some 
other decision which we might have taken. It is 
advisable, then, that we should place ourselves 
at this new point of view, and, setting aside all 
translation into words, all symbolism in space, 
attend to what pure consciousness alone shows 
us about an action that has come to pass or an 
action which is still to come. The original error 
of determinism and the mistake of its opponents 
will thus be grasped on another side, in so far as 
they bear explicitly on a certain misconception 
of duration. 

"To be conscious of free will," says Stuart 


\ Mill, " must mean to be conscdous, before I have 
decided, that I am able to decide either 

and libertarian ,, , /- n ,-1 i i 

doctrines oi way. This is really the way in which 
ac I . lbl( the defenders of free will understand it ; 
and they assert that when we perform an action 
freely, some other action would have been "equally 
possible." On this point they appeal to the testi 
mony of consciousness, which shows us, beyond 
the act itself, the power of deciding in favour of 
the opposite course. Inversely, determinism claims 
that, given certain antecedents, only one resultant 
action was possible. When we think of our 
selves hypothetically," Stuart Mill goes on, " as 
having acted otherwise than we did, we always 
suppose a difference in the antecedents. We pic 
ture ourselves as having known something that 
we did not know, or not known something that 
we did know." 2 And, faithful to his principle, 
the English philosopher assigns consciousness the 
role of informing us about what is, not about what 
might be. We shall not insist for the moment on 
this last point : we reserve the question in what 
sense the ego perceives itself as a determining 
cause. But beside this psychological question 
there is another, belonging rather to metaphysics, 
which the determinists and their opponents solve 
a priori along opposite lines. The argument of 

1 Examination of Sir W. Hamilton s Philosophy. 5th ed., 
(1878), p. 580. 
1 Ibid. p. 583. 


l\tfr* sJfl 

the former implies that there is only^ne- possible 
act corresponding to given antecedents : the 
believers in free will assume, on the other hand, 
that the same series could issue in several different 
acts, equally possible. It is on this question of 
the equal possibility of two contrary actions or 
volitions that we shall first dwell : perhaps we 
shall thus gather some indication as to the nature 
of the operation by which the will makes its choice. 

I hesitate between two possible actions X and 

Y, and I go in turn from one to the other. This 

means that I pass through a series of 

Geometrical j AiT AI. T- 

(and thereby states, and that these states can be 

deceptive) ,. . .. . . ,. T 

representation divided into two groups according as I 

of the process -, -i ~*r n 

oi coming to a incline more towards X or in the contrary 
direction. Indeed, these opposite inclina 
tions alone have a real existence, and X and Y 
are two symbols by which I represent at their 
arrival- or termination-points, so to speak, two 
different tendencies of my personality at succes 
sive moments of duration. Let us then rather 
denote the tendencies themselves by X and Y ; 
will this new notation give a more faithful image 
of the concrete reality ? It must be noticed, as 
we said above, that the self grows, expands, and 
changes as it passes through the two contrary 
states : if not, how would it ever come to a deci 
sion ? Hence there are not exactly two contrary 
states, but a large number of successive and differ 
ent states within which I distinguish, by an effort 


of imagination, two opposite directions. Thus 
we shall get still nearer the reality by agreeing to 
use the invariable signs X and Y to 
denote, not these tendencies or states 
themselves, since they are constantly 
changing, but the two different di 
rections which our imagination ascribes 
to them for the greater convenience 
of language. It will also be under 
stood that these are symbolical repre 
sentations, that in reality there are 
not two tendencies, or even two di 
rections, but a self which lives and 

ir ** 

develops by means of its very hesita 
tions, until the free action drops from it like an 
over-ripe fruit. 

But this conception of voluntary activity does 
not satisfy common sense, because, being essen- 
only real- tially a devotee of mechanism, it loves 
clear-cut distinctions, those which are 
expressed by sharply denned words or 

by abstraction i v/v TT 

two opposite by different positions in space. Hence 
directioEui! it will picture a self which, after having 
traversed a series M O of conscious states, when 
it reaches the point O finds before it two 
directions X and O Y, equally open. These 
directions thus become things, real paths into 
which the highroad of consciousness leads, and 
it depends only on the self which of them is 
entered upon. In short, the continuous and 
living activity of this self, in which we have dis- 


tinguished, by abstraction only, two opposite 
directions, is replaced by these directions them 
selves, transformed into indifferent inert things 
awaiting our choice. But then we must certainly 
transfer the activity of the self somewhere or 
other. We will put it, according to this hypo 
thesis, at the point O : we will say that the self, 
when it reaches O and finds two courses open to 
it, hesitates, deliberates and finally decides in 
favour of one of them. As we find it difficult 
to picture the double direction of the conscious 
activity in all the phases of its continuous develop 
ment, we separate off these two tendencies on 
the one hand and the activity of the self on the 
other : we thus get an impartially active ego 
hesitating between two inert and, as it were, 
solidified courses of action. Now, if it decides 
in favour of O X, the line O Y will nevertheless 
remain ; if it chooses O Y, the path O X will 
remain open, waiting in case the self retraces its 
steps in order to make use of it. It is in this sense 
that we say, when speaking of a free act, that 
the contrary action was equally possible. And, 
even if we do not draw a geometrical figure on 
paper, we involuntarily and almost unconsciously 
think of it as soon as we distinguish in the free 
act a number of successive phases, the conception 
of opposite motives, hesitation and choice thus 
hiding the geometrical symbolism under a kind 
of verbal crystallization. Now it is easy to see 
that this really mechanical conception of freedom 


issues naturally and logically in the most unbend 
ing determinism. 

The living activity of the self, in which we 
distinguish by abstraction two opposite tend- 
if this sym- encies, will finally issue either at X or 
SSsthe^SSS! Y. Now, since it is agreed to localize 
th! a seii ity hM tne double activity of the self at the 
Sec- P om t 0> there is no reason to separate 
* this ac ^vity from the act in which it 
mits. ^ii issue and which forms part and 

parcel of it. And if experience shows that the 
decision has been in favour of X, it is not a neutral 
activity which should be placed at the point O, 
but an activity tending in advance in the direction 
X, in spite of apparent hesitations. If, on the 
contrary, observation proves that the decision 
has been in favour of Y, we must infer that the 
activity localized by us at the point O was bent 
in this second direction in spite of some oscillations 
towards the first. To assert that the self, when 
it reaches the point O, chooses indifferently be 
tween X and Y, is to stop half way in the course 
of our geometrical symbolism ; it is to separate 
off at the point O only a part of this continuous 
activity in which we undoubtedly distinguished 
two different directions, but which in addition 
has gone on to X or Y : why not take this last 
fact into account as well as the other two ? Why 
not assign it the place that belongs to it in the 
symbolical figure which we have just constructed ? 
But if the self, when it reaches the point O, is already 


determined in one direction, there is no use in the 
other way remaining open, the self cannot take it. 
And the same rough symbolism which was meant 
to show the contingency of the action performed, 
ends, by a natural extension, in proving its abso 
lute necessity. 

In short, defenders and opponents of free will 
agree in holding that the action is preceded by a 
Libertarians kind of mechanical oscillation between 

the tw P ints X and Y If l decide 

Je a 6e id c not in favour of x tne former will tell me : 
the other. y OU hesitated and deliberated, therefore 
Y was possible. The others will answer : you 
chose X, therefore you had some reason for doing 
so, and those who declare that Y was equally 
possible forget this reason : they leave aside one 
of the conditions of the problem. Now, if I dig 
deeper underneath these two opposite solutions, 
I discover a common postulate : both take up 
their position after the action X has been per 
formed, and represent the process of my voluntary 
activity by a path M O which branches off at the 
point O, the lines O X and O Y symbolizing the 
two directions which abstraction distinguishes 
within the continuous activity of which X is the 
goal. But while the determinists take account 
of all that they know, and note that the path 
M O X has been traversed, their opponents mean 
to ignore one of the data with which they have 
constructed the figure, and after having traced 
out the lines O X and O Y, which should together 


represent the progress of the activity of the self, 
they bring back the self to the point O to oscillate 
there until further orders. 

It should not be forgotten, indeed, that the 
figure, which is really a splitting of our psychic 
But the fteure activity in space, is purely symbolical, 
e re stere<? ves an< ^ as such, cannot be constructed 
5 Ped the iei pS unless we adopt the hypothesis that 
th" our deliberation is finished and our mind 

SS5 s in h the ma de U P- If Y ou trace it beforehand, 
^ you assume that you have reached the 

end and are present in imagination at the final 
act. In short this figure does not show me the 
deed in the doing but the deed already done. 
Do not ask me then whether the self, having 
traversed the path M O and decided in favour of 
X, could or could not choose Y : I should answer 
that the question is meaningless, because there 
is no line M O, no point O, no path O X, no direction 
O Y. To ask such a question is to admit the possi 
bility of adequately representing time by space 
and a succession by a simultaneity. It is to 
ascribe to the figure we have traced the value 
of a description, and not merely of a symbol ; 
it is to believe that it is possible to follow the 
process of psychic activity on this figure like the 
march of an army on a map. We have been 
present at the deliberation of the self in all its 
phases until the act was performed : then, reca 
pitulating the terms of the series, we perceive suc 
cession under the form of simultaneity, we project 


time into space, and we base our reasoning, con 
sciously or unconsciously, on this geometrical 
figure. But this figure represents a thing and not 
a progress ; it corresponds, in its inertness, to a 
kind of stereotyped memory of the whole process 
of deliberation and the final decision arrived at : 
how could it give us the least idea of the concrete 
movement, the dynamic progress by which the 
deliberation issued in the act ? And yet, once 
the figure is constructed, we go back in imagina 
tion into the past and will have it that our psychic 
activity has followed exactly the path traced out 
by the figure. We thus fall into the mistake which 
has been pointed out above : we give a mechanical 
explanation of a fact, and then substitute the 
explanation for the fact itself. Hence we encoun- 
tej insuperable difficulties from the very begin- 
r. sng : if the two courses were equally possible, how 
lave we made our choice ? If only one of them 
was possible, why did we believe ourselves free ? 
And we do not see that both questions come back 
to this : Is time space ? 

If I glance over a road marked on the map 
and follow it up to a certain point, there is 
F ndamentai nothing to prevent my turning back and 

e- or is con- . r 11-1 

i ;iono!time trying to find out whether it branches 

ftii i space. 

Tty.seif infai- off anywhere. But time is not a line 

lib. in affirm- . , . - ~ 

inf ,>immedi- along which one can pass again. Cer 
ate experience . , . , . . 

of kreedom, tainly, once it has elapsed, we are justi- 

but cannot ex- . . 

plain it. ned in pictunng the successive moments 
as external to one another and in thus thinking 


of a line traversing space ; but it must then be 
understood that this line does not symbolize the 
time which is passing but the time which has 
passed. Defenders and opponents of free will 
alike forget this the former when they assert, 
and the latter when they deny the possibility 
of acting differently from what we have done. 
The former reason thus : " The path is not yet 
traced out, therefore it may take any direction 
whatever." To which the answer is : " You 
forget that it is not possible to speak of a path till 
the action is performed : but then it will have 
been traced out." The latter say : " The path 
has been traced out in such and such a way : 
therefore its possible direction was not any direc 
tion whatever, but only this one direction." To 
which the answer is : " Before the path was 
traced out there was no direction, either possible 
or impossible, for the very simple reason that there 
could not yet be any question of a path." Get 
rid of this clumsy symbolism, the idea of which, 
besets you without your knowing it ; you will se ; 
that the argument of the determinists assumes 
this puerile form : " The act, once performed, is 
performed," and that their opponents reply : 
The act, before being performed, was not yet 
performed." In other words, the question <._f 
freedom remains after this discussion exact > 
where it was to begin with ; nor must we be sur 
prised at it, since freedom must be sought hi a 
certain shade or quality of the action itself a id 


not in the relation of this act to what it is not 
or to what it might have been. All the difficulty 
arises from the fact that both parties picture the 
deliberation under the form of an oscillation in 
space, while it really consists in a dynamic pro 
gress in which the self and its motives, like real 
living beings, are in a constant state of becoming. 
The self, infallible when it affirms its immediate 
experiences, feels itself free and says so ; but, as 
soon as" it tries to explain its freedom to itself, it 
no longer perceives itself except by a kind of 
refraction through space. Hence a symbolism 
of a mechanical kind, equally incapable of proving, 
disproving, or illustrating free will. 

But determinism will not admit itself beaten, 
and, putting the question in a new form, it will 
is prediction sa Y : " Let us leave aside actions al- 
a S -~ rea( ty performed : let us consider only 
- actions that are to come. The ques- 
cf 118 - tion is whether, knowing from now 

onwards all the future antecedents, some higher 
intelligence would not be able to predict with 
absolute certainty the decision which will result." 
We gladly agree to the question being put in 
these terms : it will give us a chance of stating 
our own theory with greater precision. But we 
shall first draw a distinction between those who 
th .nk that the knowledge of antecedents would 
enible us to state a probable conclusion and thosp. 
wl o speak of an infallible foresight. To say that 


a certain friend, under certain circumstances, 
will very probably act in a certain way, is not so 
much to predict the future conduct of our friend 
as to pass a judgment on his present character, 
that is to say, on his past. Although our feelings, 
our ideas, our character, are constantly altering, 
a sudden change is seldom observed ; and it is 
still more seldom that we cannot say of a person 
whom we know that certain actions seem to 
accord fairly well with his nature and that certain 
others are absolutely inconsistent with it. All 
philosophers will agree on this point ; for to say 
that a given action is consistent or inconsistent 
with the present character of a person whom one 
knows is not to bind the future to the present. But 
the determinist goes much further : he asserts 
that our solution is provisional simply because 
we never know all the conditions of the prc^ 
blem ; that our forecast would gain in probability 
in proportion as we were provided with a larget 
number of these conditions ; that, therefore- 
complete and perfect knowledge of all the antf 
cedents without any exception would make our 
forecast infallibly true. Such, then, is the hypo 
thesis which we have to examine. 

For the sake of greater defmiteness, let us 
imagine a person called upon to make a seemingly 
TO know com- free decision under serious circumstances- 

plefely the * 

antecedents we shall call him Peter. The question 

and conditions , 

ls wnetner a philosopher Paul, living at 
t; the same period as Peter, or, if you 


prefer, a few centuries before, would have been 
able, knowing all the conditions under which 
Peter acts, to foretell with certainty the choice 
which Peter made. 

There are several ways of picturing the mental 
condition of a person at a given moment. We 
try to do it when e.g. we read a novel ; but 
whatever care the author may have taken in 
depicting the feelings of his hero, and even in trac 
ing back his history, the end, foreseen or unfore 
seen, will add something to the idea which we had 
formed of the character : the character, therefore, 
was only imperfectly known to us. In truth, the 
deeper psychic states, those which are translated 
by free acts, express and sum up the whole of our 
past history : if Paul knows all the conditions 
under which Peter acts, we must suppose that no 
detail of Peter s life escapes him, and that his 
imagination reconstructs and even lives over again 
Peter s history. But we must here make a vital 
distinction. When I myself pass through a cer 
tain psychic state, I know exactly the intensity of 
this state and its importance in relation to the 
others, not by measurement or comparison, but 
because the intensity of e.g. a deep-seated feeling 
is nothing else than the feeling itself. On the 
other hand, if I try to give you an account of this 
psychic state, I shall be unable to make you realize 
its intensity except by some definite sign of a 
mathematical kind : I shall have to measure its 
importance, compare it with what goes before and 


what follows, in short determine the part which 
it plays in the final act. And I shall say that it 
is more or less intense, more or less important, 
according as the final act is explained by it or 
apart from it. On the other hand, for my own 
consciousness, which perceived this inner state, 
there was no need of a comparison of this kind : 
the intensity was given to it as an inexpressible 
quality of the state, itself. In other words, the 
intensity of a psychic state is not given to con 
sciousness as a special sign accompanying this 
state and denoting its power, like an exponent in 
algebra ; we have shown above that it expresses 
rather its shade, its characteristic colouring, and 
that, if it is a question of a feeling, for example, its 
intensity consists in being felt. Hence we have 
to distinguish two ways of assimilating the con 
scious states of other people : the one dynamic, 
which consists in experiencing them oneself ; the 
other static, which consists in substituting for the 
consciousness of these states their image or rather 
their intellectual symbol, their idea. In this case 
the conscious states are imagined instead of being 
reproduced ; but, then, to the image of the psychic 
states themselves some indication of their intensity 
should be added, since they no longer act on the 
person in whose mind they are pictured and the 
latter has no longer any chance of experiencing 
their force by actually feeling them. Now, this 
indication itself will necessarily assume a quan 
titative character : it will be pointed out, for 


example, that a certain feeling has more strength 
than another feeling, that it is necessary to take 
more account of it, that it has played a greater 
part ; and how could this be known unless the 
later history of the person were known in advance, 
with the precise actions in which this multiplicity 
of states or inclinations has issued ? Therefore, if 
Paul is to have an adequate idea of Peter s state 
at any moment of his history, there are only 
two courses open ; either, like a novelist who 
knows whither he is conducting his characters, 
Paul must already know Peter s final act, and 
must thus be able to supplement his mental image 
of the successive states through which Peter is 
going to pass by some indication of their value 
in relation to the whole of Peter s history ; or he 
must make up his mind to pass through these 
different states, not in imagination, but in reality. 
The former hypothesis must be put on one side 
since the very point at issue is whether, the ante 
cedents alone being given, Paul will be able to 
foresee the final act. We find ourselves compelled, 
therefore, to alter radically the idea which we had 
formed of Paul : he is not, as we had thought at 
first, a spectator whose eyes pierce the future, but 
an actor who plays Peter s part in advance. And 
notice that you cannot exempt him from any 
detail of this part, for the most common-place 
events have their importance in a life-story ; 
and even supposing that they have not, you can 
not decide that they are insignificant except in 


relation to the final act, which, by hypothesis, is 
not given. Neither have you the right to cut 
short were it only by a second the different 
states of consciousness through which Paul is 
going to pass before Peter ; for the effects of the 
same feeling, for example, go on accumulating at 
every moment of duration, and the sum total of 
these effects could not be realized all at once un 
less one knew the importance of the feeling, taken 
in its totality, in relation to the final act, which is 
the very thing that is supposed to remain unknown. 
But if Peter and Paul have experienced the same 
feelings in the same order, if their minds have the 
same history, how will you distinguish one from 
the other ? Will it be by the body in which they 
dwell ? They would then always differ in some 
respect, viz., that at no moment of their history 
would they have a mental picture of the same 
body. Will it be by the place which they occupy 
in time ? In that case they would no longer be 
present at the same events : now, by hypothesis, 
they have the same past and the same present, 
having the same experience. You must now 
make up your mind about it : Peter and Paul 
are one and the same person, whom you call Peter 
when he acts and Paul when you recapitulate 
his history. The more complete you made the 
sum of the conditions which, when known, would 
have enabled you to predict Peter s future action, 
the closer became your grasp of his existence and 
the nearer you came to living his life over again 


down to its smallest details : you thus reached the 
very moment when, the action taking place, there 
was no longer anything to be foreseen, but only 
something to be done. Here again any at 
tempt to reconstruct ideally an act really willed 
ends in the mere witnessing of the act whilst 
it is being performed or when it is already 

