Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/563

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STANDPOINT]
547
PSYCHOLOGY

of exact experiment, human faculty being, as it were, capricious, when compared with ordinary physical processes. Imposture, conscious or unconscious, is also an element of difficulty. But already phenomena which are copiously reported throughout the whole course of history have been proved to possess an actual basis in fact, have been classified, and to some extent have been explained. Even if no light is ever to be cast:on s iritual consciousness at the time, as true sensations are. Also if we consult the physiologist we learn that there is no evidence of any organ or “centre” that could be regarded as the “ physical basis" of this inner sense; and, if self-consciousness alone is temporarily in abeyance and a man merely “ beside himself, ” such state of delirium has little analogy to the functional blindness or deafness that constitutes the temporary suspension of sight or hearing.

To the concept of an internal perception or observation the problems, at least the field of psychology has been extended. The literature of psychical research is already considerable, and a complete bibliography would occupy much space. Readers who care to pursue the study will find their best guide in the Proceedings o the Society for Psychical Research, which contains a catalogue o the society's collection, including the Gurney Library concept may be so defined that they need not.

tion as we escape the change of assuming a

furnishes the material for such perception or

same proportion are we compelled to seek for

distinguishing its subject-matter. For, so far preceding objections do not necessarily apply-that is to say, this But then in proporspecial

sense which

observation, in that

some other mode of

as the mere mental

activity of perceiving or observing is concerned, it is not easy to see (hypnotism), with reviews of modern books in many languages-French, German, Italian, ' Russian—as they appear. Among modern English books may be recommended Phantasrns of the Living, by Gurney, Podmore and Myers; Studies in Psychical Research, by Podmore, with his A apparitions and Thought-Transference; and Principles of Psychology, by Professor William James, of Harvard. The historical side of the subject, especially as regards the beliefs of savages and of classical antiquity, may be studied in E. B. Tylor's Primitive Culture (under “ Animism ”), in Myers's Classical Essays (under “ Greek Oracles ”), and A. Lang's Cock Lane and Common Sense, and Making of Religion. Myers's work, Human Personality, contains vast collections of facts, with a provisional theory. Myers's regretted death prevented him from finally revising his book, which contains certain inconsistencies. It is plain that he tended more and more to the belief in the “ invasion ” and “ possession ” of living human organisms by spirits of the dead. The same tendency marks an article on “ Psychical Research, " by Sir Oliver Lodge, in Harper's Magazine (August 1908). Other students can find, in the evidence cited, no warrant for this return to the “palaeolithic psychology” of “invasion” and “possession” Th. Flournoy's Des Indes ri la planele llfars is a penetrating study of pseudo-spiritual “ messages." A criticism making against the notion of telepathy may be found in Herr Parish's Hallucinations and Illusions (Eng. trans.). Some errors and confusions in this work (due in part to the expansion of the original text) are noted in A. Lang's Making of Religion, appendix A. Such topics as TELEPATHY, CRYSTAL-GAZING, HYPNOTISM, SECOND SIGHT, the POLTERGEIST, &c., are dealt with under separate articles in this work. (A. L.)


PSYCHOLOGY (xl/vxrj, the mind or soul, and 7'yos, theory), the science of mind, which can only be more strictly defined by an analysis of what “ mind ” means.

1. In the several natural sciences the scope and subject-matter of each are so evident that little preliminary discussion is called for. But with psychology, however much it is freed The Science f h . h. . d.E I . . d d

o, ..Mmd ., rom metap ysics, t 1S~1S 1 erent. t is in ee ordinarily assumed that its subject-matter can be at once defined. “ It is what you can perceive by consciousness or reflection or the internal sense, ” says one, “ just as the subject matter of optics is what you can perceive by sight.” Or, “ psychology is the science of the phenomena of mind, ” we are told again, “ and is thus marked oii' from the physical sciences, which treat only of the phenomena of matter.” But, whereas nothing is simpler than to distinguish between seeing and hearing, or between the phenomena of heat and the phenomena of gravitation, a very little refection may convince us that we cannot in the same fashion distinguish internal from external sense, or make clear to ourselves what we mean by phenomena of mind as distinct from phenomena of matter.

