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Lecture 5: Bodily Basis of Mind as a Whole of Content

Alleged subordination of Mechanism.

1. WE have seen that teleological wholes are inevitably constituted by what may fairly be called mechanical relations, that is to say, a determinate relativity of part to part in the light of the whole. In accordance with this contention we have so far insisted upon the “mechanical” aspect of the material expressions of intelligence. Now we are to argue from the character of material expressions of intelligence to the general possibility of a material counterpart of consciousness, the term counterpart being used in the restricted sense suggested by the relation of “equivalent” quantitative and qualitative series.1

But one misunderstanding should first be guarded against. “Granted,” it may be said, “that within every teleological whole there is and must be something which we may call mechanism, yet nevertheless we must bear in mind the complete and certain subordination of Mechanism to Teleology. The end determines the means; the means, the parts or elements, with their determinate reactions, have no initiative; no power of self-organisation; they are in no sense to be credited with the end; that can only come from purpose.”

Now we have seen that in one sense the “mechanical” point of view is really subordinate. It is—though not logically or truly separable—yet separable on sufferance, separable as accompanying an insight which is imperfect in comparison with the complete apprehension of an individual whole. A child will quickly see how one brick rests upon another; it would be beyond him to understand what thickness a wall must have to carry itself and the roof, or how the lines of the house must run if they are not to jar with one another for the educated eye. These are all “determinate” reactions, and “according to law”; but as the construction of the whole is approached they become more various and harder to hold together, so that, for example, the fact that every brick must be held in place by something else, becomes relatively less and less illuminating as we go on to consider the buttress or the arch.

But if we pass on to say that the purpose of the whole “determines” the mechanical factors, we seem to be transmuting the antithesis of part to whole within something individual into the antithesis of bare particulars to an empty generality. The “purpose of the whole,” after all, simply is the whole, put together as it must be put together if it is not to contradict itself and the context of experience. Certainly you could not construct such a whole as a human dwelling-place by attending solely to the laws according to which bricks can be built up into a wall. The essentials of life, apart from which the structure will be self-contradictory, must impose a number of conditions and reservations on the choice and application of material; and in this sense one may say that the material is subordinate, and is selected by the purpose of the structure. Only we have clearly to understand that this point of view is purely relative; that the essentials of life on their side must clothe themselves in determinate form, and submit to selection and modification by the nature of what is called par excellence the material, as actually, though not in general to so great a degree, as the material by them. And by entering into this larger combination, what first appear as the several conditions, the definite isolable factors, show on their side that more is immanent in them than we knew; and in face of the work of a great architect we may exclaim, “I never thought that such things could be done with brick,” perhaps, or “with iron.”

”But are you not forgetting,” it may be urged, “that a heap of bricks left to itself will not so much as build itself into a wall? Surely the man with his pair of hands is the all-important factor, with the appearance of which on the scene teleology begins to operate directly, and ideas impose themselves upon what would otherwise remain mere heaps of material.”2

This does well enough for a rough statement of apparent facts from the point of view of common sense; but it is inadequate for critical theory, and, as is constantly the case, the supreme insight of skilled and sensitive practice will be found to support the attitude of theoretical criticism.