Hence it is a question devoid of meaning to 
ask : Could or could not the act be foreseen, given 
Hence mean- the sum total of its antecedents ? 
whether t0 an a act For there are two ways of assimilating 
se^n when "/" these antecedents, the one dynamic the 
dLtrS" other static. In the first case we shall 
given. k e i e( j k v imperceptible steps to identify 

ourselves with the person we are dealing with, 
to pass through the same series of states, and thus 
to get back to the very moment at which the act 
is performed ; hence there can no longer be 
any question of foreseeing it. In the second 
case, we presuppose the final act by the mere fact 
of annexing to the qualitative description of the 
previous states the quantitative appreciation of 
their importance. Here again the one party is 
led merely to realize that the act is not yet per 
formed when it is to be performed, and the other, 
that when performed it is performed. This, 
like the previous discussion, leaves the ques 
tion of freedom exactly where it was to begin 

By going deeper into this twofold argument, we 


shall find, at its very root, the two fundamental 
illusions of the reflective consciousness. 

The two lalla- . ,. . . 

cies involved: The first consists m regarding intensity 
tensuy ar as n l as a mathematical property of psychic 

; states and not, as we said at the begin- 

(2)substituting . , , , . , ,., 

material ning of this essay, as a special quality, 
dynamic Jro- as a particular shade of these variou? 
states. The second consists in substitut 
ing for the concrete reality or dynamic progress, 
which consciousness perceives, the material symbol 
of this progress when it has already reached its 
end, that is to say, of the act already accomplished 
together with the series of its antecedents. Cer 
tainly, once the final act is completed, I can ascribe 
to all the antecedents their proper value, and pic 
ture the interplay of these various elements as a 
conflict or a composition of forces. But to ask 
whether, the antecedents being known as well as 
their value, one could foretell the final act, is to 
beg the question ; it is to forget that we cannot 
know the value of the antecedents without knowing 
the final act, which is the very thing that is not yet 
known ; it is to suppose wrongly that the sym 
bolical diagram which we draw in our own way 
for representing the action when completed has 
been drawn by the action itself whilst progressing, 
and drawn by it in an automatic manner. 

Now, in these two illusions themselves a third 
one is involved, and you will see that the question 
whether the act could or could not be foreseen 
always comes back to this : Is time space ? 


You begin by setting side by side in some ideal 
space the conscious states which suc- 

Claiming to r . 

foresee an ceed one another in Peter s mind, and 

action always . ... i j < ,-L 

comes back you perceive his life as a kindol path 

to confusing J , , . 

time with M O X Y traced out by a moving body M 

in space. You then blot out in thought 

the part O X Y of this curve, and you inquire 

whether, knowing M 0, you would have been able 

to determine the portion X of the curve which 

the moving body describes beyond O. Such is, 

in the main, the question which you put when you 

^ ^ ti ^^ bring in a philo- 

M ^ Ss * v v^__^^-- xxX< ^ V sopher Paul, who 

lives before Peter 

and has to picture to himself the conditions under 
which Peter will act. You thus materialize these 
conditions ; you make the time to come into a 
road already marked out across the plain, which 
we can contemplate from the top of the mountain, 
even if we have not traversed it and are never to 
do so. But, now, you soon notice that the know 
ledge of the part M O of the curve would not be 
enough, unless you were shown the position of the 
points of this line, not only in relation to one 
another, but also in relation to the points of the 
whole line M O X Y ; which would amount to being 
given in advance the very elements which have 
to be determined. So you then alter your hypo 
thesis ; you realize that time does not require to 
be seen, but to be lived ; and hence you conclude 
that, if your knowledge of the line M O was not 


a sufficient datum, the reason must have been that 
you looked at it from the outside instead of identi 
fying yourself with the point M, which describes 
not only M O but also the whole curve, and thus 
making its movement your own. Therefore, you 
persuade Paul to come and coincide with Peter ; 
and naturally, then, it is the line M O X Y which 
Paul traces out in space, since, by hypothesis, 
Peter describes this line. But in no wise do you 
prove thus that Paul foresaw Peter s action ; you 
only show that Peter acted in the way he did, since 
Paul became Peter. It is true that you then come 
back, unwittingly, to your former hypothesis, 
because you continually confuse the line M O X Y 
in its tracing with the line M O X Y already traced, 
that is to say, time with space. After causing 
Paul to come down and identify himself with 
Peter as long as was required, you let him go up 
again and resume his former post of observation. 
No wonder if he then perceives the line M O X Y 
complete : he himself has just been completing it. 
What makes the confusion a natural and almost 
an unavoidable one is that science seems to point 
n . to many cases where we do anticipate 

Confusion * 

arising from the future. Do we not determine be- 

prediction ol . . . 

astronomical forehand the coni unctions of heavenly 

phenomena. , .. J J 

bodies, solar and lunar eclipses, in short 
the greater number of astronomical phenomena ? 
Does not, then, the human intellect embrace in the 
present moment immense intervals of duration 
still to come ? No doubt it does ; but an anticipa- 


tion of this kind has not the slightest resemblance 
to the anticipation of a voluntary act. Indeed, 
as we shall see, the reasons which render it possible 
to foretell an astronomical phenomenon are the 
very ones which prevent us from determining in 
advance an act which springs from our free ac 
tivity. For the future of the material universe, 
although contemporaneous with the future of a 
conscious being, has no analogy to it. 

In order to put our ringer on this vital difference, 
let us assume for a moment that some mischievous 
illustration genius, more powerful still than the 
dS tSera- mischievous genius con j ured up by Des- 
caT mov p ysi ~ cartes > decreed that all the movements 
ments. O f ^he universe should go twice as fast. 
There would be no change in astronomical phe 
nomena, or at any rate in the equations which 
enable us to foresee them, for in these equations 
the symbol t does not stand for a duration, but 
for a relation between two durations, for a certain 
number of units of time, in short, for a certain 
number of simultaneities : these simultaneities, 
these coincidences would still take place in equal 
number : only the intervals which separate them 
would have diminished, but these intervals 
never make their appearance in our calculations. 
Now these intervals are just duration lived, 
duration which our consciousness perceives, and 
our consciousness would soon inform us of a short 
ening of the day if we had not experienced the 
usual amount of duration between sunrise and 



sunset. No doubt it would not measure this 
shortening, and perhaps it would not even per 
ceive it immediately as a change of quantity ; but 
it would realize in some way or other a decline in 
the usual storing up of experience, a change in 
the progress usually accomplished between sun 
rise and sunset. 

Now, when an astronomer foretells e.g. a lunar 

eclipse, he merely exercises in his own way the 

power which we have ascribed to our 

Astronomical . . . TT j J.-L. 

prophecy such mischievous genius. He decrees that 

an accelera- . ,-,, , v j j , 

tion. time shall go ten times, a hundred times, 

a thousand times as fast, and he has a right to do 
so, since all that he thus changes is the nature of 
the conscious intervals, and since these intervals, 
by hypothesis, do not enter into the calculations. 
Therefore, into a psychological duration of a few 
seconds he may put several years, even several 
centuries of astronomical time : that is his pro 
cedure when he traces in advance the path of a 
heavenly body or represents it by an equation, 
What he does is nothing but establishing a series 
of relations of position between this body and 
other given bodies, a series of simultaneities and 
coincidences, a series of numerical relations : 
as for duration properly so called, it remains out 
side the calculation and could only be perceived 
by a consciousness capable of living through the 
intervals and, in fact, living the intervals them 
selves, instead of merely perceiving their extremi 
ties. Indeed it is even conceivable that this 


consciousness could live so slow and lazy a life as 
to take in the whole path of the heavenly body 
in a single perception, just as we do when we per 
ceive the successive positions of a shooting star 
as one line of fire. Such a consciousness would 
find itself really in the same conditions in which 
the astronomer places himself ideally ; it would 
see in the present what the astronomer perceives 
in the future. In truth, if the latter foresees a 
future phenomenon, it is only on condition of 
making it to a certain extent a present pheno 
menon, or at least of enormously reducing the 
interval which separates us from it. In short, the 
time of which we speak in astronomy is a number, 
and the nature of the units of this number cannot 
be specified in our calculations ; we may therefore 
assume them to be as small as we please, provided 
that the same hypothesis is extended to the whole 
series of operations, and that the successive rela 
tions of position in space are thus preserved. We 
shall then be present in imagination at the phe 
nomenon we wish to foretell ; we shall know ex 
actly at what point in space and after how many 
units of time this phenomenon takes place ; if we 
then restore to these units their psychical nature, 
we shall thrust the event again into the future and 
say that we have foreseen it, when in reality we 
have seen it. 

But these units of time which make up living 
duration, and which the astronomer can dispose 
of as he pleases because they give no handle to 


science, are just what concern the psychologist, 
in dealing ^ or psychology deals with the intervals 
with states oi themselves and not with their extrem- 


we cannot ities. Certainly pure consciousness does 

vary their da- * * 

ration without no ^- perceive time as a sum of units of 

altering their 

nature. duration : left to itself, it has no means 
and even no reason to measure time ; but a feeling 
which lasted only half the number of days, for 
example, would no longer be the same feeling 
for it ; it would lack thousands of impressions 
which gradually thickened its substance and 
altered its colour. True, when we give this feeling 
a certain name, when we treat it as a thing, we 
believe that we can diminish its duration by half, 
for example, and also halve the duration of all the 
rest of our history : it seems that it would still 
be the same life, only on a reduced scale. But we 
forget that states of consciousness are processes, 
and not things ; that if we denote them each by a 
single word, it is for the convenience of language ; 
that they are alive and therefore constantly chang 
ing ; that, in consequence, it is impossible to cut 
off a moment from them without making them 
poorer by the loss of some impression, and thus 
altering their quality. I quite understand that 
the orbit of a planet might be perceived all at 
once or in a very short time, because its successive 
positions or the results of its movement are the 
only things that matter, and not the duration of 
the equal intervals which separate them. But 
when we have to do with a feeling, it has no precise 


result except its having been felt ; and, to estimate 
this result adequately, it would be necessary to 
have gone through all the phases of the feeling 
itself and to have taken up the same duration. 
Even if this feeling has finally issued in some defi 
nite action, which might be compared to the 
definite position of a planet in space, the know 
ledge of this act will hardly enable us to estimate 
the influence of the feeling on the whole of a life- 
story, and it is this very influence which we want 
to know. All foreseeing is in reality seeing, and 
this seeing takes place when we can reduce as 
much as we please an interval of future time while 
preserving the relation of its parts to one another, 
as happens in the case of astronomical predictions. 
But what does reducing an interval of time mean, 
except emptying or impoverishing the conscious 
states which fill it ? And does not the very 
possibility of seeing an astronomical period in 
miniature thus imply the impossibility of modify 
ing a psychological series in the same way, since 
it is only by taking this psychological series as an 
invariable basis that we shall be able to make an 
astronomical period vary arbitrarily as regards 
the unit of duration ? 

Thus, when we ask whether a future action 

could have been foreseen, we unwittingly identify 

that time with which we have to do in 

Difference be- , . . . 

tween past and the exact sciences, and which is reducible 

future dura- 

tion in this to a number, with real duration, whose 
so-called quantity is really a quality, 


and which we canaot curtail by an instant without 
altering the nature of the facts which fill it. No 
doubt the identification is made easier by the fact 
that in a large number of cases we are justified in 
dealing with real duration as with astronomical 
time. Thus, when we call to mind the past, i.e. 
a series of deeds done, we always shorten it, with 
out however distorting the nature of the event 
which interests us. The reason is that we know 
it already ; for the psychic state, when it reaches 
the end of the progress which constitutes its very 
existence, becomes a thing which one can picture 
to oneself all at once. Here we find ourselves 
in the same position as the astronomer, when he 
takes in at a glance the orbit which a planet 
will need several years to traverse. In fact, 
astronomical prediction should be compared with 
the recollection of the past state of consciousness, 
not with the anticipation of the future one. But 
when we have to determine a future state of con 
sciousness, however superficial it may be, we can 
no longer view the antecedents in a static condition 
as things ; we must view them in a dynamic 
condition as processes, since we are concerned 
with their influence alone. Now their duration 
is this very influence. Therefore it will no longer 
do to shorten future duration in order to picture 
its parts beforehand ; one is bound to live this 
duration whilst it is unfolding. As far as 
deep-seated psychic states are concerned, there 
is no perceptible difference between foreseeing, 
seeing, and acting. 


Only one course will remain open to the deter- 

minist. He will probably give up asserting the 

possibility of foreseeing a certain future 

The determin- r 

ist argument act or state of consciousness, but will 

that psychic . . . - . 

phenomena maintain that every act is determined 

are subject to , . . . , 

the law" same by its psychic antecedents, or, in other 

antecedents, . ./ , , 

same ^conse- words, that the facts of consciousness, 
like the phenomena of nature, are sub 
ject to laws. This way of arguing means, at 
bottom, that he will leave out the particular 
features of the concrete psychic states, lest he 
find himself confronted by phenomena which 
defy all symbolical representation and therefore 
all anticipation. The particular nature of these 
phenomena is thus thrust out of sight, but it is 
asserted that, being phenomena, they must remain 
subject to the law of causality. Now, it is 
argued, this law means that every phenomenon 
is determined by its conditions, or, in other words, 
that the same causes produce the same effects. 
Either, then, the act is inseparably bound to its 
antecedents, or the principle of causality admits 
of an incomprehensible exception. 

This last form of the determinist argument 

differs less than might be thought from all the 

, others which have been examined above. 

But as regards 

inner states To say that the same inner causes will 

the same an- , rf 

tecedents will reproduce the same effects is to as- 

never recur. 

sume that the same cause can ap 
pear a second time on the stage of conscious 
ness. Now, if duration is what we say, deep- 


seated psychic states are radically heterogeneous 
to each other, and it is impossible that any two of 
them should be quite alike, since they are two 
different moments of a life-story. While the 
external object does not bear the mark of the time 
that has elapsed and thus, in spite of the differ 
ence of time, the physicist can again encounter 
identical elementary conditions, duration is some 
thing real for the consciousness which preserves 
the trace of it, and we cannot here speak of iden 
tical conditions, because the same moment does 
not occur twice. It is no use arguing that, even 
if there are no two deep-seated psychic states 
which are altogether alike, yet analysis would 
resolve these different states into more general 
and homogeneous elements which might be com 
pared with each other. This would be to forget 
that even the simplest psychic elements possess 
a personality and a life of their own, however 
superficial they may be ; they are in a constant 
state of becoming, and the same feeling, by 
the mere fact of being repeated, is a new feeling. 
Indeed, we have no reason for calling it by its 
former name save that it corresponds to the same 
external cause or projects itself outwardly into 
similar attitudes : hence it would simply be beg 
ging the question to deduce from the so-called 
likeness of two conscious states that the same cause 
produces the same effect. In short, if the causal 
relation still holds good in the realm of inner states, 
it cannot resemble in any way what we call 


causality in nature. For the physicist, the same 
cause always produces the same effect : for a 
psychologist who does not let himself be misled 
by merely apparent analogies, a deep-seated inner 
cause produces its effect once for all and will 
never reproduce it. And if it is now asserted that 
this effect was inseparably bound up with this 
particular cause, such an assertion will mean one 
of two things : either that, the antecedents being 
given, the future action might have been foreseen ; 
or that, the action having once been performed, 
any other action is seen, under the given conditions, 
to have been impossible. Now we saw that both 
these assertions were equally meaningless, and that 
they also involved a false conception of duration. 
Nevertheless it will be worth while to dwell on 
this latter form of the determinist argument, even 
though it be only to explain from our 

Analysis of the . . ^ f 

conception oi point of view the meaning of the two 

cause, which _ .. . 

underlies the words determination and causal- 
whole deter- . ,, _ . ,1,1 

minist argu- ity. In vain do we argue that there 
cannot be any question either of fore 
seeing a future action in the way that an astro 
nomical phenomenon is foreseen, or of asserting, 
when once an action is done, that any other action 
would have been impossible under the given con 
ditions. In vain do we add that, even when it 
takes this form : " The same causes produce the 
same effects," the principle of universal determina 
tion loses every shred of meaning in the inner world 
of conscious states. The determinist will perhaps 


yield to our arguments on each of these three 
points in particular, will admit that in the psy 
chical field one cannot ascribe any of these three 
meanings to the word determination, will probably 
fail to discover a fourth meaning, and yet will go 
on repeating that the act is inseparably bound 
up with its antecedents. We thus find ourselves 
here confronted by so deep-seated a misapprehen 
sion and so obstinate a prejudice that we cannot 
get the better of them without attacking them at 
their root, which is the principle of causality. By 
analysing the concept of cause, we shall show the 
ambiguity which it involves, and, though not 
aiming at a formal definition of freedom, we shall 
perhaps get beyond the purely negative idea of 
it which we have framed up to the present. 

