Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/9

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THE

 

POPULAR SCIENCE

 

MONTHLY.



MAY, 1895.




STUDIES OF CHILDHOOD.

VIII.—FEAR.

By JAMES SULLY, M. A., LL. D.,

GROTE PROFESSOR OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF MIND AND LOGIC AT THE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LONDON.

IN passing from a study of children's ideas to an investigation of their feelings we seem to encounter quite a new kind of problem. A child has the germs of ideas long before he can give them clear articulate expression; and, as we have seen, he has at first to tax his ingenuity in order to convey by intelligible signs the thoughts which arise in his mind. For the manifestation of his feelings of pleasure and pain, on the other hand, Nature has endowed him with adequate expression. The states of infantile discontent and content, misery and gladness, pronounce themselves with a clearness, with an emphasis, which leave no room for misunderstanding.

This full, frank manifestation of feeling holds good more especially of those states of bodily comfort and discomfort which make up the first rude experiences of life. It is necessary for the child's preservation that he should be able to announce by clear signals the oncoming of his cravings and of his sufferings, and we all know how well Nature has provided for this necessity. Hence the facility with which infant psychology has dealt with this first chapter of the life of feeling. Preyer, for example, gives a full and almost exhaustive epitome of the various shades of infantile pleasure and pain growing out of this life of sense and appetite, and has carefully described their physiological accompaniments and their signatures.[1]

  1. Op. cit., cap. 6 and 13.