What is it, then, that man with his hands can do? He can apply a mechanical force which in virtue of the character ultimately revealed in consciousness3 is able to react in view of a great variety of conditions taken together as a whole, and as a whole extended in time. He cannot—I speak now of what is indisputable, of external effects—he cannot produce in the world any change except by his bodily mechanical force in strict co-ordination with the forces and qualities of material things. The idea in his consciousness is powerless except in as far as it is a guide to combinations and modifications which are latent in determinate Reality, including his own physical abilities. His advantage over “natural” objects is that his range of combination is wider—that it is, indeed, in principle universal, for all that can be experienced can enter into his construction of the world. But yet, in his operations on nature, he is essentially no more than a co-operative mechanical force. He may be the predominant partner, from dealing with a completer whole; but in principle he is just as dependent on the reactions which he can elicit from the other members of the partnership as he is on his own. His very ideas are not created from the void, but simply represent the immanent capacities of his world as it develops in fact and for consciousness towards a more individual whole; and so far as by defect and confusion they fail to represent this, they become mere empty symbols of ignorance and impotence. After all, then, the man with his hands does not bring with him a new principle or create out of nothing a new totality. He reacts, so to speak, to a much more concrete whole than his material copartners, but he can do nothing with them beyond what it is in themselves to do. Teleology, if we know what we mean by it, is a very good name for the principle of his action; but it only means that he is able to take account of more complete totalities than those with which material objects in random grouping (i.e. grouping not specially interesting to man) are likely to be in relation. Every bit of his totality, as of theirs, is determinately necessary in the combination which constitutes it. As an end it is not to be credited, on the side of content, to finite, conscious, and “purposive,” interposition. It is the purpose of a section of the world which through consciousness has become explicit; or perhaps, which in making itself explicit has found it necessary to develop consciousness. It may be rejoined that at least the man wants it, while there is no meaning in saying this of the material associates of his work. But this again probably covers a fallacy. “The man wants it,” means that under all the conditions of the situation he finds in himself a contradiction if he does not have it; but take away the conditions of the situation and you modify or remove the want, while if the conditions are to remain and to count in the result the want cannot be ascribed to the man—the man cannot be ascribed to the man—in abstraction from them.

The sense of co-operation, thus demanded by theory, is strongly marked in the highest grades of practice, without, it may be noted, having any recourse to pan-psychism. The sculptor tells us that the statute is found lying in the marble. The glassmaker reports that the “metal” (the heated glass) is alive in his hands, simply coaxing him to make something beautiful.4 The iron-forger, it has been said, is useless until he acquires the feeling of the iron.5 These things are more than rhetoric. The matter—the physical medium of art, is one-half its inspiration. Teleology does not come out of the empty mind; it is the focusing of external things together until they reveal their internal life.

Dangers of “Interaction.”

2. In approaching the discussion of a “mechanical” counterpart of conscious process, it will be well to begin by explaining the point of view which for us gives interest to the question.

It is strenuously denied that the hypothesis of “interaction” supports Indeterminism. One would be glad to credit this denial, and it may be admitted that the connection between the two hypotheses is not inevitable. But the confusion which prevails in the whole treatment of teleology strongly suggests that the connection is natural, if not inevitable, and that if it is abandoned the main attractiveness of interaction—in itself a difficult view6—is removed. It is possible no doubt to conceive a system of a purely psychical nature such as to fulfil the conditions essential to connected mental process, and differentiated character or energy. And there would seem to be no theoretical objection to the idea of such a system in itself. But if it is bona fide to satisfy an interest which can not be satisfied compatibly with the idea of a mechanical counterpart, then there is a question if it can remain within the conditions of determinate interconnection, and whether the whole conception of the individual as being something, or possessing a nature of his own, would not have to be surrendered. In short, the idea of the mechanical counterpart is not so valuable for its own sake, as by way of a protest against a certain theoretical tendency, apart from which the exclusion of the mechanical from the conditions of psychical action would lose all its attractiveness.

We have seen the strength of this tendency in the impulse to bring purposive action into sharp antithesis with determinate reaction; to treat purpose and selection as if they were sufficiently explained by pronouncing the word consciousness, and as if the logic of the whole or the assertion of unity against contradiction ceased to be intelligible when we pass from the laws of nature to the aims of conscious action. Now so long as we continue to pay attention to all that side of purposiveness and teleology which finds expression in the material and quantitative counterparts of mind—the socialised surface of the earth, the machine, the work of art, the body,—we have before us something which emphasises the intelligible and coherent side of content and self-expression.7 We observe—and it is contrary to our most dangerous prejudices but fully in harmony for example with Plato's deepest views—that the subtlety and precision of correlations which are quantitative though not apprehended through number does not diminish but increases as we approach the completest forms of self-utterance accessible to man; and we are led to look for the differentia of the spiritual rather in the most comprehensive organised harmony than in the escape from determinateness and sufficient reason.8