We perceive physical phenomena, and these 

phenomena obey laws. This means : (i) that 

phenomena a, b, c, d, previously per- 

Causality as . F . J ^ 

" regular sue- ceivcd, can occur again in the same 

cession " does ... 

not apply to shape ; (2) that a certain phenomenon 

conscious 7-11-1 ir i i- 

nates and P, which appeared after the conditions 
rove free a, b, c, d, and after these conditions 
only, will not fail to recur as soon as the 
same conditions are again present. If the princi 
ple of causality told us nothing more, as the em 
piricists claim, we should willingly grant these 
philosophers that their principle is derived from 
experience ; but it would no longer prove anything 
against our freedom. For it would then be un 
derstood that definite antecedents give rise to a 


definite consequent wherever experience shows us 
this regular succession ; but the question is 
whether this regularity is found in the domain 
of consciousness too, and that is the whole pro 
blem of free will. We grant you for a moment 
that the principle of causality is nothing but the 
summing up of the uniform and unconditional 
successions observed in the past : by what right, 
then, do you apply it to those deep-seated states 
of consciousness in which no regular succession 
has yet been discovered, since the attempt to 
foresee them ever fails ? And how can you base 
on this principle your argument to prove the 
determinism of inner states, when, according 
to you, the determinism of observed facts is 
the sole source of the principle itself ? In truth, 
when the empiricists make use of the principle 
of causality to disprove human freedom, they take 
the word cause in a new meaning, which is the 
very meaning given to it by common sense. 

To assert the regular succession of two pheno 
mena is, indeed, to recognize that, the first being 
given, we already catch sight of the second. But 
this wholly subjective connexion between two ideas 
is not enough for common sense. It seems to 
common sense that, if the idea of the second 
phenomenon is already implied in that of the first, 
the second phenomenon itself must exist objec 
tively, in some way or other, within the first pheno 
menon. And common sense was bound to come 
to this conclusion, because to distinguish exactly 


between an objective connexion of phenomena 
and a subjective association between their ideas 
presupposes a fairly high degree of philosophical 
culture. We thus pass imperceptibly from the 
first meaning to the second, and we picture the 
causal relation as a kind of prefiguring of the 
future phenomenon in its present conditions. 
Now this prefiguring can be understood in two 
very different ways, and it is just here that the 
ambiguity begins. 

In the first place, mathematics furnishes us 
with one type of this kind of prefiguring. The 
causality, as ver Y movement by which we draw the 
j ^f^i circumference of a circle on a sheet of 
mown P en iS paper generates all the mathematical 
ne properties of this figure : in this sense 
phe- an unlimited number of theorems can 

O p re _ ex ist within the definition, 
although they will be spread out in duration for the 
mathematician who deduces them. It is true that 
we are here in the realm of pure quantity and that, 
as geometrical properties can be expressed in the 
form of equations, it is easy to understand how the 
original equation, expressing the fundamental 
property of the figure, is transformed into an 
unlimited number of new ones, all virtually con 
tained in the first. On the contrary, physical 
phenomena, which succeed one another and are 
perceived by our senses, are distinguished by 
quality not less than by quantity, so that there 
would be some difficulty in at once declaring them 


equivalent to one another. But, just because 
they are perceived through our sense-organs, we 
seem justified in ascribing their qualitative differ 
ences to the impression which they make on us and 
in assuming, behind the heterogeneity of our sen 
sations, a homogeneous physical universe. Thus, 
we shall strip matter of the concrete qualities 
with which our senses clothe it, colour, heat, re 
sistance, even weight, and we shall finally find 
ourselves confronted with homogeneous extensity, 
space without body. The only step then remain 
ing will be to describe figures in space, to make 
them move according to mathematically formu 
lated laws, and to explain the apparent qualities 
of matter by the shape, position, and motion of 
these geometrical figures. Now, position is given 
by a system of fixed magnitudes and motion is 
expressed by a law, i.e. by a constant relation 
between variable magnitudes ; but shape is a 
mental image, and, however tenuous, however 
transparent we assume it to be, it still constitutes* 
in so far as our imagination has, so to speak, the 
visual perception of it, a concrete and therefore 
irreducible quality of matter. It will therefore 
be necessary to make a clean sweep of this image 
itself and replace it by the abstract formula of the 
movement which gives rise to the figure. Pic 
ture then algebraical relations getting entangled 
in one another, becoming objective by this very 
entanglement, and producing, by the mere effect 
of their complexity, concrete, visible, and tangible 


reality, you will be merely drawing the conse 
quences of the principle of causality, understood 
in the sense of an actual prefiguring of the future 
in the present. The scientists of our time do not 
seem, indeed, to have carried abstraction so far, 
except perhaps Lord Kelvin. This acute and pro 
found physicist assumed that space is filled with! 
a homogeneous and incompressible fluid in which 
vortices move, thus producing the properties of 
matter : these vortices are the constituent ele 
ments of bodies ; the atom thus becomes a move 
ment, and physical phenomena are reduced to 
regular movements taking place within an incom 
pressible fluid. But, if you will notice that this 
fluid is perfectly homogeneous, that between its 
parts there is neither an empty interval which 
separates them nor any difference whatever by 
which they can be distinguished, you will see that 
all movement taking place within this fluid is 
really equivalent to absolute immobility, since 
before, during, and after the movement nothing 
changes and nothing has changed in the whole. 
The movement which is here spoken of is thus not 
a movement which actually takes place, but only 
a movement which is pictured mentally : it is a 
relation between relations. It is implicitly sup 
posed, though perhaps not actually realized, that 
motion has something to do with consciousness, 
that in space there are only simultaneities, and 
that the business of the physicist is to provide 
us with the means of calculating these relations 


of simultaneity for any moment of our duration. 
Nowhere has mechanism been carried further 
than in this system, since the very shape of the 
ultimate elements of matter is here reduced to a 
movement. But the Cartesian physics already 
anticipated this interpretation ; for if matter is 
nothing, as Descartes claimed, but homogeneous 
extensity, the movements of the parts of this 
extensity can be conceived through the abstract 
law which governs them or through an algebraical 
equation between variable magnitudes, but can 
not be represented under the concrete form of an 
image. And it would not be difficult to prove 
that the more the progress of mechanical explana 
tions enables us to develop this conception of 
causality and therefore to relieve the atom of the 
weight of its sensible qualities, the more the con 
crete existence of the phenomena of nature tends 
to vanish into algebraical smoke. 

Thus understood, the relation of causality is a 
necessary relation in the sense that it will inde- 
it thus leads finitely approach the relation of identity, 
as a curve approaches its asymptote. 
"St The principle of identity is the absolute 

Star? to "pre- ^ aw * our consciousness I it asserts 

- tnat what is thought is thought at the 
ration. moment when we think it : and what 
gives this principle its absolute necessity is that it 
does not bind the future to the present, but only 
the present to the present : it expresses the 
unshakable confidence that consciousness feels in 


itself, so long as, faithful to its duty, it confines 
itself to declaring the apparent present state of 
the mind. But the principle of causality, in so 
far as it is supposed to bind the future to the pre 
sent, could never take the form of a necessary 
principle ; for the successive moments of real 
time are not bound up with one another, and no 
effort of logic will succeed in proving that what 
has been will be or will continue to be, that the 
same antecedents will always give rise to identical 
consequents. Descartes understood this so well 
that he attributed the regularity of the physical 
world and the continuation of the same effects to 
the constantly renewed grace of Providence ; he 
built up, as it were, an instantaneous physics, 
intended for a universe the whole duration of 
which might as well be confined to the present 
moment. And Spinoza maintained that the inde 
finite series of phenomena, which takes for us the 
form of a succession in time, was equivalent, in the 
absolute, to the divine unity : he thus assumed, 
on the one hand, that the relation of apparent 
causality between phenomena melted away into 
a relation of identity in the absolute, and, on the 
other, that the indefinite duration of things was 
all contained in a single moment, which is eternity. 
In short, whether we study Cartesian physics, 
Spinozistic metaphysics, or the scientific theories 
of our own time, we shall find everywhere the same 
anxiety to establish a relation of logical necessity 
between cause and effect, and we shall see that 


this anxiety shows itself in a tendency to trans 
form relations of succession into relations of 
inherence, to do away with active duration, and to 
substitute for apparent causality a fundamental 

Now, if the development of the notion of 
causality, understood in the sense of necessary 
The necessary connexion, leads to the Spinozistic or Car- 
tesian conception of nature, inversely, 
; n bu n t" au * relation of necessary determination 
established between successive pheno 
mena may be supposed to arise from 
our perceiving, in a confused form, some mathe 
matical mechanism behind their heterogeneity. 
We do not claim that common sense has any 
intuition of the kinetic theories of matter, still 
less perhaps of a Spinozistic mechanism ; but it 
will be seen that the more the effect seems neces 
sarily bound up with the cause, the more we tend 
to put it in the cause itself, as a mathematical 
consequence in its principle, and thus to cancel 
the effect of duration. That under the influence 
of the same external conditions I do not behave 
to-day as I behaved yesterday is not at all sur 
prising, because I change, because I endure. But 
things considered apart from our perception do 
not seem to endure ; and the more thoroughly we 
examine this idea, the more absurd it seems to us 
to suppose that the same cause should not produce 
to-day the effect which it produced yesterday. We 
certainly feel, it is true, that although things do not 


endure as we do ourselves, nevertheless there must 
be some reason why phenomena are seen to succeed 
one another instead of being set out all at once. 
And this is why the notion of causality, although 
it gets indefinitely near that of identity, will never 
seem to us to coincide with it, unless we conceive 
clearly the idea of a mathematical mechanism or 
unless some subtle metaphysics removes our very 
legitimate scruples on the point. It is no less 
obvious that our belief in the necessary determina 
tion of phenomena by one another becomes 
stronger in proportion as we are more inclined to 
regard duration as a subjective form of our con 
sciousness. In other words, the more we tend to 
set up the causal relation as a relation of necessary 
determination, the more we assert thereby that 
things do not endure like ourselves. This amounts 
to saying that the more we strengthen the prin 
ciple of causality, the more we emphasize the 
difference between a physical series and a psychical 
one. Whence, finally, it would result (however para 
doxical the opinion may seem) that the assump 
tion of a relation of mathematical inherence be 
tween external phenomena ought to bring with it, 
as a natural or at least as a plausible consequence, 
the belief in human free will. But this last conse 
quence will not concern us for the moment : we 
are merely trying here to trace out the first mean 
ing of the word causality, and we think we have 
shown that the prefiguring of the future in the 
present is easily conceived under a mathematical 


form, thanks to a certain conception of duration 
which, without seeming to be so, is fairly familiar 
to common sense. 

But there is a prefiguring of another kind, still 
more familiar to our mind, because immediate 
prefiguring, as consciousness gives us the type of it. 
Sf rUtSeSt We S> m fact > through successive states 
nof^reauz! 11 " ^ consciousness, and although the later 
SeS oa not fl0 in- was no * contained in the earlier, we had 
IS 6 Jeter-" before us at the time a more or less con- 
mination. fused idea of it. The actual realization 
of this idea, however, did not appear as certain 
but merely as possible. Yet, between the idea and 
the action, some hardly perceptible intermediate 
processes come in, the whole mass of which takes 
for us a form sui generis, which is called the feeling 
of effort. And from the idea to the effort, from 
the effort to the act, the progress has been so 
continuous that we cannot say where the idea and 
the effort end, and where the act begins. Hence 
we see that in a certain sense we may still say here 
that the future was prefigured in the present ; 
but it must be added that this prefiguring is very 
imperfect, since the future action of which we 
have the present idea is conceived as realizable but 
not as realized, and since, even when we plan the 
effort necessary to accomplish it, we feel that there 
is still time to stop. If, then, we decide to picture 
the causal relation in this second form, we can 
assert a priori that there will no longer be a relation 
of necessary determination between the cause and 


the effect, for the effect will no longer be given 
in the cause. It will be there only in the state 
of pure possibility and as a vague idea which 
perhaps will not be followed by the corresponding 
action. But we shall not be surprised that this 
approximation is enough for common sense if we 
think of the readiness with which children and 
primitive people accept the idea of a whimsical 
Nature, in which caprice plays a part no less 
important than necessity. Nay, this way of 
conceiving causality will be more easily understood 
by the general run of people, since it does not 
demand any effort of abstraction and only implies 
a certain analogy between the outer and the inner 
world, between the succession of objective pheno 
mena and that of our subjective states. 

In truth, this second way of conceiving the rela 
tion of cause to effect is more natural than the first 
IMS second m that it immediately satisfies the need 
ZSSSKL of a mental image- If we look for the 
fne L !" z ied S phenomenon B within the phenomenon 
to Spinoza. ^, which regularly precedes it, the reason 
is that the habit of associating the two images 
ends in giving us the idea of the second pheno 
menon wrapped up, as it were, in that of the first. 
It is natural, then, that we should push this objecti- 
fication to its furthest limit and that we should 
make the phenomenon A itself into a psychic state, 
in which the phenomenon B is supposed to be 
contained as a very vague idea. We simply 
suppose, thereby, that the objective connexion 


of the two phenomena resembles the subjective 
association which suggested the idea of it to us. 
The qualities of things are thus set up as actual 
states, somewhat analogous to those of our own 
self ; the material universe is credited with a vague 
personality which is diffused through space and 
which, although not exactly endowed with a con 
scious will, is led on from one state to another by 
an inner impulse, a kind of effort. Such was 
ancient hylozoism, a half-hearted and even con 
tradictory hypothesis, which left matter its exten- 
sity although attributing to it real conscious states, 
and which spread the qualities of matter through 
out extensity while treating these qualities as 
inner i.e. simple states. It was reserved for 
Leibniz to do away with this contradiction and to 
show that, if the succession of external qualities 
or phenomena is understood as the succession of 
our own ideas, these qualities must be regarded 
as simple states or perceptions, and the matter 
which supports them as an unextended monad, 
analogous to our soul. But, if such be the case, 
the successive states of matter cannot be per 
ceived from the outside any more than our own 
psychic states ; the hypothesis of pre-established 
harmony must be introduced in order to explain 
how these inner states are representative of one 
another. Thus, with our second conception of the 
relation of causality we reach Leibniz, as with the 
first we reached Spinoza. And in both cases we 
merely push to their extreme limit or formulate 


with greater precision two half-hearted and con 
fused ideas of common sense. 

Now it is obvious that the relation of causality, 
understood in this second way, does not involve 
it does not in- ^ ne necessary determination of the effect 
deter-" ^Y * ne cause - History indeed proves it. 
We see faa.t ancient hylozoism, the first 
outcome of this conception of causality, explained 
the regular succession of causes and effects by a 
real deus ex machina : sometimes it was a Necessity 
external to things and hovering over them, some 
times an inner Reason acting by rules somewhat 
similar to those which govern our own conduct. 
Nor do the perceptions of Leibniz s monad neces 
sitate one another ; God has to regulate their order 
in advance. In fact, Leibniz s determinism does 
not spring from his conception of the monad, but 
from the fact that he builds up the universe with 
monads only. Having denied all mechanical 
influence of substances on one another, he had to 
explain how it happens that their states corre 
spond. Hence a determinism which arises from 
the necessity of positing a pre-established harmony, 
and not at all from the dynamic conception of 
the relation of causality. But let us leave 
history aside. Consciousness itself testifies that 
the abstract idea of force is that of indeter 
minate effort, that of an effort which has not 
yet issued in an act and in which the act is 
still only at the stage of an idea. In other 
words, the dynamic conception of the causal 


relation ascribes to things a duration absolutely 
like our own, whatever may be the nature of this 
duration ; to picture in this way the relation of 
cause to effect is to assume that the future is not 
more closely bound up with the present in the 
external world than it is in our own inner life. 

