The Principles of Psychology (James)

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AMERICAN SCIENCE SERIES—ADVANCED COURSE



THE PRINCIPLES

OF

PSYCHOLOGY


BY

WILLIAM JAMES

PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY IN HARVARD UNIVERSITY


IN TWO VOLUMES


VOL. I



Henry Holt and Company 1890.png

NEW YORK
HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY
1890

 

 

Copyright, 1890,
BY

HENRY HOLT & CO.



Robert Drummond,
Electrotyper and Printer,
New York.

 

 

TO
MY DEAR FRIEND

FRANÇOIS PILLON,
AS A TOKEN OF AFFECTION,
AND AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF WHAT I OWE
TO THE
Critique Philosophique.

 

 

PREFACE.




The treatise which follows has in the main grown up in connection with the author's class-room instruction in Psychology, although it is true that some of the chapters are more 'metaphysical,' and others fuller of detail, than is suitable for students who are going over the subject for the first time. The consequence of this is that, in spite of the exclusion of the important subjects of pleasure and pain, and moral and æsthetic feelings and judgments, the work has grown to a length which no one can regret more than the writer himself. The man must indeed be sanguine who, in this crowded age, can hope to have many readers for fourteen hundred continuous pages from his pen. But wer Vieles bringt wird Manchem etwas bringen; and, by judiciously skipping according to their several needs, I am sure that many sorts of readers, even those who are just beginning the study of the subject, will find my book of use. Since the beginners are most in need of guidance, I suggest for their behoof that they omit altogether on a first reading chapters 6, 7, 8, 10 (from page 330 to page 371), 12, 13, 15, 17, 20, 21, and 28. The better to awaken the neophyte's interest, it is possible that the wise order would be to pass directly from chapter 4 to chapters 23, 24, 25, and 26, and thence to return to the first volume again. Chapter 20, on Space-perception, is a terrible thing, which, unless written with all that detail, could not be fairly treated at all. An abridgment of it, called 'The Spatial Quale,' which appeared in the Journal of Speculative Philosophy, vol. xiii. p. 64, may be found by some persons a useful substitute for the entire chapter.

I have kept close to the point of view of natural science throughout the book. Every natural science assumes certain data uncritically, and declines to challenge the elements between which its own 'laws' obtain, and from which its own deductions are carried on. Psychology, the science of finite individual minds, assumes as its data (1) thoughts and feelings, and (2) a physical world in time and space with which they coexist and which (3) they know. Of course these data themselves are discussable; but the discussion of them (as of other elements) is called metaphysics and falls outside the province of this book. This book, assuming that thoughts and feelings exist and are vehicles of knowledge, thereupon contends that psychology when she has ascertained the empirical correlation of the various sorts of thought or feeling with definite conditions of the brain, can go no farther—can go no farther, that is, as a natural science. If she goes farther she becomes metaphysical. All attempts to explain our phenomenally given thoughts as products of deeper-lying entities (whether the latter be named 'Soul,' 'Transcendental Ego,' 'Ideas,' or 'Elementary Units of Consciousness') are metaphysical. This book consequently rejects both the associationist and the spiritualist theories; and in this strictly positivistic point of view consists the only feature of it for which I feel tempted to claim originality. Of course this point of view is anything but ultimate. Men must keep thinking; and the data assumed by psychology, just like those assumed by physics and the other natural sciences, must some time be overhauled. The effort to overhaul them clearly and thoroughly is metaphysics; but metaphysics can only perform her task well when distinctly conscious of its great extent. Metaphysics fragmentary, irresponsible, and half-awake, and unconscious that she is metaphysical, spoils two good things when she injects herself into a natural science. And it seems to me that the theories both of a spiritual agent and of associated 'ideas' are, as they figure in the psychology-books, just such metaphysics as this. Even if their results be true, it would be as well to keep them, as thus presented, out of psychology as it is to keep the results of idealism out of physics.

I have therefore treated our passing thoughts as integers, and regarded the mere laws of their coexistence with brain-states as the ultimate laws for our science. The reader will in vain seek for any closed system in the book. It is mainly a mass of descriptive details, running out into queries which only a metaphysics alive to the weight of her task can hope successfully to deal with. That will perhaps be centuries hence; and meanwhile the best mark of health that a science can show is this unfinished-seeming front.

The completion of the book has been so slow that several chapters have been published successively in Mind, the Journal of Speculative Philosophy, the Popular Science Monthly, and Scribner's Magazine. Acknowledgment is made in the proper places.