Now it seems to be in this very escape from determinateness that the true attractiveness of interaction consists. It is bound to treat mind as a source of energy unaccounted for in the bodily balance-sheet. So long as the system of body and mind together is capable of being regarded as having something to which it is bound to be “equivalent,” as possessing, however ideally and in the abstract, an aspect of correlation with a quantity, there is meaning in treating it as of the nature of a totality; as something to which it makes a difference how far it is occupied or possessed by interests and impulses according to their respective intensities and their capacity for unification. But if the very idea of limit or equivalence is destroyed, then, it would appear, we have to deal with an unfathomable fountain of undifferentiated “spiritual energy,”9 and all presumption of the unity of reason—of a tendency in hostile impulses to conflict, and therefore to be reconcilable, is torn up by the roots. “The very idea of equivalence”; for this, it would seem, is all that the constancy of energy amounts to.10 All the arguments which point out how very slight and abstract is its import, and how little it affects the nature of processes which are quantitatively equated,11 are really in favour of leaving to psychical activity this last vanishing link with the world of physical constants. Apart from it, or from some effective substitute in an assumption of rationality of the psychical system, the whole context and tissue of consistent habit and reasonable motive is at the mercy of a volcanic redistribution of energy, suggested by nothing, and bearing no relation to the positive factors operating in the mind.

Now what seems worth pointing out is this. If the popular mind had its way it would doubtless exploit this conception to the full, not merely in the directions where it is perhaps impossible to refute, but in the coarser suggestions which no serious philosophy would countenance.12 We should not merely be told as by the popular doctrine of Free Will that the intensities with which objects are pursued bear no relation to their rank, connection, and predominance in the mental organism, but that spiritual energy is neither limited by nutrition nor capable of being exhausted by fatigue. There is much in literature and in common speech that indicates a proneness to all three of these views, and if they were to be seriously pushed home the interaction hypothesis would at all events have promoted an important theoretical contention.

But views of this kind seem never to be pushed home. They are restricted within limits which depend on the impossibility of precise measurements, sometimes making use of ideas analogous to that of a power of direction without expenditure of mechanical energy.13 They do not challenge the overwhelming improbability which would attend any thorough-going denial of our current assumptions about the logic of conduct, about nutrition, and exhaustion.

There is an analogous problem about heredity. If, as on some theories would be the case, the soul is supposed to come to the body with its definite endowment of capacities and dispositions, then that view ought to be defended and explained. But the overwhelming weight of probability is surely on the side of the assumption that all definite differentiation belongs to the body, and that all tendencies and capacities are transmitted through bodily arrangements. It is not so much that there is any special difficulty in conceiving a soul endowed with dispositions as that one can see no logical motive for adding these to the bodily arrangements which prima facie seem to form the main element, or a main element, in the differentiation of individuals. To insist on such an addition is in fact to attribute excessive importance to the physical aspect of life. It is because we are afraid of the physical that we try to reduplicate it in the psychical. A true view, recognising that the whole affair is an arrangement of appearances, would not be afraid to follow the plain probabilities as to the nature of the arrangement. But certainly the result would be favourable to supposing that all positive factors of soul life are represented in the physical counterpart.

And therefore the views in question seem both to be not worth proving and to be, for logic, discredited ab initio. “Not worth proving,” in so far as they seem only to survive by restricting themselves to quantities which would involve no serious deviation from our common assumptions. It may be that no one can prove—the present writer certainly could not—that it is impossible to delay death by starvation a second or a minute through a supply of physical energy having a psychical source independent of nutrition.14 But it is certain, I suppose, that no philosopher intends to maintain such a possibility up to a point which seriously conflicts with our ordinary assumption that life and all psychosis depends upon the ingestion of food. A thesis which did so conflict, however improbable, would be well worth proving. But a thesis which merely raises a doubt at the margin where quantities are too small for verification, accepting, for all the rest, our normal assumption as a working law,15 seems not to stand to win anything important even if per impossibile it were established.