It follows from this twofold analysis that the 

principle of causality involves two contradictory 

conceptions of duration, two mutually 

Each o! these < . 

contradictory exclusive ways of prefiguring the future 

interpretations . Jf . .. 

of causality in the present, bometimes all pheno- 

and duration , . , , . , . . , 

by itself mena, physical or psychical, are pictured 

freedom ; as enduring in the same way, and there- 

taken to- . . . , , . . . 

gather they fore in the way that we do : in this 
case the future will exist in the present 
only as an idea, and the passing from the present 
to the future will take the form of an effort which 
does not always lead to the realization of the idea 
conceived. Sometimes, on the other hand, dura 
tion is regarded as the characteristic form of con 
scious states ; in this case, things are no longer 
supposed to endure as we do, and a mathematical 
pre-existence of their future in their present is 
admitted. Now, each of these two hypotheses, 
when taken by itself, safeguards human freedom ; 
for the first would lead to the result that even the 
phenomena of nature were contingent, and the 
second, by attributing the necessary determina 
tion of physical phenomena to the fact that 
things do not endure as we do, invites us to 
regard the self which is subject to duration 


as a free force. Therefore, every clear con 
ception of causality, where we know our own 
meaning, leads to the idea of human freedom 
as a natural consequence. Unfortunately, the 
habit has grown up of taking the principle of caus 
ality in both senses at the same time, because the 
one is more flattering to our imagination and the 
other is more favourable to mathematical reason 
ing. Sometimes we think particularly of the 
regular succession of physical phenomena and of 
the kind of inner effort by which one becomes 
another ; sometimes we fix our mind on the absolute 
regularity of these phenomena, and from the idea 
of regularity we pass by imperceptible steps to 
that of mathematical necessity, which excludes 
duration understood in the first way. And we 
do not see any harm in letting these two concep 
tions blend into one another, and in assigning 
greater importance to the one or the other accord 
ing as we are more or less concerned with the 
interests of science. But to apply the principle 
of causality, in this ambiguous form, to the suc 
cession of conscious states, is uselessly and wan 
tonly to run into inextricable difficulties. The 
idea of force, which really excludes that of neces 
sary determination, has got into the habit, so to 
speak, of amalgamating with that of necessity, in 
consequence of the very use which we make of 
the principle of causality in nature. On the one 
hand, we know force only through the witness of 
consciousness, and consciousness does not assert, 


does not even understand, the absolute determina 
tion, now, of actions that are still to come : that 
is all that experience teaches us, and if we hold by 
experience we should say that we feel ourselves 
free, that we perceive force, rightly or wrongly, 
as a free spontaneity. But, on the other hand, 
this idea of force, carried over into nature, travel 
ling there side by side with the idea of necessity, 
has got corrupted before it returns from the jour 
ney. It returns impregnated with the idea of 
necessity : and in the light of the role which we 
have made it play in the external world, we regard 
force as determining with strict necessity the effects 
which flow from it. Here again the mistake made 
by consciousness arises from the fact that it looks 
at the self, not directly, but by a kind of refraction 
through the forms which it has lent to external 
perception, and which the latter does not give 
back without having left its mark on them. A 
compromise, as it were, has been brought about 
between the idea of force and that of necessary 
determination. The wholly mechanical deter 
mination of two external phenomena by one 
another now assumes in our eyes the same form 
as the dynamic relation of our exertion of force to 
the act which springs from it : but, in return, this 
latter relation takes the form of a mathematical 
derivation, the human action being supposed to 
issue mechanically, and therefore necessarily, 
from the force which produces it. There is no 
doubt that this mingling of two different and 


almost opposite ideas offers advantages to com 
mon sense, since it enables us to picture in the 
same way, and denote by one and the same word, 
both the relation which exists between two mo 
ments of our life and that which binds together the 
successive moments of the external world. We 
have seen that, though our deepest conscious states 
exclude numerical multiplicity, yet we break them 
up into parts external to one another ; that though 
the elements of concrete duration permeate one 
another, duration expressing itself in extensity 
exhibits moments as distinct as the bodies 
scattered in space. Is it surprising, then, that 
between the moments of our life, when it has 
been, so to speak, objectified, we set up a relation 
analogous to the objective relation of causality, 
and that an exchange, which again may be com 
pared to the phenomenon of endosmosis, takes 
place between the dynamic idea of free effort and 
the mathematical concept of necessary deter 
mination ? 

But the sundering of these two ideas is an accom 
plished fact in the natural sciences. The physicist 
Though united mav speak of forces, and even picture 
thought! a the their mode of action by analogy with an 
eSt i2dne- inner effort, but he will never introduce 
SSon det ar r e tms hypothesis into a scientific explana- 
by Pt P hy P siSi tion. Even those who, with Faraday, 
replace the extended atoms by dynamic 
points, will treat the centres of force and the lines 
of force mathematically, without troubling about 


force itself considered as an activity or an effort. 
It thus comes to be understood that the relation 
of external causality is purely mathematical, and 
has no resemblance to the relation between psy 
chical force and the act which springs from it. 

It is now time to add that the relation of inner 
causality is purely dynamic, and has no analogy 
They should w ith * ne relation of two external phe- 
too 1 ?? apart " nomena which condition one another. 

psychology. ^OT, as the latter are capable of recurring 
in a homogeneous space, their relation can be 
expressed in terms of a law, whereas deep-seated 
psychic states occur once in consciousness and will 
never occur again. A careful analysis of the 
psychological phenomenon led us to this con 
clusion in the beginning : the study of the notions 
of causality and duration, viewed in themselves, 
has merely confirmed it. 

We can now formulate our conception of 

freedom. Freedom is the relation of the concrete 

self to the act which it performs. This 

Freedom real t ,. . , _ , - . , , 

but indefln- relation is indefinable, lust because we 


are free. For we can analyse a thing, 
but not a process ; we can break up extensity, but 
not duration. Or, if we persist in analysing it, 
we unconsciously transform the process into a 
thing and duration into extensity. By the very 
fact of breaking up concrete time we set out its 
moments in homogeneous space ; in place of the 
doing we put the already done ; and, as we have 
begun by, so to speak, stereotyping the activity 


of the self, we see spontaneity settle down into 
inertia and freedom into necessity. Thus, any 
positive definition of freedom will ensure the 
victory of determinism. 

Shall we define the free act by saying of this act, 
when it is once done, that it might have been left 
undone ? But this assertion, as also its opposite, 
implies the idea of an absolute equivalence between 
concrete duration and its spatial symbol : and 
as soon as we admit this equivalence, we are led 
on, by the very development of the formula which 
we have just set forth, to the most rigid deter 

Shall we define the free act as " that which could 
not be foreseen, even when all the conditions were 
known in advance ? " But to conceive all the 
conditions as given, is, when dealing with concrete 
duration, to place oneself at the very moment at 
which the act is being performed. Or else it is 
admitted that the matter of psychic duration can be 
pictured symbolically in advance, which amounts, 
as we said, to treating time as a homogeneous 
medium, and to reasserting in new words the 
absolute equivalence of duration with its symbol. 
A closer study of this second definition of freedom 
will thus bring us once more to determinism. 

Shall we finally define the free act by saying 
that it is not necessarily determined by its cause ? 
But either these words lose their meaning or we 
understand by them that the same inner causes will 
not always call forth the same effects. We admit, 


then, that the psychic antecedents of a free act 
can be repeated, that freedom is displayed in a 
duration whose moments resemble one another, 
and that time is a homogeneous medium, like 
space. We shall thus be brought back to the idea 
of an equivalence between duration and its spatial 
symbol ; and by pressing the definition of freedom 
which we have laid down, we shall once more get 
determinism out of it. 

To sum up ; every demand for explanation 
in regard to freedom comes back, without our 
suspecting it, to the following question : " Can 
time be adequately represented by space ? " 
To which we answer : Yes, if you are dealing with 
time flown ; No, if you speak of time flowing. 
Now, the free act takes place in time which is 
flowing and not in time which has already flown. 
Freedom is therefore a fact, and among the facts 
which we observe there is none clearer. All the 
difficulties of the problem, and the problem itself, 
arise from the desire to endow duration with the 
same attributes as extensity, to interpret a suc 
cession by a simultaneity, and to express the idea 
of freedom in a language into which it is obviously 


To sum up the foregoing discussion, we shall put 
aside for the present Kant s terminology and also 
his doctrine, to which we shall return 
later, and we shall take the point of 

that we per- , * i 

ceive things view of common sense. Modern psy- 

formsbor- chology seems to us particularly con- 
rowed from , , . 

our own con- cerned to prove that we perceive things 

through the medium of certain forms, 
borrowed from our own constitution. This tend 
ency has become more and more marked since 
Kant : while the German philosopher drew a 
sharp line of separation between time and space, 
the extensive and the intensive, and, as we should 
say to-day, consciousness and external percep 
tion, the empirical school, carrying analysis still 
further, tries to reconstruct the extensive out of 
the intensive, space out of duration, and exter 
nality out of inner states. Physics, moreover, 
comes in to complete the work of psychology in 
this respect : it shows that, if we wish to forecast 



phenomena, we must make a clean sweep of the 
impression which they produce on consciousness 
and treat sensations as signs of reality, not as 
reality itself. 

It seemed to us that there was good reason to 
set ourselves the opposite problem and to ask 
But are not whether the most obvious states of the 
the leif^r- 1 e g itself, which we believe that we 

directly, are not mostly per- 
ceived through the medium of certain 
world p forms borrowed from the external world, 
which thus gives us back what we have lent it. 
A priori it seems fairly probable that this is what 
happens. For, assuming that the forms alluded 
to, into which we fit matter, come entirely from 
the mind, it seems difficult to apply them con 
stantly to objects without the latter soon leaving 
a mark on them : by then using these forms to 
gain a knowledge of our own person we run the 
risk of mistaking for the colouring of the self 
the reflection of the frame in which we place it, 
i.e. the external world. But one can go further 
still and assert that forms applicable to things 
cannot be entirely our own work, that they must 
result from a compromise between matter and 
mind, that if we give much to matter we probably 
receive something from it, and that thus, when 
we try to grasp ourselves after an excursion into 
the external world, we no longer have our hands 

Now just as, in order to ascertain the real rela- 



tions of physical phenomena to one another, we 
abstract whatever obviously clashes with 

To understand . x j 

the intensity, them in our way oi perceiving and 

duration and , ., ,/. 

voluntary de- thinking, so, in order to view the self 

termination of.., ... . . ,-, , , 

psychic states, in its original purity, psychology ought 

we must elim- , . , . 

mate the idea to eliminate or correct certain forms 
which bear the obvious mark of the 
external world. What are these forms ? When 
isolated from one another and regarded as so many 
distinct units, psychic states seem to be more or 
less intense. Next, looked at in their multipli 
city, they unfold in time and constitute duration. 
Finally, in their relations to one another, and in so 
far as a certain unity is preserved throughout their 
multiplicity, they seem to determine one another. 
Intensity, duration, voluntary determination, 
these are the three ideas which had to be clarified 
by ridding them of all that they owe to the intru 
sion of the sensible world and, in a word, to the 
obsession of the idea of space. 

Examining the first of these ideas, we found 
that psychic phenomena were in themselves pure 
intensity is quality or qualitative multiplicity, and 
not^uSlty that > <> n the other hand, their cause 
or magnitude, situated in space was quantity. In so 
far as this quality becomes the sign of the 
quantity and we suspect the presence of the 
latter behind the former, we call it intensity. 
The intensity of a simple state, therefore, is 
not quantity but its qualitative sign. You will 
find that it arises from a compromise between 


pure quality, which is the state of consciousness, 
and pure quantity, which is necessarily space. 
Now you give up this compromise without the least 
scruple when you study external things, since you 
then leave aside the forces themselves, assuming 
that they exist, and consider only their measurable 
and extended effects. Why, then, do you keep 
to this hybrid concept when you analyse in its 
turn the state of consciousness ? If magnitude, 
outside you, is never intensive, intensity, within 
you, is never magnitude. It is through having 
overlooked this that philosophers have been 
compelled to distinguish two kinds of quantity, 
the one extensive, the other intensive, without 
ever succeeding in explaining what they had in 
common or how the same words " increase " and 
" decrease " could be used for things so unlike. 
In the same way they are responsible for the exag 
gerations of psychophysics, for as soon as the 
power of increasing in magnitude is attributed 
to sensation in any other than a metaphorical 
sense, we are invited to find out by how much it 
increases. And, although consciousness does not 
measure intensive quantity, it does not follow that 
science may not succeed indirectly in doing so, 
if it be a magnitude. Hence, either a psycho- 
physical formula is possible or the intensity of a 
simple psychic state is pure quality. 

Turning then to the concept of multiplicity, we 
saw that to construct a number we must first 
have the intuition of a homogeneous medium, 



viz. space, in which terms distinct from one 
our conscious another could be set out in line, and, 
discrete n< mui- secondly, a process of permeation and or- 
tipiicity. ganization by which these units are dy 
namically added together and form what we called 
a qualitative multiplicity. It is owing to this 
dynamic process that the units get added, but it is 
because of their presence in space that they re 
main distinct. Hence number or discrete multi 
plicity also results from a compromise. Now, 
when we consider material objects in themselves, 
we give up this compromise, since we regard them 
as impenetrable and divisible, i.e. endlessly distinct 
from one another. Therefore, we must give it 
up, too, when we study our own selves. It is 
through having failed to do so that associationism 
has made many mistakes, such as trying to recon 
struct a psychic state by the addition of distinct 
states of consciousness, thus substituting the 
symbol of the ego for the ego itself. 

These preliminary considerations enabled us to 
approach the principal object of this work, the 
analysis of the ideas of duration and voluntary 

What is duration within us ? A qualitative 
multiplicity, with no likeness to number ; an 
inner dura- organic evolution which is yet not an 
increasing quantity ; a pure hetero- 
geneity within which there are no distinct 
qualities. In a word, the moments of inner 
duration are not external to one another. 


What duration is there existing outside us ? 
The present only, or, if we prefer the expression, 
in the exter- simultaneity. No doubt external things 

nal world we . , " , . . 

find not dura- change, but their moments do not 

tion but sim- , , ., . . 

uitaneity. succeed one another, if we retain the 
ordinary meaning of the word, except for a con 
sciousness which keeps them in mind. We ob 
serve outside us at a given moment a whole 
system of simultaneous positions ; of the simul 
taneities which have preceded them nothing 
remains. To put duration in space is really to 
contradict oneself and place succession within 
simultaneity. Hence we must not say that exter 
nal things endure, but rather that there is in them 
some inexpressible reason in virtue of which we 
cannot examine them at successive moments of our 
own duration without observing that they have 
changed. But this change does not involve suc 
cession unless the word is taken in a new meaning : 
on this point we have noted the agreement of 
science and common sense. 

Thus in consciousness we find states which 
succeed, without being distinguished from one 
another ; and in space simultaneities which, 
without succeeding, are distinguished from one 
another, in the sense that one has ceased to exist 
when the other appears. Outside us, mutual 
externality without succession ; within us, suc 
cession without mutual externality. 

Here again a compromise comes in. To the 
simultaneities, which constitute the external 


world, and, although distinct, succeed one an- 
The idea of a other for our consciousness, we attribute 
measurable succession in themselves. Hence the 

time arises 

from com- j^ ea that things endure as we do our- 

promise be- 

inoSenion^ud se l yes an d that time may be brought 
externality, within space. But while our consciousness 
thus introduces succession into external things, 
inversely these things themselves externalize the 
successive moments of our inner duration in 
relation to one another. The simultaneities of 
physical phenomena, absolutely distinct in the 
sense that the one has ceased to be when the other 
takes place, cut up into portions, which are also 
distinct and external to one another, an inner life 
in which succession implies interpenetration, just 
as the pendulum of a clock cuts up into distinct 
fragments and spreads out, so to speak, length 
wise, the dynamic and undivided tension of the 
spring. Thus, by a real process of endosmosis 
we get the mixed idea of a measurable time, 
which is space in so far as it is homogeneity, and 
duration in so far as it is succession, that is to 
say, at bottom, the contradictory idea of succes 
sion in simultaneity. 

Now, these two elements, extensity and dura 
tion, science tears asunder when it undertakes 
A science tne close study of external things. 
2tt a i?om u ~ For we have pointed out that science 
SJS" SSt retains nothing of duration but simul- 
Spa^om the taneity, and nothing of motion itself 
inner world. but the position of the moving body, 


i.e. immobility. A very sharp separation is here 
made and space gets the best of it. 

Therefore the same separation will have to be 
made again, but this time to the advantage of 
duration, when inner phenomena are studied, 
not inner phenomena once developed, to be sure, 
or after the discursive reason has separated them 
and set them out in a homogeneous medium in 
order to understand them, but inner phenomena 
in their developing, and in so far as they make up, 
by their interpenetration, the continuous evolution 
of a free person. Duration, thus restored to its 
original purity, will appear as a wholly quali 
tative multiplicity, an absolute heterogeneity 
of elements which pass over into one an-/ 

Now it is because they have neglected to make 
this necessary separation that one party has been 
The neglect to l^ to deny freedom and the other to 
" define it, and thereby, involuntarily, 

to den Y it: to - The Y ask in fact 
whether the act could or could not be 
to define it. foreseen, the whole of its conditions 
being given ; and whether they assert it or deny it, 
they admit that this totality of conditions could 
be conceived as given in advance : which amounts, 
as we have shown, to treating duration as a homo 
geneous thing and intensities as magnitudes. 
They will either say that the act is determined by 
its conditions, without perceiving that they are 
playing on the double sense of the word causality, 



and that they are thus giving to duration at the 
same time two forms which are mutually exclu 
sive. Or else they will appeal to the principle of 
the conservation of energy, without asking whether 
this principle is equally applicable to the moments 
of the external world, which are equivalent to one 
another, and to the moments of a living and 
conscious being, which acquire a richer and richer 
content. In whatever way, in a word, freedom is 
viewed, it cannot be denied except on condition of 
identifying time with space ; it cannot be defined 
except on condition of demanding that space should 
adequately represent time ; it cannot be argued 
about in one sense or the other except on condi 
tion of previously confusing succession and simul 
taneity. All determinism will thus be refuted by 
experience, but every attempt to define freedom 
will open the way to determinism. 