The bibliography, I regret to say, is quite unsystematic. I have habitually given my authority for special experimental facts; but beyond that I have aimed mainly to cite books that would probably be actually used by the ordinary American college-student in his collateral reading. The bibliography in W. Volkmann von Volkmar's Lehrbuch der Psychologie (1875) is so complete, up to its date, that there is no need of an inferior duplicate. And for more recent references, Sully's Outlines, Dewey's Psychology, and Baldwin's Handbook of Psychology may be advantageously used.

Finally, where one owes to so many, it seems absurd to single out particular creditors; yet I cannot resist the temptation at the end of my first literary venture to record my gratitude for the inspiration I have got from the writings of J. S. Mill, Lotze, Renouvier, Hodgson, and Wundt, and from the intellectual companionship (to name only five names) of Chauncey Wright and Charles Peirce in old times, and more recently of Stanley Hall, James Putnam, and Josiah Royce.


Harvard University, August 1890.
 

 

CONTENTS.




PAGE

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1

Mental Manifestations depend on Cerebral Conditions, 1. Pursuit of ends and choice are the marks of Mind's presence, 6.


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12

Reflex, semi-reflex, and voluntary acts, 12. The Frog's nerve-centres, 14. General notion of the hemispheres, 20. Their Education—the Meynert scheme, 24. The phrenological contrasted with the physiological conception, 27. The localization of function in the hemispheres, 30. The motor zone, 31. Motor Aphasia, 37. The sight-centre, 41. Mental blindness, 48. The hearing-centre, 52. Sensory Aphasia, 54. Centres for smell and taste, 57. The touch-centre, 58. Man's Consciousness limited to the hemispheres, 65. The restitution of function, 67. Final correction of the Meynert scheme, 72. Conclusions, 78.


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81

The summation of Stimuli, 82. Reaction-time, 85. Cerebral blood-supply, 97. Cerebral Thermometry, 99. Phosphorus and Thought, 101.


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104

Due to plasticity of neural matter, 105. Produces ease of action, 112. Diminishes attention, 115. Concatenated performances, 116. Ethical implications and pedagogic maxims, 120.


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128

The theory described, 138. Reasons for it, 133. Reasons against it, 138.

 
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145

Evolutionary Psychology demands a Mind-dust, 146. Some alleged proofs that it exists, 150. Refutation of these proofs, 154. Self-compounding of mental facts is inadmissible, 158. Can states of mind be unconscious? 162. Refutation of alleged proofs of unconscious thought, 164. Difficulty of stating the connection between mind and brain, 176. 'The Soul' is logically the least objectionable hypothesis, 180. Conclusion, 183.


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183

Psychology is a natural Science, 183. Introspection, 185. Experiment, 193. Sources of error, 194. The 'Psychologist's fallacy,' 196.


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199

Time relations: lapses of Consciousness—Locke v. Descartes, 300. The 'unconsciousness' of hysterics not genuine, 302. Minds may split into dissociated parts, 206. Space-relations: the Seat of the Soul, 314. Cognitive relations, 316. The Psychologist's point of view, 318. Two kinds of knowledge, acquaintance and knowledge about, 331.


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224

Consciousness tends to the personal form, 325. It is in constant change, 229. It is sensibly continuous, 337. 'Substantive' and 'transitive' parts of Consciousness, 343. Feelings of relation, 345. Feelings of tendency, 349. The 'fringe' of the object, 358. The feeling of rational sequence, 261. Thought possible in any kind of mental material, 265. Thought and language, 367. Consciousness is cognitive, 371. The word Object, 275. Every cognition is due to one integral pulse of thought, 376. Diagrams of Thought's stream, 379. Thought is always selective, 284.


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291

The Empirical Self or Me, 291. Its constituents, 393. The material self, 393. The Social Self, 393. The Spiritual Self, 396. Difficulty of apprehending Thought as a purely spiritual activity, 299. Emotions of Self, 305. Rivalry and conflict of one's different selves, 309. Their hierarchy, 313. What Self we love in 'Self-love,' 317. The Pure Ego, 339. The verifiable ground of the sense of personal identity, 832. The passing Thought is the only Thinker which Psychology requires, 338. Theories of Self-consciousness: 1) The theory of the Soul, 342. 2) The Associationist theory, 350. 3) The Transcendentalist theory, 360. The mutations of the Self, 373. Insane delusions, 375. Alternating selves, 379. Mediumships or possessions, 393. Summary, 400.