And they are discredited ab initio. It is not playing the game in philosophy to suggest a new principle of explanation, bringing it up at every point to the edge, but not into the region, of possible analysis. But the main line of argument which is adopted in favour of regarding consciousness as a source of energy seems to be of this nature. It appears to rely on the impossibility of establishing the constancy of energy as an absolutely precise generalisation.

Now this generalisation may not be a principle for which or for its applicability to body and mind one would incur serious logical or ethical sacrifices. In the present context it has perhaps no metaphysical advantage over the idea of a psychical unity exercising mechanical energy16 according to some determinate or rational system. The only thing is, that the latter has to be invented, so far as at present appears, entirely out of imagination, and entirely to overthrow our ordinary ideas of causation; while the former is ready to hand, corresponds in general with our working assumptions as to the conditions of human life, and in principle assigns the control of energy to the predominance of content. There seems to be no reason for departing from it except the bare possibility of inserting at the unknown margin a fragment of a different principle, which in its general tendency belongs to an order of ideas that dare not lift their heads in daylight, and has for its effect, if not for its intention, to dissociate will-power from organisation of content. And therefore—not because of the content of these ideas but because of the attempt to maintain them only in the dark—the suggestion that the soul may be a source of energy without mechanical limit seems to be logically discredited ab initio.

This then is the interest which dictates the remarks of the present chapter on interaction. Interaction, as here understood, means the operation of body and mind on one another after the analogy of transient causation between material things. And it, therefore, means that bare mind develops mechanical energy outside and independently of the mechanical system of which the body is a part. This once assumed, there seems to be no ground for the limitation of such energy nor for its distribution in accordance with any sufficient reason.17 It is not here alleged that to accept a physical counterpart subject to quantitative relations is the only conceivable system of law for consciousness. But it is maintained that some such system there must be, if the mind is to be a mind at all, that any such system will possess the leading characteristics which we find in the physical counterpart, and that it is all important to be clear whether in the theory of interaction more adequate suggestions to this end are being brought forward, or whether the idea of system and sufficient reason is being covertly discarded from the philosophy of mind.

Suggestion is based on idea of qualitative systems quantitatively conditioned.

3. Such a theoretical interest is hostile only to views of interaction which demand mechanical operation from naked consciousness. So long as it is admitted that we cannot dissociate physical from psychical states, and that interrelation is most naturally assumed to hold between conditions each of which has both a physical and a psychical side, the fundamental difficulty does not arise. Any such view allows us to remain within the general analogy of qualitative wholes conditioned by more homogeneously18 quantitative counterparts. The view thus suggested would not precisely coincide with either interaction or parallelism. The psychical side would be regarded as an inherent character within the physical process, coming to light under conditions of relative perfection.

Such counterparts are normally of a material nature, as in the familiar cases of the physical bases of sound and colour, and the simplest assumption to which analogy leads us would result in treating the relation of psychical and physical on some such plan as that which does duty in these well-known instances. Enough has been said in the preface in the way of disclaiming all explanation of consciousness. The suggestion before us is not to “explain” consciousness on the analogy of the relation of sound to mechanical motion of an extended medium (which relation itself is a relation of objects of consciousness), but to extend to consciousness in general the conception of de facto equivalence which is illustrated by that particular case. We should thus get a certain orderly arrangement and continuity in the objects of our experience. As has been said above, no character necessary to consciousness appears to be interfered with by retaining the conception of equivalence. For, even if we drop equivalence, we must, in the interest of system, retain finite totality, which then would present itself as a quantitative limit, no less determinate than equivalence, but without the systematic rationale which equivalence affords it. We could not possibly allow that a given finite mind is an unconditioned source of ideas or of energy. Thus, it appears that there must at least be determinateness of a psychical system.19 And in the last resort this would suffice. But it seems better to retain the connection with physical mechanism, because the evidence carries it so far that to dispense with it after that point becomes a serious break of continuity, and because it supplies us, as we have said, with some suggestion of a rationale for the psychical limitation and differentiation which any sane view must assume.