Inquiring then why this separation of duration 
and extensity, which science carries out so natur- 
TMS separa- a ^Y m tne external world, demands such 
~ } an effort and rouses so much repugnance 
jj. when it is a question of inner states, 
guS?and w- we were n t l n g m perceiving the reason. 
The main object of science is to forecast 
and measure : now we cannot forecast physical 
phenomena except on condition that we assume 
that they do not endure as we do ; and, on the 
other hand, the only thing we are able to measure 
is space. Hence the breach here comes about of 
itself between quality and quantity, between true 


duration and pure extensity. But when we turn 
to our conscious states, we have everything to 
gain by keeping up the illusion through which 
we make them share in the reciprocal externality 
of outer things, because this distinctness, and at 
the same time this solidification, enables us to 
give them fixed names in spite of their instability, 
and distinct ones in spite of their interpenetration. 
It enables us to objectify them, to throw them 
out into the current of social life. 

Hence there are finally two different selves, 

one of which is, as it were, the external projection 

of the other, its spatial and, so to speak, 

Hence two dil- * A 

ferent selves : social representation. We reach the 

(l)thefunda- u j A - -L- -u 

mental self : former by deep introspection, which 

(2) its spatial , , f 

and social re- leads us to grasp our inner states as 

DrGSntiitioii * 

only the former living things, constantly becoming, as 
states not amenable to measure, which 
permeate one another and of which the succession 
in duration has nothing in -common with juxta 
position in homogeneous space. But the mo 
ments at which we thus grasp ourselves are rare, 
and that is just why we are rarely free. The 
greater part of the time we live outside ourselves, 
hardly perceiving anything of ourselves but 
our own ghost, a colourless shadow which pure 
duration projects into homogeneous space. Hence 
our life unfolds in space rather than in time ; 
we live for the external world rather than for 
ourselves ; we speak rather than think ; we 
"are acted" rather than act ourselves. To act 


freely is to recover possession of oneself, and to 
get back into pure duration. 

Kant s great mistake was to take time as a 
homogeneous medium. He did not notice that 
Kant clung to real duration is made up of moments 
put ed Ze se u ii inside one another, and that when it 

both 66 seems to assume the form of a homogene- 
tfme 6 ous whole, it is because it gets expressed 
in space. Thus the very distinction which he 
makes between space and time amounts at bottom 
to confusing time with space, and the symbolical 
representation of the ego with the ego itself. He 
thought that consciousness was incapable of 
perceiving psychic states otherwise than by 
juxtaposition, forgetting that a medium in which 
these states are set side by side and distinguished 
from one another is of course space, and not 
duration. He was thereby led to believe that 
the same states can recur in the depths of con 
sciousness, just as the same physical phenomena 
are repeated in space ; this at least is what he 
implicitly admitted when he ascribed to the 
causal relation the same meaning and the same 
function in the inner as in the outer world. Thus 
freedom was made into an incomprehensible 
fact. And yet, owing to his unlimited though 
unconscious confidence in this inner perception 
whose scope he tried to restrict, his belief in 
freedom remained unshakable. He therefore 
raised it to the sphere of noumena ; and as he had 


confused duration with space, he made this 
genuine free self, which is indeed outside space, 
into a self which is supposed to be outside duration 
too, and therefore out of the reach of our faculty of 
knowledge. But the truth is that we perceive this 
self whenever, by a strenuous effort of reflection, 
we turn our eyes from the shadow which follows us 
and retire into ourselves. Though we generally 
live and act outside our own person, in space 
rather than in duration, and though by this 
means we give a handle to the law of causality, 
which binds the same effects to the same causes, we 
can nevertheless always get back into pure dura 
tion, of which the moments are internal and hetero 
geneous to one another, and in which a cause 
cannot repeat its effect since it will never repeat 

In this very confusion of true duration with 
its symbol both the strength and the weakness 
Kant regarded ^ Kantianism reside. Kant imagines 
spans 3 ho- on tne one side " tnm g s in themselves," 
mogeneous. an( j on ^g o ther a homogeneous Time 

and Space, through which the " things in them 
selves," are refracted : thus are supposed to 
arise on the one hand the phenomenal self a self 
which consciousness perceives and, on the other, 
external objects. Time and space on this view 
would not be any more in us than outside us ; 
the very distinction of outside and inside would 
be the work of time and space. This doctrine has 
the advantage of providing our empirical thought 


with a solid foundation, and of guaranteeing that 
phenomena, as phenomena, are adequately know- 
able. Indeed, we might set up these phenomena 
as absolute and do without the incomprehensible 
"things in themselves," were it not that the Prac 
tical Reason, the revealer of duty, came in, like the 
Platonic reminiscence, to warn us that the "thing 
in itself " exists, invisible but present. The con 
trolling factor in the whole of this theory is the 
very sharp distinction between the matter of 
consciousness and its form, between the homogene 
ous and the heterogeneous, and this vital dis 
tinction would probably never have been made 
unless time also had been regarded as a medium 
indifferent to what fills it. 

But if time, as immediate consciousness per 
ceives it, were, like space, a homogeneous medium, 
But if time, as science would be able to deal with it, 
wS tt homo- as ft can w fth s P ace - Now we have 
S5nce* t couid tr ied to prove that duration, as duration, 
deal with it an( j mo tion, as motion, elude the grasp of 
mathematics : of time everything slips through 
its fingers but simultaneity, and of movement 
everything but immobility. This is what the 
Kantians and even their opponents do not seem 
to have perceived : in this so-called phenomenal 
world, which, we are told, is a world cut out for 
scientific knowledge, all the relations which cannot 
be translated into simultaneity, i.e. into space, 
are scientifically unknowable. 

In the second place, in a duration assumed to 


be homogeneous, the same states could occur 
over again, causality would imply neces- 
II 5S sary determination, and all freedom 

would become incomprehensible. Such, 

indeed, is the result to which the Critique 
of Pure Reason leads. But instead of concluding 
from this that real duration is heterogeneous, 
which, by clearing up the second difficulty, would 
have called his attention to the first, Kant pre 
ferred to put freedom outside time and to raise 
an impassable barrier between the world of 
phenomena, which he hands over root and branch 
to our understanding, and the world of things 
in themselves, which he forbids us to enter. 

But perhaps this distinction is too sharply 
drawn and perhaps the barrier is easier to cross 

than he supposed. For if perchance 
fd W by C taki C n t g^ e rnoments of real duration, perceived 
toto accoSit 011 ky an attentive consciousness, per 

meated one another instead of lying 
side by side, and if these moments formed in 
relation to one another a heterogeneity within 
which the idea of necessary determination lost 
every shred of meaning, then the self grasped 
by consciousness would be a free cause, we should 
have absolute knowledge of ourselves, and, on 
the other hand, just because this absolute con 
stantly commingles with phenomena and, while 
filling itself with them, permeates them, these 
phenomena themselves would not be as amenable 
as is claimed to mathematical reasoning, 


So we have assumed the existence of a homo 
geneous Space and, with Kant, distinguished this 
with Kant, s P ace fr m tne matter which fills it. 

With him we have admitted that homo- 
Stion *d geneous space is a " form of our sensibil- 

pecn- j^-y . anc [ we understand by this simply 

liar to man J j r j 

fhe d way pa io? tnat otner minds, e.g. those of animals, 
social uie. although they perceive objects, do not 
distinguish them so clearly either from one another 
or from themselves. This intuition of a homogene 
ous medium, an intuition peculiar to man, enables 
us to externalize our concepts in relation to one 
another, reveals to us the objectivity of things, 
and thus, in two ways, on the one hand by getting 
everything ready for language, and on the other 
by showing us an external world, quite distinct 
from ourselves, in the perception of which all 
minds have a common share, foreshadows and 
prepares the way for social life. 

Over against this homogeneous space we have 
put the self as perceived by an attentive con- 
But a con- sciousness, a living self, whose states, 
tion e is h u e r tero- at once undistinguished and unstable, 
fStSn oi the cannot be separated without changing 
to Sy aS c is state tne ^ r nature, and cannot receive a fixed 
StTrigMiJ form or be expressed in words without 
judged free, becoming public property. How could 
this self, which distinguishes external objects so 
sharply and represents them so easily by means of 
symbols, withstand the temptation to introduce the 
same distinctions into its own life and to replace the 


interpenetration of its psychic states, their wholly 
qualitative multiplicity, by a numerical plurality 
of terms which are distinguished from one another, 
set side by side, and expressed by means of words ? 
In place of a heterogeneous duration whose 
moments permeate one another, we thus get a 
homogeneous time whose moments are strung on a 
spatial line. In place of an inner life whose suc 
cessive phases, each unique of its kind, cannot 
be expressed in the fixed terms of language, we 
get a self which can be artificially reconstructed, 
and simple psychic states which can be added 
to and taken from one another just like the letters 
of the alphabet in forming words. Now, this 
must not be thought to be a mode of symbolical 
representation only, for immediate intuition and 
discursive thought are one in concrete reality, 
and the very mechanism by which we only meant 
at first to explain our conduct will end by also 
controlling it. Our psychic states, separating 
then from each other, will get solidified ; between 
our ideas, thus crystallized, and our external 
movements we shall witness permanent associa 
tions being formed ; and little by little, as our con 
sciousness thus imitates the process by which ner 
vous matter procures reflex actions, automatism will 
cover over freedom. 1 It is just at this point 

1 Renouvier has already spoken of these voluntary acts 
which may be compared to reflex movements, and he has 
restricted freedom to moments of crisis. But he does not 
seem to have noticed that the process of our free activity goes 


that the associationists and the determinists come 
in on the one side, and the Kantians on the other. 
As they look at only the commonest aspect of 
our conscious life, they perceive clearly marked 
states, which can recur in time like physical 
phenomena, and to which the law of causal deter 
mination applies, if we wish, in the same sense as 
it does to nature. As, on the other hand, the 
medium in which these psychic states are set side 
by side exhibits parts external to one another, 
in which the same facts seem capable of being 
repeated, they do not hesitate to make time a 
homogeneous medium and treat it as space. 
Henceforth all difference between duration and 
extensity, succession and simultaneity, is abolished : 
the only thing left is to turn freedom out of doors, 
or, if you cannot entirely throw off your traditional 
respect for it, to escort it with all due ceremony 
up to the supra temporal domain of " things in them 
selves," whose mysterious threshold your conscious 
ness cannot cross. But, in our view, there is a third 
course which might be taken, namely, to carry 

on, as it were, unknown to ourselves, in the obscure depths of 
our consciousness at every moment of duration, that the very 
feeling of duration comes from this source, and that without 
this heterogeneous and continuous duration, in which our self 
evolves, there would be no moral crisis. The study, even the 
close study, of a given free action will thus not settle the pro 
blem of freedom. The whole series of our heterogeneous 
states of consciousness must be taken into consideration. In 
other words, it is in a close analysis of the idea of duration 
that the key to the problem must be sought. 


ourselves back in thought to those moments of our 
life when we made some serious decision, moments 
unique of their kind, which will never be repeated 
any more than the past phases in the history of a 
nation will ever come back again. We should see 
that if these past states cannot be adequately 
expressed in words or artificially reconstructed 
by a juxtaposition of simpler states, it is because 
in their dynamic unity and wholly qualitative 
multiplicity they are phases of our real and con 
crete duration, a heterogeneous duration and a 
living one. We should see that, if our action 
was pronounced by us to be free, it is because 
the relation of this action to the state from which 
it issued could not be expressed by a law, this 
psychic state being unique of its kind and unable 
ever to occur again. We should see, finally, that 
the very idea of necessary determination here 
loses every shred of meaning, that there cannot be 
any question either of foreseeing the act before 
it is performed or of reasoning about the possibility 
of the contrary action once the deed is done, for 
to have all the conditions given is, in concrete 
duration, to place oneself at the very moment of 
the act and not to foresee it. But we should also 
understand the illusion which makes the one party 
think that they are compelled to deny freedom, 
and the others that they must define it. It is 
because the transition is made by imperceptible 
steps from concrete duration, whose elements per 
meate one another, to symbolical duration, whose 


moments are set side by side, and consequently 
from free activity to conscious automatism. It 
is because, although we are free whenever we are 
willing to get back into ourselves, it seldom 
happens that we are willing. It is because, finally, 
even in the cases where the action is freely per 
formed, we cannot reason about it without setting 
out its conditions externally to one another, 
therefore in space and no longer in pure duration. 
The problem of freedom has thus sprung from a 
misunderstanding : it has been to the moderns what 
the paradoxes of the Eleatics were to the ancients, 
and, like these paradoxes, it has its origin in 
the illusion through which we confuse succession 
and simultaneity, duration and extensity, quality 
and quantity. 


Absolute, reality of space, 91 ; free 
dom not, 1 66 ; law of conscious 
ness, 207 ; Spinoza and, 208 ; 
knowledge of ourselves, 235. 

Abstraction, implies homogeneous 
medium, 97 ; breaks up elements 
of idea, 134 ; and diagram of pro 
cess of reaching a decision, 177 f. ; 
and Lord Kelvin s theory of matter, 

Acceleration, hypothetical, of mo 
tions of universe, 116 f., 193 ff. 

Achilles, and tortoise, 73 f. 

Act, not divisible like object, 112 ; 
free acts, 165 ff. ; " possible acts," 
174 ff- 

Act, of mind : all unity due to, 80 f. ; 
neglected in empirical theory of 
space, 93 f. ; nature of, 95. 

Addition, of sensation - differences, 
64, 65 ; process of, 80, 123, 226 ; 
implies multiplicity of parts, 85. 

Advice, relation of, to freedom, 169. 

Aeolus, cave of, 20. 

Aesthetic, Kant s Transcendental, 92, 

Aesthetic feelings, n ff. ; suggested, 
not caused, 17 ; stages in, 17. 

Alceste, indignation of, 167. 

Algebra, deals with results not pro 
cesses, 119. 

Analysis, already visible in mental 
image, 84; distorts feelings, 132 f. ; 
of a thing, not of a process, 219. 

Anger, psychic element in, 29 ; and 
organic disturbance, 30. 

Animals, ability to find their way 
through space, 96 ; space not so 
homogeneous for, 97 ; perceive 
duration as quality, 127 ; do not 
picture distinct external world, 138, 

Antecedents, same, and same conse 
quents, 199, 208. 

Architecture, compared with rhythm, 

Aristotle, distinguishes potential and 
actual, 121. 

Arithmetic, splits up units, 84. 

Art, and beauty, 14 ; object of, 14 ; 
and hypnotism, 14 ; the plastic 
arts, 15 ; suggesting, not expres 
sing feelings, 16 ; merit of work of, 
17; yielding only sensations, 17; 
aim and method of artist, 18. 

Artificial, reconstruction of concrete 
phenomenon, 163. 

Aspect, twofold, of terms in a series, 
124, 226 ; of the self, 128 ff. ; of 
conscious states, 129 ff. ; 137 ff. 

Association, by contiguity, 136, 164 ; 
self cannot be constituted by, 139, 
165, 226 ; associationist deter 
minism, 148, 155, 159 ; of ideas in 
interrupted conversation, 156 ; 
illustration from hypnotism, 157 ; 
illustration from deliberation, 158 ; 
involves defective conception of 
self, 159 ff., 165, 226; of end and 
movement, 160 f. ; associations of 
smell, 161 ; its mistakes, 161 ff. ; 
fits simple sensations, 164 ; cannot 
explain deeper states of self, 164 ; 
everyday acts obey laws of, 167 ff., 

Astronomy, measurement of time in, 
107 ; prediction of celestial pheno 
mena, 117, 192 ff., 198. 

Attention, and muscular tension, 27 ; 
Fechner on, 27 ; Ribot on, 27 ; and 
psychic tension, 28 ; and forma 
tion of number, 82, 84. 

Bain, on nervous energy, 21 , on 

theory of space, 93 ; on conflict of 

motives, 159. 
Beauty, feeling of, 14 ff. ; in nature 

and art, 14 ff. 
Beliefs, adopted without reason, 135 ; 

compared to cell in organism, 135 ; 

some not properly assimilated, 136. 
Blix, experiments on temperature 

sense, 46. 
Body, movements of, as suggesting 

psychic state, 18 ; inclination of, 

in comparing pleasures, 38. 

