point out then that in some cases there is not what would be commonly called an idea. But I go on to distinguish between an idea which is explicit and one which is not so. Now certainly, if by this I had meant that an idea was not actually present but was present merely somehow potentially, I should have merely covered a failure in thought by a phrase, and Mr. Stout’s censure would have been just. But my meaning was on the contrary that an idea is always present actually, though an idea which many persons (in my opinion wrongly) would not call an idea. Many persons would refuse to speak of an idea unless they had something separated in its existence from a sensation, and based on an image or something else, the existence of which is distinguished from the existence of the sensation. And this separated idea I called (perhaps foolishly) an explicit idea, and I opposed it to the idea which is a mere qualification of sensation or perception—a qualification inconsistent with that sensation as existing, and yet possessed of no other psychical existence, such as that of an image or (as some perhaps may add) of a mere word. And I referred to a discussion with regard to the presence of an idea in Desire, where the same distinction was made. This distinction I would remark further is in my judgment essentially required for the theory of reasoning, and indeed for a just view as to any aspect of the mind. And, not being originated by me at all, much less was it invented specially for the sake of saving any doctrine of mine about the nature of activity.
Let us take the instance, given by Mr. Stout, of a child or other young animal desiring milk. The perception, visual and otherwise, of the breast or teat suggests the sucking, but that sucking I take to qualify the perception and not to be an image apart. The breast becomes by ideal suggestion the breast sucked, while on the other hand by some failure of adjustment the breast is not sucked in fact. The perceived breast is therefore at once qualified doubly and inconsistently with itself, and the self of the animal also is qualified doubly and inconsistently. That self is both expanded by ideal success and contracted by actual failure in respect of one point, i.e. the sucking. And so far as the expansion, under the whole of the above conditions, becomes actual, we get the sense of activity. And there actually is an idea present here, though there is no image nor anything that could properly be called forethought.
Or take a dog who, coming to some grassy place, begins to run and feels himself to be active. Where is here the idea? It might be said that there is none, because there is no forethought nor any image. But this in my opinion would be an error, an error fatal to any sound theory of the mind. And I will
- Mind, No. 49, pp. 22-4. In once more referring the reader to this discussion I will ask him to delete the error “in” on p. 23, line 5.