Mechanical series in mind.

(a) It appears to be admitted that there are parts of psychological doctrine, dealing with the more mechanical aspects of conduct, which “may ultimately be replaced by Physiology.”20 Wherever an idea or perception sets in motion a series of connections that run an accustomed course to a habitual end, it seems to make no theoretical difference whether the entire reaction is treated as physical or psychical. If the “end” is a muscular movement it is plain that at some point physical connection enters into the series, and there is nothing in its character, even if accompanied by consciousness, to suggest that it has not a physical aspect throughout. Such a series, whether physical or psychical, merits the predicate mechanical. It is released a tergo by a stimulus, and in the typical case runs down to its end like clockwork without readaptation. Whether this typical case is too narrowly described is a question that will need reconsideration. But such, in general, is held to be the character of the associative habits of minds, and especially of those physical or psychical formations which have become known as “dispositions.” The conception here suggested is not even obliged to use the whole of the above admissions. It is not necessary to argue that any part of Psychology can be replaced by Physiology. It is enough to note that there can be psychical process which itself bears a mechanical character, and which without any theoretical sacrifice might at least be associated with a strictly physical and mechanical counterpart.

Finite Mind based on a complex of determinate adjustments.

(b) Every student of psychology must be struck by the recent rapprochement between ideas due to Hegel and a sort of glorified resurrection of British psychology. It is no longer, if it ever really was, the boast of the idealist to know nothing of the steps of psychical action and evolution. The term “machinery” perpetually recurs in the analysis of volition; and while it would be contemptible to make capital of such a casual expression in favour of a mechanical theory, it is certainly noteworthy that the adult mind is coming more and more to be treated as, at least infer alia, a shopful of machines.21 Now such a point of view, for an idealist who knows his business, is not a retrogression from the deepest insight into mind. It is, if rightly handled, the very legacy of Hegel, if not even of Spinoza. Hegel's “actual soul” is the perfection of a living body highly trained and definitely habituated.22 We do not know, Spinoza warns us in a wonderful passage, how much the body may be capable of doing.23 The question really in principle goes very deep. It is the question of the ultimate nature of teleology, on which something has been said above. Teleology is not the immediate translation into fact of fancies drawn from nowhere. It is the unity of a real individual, for whose parts there is nothing undignified in framing and disciplining themselves to a definite conformity with the whole. When we think of Hegel's conception of the psychical,24 how, for him, the planetary, the terrestrial, and the climatic influences draw together and become organic to consciousness in the concrete soul-life of a race and an individual, we must recognise that to be something in particular, to be built up on a definite structure which has learned many detailed lessons of conformity to reality, is in principle what we should expect for the most central and concrete of all finite existences. Thus it would be a false idealism to protest against the use made of laws and “dispositions” in recent analyses of Will, Thought, and Self. And it is interesting that, more particularly, such means are accounted essential for the passing of any idea into external fact.25 The mind is at least erected on a foundation of habit and determinate reaction, to which no injustice could be done by connecting it with a physical counterpart, and equating it with a sum of mechanical energy.

Vice of admitting discontinuity in the logical nexus.

4. But a sharp line is apt to be drawn when we come to fresh purposive adjustments26 or to selective interest, to that which decides what presentations shall actually be attended to, where we deal with considerations belonging to the psychology of feeling and attention. Here, it is said, we have something which cannot be represented in a physical or mechanical system; something, therefore, which we must attribute to the purely teleological idea of consciousness per se. Now the term Teleology, it has already been argued,27 though not a bad way of describing a certain side of conscious activity, constantly shows itself to be open to grave misunderstanding. Such misunderstanding seems to be present whenever the higher or teleological process, in being contrasted with mechanism, is also contrasted with that necessity and determinateness which mechanism and logic have in common. This contrast we seem to meet with in the dissociation of ethical and historical appreciation from logical insight,28 as well as in the conception of points in the world's history where a new principle comes upon the stage, and mechanism is replaced by the action of final causes.29