Causality, law of, 199, 201 ; as 
regular succession, 202 f . ; common 
sense and meaning of, 203 ; as 
prefiguring of future phenomenon 
in present conditions, 204 ff. ; not 
a necessary principle, 208 ; Spinoza 
on, 208 ; identity and, 209, 210 ; 
as necessary determination of 
phenomena means human freedom, 
210 ; and second type of pre 
figuring, 211 f . ; this leads to 
Leibniz, 213 , this does not involve 
determinism, 214 ; involves two 



conceptions of duration, 215 ; con 
fusion of these two senses, 216 ; 
relation of external, as mathe 
matical, 219; relation of inner, as 
dynamic, 219 ; Kant ascribed same 
meaning to, in inner and outer 
world, 232. 

Cause, external, and intensity, 4 f., 
20, 42 ff., 72 ; introduced into 
effect, 42, 47, 54, 68 ; external, and 
separation of sensations, 109, 125 ; 
series of associations sometimes 
effect rather than, 156 ff. ; in inner 
states no recurrence of same, 154, 
199 f., 233 ; assertion that effect 
bound up with, 201 ; analysis of 
concept of, 201 ; self as free, 235. 

Cell, in organism, beliefs compared 
to, 135. 

Change, but not duration, attributed 
to external things, 227. 

Character, freedom and, 172 f. ; and 
prediction of future actions, 184. 

Clocks, measurement of time by, 108 
f. ; perception of strokes of without 
expressly counting, 137. 

Co-existence, number and relations 
of, 75 n. ; can space result from 
relations of, 94 ; of past and pres 
ent only in consciousness, 112. 

Cold, perception of, 46. 

Colour, changes of hue and invariable 
colours, 5 1 white, grey and black, 
53 f. ; degrees of saturation, 54 ; 
intensity of, 54 ; colours of spec 
trum, 51, 54, 57 ; changes in sensa 
tion of, 57 ; can there be equi 
distant tints, 58. 

Compromise, see also Endosmosis : 
between idea of free force and 
necessity, 217; forms of percep 
tion result of, 223 ; intensity as 
compromise between quality and 
quantity, 225 ; number results 
from a, 226 ; idea of measurable 
time results from a, 228. 

Consciousness, compared to invisible 
musician, 147 ; as epiphenomenon, 
152; Kant separates external 
perception and, 222 ; succession 
without distinction in, 227 ; matter 
and form of, 234. 

Conservation, of energy, see Energy ; 
of motion, 151 ; of vis viva, 151 ; 
conservative systems not the only 
ones possible, 152. 

Continuity, of number when formed. 
82 f. 

Contradiction, law of non-, 89, 150, 
207 , reconciliation of apparent at 
deeper level, 136. 

Counting, units mast be identical, 76 ; 

also distinct, 77 ; flock of sheep, 

76 f. ; battalion of soldiers, 76 ; 

implies intuition of space, 77 ff. ; 

material objects, 85 ; conscious 

states, 86, 89 ; strokes of a bell, 

86 ; moments of duration, 104 ; 

oscillations of a pendulum, 104 f. ; 

two sides of the process of, 123 ; 

strokes of a clock by qualitative 

effect, 127. 

Crisis, freedom shown at, 170, 239. 
Critique of Pure Reason, result of, 235. 
Critique philosophique, article in, 75 n. 

Dancer, and feeling of grace, 12. 

Darwin, on rage, 29 ; on violent 
emotions and reflex movements, 
30 ; on pain and reactions, 37. 

Definition, of equality of sensation- 
differences, 64 ; of addition of 
sensation- differences, 64, 65 ; of 
number, 75 ; of subjective and 
objective, 83 ; of space, 95, 98 ; 
none of right and left, 97 ; of 
simultaneity, no ; of equal inter 
vals of time, 115 ; of velocity, ii7f. ; 
of inertia of matter, 142 ; of free 
dom, leads to determinism, 220 f. t 
230, 239. 

Delbceuf, his measurement of lumi 
nous sensation, 52, 56 ff., 67 ff. ; 
his underlying postulate, 60. 

Deliberation, process of, 158, 171 ; 
wrongly pictured as oscillation in 
space, 183. 

Depth, of aesthetic feeling, 17 f. ; of 
emotional states, 31. 

Descartes, and conservation of mo 
tion, 151 ; his mischievous genius, 
193 ; his view of matter, 207 ; 
Cartesian physics, 207 ; and regu 
larity of physical world, 208. 

Desire , progress of a, 8 ; conceived 
as a distinct thing, 159. 

Determinism, two kinds of, 142 ; 
physical, 143 ff. ; psychological, 
155 ff. ; rests on misconception of 
duration, 143, 173 ; and molecular 
theory of matter, 143 f., 147 ; of 
psychic states does not follow from 
that of cerebral states, 146 f. ; 
associationist, 148, 155, 159 ; and 
hypnotism, 157 ; self-determina 
tion, 165, 172 ; its mechanical con 
ception of self, 171 ; could act have 
been different ? 173, 201, 220, 739 ; 
can act be predicted ? 173, 183 ff., 
201, 220, 239 ; and " possible 
acts," 174 ; and character, 184 ff., 
172 ; and astronomical prediction, 
102 ff. ; and law of causality, 199 
it- ; misunderstanding of causality 



underlies all, 201 ft. ; of phenomena 
as [involving human freedom, 210, 
215 ff. ; not involved in second 
type of prefiguring, 211 f., 215 f. ; 
Leibniz s, 214 ; as compromise 
between idea of free effort and 
necessity, 217 ; attempt to define 
freedom leads to, 220, 230, 239 ; 
all, refuted by experience, 230 ; 
meaningless if duration hetero 
geneous, 235, 239. 

Diagrams, geometrical, 176, 191. 

Diferentials,expressingFechner sLaw, 
62, 65 ; dealing with motion, 119. 

Dimension, time as fourth, 109. 

Discontinuity, of number, 82 f. 

Disgust, Richet s description of, 36. 

Distinction, two meanings of, 75 n., 
121 ; succession without, 101 ; of 
psychic states, leads to mechanical 
conception of self, 171 ; Kant s, 
between matter and form of 
consciousness, 234. 

Donaldson, experiments on tempera 
ture sense, 46. 

Dreams, freshness in, 8 ; charm in, 
10 ; superficial psychic states 
removed in, 126 ; overlying images 
in, 136. 

Duration, moments counted by means 
of points in space, 78 f ., 87 ; differs 
from homogeneous time in having 
nothing to do with space, 91 ; em 
pirical attempts to build up space 
from, 99 f., 222 ; conception of 
pure, 100, 104 ff., 229 ; expressed 
in terms of space, 101, 103, 232 ; 
order of succession in, 101 f. ; any 
homogeneity in, implies space, 104, 
115 ; as interpenetration of con 
scious states, 104, 107, 108, no, 
128, 418, 226, 232 ff., 235 ; pure, is 
wholly qualitative, 106, 126 f., 
429 ; not measurable, 107 ff. ; not 
measured by clocks, 108 f. ; as 
heterogeneous and with no relation 
to number, 109, no, 120, 226, 229, 
*35> 2 39 ; how mistaken idea of 
homogeneity arises, 109 ; and mo 
tion, 110, 114, 124; eliminated 
from time by science, 115, n 6, 228; 
and simultaneity, 115 f. ; and 
astronomical prediction, 117, 192 
ff. ; cannot be represented by 
mathematical formulae, 119 ; as 
mental synthesis, 120 ; none in 
space, 120, 227 ; as quality, 127, 
193, 197, 226 ; felt as quality in 
sleep, 126 ; perceived as quality by 
animals, 127 ; homogeneous, as 
symbolical representation derived 
from space, 128, 219, 239, 240 ; its 

two forms, 128 ; constituted by 
deep-seated conscious states, 137, 
224; determinism rests on inaccu 
rate conception of, 143, 153, 173, 
209, 215 f., 220, 235, 239 ; acts like 
a cause in realm of life, 153 ; 
heterogeneity of, precludes return 
to former state, 154, 200, 219, 232, 
233, 239 ; real, and prediction, 183 
ff. ; of conscious states unalterable, 
196 f. ; difference between past and 
future, 198 ; applicable to persons, 
not to external things, 200, 209 f., 
215, 227 ; as contained in single 
moment, 208 ; real, as leading to 
free will, 210, 215 f. ; attributed to 
things, 215, 228 ; two conceptions 
of, in causality, 215 ; separated 
from extensity by science, 228 f., 
230 ; must similarly be separated 
by philosophy, 229 f. ; Kant put 
self outside, 233 ; possible to get 
back into pure, 233 ; Kant con 
fused with space, 233 ; science 
cannot deal with, 234 ; if homo 
geneous, no freedom, 235 ; origin 
of feeling of, 238 n. ; no moral 
crisis without, 238 n. ; key to 
problem of free will, 238 . 
Dynamism, as system of nature, 140 ; 
and relation between facts and 
laws, 140 f. ; its view of simplicity, 
141 ; inner, 172. 

Eclipse, prediction of, 117, 194. 

Education, not properly assimilated, 
1 66 ; may curtail freedom, 167. 

Effort, intensity of, 7, 24, 25, 26; 
muscular, 20 ff. ; apparently quan 
titative, 21 ; feeling of, 21 ff., 211 ; 
experimental investigation of, 22 
ff. ; superficial, 26 ; in estimating 
intensity and pitch of sound, 45 f. ; 
in second type of prefiguring, 211 ; 
force and, 214 ; ideas of free, and 
necessity to be kept apart, 217, 218. 

Eleatics, their paradoxes, 74, 240 ; 
arise from confusion between mo 
tion and space, 112 ff. ; Achilles 
and tortoise, ir3 f. 

Elevation, of aesthetic feeling, 17. 

Emotions, violent, intensity of, 28 ff. 

Empiricist, theory of space, 93 f. ; 
derivation of extensive from inex- 
tensive, 94, 222. 

Endosmosis, see also Compromise : 
between succession and externality, 
109, 228 ; between mobility and 
space, 112 ; between free effort and 
necessary determination, 218. 

Energy, kinetic and potential, 152 ; 
may be new kind of, 152. 




Energy, conservation of: Incom 
patible with freedom, 142, 144 ; 
and determination of physiological 
and nervous phenomena, 145; 
does not Involve determinism of 
conscious states, 146 f. ; is it 
universal ? 150, 154 ; in the natural 
sciences, 150 ; implies return of 
system to former state, 152 ; con 
scious force or free will may escape 
law of, 154 ; illegitimate extension 
of, 155, 230. 

English philosophers, on extensity 
and succession, 99. [152. 

Epiphenomenon, consciousness as, 

Equations, expressing Fechner s 
Law, 62 ; express something fin 
ished,!^ ; transformability of, 204. 

vellin,onspace,time and motion, 114. 

Experiments, and experimental ob 
servations : Wundt on paralytic, 
21 ; Vulpian on hemiplegia, 22 ; 
Ferrier on feeling of effort, 22 f . ; 
James on feeling of effort, 23 ; 
clenching the fist, 24 ; compressing 
the lips, 25 ; lifting a weight, 25, 
48 f. ; Fer6 on muscular force, 41 ; 
pin pricks, 42 ; on temperature 
sense, 46 ; Helmholtz on colour 
and intensity, 51 ; photometric, 
52 ff. ; Lehmann and Neiglick s, 
52 ; Delbcauf s on measurement 
of luminous sensation, 52 ff., 56 ff. 

Explanation, confused with fact, 163, 

Extensity, implies relation of con 
tainer to contained, 3 ; no point of 
contact between extended and un- 
extended, 70 ; as aspect of physical 
qualities, 92 ; Kant on, 92, 148 ; 
attempted derivation of, from the 
unextended, 93 f., 99 f., 222 ; homo 
geneous, as result of stripping 
matter of concrete qualities, 205 ; 
Descartes view of matter as homo 
geneous, 207 ; hylozoism and 
qualities of matter, 213 ; confusion 
with duration raises problem of 
freedom, 221, 240 ; separated from 
duration by science, 228 , 230. 

Externality, of things in space, 99 ; 
exists outside the ego, 108, 227 ; 
endosmosis between succession 
and, 109, 228 ; of things, helps to 
cut up psychic life, 109, 125 f., 130, 
228 ; animals have not same ten 
dency to picture, 138 ; empirical 
school attempts to build up, from 
inner states, 222 ; external things 
subject to change but not duration, 
227 ; external world distinct from 
ourselves, 236. 

Fact, relation between law and, 140 
f. ; explanation confused with, 163, 

Faraday, and centres of force, 218. 

Fear, Spencer on, 30 ; conceived as 
distinct state, 159. 

Fechner, on attention and tension 
27 ; his psychophysics, 56, 60 ff. ; 
his formulae, 61, 62 ; his law, 61 ; 
his logarithmic law, 62 n. ; method 
of minimum differences, 64, 69. 

Feeling, intensity of, 7, 185 ; deep- 
seated, 7 ff. ; aesthetic, n ff. ; of 
grace, u f. ; of beauty, 14 f . ; 
richness of aesthetic, 17 f. ; moral, 
18 f. ; and physical symptoms, 
20 ff. ; of effort, 21 ff., 211 ; dis 
torted by analysis, 132 f . ; some 
thing living and developing, 133; 
leads to resolution, 133, 171 ; 
whole soul reflected in each, 165 ; 
change in duration of, means 
change in nature, 197 f. 

F6r6, C., on sensation and muscular 
force, 41. 

Ferrier, on feeling of effort, 16. 

Figure, see Diagram. 

Flavour, changing, solidified by lan 
guage, 131. 

Force, alleged psychic, 20 f., 25 ; 
muscular, 21 ; nervous, 21 ; sen 
sation of, 21 ; conscious states not 
forces, 165, 170 ; idea of, as inde 
terminate effort, 214 ; self as a free, 
216 ; idea of, and necessity, 216, 
217; as free spontaneity, 217; 
ideas of free force and necessity 
separated by science, 218. 

" Form of Sensibility," Kant s theory 
of, 94 ; homogeneous space as, 236. 

Forms, borrowed from external world 
in perception of self, 154, 167, 183, 
217, 223 ; borrowed from self in 
perception of things, 222 ; of per 
ception, result of compromise, 223 ; 
elimination of those borrowed 
from external world, 224 ; Kant s 
distinction between matter and, 
93, 234. 

Formulae, Weber s, 61 ; Fechner s, 
62 ; dealing with velocity, 118. 

Fouill6e, on freedom as a motive, 160. 

Fourth dimension, time as, 109. 

Freedom, Free Will, see also Deter 
minism : origin of problem, 74, 
139, 221, 240 ; cause of conflict 
between mechanism and dynam 
ism, 140 ; twofold objection to, 
142 ; and molecular theory of 
matter, 143 f. ; and conservation 
of energy, 145 ff. ; strictly limited 
if principle of conservation uni- 



versal, 149 f. ; as conscious force, 
exempt from law of conservation, 
154 ; defenders of, mistakenly 
agree that conscious states are 
distinct things, 159 ; Fouillee on, 
160 ; as self-expression, 165, 172 ; 
not absolute, but admits of degrees, 
166 ; many live without realizing, 
166 ; may be curtailed by educa 
tion, 167 ; free acts rare, 167, 231, 
240 ; free decision springs from 
whole or fundamental self, 167, 172, 

231, 240 ; covered over by auto 
matism, 168, 231, 237 ; sometimes 
resigned through indolence, 169 ; 
shown in times of crisis, 170, 239 ; 
and character, 172 ; to be sought 
in characteristic of the decision 
or act, 173, 182 f. ; Mill on, 174 ; 
and " possible acts," 174 ; free 
action compared to over-ripe fruit, 
176 ; distinction of successive 
phases in, leads to determinism, 
177 ff. ; the self infallible in affirm 
ing its, 183 ; not disproved by 
causality as regular succession, 
202 f. ; safe-guarded by different 
conceptions of causality taken by 
themselves, 215 f. ; self as free 
cause, 216, 235 ; real but inde 
finable, 219 ff., 230, 239 f. ; why 
denied and denned, 229 ; Kant on, 

232, 233, 235, 238 ; incomprehen 
sible if duration homogeneous, 235 ; 
key to problem of, 238 n. ; follows 
from uniqueness of relation of 
psychic state to act, 239. 

Fusion, see Interpenetration. 
Future, see Prediction. 

Ghost, time as ghost of space, 99. 
Goldscheider, experiments on tem 
perature sense, 46. 
Grace, feeling of, n f. 

Hamilton, Mill on, quoted, 159, 174. 

Harmony, Leibniz on pre-established, 
147, 213, 214. 

Heat, sensation of, 46 f. ; mechanical 
theory of, 151. 

Helmholtz, on effort of volition, 23 ; 
on colour and intensity, 51. 

Hemiplegia, Vulpian on, 22. 

Heterogeneity, qualitative, inter 
preted as extensive homogeneity, 
95 ; of pure duration, 109, no, 
120, 128, 226, 229, 235, 239 ; of 
deep-seated psychic states, 200 ; 
homogeneous universe assumed 
behind, 205 ; Kant s distinction 
between homogeneity and, 234. 

Homogeneity, of time, 90, 98, 107, 

124, 234, 237 J of space, 95 f., 98, 
1 20, 236 ; is all homogeneity 
space ? 98 ; supposed two forms 
of, 98 ; none in duration, 104, 115 ; 
none in motion, no, 115 ; how 
introduced into duration, 124 f., 
128 ; connection between, and 
general ideas, 163 ; assumed 
behind heterogeneity, 205 ; Kant s 
distinction between heterogeneity 
and, 234. 

