Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/614

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598
[PRESENTATION or SELF
PSYCHOLOGY


grouping of the field of consciousness at the moment-“ pack the jury ” or “ suborn the witnesses, ” as it were. But the ground of certainty is in all cases some quality or some relation of these presentations inter se. In a sense, therefore, the ground of all certainty is objective-in the sense, that is, of being something at least directly and immediately determined for the subject and not by it. Where certainty is mediate, one judgment is often spoken of as the ground of another; but a syllogism is still psychologically a single, though not a simple, judgment, and the certainty of it as a whole is immediate. Between the judgment A is B and the question Is A B? the difference is not one of content nor scarcely one of form: it is a difference which depends upon the effect of the proposition on the subject judging. (i.) We have this effect before us most clearly if we consider what is by common consent regarded as the type of certainty and evidence, the certainty of present sense-impressions whence it is said, “ Seeing is believing.” The evident is here the actual, and the “feeling or consciousness” of certainty is in this case nothing but the sense of being taken fast hold of and forced to apprehend what is there. (ii.) The like is true of memory and expectation: in these also there is a sense of being tied down to what is given, whereas in mere imagination, however lively, this non-voluntary determination is absent (cf. § 26). Hume saw this at times clearly enough, as, e.g. when he says, “ An idea assented to feels different from a fictitious idea that the fancy alone presents to us.” But unfortunately he not only made this difference a mere difference of intensity, but spoke of belief itself as “ an operation of the mind ” or “ manner of conception that bestowed on our ideas this additional force or vivacity.”1 In short, Hume confounded one of the indirect causes of belief with the ground of it, and again, in describing this ground committed the 56-repov -rrpérepov of making the mind determine the ideas instead of the ideas determine the mind. (iii.) In speaking of intellect ion he is clearer: “ The answer is easy with regard to propositions that are prov'd by intuition or demonstration. In that case the person who assents not only conceives the ideas according to the proposition, but is necessarily determin'd to conceive them in that particular manner ” (op. cit. p. 595). It has been often urged-as by T. S. Mill, for example-that belief is something “ ultimate and primordial.” No doubt it is; but so is the distinction between activity and passivity, and it is not here maintained that certainty can be analysed into something simpler, but only that it is identical with what is of the nature of passivity-objective determination. As Bain put it, “ The leading fact in belief . . . is our primitive credulity. We begin by believing everything; whatever is is true ” (Emotions and Will, 3d ed., p. SII). But the point is that in this primitive-state there is no act answering to “ believe ” distinct from the non-voluntary attention answering to “perceive, ” and no reflection such as a modal term like “ true ” implies. With eyes open in the broad day no man says, “ I am certain there is light ”; he simply sees. He may by-and-by come absolutely to disbelieve much that he sees-e.g. that things are nearer when viewed through a telescope-just as he will come to disbelieve his dreams, though while they last he is certain in these too. The consistency we find it possible to establish among certain of our ideas becomes an ideal, to which we expect to ind all our experience conform. Still the intuitive evidence of logical and mathematical axioms is psychologically but a new form of the actual; we are only certain that two and two 'make four and we are not less certain that we see things nearer through a telescope.

Presentalion of SoU, Self-Consciousness and Conduct. 44. The concept of self we have just seen underlying and to a great extent shaping the rest of our intellectual furniture; on this account it is at once desirable and difficult to analyse it and ascertain the conditions of its development. In attempting this we must carefully distinguish between the bare presentation of self and that reference of other presentations to it which is often called specially self-consciousness, “inner sense, ” or 1 Treatise of Human Nature, Green and Grose's ed., i. 396. internal perception. Concerning all presentations whatever that of self no less than the rest-it is possible to reflect, “ This presentation is mine; it is my object; I am the subject attending to it.” The presentation of self, then, is one presentation among others, the result, like them, of the differentiation of the original continuum. But it is obvious that this presentation must be in existence first before other presentations can be related to it. On the other hand, it is only in and by means of such relations that the concept of self is completed. We begin, therefore, with self simply as an object, and end with' the concept of that object as the subject or “ myself ” that knows itself. The self has, first of all (a) a unique interest and (b) a certain inwardness, (c) it is an individual that (d) persists, (e) is active, and finally (f) knows itself. These several characteristics of self are intimately involved; so far as they appear at all they advance in definiteness from the lowest level of mere sentience to those moments of highest self-consciousness in which conscience approves or condemns volition.

The earliest and to the last the most important element in selfwhat we might perhaps term its root or material element-is that variously styled the organic sensations-vital sense, coenaesthesis, or somatic consciousness. This largely Selfand determines the tone of the special sensations and enters, the B°d- though little suspected, into all our higher feelings. If, as sometimes happens in serious nervous affections, the whole body or any part of it should lose common sensibility, the whole body or that part is at once regarded as strange and even as hostile. In some orms of hypochondria, in which this extreme somatic insensibility and absence of zest leave the intellect and memory unaffected, the individual doubts his own existence or denies it altogether. Ribot cites the case of such a patient, who, declaring that he had been dead for two years, thus expressed his perplexity:—“ ]'existe, mais en dehors de la vie réelle, matérielle, et, malgré moi, rien ne m'ayant donné la mort. Tout est mécanique chez moi et se fait inconsciemment."2 It is not because they accompany physiological functions essential to the efficiency of the organism as an organism, but simply because they are the most immediate and most constant sources of feelin, that these massive but ill-defined organic sensations are from the first the objects of the directest and most unreflecting interest. Other objects have at the outset but a mediate interest through subjective selection in relation to these, and never become so instinctively and inseparably identified with self, never have the same inwardness. This brings us to a new point. As soon as definite perception begins, the body as an extended thing is distinguished from other bodies, and such organic sensations as can be localized at all are localized within it. At the same time the actions of other bodies upon it are accompanied by pleasures and pains, while their action upon each other is not. The body also is the only thing directly set in motion by the reactions of these feelings, the purpose of such movements being to bring near to it the things for which there is appetite and to remove it from those towards which there is aversion. It is thus not merely the type of occupied space and the centre from which all positions are reckoned, but it affords us an unfailing and ever-present intuition of the actually felt and living self, to which all other things are external, more or less distant, and at times absent altogether. The body then first of all gives to self a certain measure of individuality, permanence and inwardness.

- But with the development of ideation there arises within this what we may call an inner zone of self, having still more unity and permanence. We have at this stage not only an intuition of the bodily self doing or suffering Innersem here and now, but also memories of what it has been and done under varied circumstances in the past. External impressions have by this time lost in novelty and become less absorbing, while the train of ideas, largely increased in number, distinctness and mobility, diverts attention and often shuts out the things of sense altogether. In all such reminiscence or reverie a generic image of self is the centre, and every new image as it arises derives all its interest from relation to this; and so apart from bodily appetites new desires may be quickened and old emotions stirred again when all that is actually present is dull and unexciting. But desires and emotions, it must be remembered, though awakened by what is only imaginary, invariably entail actual organic perturbations, and with these the generic image of self comes to be intimately united. Hence arises a contrast between the inner self, which the natural man locates in his breast or ¢p#v, the chief seat of these emotional disturbances, and the whole visible and tangible body besides. Although from their nature they do not admit of much ideal representation, yet, when actually present, these organic sensations exert a powerful and often irresistible influence over other ideas; they have each their appropriate train, and so heighten in the very Bases affective's de la personnalité ” in Revue philosophique, xvm. 149. »