To every sense there corresponds a sense-organ; the several senses are distinct and independent, so that no one sense can add mtemdmdto or alter the materials of another: the possession E of five senses, e.g. furnishing no data as to the character xternsl. » . .

of a (possible sixth. Moreover, sense-impressions are passively receive and occur in the first instance without regard to the feeling pr volition of the recipient and without any manner of re ation to the “contents o consciousness” at the moment. Now such a description will apply but very partially to the so-called “internal sense." For we do not by means of it passively receive impressions differing from all previous presentations, as the sensations of colour for one “ couched " differ from all he has experienced before: the new facts consist rather in the recognition of certain relations among pre-existing presentations, Le. are due to our mental activity and not to a special mode of what has been called our sensitivity. For when we taste we cannot hear that we taste, when we see we cannot smell that we see; but when we taste we may be conscious that we taste, when we hear we ma Y

be conscious that we'hear. Moreover, the facts so ascertained are never independent or feeling and volition and of the contents of any essential difference in the process whether what is observed be psychical or physical. It is quite true that the so-called psychological observation is more difficult, because the facts observed are often less definite and less persistent, and admit less of actual isolation than physical facts do; but the process of recognizing similarities or differences, the dangers of mal-observation or non observation, are not materially altered on that account. It may be further allowed that there is one difficulty peculiarly felt in psychological observation, the one most inaccurately expressed by saying that here the observer and the observed are one. But this difficulty is surely in the first instance due to the very obvious fact that our powers of attention are limited, so that we cannot alter the distri ution of attention at any moment without altering the contents of consciousness at that moment. Accordingly, where there are no other ways of surmounting this difficulty, the psychological observer must either trust to representations at a later time, or he must acquire the power of taking momentary glances at the psychological aspects of the phase of consciousness in question. And this one with any aptitude for such studies can do with so slight a diversion of attention as not to disturb very seriously either the given state or that which immediately succeeds it. But very similar difficulties have to be similarly met by physical observers in certain special cases, as, e.g. in observing and registering the phenomena of solar eclipse; and similar aptitudes in the distribution of attention have to be acquired, say, by extempore orators or skilful surgeons. just as little, then, as there is anything that we can with propriety call an inner sense, just so little can we find in the process of inner Perception any satisfactory characteristic of the subject matter o psychology. The question still is: What is it that is perceived or observed P and the readiest answer of course is: Internal experience as distinguished from external, what takes place in the mind as distinct from what takes place without. This answer, it must be at once allowed, is adequate for most purposes, and a great deal of excellent psychological work has been done without ever calling it in question. But the distinction between internal and, external experience is not one that can be drawn from the standpoint of psychology, at least not at the outset. From this standpoint it appears to be either (I) inaccurate or (2) not extra-psychological. As to (I), the boundary between the internal and the 'external was, no doubt, origin all the surface of the body, withfrwhich the subject or self was identified; and in this sense the terms are of course correctly used. For a thing may, in the same sense of the word, be in one space and therefore not in-i.e. out of another; but we express no intelligible relation if we speak of two things as being one in a given room and the other in last week. Any one is at liberty to say if he choose that a certain thing is “ in his mind ”; but if in this way he distinguishes it from something else not in his mind, then to be intelligible this must im ly one of two statements-either that the something else is actually or possibly in some other mind, or, his own mind being alone considered, that at the time the something else does not exist at all. Yet, evident as it seems that the correlatives in and not-in must apply to the same category, whether space, time, presentation (or non-presentation) to a given subject, and so forth, we still-find psychologists more or less consciously confused between “ internal, ” meaning “ presented” in the psychological sense, and “ external, ” meaning not “ not- resented " but corporeal or oftener extra-corporeal. But (2), wlien used to distinguish between presentations (some of which, or some relations of which with respect to others, are called “ internal, ” and others or other relations, “ external ”), these terms are at all events accurate; only then they cease to mark off the psychological from the extra-psychological, inasmuch as psychology has to analyse this distinction and to exhibit the steps by which it has come about. But we have still to examine whether the distinction of phenomena of Matter and phenomena of Mind furnishes a better dividing line than the distinction of internal and external. A phenomenon, as commonly understood, is what is manifest, sensible, evident, the implication being that there are eyes to see, ears to hear, and so forth-in other words, that there isM t I d presentation to a subject; and wherever there is presenta- Me? 3, in tion to a subject it will be allowed that we are in the 8 'ina domain of psychology. But in talking of physical phenomena we, in a way, abstract from this fact of presentation. Though consciousness should cease, the physicist would consider the sum