Hope, why pleasurable, 9 f. 

Hylozoism, ancient, 213, 214. 

Hypnotism, and art, 14 ; and 
aesthetic feeling, 17 ; illustrating 
association of ideas, 157 ; non- 
incorporation of idea received 
during, 166. 

Ideas, analysis of, 134 ; interpene- 
tration of, 135 ; unreasoning ad 
herence to, 135 ; some not incor 
porated, 135 ; associationism fits 
superficial, 136 ; reconciliation of, 
at deeper level, 136 ; association 
of, in interrupted conversation, 
156 ; general, and perception of 
homogeneous medium, 163. 

Identity, principle of, 207 ; attempt 
to replace causality by, 209 ; 
causality does not coincide with, 2 10. 

Illusion, as to psychic states possess 
ing magnitude, 21 ; reflective 
consciousness has two fundamental, 
190 ; of attributing mutual ex 
ternality to conscious states, 231 ; 
leading to difficulties about free 
will, 240. 

Immobility, movement cannot be 
made from, 115 ; all that science 
retains of motion is, 119, 229, 234. 

Impenetrability, of matter, 88 f. 

Inertia, of organism, and pleasure, 
38 ; vis inertiae, 38 ; dynamism 
derives, from voluntary activity, 
140 ; idea of spontaneity simpler 
than, 141 ; spontaneity settling 
down into, 220. 

Instinct, perception of duration in 
sleep compared to, 127 ; of the 
intellect, 135. 

Intensity, of psychic states, i ff., 224 
f. ; of sensations, i ff., 7, 20, 32, 40, 
42, 47, 172 f. ; alleged intensive 
magnitude, 2, 3 f., 71 f., 106, 225 ; 
no point of contact with extensive, 
3, 70 ; estimated by external 
causes, 4 f., 20, 32 f., 42, 72 ; esti 
mated by atomic movements, 6 ; 
different kinds of, 7 ; of deep- 
seated psychic states, 8, 26 ; of a 
growing desire, 8 f. ; of joy, 10 ; 



of sorrow, n ; of aesthetic feelings, 
ii ff., 17 f., of nural feelings, pity, 
1 8 f. ; of feeling of effort, 24 f. ; 
of superficial effort, 26 ; of inter 
mediate states, 27 ; of violent 
emotions, 28 f., 31 ; as multiplicity 
of simple states, 31, 73 ; of affec 
tive sensations, 33 f., 34 *-, 47, 73 ] 
and organic disturbance, 32 ; of 
pain, 35 ff. ; of disgust, 36 ; of 
representative sensations, 39 ff- 
72 ; as quality, 42, 90, 190, 224 ; of 
sensation of sound, 43 f. ; of heat 
and cold, 46 f. ; of sensation of 
weight, 48 ; of sensation of light, 
50 ff. ; of a colour, 54 ; two factors 
contributing to, 73 ; as qualitative 
sign of quantity, 90, 224 ; of deep- 
seated feeling, nothing but the 
feeling, 185 ; how others made to 
realize, 185 f. ; as compromise 
between quality and quantity, 225. 

Interpenetration, multiplicity of, 75 
n., 162 ; of conscious states, 99, 
100 f., 132 f., 163, 164, 231, 237 ; 
in pure duration, 104, 107, 108, 
no, 128, 218, 235 ; of states of 
deep-seated self, 125, 137, 164 ; of 
strong feelings, 132 f. ; of ideas, 
135 ; of apparently contradictory 
ideas at deeper level, 136 ; in pro 
cess of addition, 226 ; replaced by 
plurality, 237. 

Introspection, as leading to funda 
mental self, 231. 

Intuition, of space necessary to idea 
of number, 77 ff., 84, 225 ; of 
homogeneous medium, perhaps 
peculiar to man, 95 f., 236; of 
motion and duration, 114; of 
homogeneous space as step towards 
social life, 138, 163, 236 ; imme 
diate, and discursive thought, 237. 

James, W. on feeling of effort, 22, 23, 
24 ; on rage, 29. 

Joy, feeling of, 10. 

Juxtaposition, see also Interpene 
tration : inapplicable to inner 
states, 8 f. ; multiplicity of, 75 n., 
162 ; implies intuition of space, 
77 f. ; number as a, 85, 89 ; of 
conscious states, 101, 232 ; in 
homogeneous time, 121 ; of lifeless 
states, replaces a feeling, 133. 

Kant, theory of space, 92 f. ; Tran 
scendental Aesthetic, 92, 93 ; dis 
tinguished matter and form of 
representation, 93 ; " form of 
sensibility," 94, 236 ; separated 
time and space, 222, 232 ; mistake 

about time, 233 ; gave causality 

same meaning in Inner and outer 
world, 232 ; clung to freedom 
but made it noumenal, 232, 238 ; 
put free self outside space and time, 
233, *35 J on " things in them 
selves," 233 f. ; made time and 
space homogeneous, 233 ; and the 
Practical Reason, 234 ; distin 
guished matter and form of con 
sciousness, 234 ; result of Critique 
of Pure Reason, 235 ; raised 
barrier between phenomena and 
things in themselves, 235 ; dis 
tinguished space from matter, 236. 
Kelvin, Lord, his theory of matter, 206. 

Lange, on materialism and deter 
minism, 144. 

Language, unequal to psychological 
analysis, <>, 13, 160. 196. 237_: 
foreign, sounds louder, 41: domi 
nates thought, 70, 2^1 ; perhaps 
implies intuition or space, 97, 163, 
236 ; uses terms borrowed from 
space, 122 ; favours separation of 
states of self, 128, 137, 139, 167, 
231 ; solidifying influence of, on 
impressions, 129 f . ; gives fixed 
form to fleeting sensations, 131 f. ; 
description distorts the feelings, 
132 ff. ; only ideas which least 
belong to us can be expressed by, 
136, 164 ; and social life, 137, 167, 
231, 236 ; same impulse to picture 
externality as to speak, 138 ; 
second self formed, whose states 
expressed by, 138 ; illustration of 
inadequacy of, 160 f. ; general 
ideas and intuition of space, 163 ; 
fixes only impersonal aspect of 
emotions, 164 ; psychology misled 
by, 165 ; how determinism aided 
by, 171 ; why same feeling, when 
repeated, called by same name, 200 ; 
favoured by avoiding separation of 
duration and extensity, 230 f. 

La Rochefoucauld, on sympathy, 19. 

Law, Weber s, 60 ; Fechner s, 62 ; 
Fechner s logarithmic, 62 n. ; of 
non-contradiction, 89, 150, 207 ; 
of Nature, mechanism and dynam 
ism on, 140 f. ; relation between 
facts and, 140 f. ; " same ante 
cedents, same consequents," 199, 
208 ; of causality, 199 ff. ; physical 
phenomena obey, 202, 219 ; prin 
ciple of identity as absolute, 207 ; 
relation of psychic state to act 
cannot be expressed by, 239. 

Lehmann, his photometric experi 
ments, 52. 



Leibniz, on pre-established harmony, 
147, 213, 214 ; and conservation of 
vis viva, 151 ; on qualities of mat 
ter, 213 ; on matter as monad, 213, 
214 ; conception of causality as lead 
ing to, 213; and determinism, 214. 

Light, sensation of, 50 ff. 

Line, succession symbolized as a, 103 ; 
motion not a, 120 ; time not a, 181. 

" Local signs," 49, 95 ; Lotze on, 93. 

Lotze, theory of local signs, 93. 

Magnitude, quantitative differences 
applicable to, 2 ff. ; alleged inten 
sive, 2, 3 f., 71 f., 106, 225 ; two 
species of, 3 f . ; of growing desire, 
9 ; and muscular effort, 20 f . ; 
of sensations, 31 ff., 72 ; intensity 
of pain as a, 37 ; pleasure as a, 38 ; 
of representative sensations, 47 ; 
interval between colours as, 57 f . ; 
interval between sensations as, 66, 
68 f. ; intensity not a, 225. 

Mathematics, represents results, not 
processes, 119, 234 ; exemplifies 
one type of prefiguring, 204 f. 

Matter, impenetrability of, 88 ; 
molecular theory of, and deter 
minism, 143 f., 209 ; atomic theory 
of, still hypothetical, 145 ; has no 
apparent duration, 153 ; stripped 
of concrete qualities, 205 ; shape 
as quality of, 205 ; Lord Kelvin s 
vortex theory of, 206 ; Descartes 
view of, 207 ; hylozoism and 
qualities of, 213; Leibniz and 
qualities of, 213 ; distinguished 
from form, 223, 234 ; distinguished 
from space, 236. 

Mean gradations, method of, 56, 59, 
67, 69. 

Mechanics, treatment of time and 
duration in, 1 15 ; and notion of velo 
city, 117 ; deals with equations, 119. 

Mechanism, as system of nature, 140 ; 
and relation between facts and 
laws, 140 f. ; its view of simplicity, 
141 ; its influence on determin 
ism, 148, 209 ; makes conscious 
ness an epiphenomenon, 152 ; and 
Lord Kelvin s theory of matter, 
207 ; Spinozistic, 209 ; and coin 
cidence of causality with identity, 
210; meant to explain conduct, 
will control it, 237. 

Metaphor, see Symbolical Represen 

Method.of mean gradations, 56, 59,67, 
69 ; of minimum differences, 64f ., 69. 

Mill, on Hamilton, 159 n., 174 n. ; 
on distinct states of self, 159 ; on 
free will, 174. 

Mind, act of, see Act. 

Mind, articles in, quoted, 29 n., 46 n. 

Minimum differences, method of, 
64 f., 69. 

Mobility, and motion, inf.; elimin 
ated by science, 115, 228. 

Moliere, Le Misanthrope quoted, 167. 

Monad, Leibniz on matter as, 213, 214. 

Motion, see al<5o Movement : analysis 
of concept of, no f. ; real only for 
conscious spectator, 1 1 1 ; as mental 
synthesis, in, 120; mobility and, 
in ; of shooting star, ni ; con 
fused with space in Eleatic para 
dox, 113 f. ; intuition of, 114 ; not 
derivable from immobih ties, 115 -, 
no homogeneous element in, 115 ; 
science eliminates mobility from, 
115, 228, 234 ; hypothetical acce 
leration of cosmic, 116 f., 193 ff. ; 
cannot be represented by mathe 
matical formulae, 119 f. f 234; 
helps to form idea of homogeneous 
duration, 124 ; Descartes and 
conservation of, 151 ; and Lord 
Kelvin s theory of matter, 206. 

Motives, actions explained by, 148 ; 
and process of deliberation, 158; 
act not determined by, 158 ; Bain 
on conflict of, 159 ; Fouillde on 
freedom as a, 160 ; choice without, 
shown at crisis, 170. 

Movement, see also Motion : atomic, 
and intensity, 6 ; molecular, and 
sensation, 33, 34 ; automatic and 
free, 33, 35 ; in estimating sensa 
tion of weight, 49 f. ; measure 
ment of velocity of, 107, 117. 

Muller, Johann, nativistic theory of 
space, 93. 

Multiplicity, inner, 73 ; of conscious 
states, 75 ff., 90 f. ; of juxtaposi 
tion, 75 n., 162 ; of interpenetra- 
tion, 75 n., 162 ; implied in num 
ber, 76, 80 f. ; implied in addition. 
85 ; two kinds of 85 f., 91, iai, 128, 
129 ; discrete, 90, 91, 120 f., 226 ; 
of number and of conscious states, 
91, 121 ; continuous or qualitative, 
105, 121, 128, 224, 226, 229, 239 ; 
determinism rests on inaccurate 
conception of, 143, 173 ; associa- 
tionism confuses the two kinds of, 
162 f. ; of psychic states as con 
stituting duration, 224 ; duration 
as qualitative, 226, 229. 

Music, and suggestion, 15, 44 ; 
duration and musical rhythm, 100 ; 
increase of stimulus compared to 
musical phrase, 106 ; organization 
of sensations compared to melodic 
phrase, in ; strokes of clock com 



pared to musical phrase, 127 ; 
consciousness compared to invisible 
musician, 147. 

Nativist theory of space, 93- 

N ature beauty in, 14 , compared 
with art, 16 ; profoundly utili 
tarian, 33 ; view taken by mechan 
ism and dynamism, 140 f. ; con 
crete phenomena of, abolished, 
207 ; view of, as whimsical, 212. 

Necessity, see also Determinism : 
mechanism cannot escape, 140 ; 
as deus ex machina in ancient 
hylozoism, 214 ; and idea of force, 
216 ff. 

Neiglick, his photometric experi 
ments, 52 

Nol, G., article on number and space, 
75 n. 

Notes, why classified as higher and 
lower, 45 f. 

Noumenon, freedom as, 232. 

Novelist, how effects produced, 133, 
164, 185. 

Number, natural series, 2, 80 ; defi 
nition of, 75 ; article on space and, 
75 n. ; units of, identical, 76 ; 
units of, distinct, 77, 226 ; implies 
intuition of space, 77 ff., 83 f., 225 ; 
both unit and synthesis of units, 
80 f. ; discontinuity of, 82 ; pro 
cess of forming a, 82 f. ; why divi 
sible at will, 83 ; subjective and 
objective in, 84 ; thought of as a 
juxtaposition, 85 ; inapplicable to 
multiplicity of conscious states, 87 ; 
and impenetrability of matter, 
89 ; those in daily use have 
emotional equivalents, 123 ; time 
as a, 195, 197 ; results from a com 
promise, 226. 

Objective, definition of, 83. 

Objectivity, of things, 236. 

Objects, contrasted with progress, 
in, 112, 219 ; can be analysed, 
112 ; help to cut up our psychic 
life, 124 f. ; seem to live and grow 
old, 130 ; tend to fix changing 
feelings, 130 ; in human soul 
processes, not, 131. 

Order, of succession, implies space, 

101 f. 

Pain, and pity, 18 f. ; as sign of 
future reaction, 33 ; intensity of, 
35 f. ; Darwin on, 37 ; conceived as 
distinct thing, 159. 

Paradox, the Eleatic, 74, 112 f., 240. 

Parallelism, of physical and psychical 
series, 146 f. 

Paralysis, and feeling of effort, ax, 22, 
Past, no recurrence of, 154, 200 f., 

219, 232, 233, 239. 
Paul, his prediction of Peter s action, 

184 ff. 

Pendulum, counting oscillations of, 
104 f. ; what do oscillations of, 
measure, 107 ff ; oscillations of, 
help to cut up our psychic life, 
109 ; spreads out undivided ten 
sion of spring, 228. 
Permeation, see Interpenetration. 
Peter, Paul s prediction of his 

action, 184 ff. 

Photometric experiments, 52 ff. 

Physics, and sound-vibrations, 46 ; 

and degrees of luminous intensity, 

52 f. ; interested in external 

cause, 71 ; physical phenomena 

and law, 202 ; Cartesian, 207, 208 ; 

Descartes instantaneous, 208 ; and 

forecasting of phenomena, 222, 230. 

Pillon, F., article on number and 

space, 75 n. 
Pitch, of a sound, 44 f. 
Plateau, his method of measuring 

luminous sensations, 56. 
Plato, quoted, 168 ; Platonic reminis 
cence, 234. 

Pleasure, as sign of future reaction, 
33 f. ; and bodily inclination, 38 ; 
keenness of, as inertia of organism, 
38 ; conceived as distinct thing, 159. 
Poetry, how effects produced, 15. 
" Possible acts," 174 f., 239. 
Postulate, Delbceuf s, 60 ; Fechner s, 
60 ; fundamental, of psychophysics, 
65, 70 ; underlying geometrical 
representation of voluntary acti 
vity, 179. 

Prediction, astronomical, 117, 192 ff., 
198 ; determinism and, 173, 183 ff., 
220 ; real, duration and, 183 ff. ; of 
future actions, 183 ff., 229, 239 ; 
probable and infallible, 183 f., and 
character, 184, 172 ; hypothetical 
case of Peter and Paul, 184 ff. ; 
all foreseeing as seeing, 195, 197, 
198 ; of phenomena, and physics, 
222, 230. 

Prefiguring, of future phenomenon in 

present conditions, 204 ff., 210 ; 

two kinds of, 204 ff., 215 ; as in 

mathematics, 204 f. ; as having 

idea of possible future act, 211 f. 

Pressure, sensation of, 47 f. 

Process, motion as a, in ; conscious 

states not things but, 131, 196 ; 

misleading to substitute material 

symbol for, 190 ; cannot be 

analysed, 219. 

Progress, motion as a, in ; not 



divisible, 112 ; cannot be repre 
sented by geometrical figure, 181 ; 
misleading to substitute material 
symbol for, 190 ; psychic state as 
a, 198 ; from idea to act, 211. 

Providence, Descartes and grace of, 

Psychology, descriptive, limits of, 
139 ; sometimes misled by lan 
guage, 165 ; deals with intervals of 
duration and not their extremities, 
196 ; modern, and perception 
through subjective forms, 222. 

Psychophysics, and measurement of 
sensations, i, 55 ff. ; measurement 
of intensity of light, 52 ff. ; Del- 
boeuf s experiments, 52, 56, 58 f., 
67 f. ; method of mean gradations, 
56, 59, 67, 69 ; method of minimum 
differences, 64 f., 69 ; Delboeuf s 
postulate, 60 ; Weber s Law, 60 ; 
all, involved in transition from 
stimulus to amount of sensation, 
6 1 ; Fechner s Law, 61 f. ; postu 
late of, 65, 70 ; fallacy of all, 65 f., 
7o ; exaggerations of, 225. 