It is a misunderstanding of this nature which is here attacked. The central principle of Idealism seems to be abandoned, if the objects of ethical and historical appreciation are set up as more than an aspect of the whole in its logical individuality. The issue, as it presents itself to me, is whether teleology lies in the mere fact that some one cares for something, or whether the real question is not rather what makes anything worth caring for, and anybody capable of caring for it.30 And it appears to me that the reason for which the former or accidental aspect is insisted on, and the latter, the fundamental aspect, is neglected, lies in the spurious interest aroused by the conception of naked consciousness, or the stream of life, creating determinations apart from sufficient reason. It is here that there comes the parting of the ways with reference to the mechanical counterpart of consciousness. Why cannot fresh purposive adjustment and selective interest, be linked, subject to the reservations already laid down, with a mechanically determined system? The answer plainly is, because they are not thought of as flowing from the nature of any totality, but are conceived as originating de novo, and out of nothing.

Fresh purposive adjustment and selective interest are the same thing viewed from two sides. It is enough to discuss the former. It is admitted that external action involves psycho-physical systems or “dispositions,” which being started by their normal stimulus run down like clockwork to a habitual end. And it is common ground that so far as mental operations of this kind are concerned there is no final impossibility in their being translated into physiological terms. But it is urged that, so to speak, on the top of these, of a mind thus organised and habituated, the nature of purpose forces us to superadd a power of a wholly different order, by which new activities are freely generated in view of new experiences, the process remaining for certain phases independent of the physical series, and resuming relations with it at some further point.31

This, no doubt, is not the way in which those who insist upon such a view would represent the connection. They would say, to put the principle in a word, that teleology comes first, and that mechanism is fossilised teleology. The bodily counterpart of action, some might add, accompanies it thus far and no farther, viz. as far as automatism, of which secondary automatism would be taken as typical, is used in or substituted for psychical process.

But for the present purpose priority between the two alleged types of process does not matter. The point to which attention is drawn remains unaffected. It may be stated as discontinuity or severance of logical nexus.

The end, we have urged, is the whole; and if this subject and predicate conflict, then it is the character of being an end in time which must give way. We have it admitted that an adult human mind contains an immense structure of automatic machinery, by which connection is effected with its habitual ends in normal surroundings. I insist on this view, which I believe to be true, and to have more significance than is usually seen. Somehow, on the top of and by the side of this machinery, life is carried forward and new adjustments made. Now life is highly continuous. New adjustments are made on the basis of old. The machinery must be somehow co-operating in all determinate thought and action. The environment is a continuum, and life, corresponding to it, is also a continuum. In every change of environment, and in every relevant adjustment, the matter, so to speak, the stuff and medium, is mostly old. The old slides into the new, framing and conditioning it at every turn.32 A man is dissatisfied with his tailor or his house or his own character, and wants to make a change. There is no point at which his want is unconditioned by his past practice and surroundings. Things do not suit him, and the particular ways in which they do not suit him slide into the ways in which the new ones are to suit him. He rides on the old identity, guided by negations, to a new diversity. Or say that he begins by chancing upon some new practice, and it harmonises with his past and present better than something in that past and present with which the new conflicts, and which finally it extrudes. It is a very puzzling suggestion that all this determining continuum, which makes the main content of the new as of the old, is to be represented by a psycho-physical order discontinuous with the new adjustment and heterogeneous from it. “But the end has generated it; has, so to speak, deposited it; and persists itself, as the growing point, to determine without being determined.” But is not this in great part a misapprehension? In depositing this supposed stalactite of mechanical habit, the “end” has surely all along been determining not merely something else but itself. Take the “end”—the selective mind—when it was most nearly free, unsupported by mechanism, disposing of no automatic connections. In that phase it was correspondingly empty of content. Probably it had not then even the teleological form of distinct consciousness. Its distinctness most likely depends on the quantity of determinate conditions in relation to which it has embodied in machinery its own nature.33 All this, the habitual and determinate reaction of the mind, by which it, as a continuum, responds to its continuous environment—all this falls not outside, but inside the end. The end, no doubt, is something more than any of the automatic habits, and more than all of them together; but it cannot be formulated or be aimed at except by definite reference to them. It is hard to believe that it can stand in need of conditions and a mode of determination wholly discontinuous with those which belong to the greater part of itself. Here again the question of principle is the important thing. If the end, the object, the want, were something emerging out of the depth of a creative consciousness, dissociated from any larger universe, then the demand for discontinuity, both logical and mechanical, would be intelligible. But if the end is the completion, or the supposed and relative completion, of what already stands shaped in a determinate continuum, and if the very want which constitutes it as subjectively teleological means a negative and positive congruity of the formed system to its logical complement,34 then the suggestion of discontinuity seems wholly untenable in principle, whatever view may be taken as to “what the body can do.”