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402

Its neglect by English psychologists, 402. Description of it, 404. To how many things can we attend at once? 405. Wundt's experiments on displacement of date of impressions simultaneously attended to, 410. Personal equation, 413. The varieties of attention, 416. Passive attention, 418. Voluntary attention, 420. Attention's effects on sensation, 425;—on discrimination, 426;—on recollection, 427;—on reaction-time, 427. The neural process in attention: 1) Accommodation of sense-organ, 434. 2) Preperception, 438. Is voluntary attention a resultant or a force? 447. The effort to attend can be conceived as a resultant, 450. Conclusion, 458. Acquired Inattention, 455.


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459

The sense of sameness, 459. Conception defined, 461. Conceptions are unchangeable, 464. Abstract ideas, 468. Universals, 473. The conception 'of the same' is not the 'same state' of mind, 480.


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483

Locke on discrimination, 483. Martineau ditto, 484. Simultaneous sensations originally fuse into one object, 488. The principle of mediate comparison, 489. Not all differences are differences of composition, 490. The conditions of discrimination, 494. The sensation of difference, 495. The transcendentalist theory of the perception of differences uncalled for, 498. The process of analysis, 502. The process of abstraction, 505. The improvement of discrimination by practice, 508. Its two causes, 510. Practical interests limit our discrimination, 515. Reaction-time after discrimination, 528. The perception of likeness, 528. The magnitude of differences, 530. The measurement of discriminative sensibility: Weber's law, 533. Fechner's interpretation of this as the psycho-physic law, 537. Criticism thereof, 545.


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550

The problem of the connection of our thoughts, 550. It depends on mechanical conditions, 553. Association is of objects thought-of, not of 'ideas,' 554. The rapidity of association, 557. The 'law of contiguity,' 561. The elementary law of association, 566. Impartial redintegration, 569. Ordinary or mixed association, 571. The law of interest, 572. Association by similarity, 578. Elementary expression of the difference between the three kinds of association, 581. Association in voluntary thought, 583. Similarity no elementary law, 590. History of the doctrine of association, 594.


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605

The sensible present, 606. Its duration is the primitive time-perception, 608. Accuracy of our estimate of short durations, 611. We have no sense for empty time, 619. Variations of our time-estimate, 624. The feeling of past time is a present feeling, 627. Its cerebral process, 632.


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643

Primary memory, 643. Analysis of the phenomenon of memory, 648. Retention and reproduction are both caused by paths of association in the brain, 653. The conditions of goodness in memory, 659. Native retentiveness is unchangeable, 663. All improvement of memory consists in better thinking, 667. Other conditions of good memory, 669. Recognition, or the sense of familiarity, 673, Exact measurements of memory, 676. Forgetting, 679. Pathological cases, 681. Professor Ladd criticised, 687,

 

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1

Its distinction from perception, 1. Its cognitive function—acquaintance with qualities, 3. No pure sensations after the first days of life, 7. The 'relativity of knowledge,' 9. The law of contrast, 13. The psychological and the physiological theories of it, 17. Bering's experiments, 20. The 'eccentric projection' of sensations, 31.


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44

Our images are usually vague. 45. Vague images not necessarily general notions, 48. Individuals differ in imagination; Gallon's researches, 50. The 'visile' type, 58. The 'audile' type, 60. The 'motile' type, 61. Tactile images, 65. The neural process of imagination, 68. Its relations to that of sensation, 72.


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76

Perception and sensation, 76. Perception is of definite and probable things, 82. Illusions, 85;—of the first type, 86;—of the second type, 95. The neural process in perception, 103. 'Apperception,' 107. Is perception an unconscious inference? 111. Hallucinations, 114. The neural process in hallucination, 122. Binet's theory, 129. 'Perception-time,' 131.


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134

The feeling of crude extensity, 134. The perception of spatial order, 145. Space-'relations,' 148. The meaning of localization, 153. 'Local signs,' 155. The construction of 'real' space, 166. The subdivision of the original sense-spaces, 167. The sensation of motion over surfaces, 171. The measurement of the sense-spaces by each other, 177. Their summation, 181. Feelings of movement in joints, 189. Feelings of muscular contraction, 197. Summary so far, 202. How the blind perceive space, 203. Visual space, 211. Helmholtz and Reid on the test of a sensation, 216. The theory of identical points, 222. The theory of projection, 228. Ambiguity of retinal impressions, 231;—of eye-movements, 234. The choice of the visual reality, 237. Sensations which we ignore, 240. Sensations which seem suppressed, 243. Discussion of Wundt's and Helmholtz's reasons for denying that retinal sensations are of extension, 248. Summary, 268. Historical remarks, 270.