Quality, interpreted as quantity or 
magnitude, 9, 13, 39, 42, 43, 48 f., 
51, 58, 69, 70 ; sound as a, 46 ; 
sensation of increase qualitative, 
48 ; intensity of light as a, 50 ; 
variations in brightness qualitative, 
54 ; psychophysics attempts to 
measure, 63 ; no point of contact 
with quantity, 70 ; sensation as a, 
72, 90 ; confusion with quantity 
invades whole series of psychic 
states, 74 ; space devoid of, 95 ; 
qualitative multiplicity, 105, 121, 
128, 224, 226, 229, 239 ; sensation 
of mobility qualitative, 112 ; qua 
litative distinctions, 121 f., 204 ; 
counting as a qualitative progress, 
123 ; of quantity, 123 ; strokes 
of a clock estimated by quality of 
musical phrase, 127 ; time as, 
129 ; deep-seated conscious states 
as pure, 137 f., 224 ; matter 
stripped of concrete, 205 ; attempt 
to explain apparent, of matter 
205 ; shape as, of matter, 205 
qualities of things set up as states 
213 ; Leibniz and external, 213 
psychic phenomena as pure, 224 
Intensity as compromise between 
quantity and, 225. 

Quantity, see also Magnitude : as 
applied to inner states, i ff. ; alleged 
two kinds of, 3 ff., 72, 225 ; quality 
Interpreted as, 9, 13, 39, 42, 43, 
48 f., 51, 58, 69, 70 ; and muscular 

effort, 20 f., 25 ; of cause, trans 
ferred to quality of effect, 42, 70 ; 
pitch and, 45, 46 ; increase of 
sensation as, 48 ; difference be 
tween hues of a colour as, 60 ; 
psychophysics makes intervals be 
tween sensations into a, 62, 65, 66, 
68 f. ; no point of contact between 
quality and, 70 ; how quantitative 
relations set up between sensations, 
71 ; quantitative distinctions, 121 
f., 204 ; without quality, 123 ; 
time as, 129 ; cause of psychic 
phenomena as, 224 ; quality as 
sign of, 224 ; intensity as com 
promise between quality and, 225. 

Rage, Darwin on, 29 ; James on, 29. 

Reality, of space, 91 f., 95, no ; 
two kinds of, 97, no; real dura 
tion, no, 125 ff., 154 ; of facts for 
dynamism, 141 ; of laws for 
mechanism, 141 ; time as a, 155 ; 
attempt to produce, from alge 
braical relations, 205 ; physics 
treats sensations as signs of, 223. 

Reason, beliefs adopted without, 135 ; 
decisions taken without or against, 
170 ; in ancient hylozoism, 214 ; 
the discursive, 229, 237 ; Kant s 
doctrine of the Practical, 234 ; 
Critique of Pure, 235. 

Refraction through space, self per 
ceived by, 128, 129, 137, 167, 183, 
217, 223 ; of " things in them 
selves," Kant s view, 233. 

Renouvier, on freedom, 237 n. 

Representation, see Symbolical Re 

Resolution, how feeling leads to, 133, 

Revue philosophique, referred to, 52 . 

Revue scientifique, Tannery s criti 
cism of Fechner in, 67. 

Rhythm, connecting dancer and spec 
tator, 12 ; effect in music, 14 ; in 
poetry, 15 ; and architecture, 15 ; 
Nature does not command, 16 ; 
succession of conscious states 
compared to, 100. 

Ribot, on attention and movements, 
27 f. 

Richet, on pain, 35 f. ; on disgust, 36. 

Rood, on changes of hue, 51. 

Saturation, of a colour, 54. 

Scale, notes of, why classified as 
higher and lower, 45 f. 

Science, eliminates duration from 
time and mobility from motion, 
115 E., 228 ; and hypothetical 
acceleration of motions of universe. 



1 1 6, 193 ff. ; attempts to do away 
with duration and causality, 208 
f. ; separates ideas of free effort 
and necessary determination, 218 ; 
attempts to measure intensive 
quantity, 225 ; separates extensity 
and duration, 228, 230 ; main 
object of, 230 ; could deal with 
time if homogeneous, 234. 

Scottish philosophers, 72. 

Sculpture, ancient, 15. 

Self, whole, reflected in each conscious 
state, 98, 165 ; recovery of the 
fundamental, 100, 128, 129, 231, 
233, 236, 240 ; introduces distinc 
tions derived from external objects 
into its own states, 109, 125, 237 ; 
superficial, with mutually external 
states, 125, 128, 136, 138, 167, 237 ; 
deep-seated, with interpenetrating 
states, 125, 128, 136, 164, 236 ; 
many conscious states never blend 
with whole mass of, 135, 166, 168 ; 
perceived by refraction through 
space, 128, 129, 137, 167, 183, 217, 
223 ; the two aspects of the, 129 
ff-, 137, 231 ; tendency to form 
secondary, 138, 166 ; not an 
association of terms, 139, 159 ff., 
164, 165, 226 ; recourse to living 
and concrete, necessary to solve 
problems of causality, freedom, etc., 
139 ; activity of, cannot be com 
pared to that of any other force, 
143, 216 ; perception of, through 
forms borrowed from external 
world, 154, 217, 223 ; self-deter 
mination, 165 ; parasitic, as result 
of education, 166 ; free decisions 
spring from whole or fundamental, 
167, 172, 231, 240 ; covered over 
with crust of clean-cut psychic 
states, 167 ; does not intervene in 
carrying out e very-day acts, 168 ; 
uprush of deep-seated, at moment 
of crisis, 169 ; distinction of psychic 
states leads to mechanical concep 
tion of, 171 ; constantly changing 
and growing, 171, 175 f. ; view of, 
involved in geometrical represen 
tation of process of deciding, 176 f. ; 
infallible in affirming its immediate 
experiences, 183 ; as a free force, 
216, 235 ; Kant put free, outside 
space and duration, 233 ; Kant 
and phenomenal, 233 ; as a free 
cause, 235. 

Sensations, intensity of, i f!., 7 ff., 
20 ff., 40, 42, 47, 72 f. ; art yielding 
only, 17 ; and external causes, 
20 ff. ; peripheral, and muscular 
effort, 24, 26 ; peripheral, and 

violent emotions, 31 ; magnitude 
of, 31, 32, 47, 72 ; affective and 
representative : affective, 32 fi., 
72 f. ; and organic disturbance, 
32 f. ; pleasure and pain, 33 ff. ; 
affective, and free movements, 33 ; 
representative, 39 ff., 73, 90 ; 
medium, 41 ; representative, mea 
sured by external causes, 42 ; of 
sound, 43 f. ; of heat and cold, 

46 f., 64 ; of pressure and weight, 

47 f. ; increase of, and sensation of 
increase, 48 ; as quantity or qua 
lity, 48 ; of movement, 50 ; of 
light, 50 ff. ; measurement of 
luminous, 52 ff. ; psychophysics 
attempts to measure, 55 ff., 62, 63, 
225 ! equal and identical, 57, 62, 
63, 64, 69 ; law connecting stimu 
lus and, 60 f. ; as quantities, 62, 
65, 66 ; addition of, 64 ; considered 
as a sum, 65, 67 ; how quantitative 
differences set up between, 71 f. ; 
as pure quality, 72 ; and space, 
92, 93, 95 ; can space be built up 
from, 94 ; simultaneous and iden 
tical 95 ; of motion, indivisible, 
112 influence of language on, 
131 not objects but processes, 
131 altered by repetition, 131 ; 
physics treats, as signs of reality, 

Series, natural, of numbers, 2, 80 } 
double aspect of each term in a, 
124, 226 ; physical and psychical, 


" Several," use of, implies space, 122. 

Shape, as quality of matter, 205. 

Simplicity, different senses of, in 
dynamism and mechanism, 141. 

Simultaneity, implies space, 95 ; 
measuring duration and counting, 
108 f. ; as connecting link between 
space and duration, no ; defini 
tion of, no ; in measuring velo 
city, 114, 117; used in defining 
equal intervals of time, 116, 119; 
in space nothing but, 116, 206, 
227 ; and astronomical prediction, 
116 f., 193 ff . ; dealt with by 
mathematics, 119; attempted re 
presentation of succession by, 180, 
221 ; all relations not translatable 
into, are scientifically unknowable, 

Sleep, and perception of duration, 

Smell, illustration from associations 

of, 161 f. 
Social life, self with well-defined 

states better adapted to, 128, 137, 

139, 167, 231 ; more important 



than our inner life, 130 ; intuition 
of homogeneous medium as step 
towards, 138, 163, 236. 

Solidification, of an act, in space, 
112 ; of changing feelings, pro 
moted by language and external 
objects, 129 f. ; of sensations 
owing to language, 131 ; of ideas 
on surface of consciousness, 135, 
166, 168 ; of conscious states, 
promotes social life, 231 ; of con 
scious states, how brought about, 

Sorrow, an increasing, n. 

Sound, sensations of, 43 ff. ; inten 
sity of, 43 ff. ; pitch of, 45 ; why 
classified as higher and lower, 45 f. 

Space, and magnitude, 2 ; introduced 
into perception of duration, 74 ; 
article on number and, 75 n. ; 
intuition of, implied in counting, 
77 ff., 83 f., 225 ; material objects 
counted in, 85 f. ; conscious states 
not countable unless symbolically 
represented in, 86 f., 89, 90 ; idea 
of impenetrability shows inter 
connexion of number and, 89 ; 
projection of psychic states into, 
90, 101, 106, 231 ; time, but not 
duration, as spatial, 90 f. ; reality 
of, 91 f., 95, up ; as common ele 
ment in certain sensations, 92 ; 
Kant s theory of, 92, 93 ; nativistic 
and empirical theories of, 93 ; 
Mviller s theory, 93 ; Lotze s theory, 
93 ; Bain s theory, 93 ; Wundt s 
theory, 93 ; attempt to build up, 
from inextensive sensations, 93 f., 
99 f., 222 ; definition of, 95, 98 ; 
as a homogeneous medium without 
quality, 95 ff., 98 ; not so homo 
geneous for animals, 96 ; intuition 
of homogeneous, peculiar to man, 
97, 236 ; intuition of, necessary to 
counting, abstraction and speech, 
97 ; is time, as homogeneous 
medium, reducible to, 98 f. ; time 
as ghost of, 99 ; duration expressed 
in terms of, 101, no ; order of 
succession implies, 101 f. ; sym 
bolical representation of succession 
as line implies, 103 ; time as fourth 
dimension of, 109 ; simultaneity 
as connecting link between time 
and, no; and motion, no ff. ; 
projection of act into, 112, 181 ; 
Infinitely divisible, 113, 114; as 
homogeneous element in motion, 
115; the only measurable element 
in motion, 116, 118, 119; nothing 
but simultaneities in, 116, 206, 
227 ; alone homogeneous, 120 ; 

no duration or succession in, 120 
227 ; self perceived by refraction 
through, 128, 129, 137, 167, 183, 
217, 223 ; intuition of homogene 
ous, as step towards social life, 
138, 163, 236 ; connexion between 
perception of, and general ideas, 
163 ; is time space ? 181, 190, 
221 ; time confused with, in pre 
diction, 191 ff. ; as result of 
stripping matter of concrete quali 
ties, 205 ; separated from time by 
Kant, 222 ; must be eliminated 
in studying inner phenomena, 229 ; 
Kant confused time with, 232 ; 
Kant put the free self outside, 233 ; 
we usually live and act in, not in 
duration, 233 ; Kant on time and, 
233 ; existence of homogeneous, 
assumed, 236; as a "form of 
sensibility," 236; intuition of, 
what it accomplishes, 236. 

Spectrum, colours of the, 51, 54, 57. 

Spencer, H., on gracefulness, 13 ; 
on expression of fear, 30. 

Spinoza, on modes of thought and 
modes of extension, 147 ; on 
causality and apparent succession 
in time, 208 ; conception of 
causality which leads to, 208, 213 ; 
Spinozistic mechanism, 209. 

Spontaneity, idea of, simpler than 
that of inertia, 141 ; force as a 
free, 217 ; settlirg down into 
inertia, 220. 

Stimulus, law connecting sensation 
with, 60 ff. ; effect of slight but 
continuous, 106. 

Subjective, definition of, 83. 

Succession, attempt to derive exten- 
sity from, 99 f., 222 ; of conscious 
states compared to rhythm of 
tune, 100 ; without distinction, 
101 ; order of, implies distinction 
and therefore space, 101 f. ; cannot 
be symbolized as a line without 
idea of space, 103 f. ; within the 
ego succession, without, only 
externality, 108, 227 ; exists only 
for conscious spectator, 108, 120, 
227 ; endosmosis between exter 
nality and, 109, 228 ; none in 
space, 120, 227 ; attempt to repre 
sent by simultaneity, 180, 221 ; 
causality as regular, 202 f. ; no 
regular in deep-seated psychic 
states, 203 ; attempt to transform 
into inherence, 209 ; apparent, of 
phenomena, 201, 227 ; of pheno 
mena and conscious states, 212, 
216 ; Leibniz and, 213 ; attributed 
to things, 228 ; idea of measurable 




time arises from compromise 
between simultaneity and, 228. 
Suggestion, in art, 14 ff. ; in music, 

15, 44- 

Symbolical Representation, necessary 
to counting of conscious states, 
86 f., 89, 90 ; of a line, implies 
idea of space, 103 ; pure duration 
cannot be measured without, 105 ; 
of duration, derived from space, 
no ; of time as homogeneous 
medium, 124 f. ; of elements of a 
conscious state, 163 ; of the self 
and its feelings, given by deter 
minism, 171 ; of process of coming 
to a decision, 175 ff. ; leads to 
determinism, 178 ; of time as a 
line, 182 ; cannot be substituted 
for dynamic process, 190 ; of ego, 
confused by Kant with ego itself, 

Sympathy, physical, and grace, 13 ; 
with Nature. 16 ; with misfortune, 

Tannery, J., as critic of Fechner, 67. 

Taste, as changeable, 131. 

" Things in themselves," Kant and, 
233, 234, 238. 

Time, sounds not counted in, 87, 91 ; 
as homogeneous medium in which 
conscious states are ranged, 90, 
121 ; as homogeneous medium, 
nothing but space, 91, 98 ; dis 
tinct from pure duration, 91, 98 ; 
is it unbounded medium distinct 
from space ? 98 f. ; as ghost of 
space, 99 ; attempt to derive 
extensity from succession in, 99 f. ; 
two possible conceptions of, 100 ; 
is it measurable ? 107 f. ; appar 
ently homogeneous, 107 ; as dealt 
with by the astronomer and 
physicist, 107, 192 ff. ; as measured 
by clocks, 108 f. ; as fourth dimen 
sion of space, 109 ; concrete and 
abstract, 114; science eliminates 
duration from, 115 f. ; definition 
of equal intervals of, 115 ; how it 
comes to be represented as homo 
geneous, 124 f., 237 ; as symbolical 
image of duration, 125 f. ; as 
quality and quantity, 129 ; con 
fusion of, with concrete duration, 
155 ; is time space ? 181, 190, 221 ; 
uot a line, 181 ; confused with 

space, 181 f., 191 f., 232 ; as a 

number, 195, 197 ; separated from 
space by Kant, 222, 232 ; idea of 
measurable, arises from com 
promise, 228 ; Kant s mistake 
about, 232 ; Kant on space and, 
233 ; science could deal with, if 
homogeneous, 234 ; Kant put 
freedom outside, 235 ; hetero 
geneous duration replaced by 
homogeneous, 237. 

Tortoise, and Achilles, 113 f. 

Town, objects in, seem to live and 
grow old, 129 f. 

Tradesmen, their avoidance of 
round numbers, 123. 

Transcendental Aesthetic, Kant s 
theory of space in his, 92, 93. 

Units, those forming a number 
identical, 76 ; also distinct, 77 ; 
space implied in counting, 79 ; 
every number both unit and 
synthesis of. 80 ; two kinds, 
ultimate and provisional, 80 f. ; 
if divisible, then extended, 82 ; 
split up by arithmetic, 84 ; re 
garded by common sense as indi 
visible, 84. 

Unity, attaching to number, 76 ; 
all, due to simple act of the mind, 
80 f. ; of act and of object, 81, 83 ; 
Spinoza and the divine, 208. 

Universe, hypothetical acceleration 
of motions of, 116, 193 ff. ; mole 
cular theory of, 143 ; vague per 
sonality ascribed to, 213. 

Velocity, measurement of, 107, 114 ; 

notion cf, analysed, 117; uniform 

and variable, 117 f. 
Vis inertiae, 38 ; vis viva, 151. 
Vulpian, on hemiplegia, 22. 

Weber, his law, 60 f. 

Weight, sensation of, 25 f. ; 47 ff. 

Will, see also Free Will : willing for 

willing s sake, 157, 158. 
Words, see language. 
Wundt, on paralytic s sensation of 

force, 21 ; on connexions of vocal 

and auditory nervous filaments, 44 ; 

theory of space, 93. 

Zeno, on Achilles and tortoise, n;)f 


Bergson B 

Time and free will