On this point a rough statement was admitted ad interim above.35 But so far as experience shows, the exclusive assignment of automatism to the physical and teleology to the pure psychical series would break down on the physical side. We have observed on this in treating of plant life, and when we come to secondary automatism there is no room for doubt. Broadly speaking, adjustments of quite the same character that would be made by reflection can be made under automatic habit, with almost any degree of unconsciousness. In other words, it is not true that psycho-physical automatic series are confined to identical trains of movements, unmodifiable after being released a tergo by a stimulus. In the first place, variation according to the stimulus can itself pass into adaptation; and, in the second place, it is clear that adjustment takes place in the whole course of movements, whether we call it variation according to continuously varying stimuli, or adaptation to conditions. The example of skill in games seems quite unambiguous.36

We are not, by the line which we have taken, bound to account for fresh purposive adjustments out of purely physico-chemical combinations. All that is here attempted is to defend the conceivability of a physical counterpart of consciousness on the general lines of determinateness. This is the point of the analogy (a) of mechanical processes in consciousness, such as admittedly might have a physiological counterpart, and which yet are absolutely continuous with choice and initiative, (b) of adaptive processes apart from explicit consciousness, which seem homogeneous with such adjustments as consciousness itself in other cases accompanies. It seems impossible to disregard such a continuity. If it is clear that physical movement per se explains nothing, it is no less clear that in every purposive adjustment there is on our hands the fact of a physical system in reaction, with an immense store of pre-adaptations by all of which the new reaction must presumably be influenced.

It is impossible to rule all this out when we consider the relation of the physical and psychical series.

Ends are physically embodied in such reactions as that of a Drosera.

5. Two further points may be mentioned, “How,” it is asked, “can a physical system possibly represent a ‘meaning’ or an ‘end’?” Understanding that representation and not explanation is in question, the answer seems obvious. Meaning is represented in a material system in as far as a complex reaction, involving the nature of the system as a whole, follows upon a simple stimulus. A penny-in-the-slot machine represents a meaning; and the principle is not confined to the world of human contrivance. When mere contact, such as would have no effect on an ordinary leaf beyond a slight deflection, causes a carnivorous plant to enfold and absorb a substance, it is plain that we have what in conscious form (which in instinct is imperfect) would be a meaning of the contact.

So again with a purposive consciousness. “The experience of seeking is the experience of giving ourselves to realising an end, of adopting it, of identifying ourselves with it. Hence for its correlate we may suppose an action of the brain as a whole in support of the particular system realising the end. Such an action of whole on part is well known experimentally in the inhibition and the enhancement of reflex actions.”37