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283

Belief and its opposites, 283. The various orders of reality, 287. 'Practical' realities, 293. The sense of our own bodily existence is the nucleus of all reality, 297. The paramount reality of sensations, 299. The influence of emotion and active impulse on belief, 307. Belief in theories, 311. Doubt, 318. Relations of belief and will, 320.


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323

'Recepts,' 327. In reasoning, we pick out essential qualities, 329. What is meant by a mode of conceiving, 332. What is involved in the existence of general propositions, 337. The two factors of reasoning, 340. Sagacity, 343. The part played by association by similarity, 345. The intellectual contrast between brute and man: association by similarity the fundamental human distinction, 348. Different orders of human genius, 360.


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373

The diffusive wave, 373. Every sensation produces reflex effects on the whole organism, 374.


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383

Its definition, 383. Instincts not always blind or invariable, 389. Two principles of non-uniformity in instincts: 1) Their inhibition by habits, 394; 2) Their transitoriness, 398. Man has more instincts than any other mammal, 403. Reflex impulses, 404. Imitation, 408. Emulation, 409. Pugnacity, 409. Sympathy, 410. The hunting instinct, 411. Fear, 415. Acquisitiveness, 422. Constructiveness, 426. Play, 427. Curiosity, 429. Sociability and shyness, 430. Secretiveness, 432. Cleanliness, 434. Shame, 435. Love, 437. Maternal love, 439.


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442

Instinctive reaction and emotional expression shade imperceptibly into each other, 442. The expression of grief, 443; of fear, 446; of hatred, 449. Emotion is a consequence, not the cause, of the bodily expression, 449. Difficulty of testing this view, 454. Objections to it discussed, 456. The subtler emotions, 468. No special brain-centres for emotion, 472. Emotional differences between individuals, 474. The genesis of the various emotions, 477.


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486

Voluntary movements: they presuppose a memory of involuntary movements, 487. Kinsesthetic impressions, 488. No need to assume feelings of innervation, 503. The 'mental cue' for a movement may be an image of its visual or auditory effects as well as an image of the way it feels, 518. Ideo-motor action, 522. Action after deliberation, 528. Five types of decision, 531. The feeling of effort, 535. Unhealthiness of will: 1) The explosive type, 537; 2) The obstructed type, 546. Pleasure and pain are not the only springs of action, 549. All consciousness is impulsive, 551. What we will depends on what idea dominates in our mind, 559. The idea's outward effects follow from the cerebral machinery, 560. Effort of attention to a naturally repugnant idea is the essential feature of willing, 562. The free-will controversy, 571. Psychology, as a science, can safely postulate determinism, even if free-will be true, 576. The education of the Will, 579. Hypothetical brain-schemes, 582.


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594—616

Modes of operating and susceptibility, 594. Theories about the hypnotic state, 596. The symptoms of the trance, 601.

 
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617

Programme of the chapter, 617. Elementary feelings are innate, 618. The question refers to their combinations, 619. What is meant by 'experience,' 620. Spencer on ancestral experience, 620. Two ways in which new cerebral structure arises: the 'back-door' and the 'front-door' way, 625. The genesis of the elementary mental categories, 631. The genesis of the natural sciences, 633. Scientific conceptions arise as accidental variations, 636. The genesis of the pure sciences, 641. Series of evenly increasing terms, 644. The principle of mediate comparison, 645. That of skipped intermediaries, 646. Classification, 646. Predication, 647. Formal logic, 648. Mathematical propositions, 652. Arithmetic, 653. Geometry, 656. Our doctrine is the same as Locke's, 661. Relations of ideas v. couplings of things, 668. The natural sciences are inward ideal schemes with which the order of nature proves congruent, 666. Metaphysical principles are properly only postulates, 669. Æsthetic and moral principles are quite incongruent with the order of nature, 672. Summary of what precedes, 675. The origin of instincts, 678. Insufficiency of proof for the transmission to the next generation of acquired habits, 681. Weismann's views, 683. Conclusion, 688.


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691
 

 

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