This is only a side of the facts that have already been insisted on. It comes to this. There is no purely fresh purposive adjustment. There is no selective interest cut off with an axe from the continuum of interests. In face of a change of situation there must be a determinate modification of the whole and its parts for consciousness, by which the so-called “new” purpose is generated out of the old, because the universal or spirit of the totality is real. There must also be a determinate modification of the whole nervous system, and its parts, whatever they are. The former is what commands our interest. It must be logical, an effort to maintain and adjust the whole, giving rise by a definite modification to a fresh balance of interests and a fresh purposive conception. But the latter also we have on our hands, and it cannot be disregarded. The mechanical continuum must react, and its reaction cannot but be interwoven with the new logical development, into the stuff and substance of which, as has been explained, it enters at every point.38 Is there really anything to be gained by suggesting a “guidance,” a “déclanchement”—which by the very phrases and conception imply an exterior pushing or pulling at certain points, or the release of a trigger at certain isolated moments—from outside the system which is so plainly in the main continuous, self-contained, and self-directing?39

The sciences of body and mind do reinforce each other at some points.

6. The object of the present lecture has been merely to help in paving the way for a genuine conception of the concrete individual. I do not for a moment pretend that I can overcome the difficulties, which have been pronounced insurmountable, of uniting the treatment of soul and body in a single explanatory theory.

The difficulties are: first, the imperfect and self-contradictory nature of such beings as body and soul, when taken apart from each other and from the rest of the world; secondly, the separateness and independence of the physiological and psychological points of view as represented by physiology and psychology respectively; and thirdly, the remoteness from actual experience of the scientific descriptions furnished by the two sciences in question.

I cannot help thinking, however, that when difficulties of this type are advanced as final objections to the philosophical unification of appearances, the pretensions of the special sciences, against which the objection is supposed to be directed, are really being put too high. Granted that a certain falsity attaches to all appearances in isolation, and that the special sciences which deal with them are defective if compared with a concrete idea of truth; still it seems erroneous to suppose that such isolation and abstraction so much as aims at being the last word of intelligence, and that it is impossible to reconstruct concrete experience with a distinctness borrowed from abstraction. The connection of subjective Idealism with a special form of fallacy, as though the subjectivist position had in itself no scintilla of truth or significance, is an example of this readiness to disorganise knowledge.40 I see no reason against an attempt to conceive the restoration of the individual unity which the sciences of body and soul have helped to construct by analysing it. For scientific analysis, it must be remembered, always constructs while it analyses. The thing or object is not realised as a whole before analysis as it is after.41 It might be possible to make use of such detail belonging to these sciences, as would help, if only in the most general way, to reconstruct the idea of their common object. It seems, for example, to be needlessly rejecting a sound suggestion, if we neglect to bring together with the complexity of bodily reactions the more recent conceptions of the complex psychical machinery of the self and the presuppositions which it involves.

The world of finite consciousness is also its precondition.

7. Of course, even so, I do not hope to effect much. But it would be something, in my judgment, to emphasise the idea of a being essentially connected with or even founded upon its environment (past as well as present), to which nevertheless or out of which it brings a principle of unity, in a sense opposed to the struggling partnership of a body and a soul, isolable from the environment and from each other, as traditional popular metaphysic represents them to us.

Instead of a self-subsistent eternal angelic being we should then be led to conceive of the soul as—to adapt a phrase of Lotze—a perfection granted by the Absolute according to general laws, upon certain complex occasions and arrangements of externality. After all, we must not shut our eyes to the fact, that, though we cannot see life coming out of inorganic matter, we can, every day and everywhere, see souls, with full human capacities, apparently being brought into existence by the fulfilment of certain very elementary conditions of cell-conjugation and division; and we see that soul is emphatically, though Plato would not have it so,42 a thing or power or quality (whatever we like to call it), of which there can be more and less in every conceivable degree, and the more and less vary with the complication of the material system in connection with which it is observed. We are not suggesting that mere temporal or spatial multiplicity (as in the oscillation of light waves) constitutes a claim to the production of consciousness. Such expressions as complexity and complication, which are forward to suggest themselves as non-committal terms, fail to do justice to the point. The interest is rather in the protracted history and wide comprehensiveness of continuous and also co-operative organisation, that lies behind and beneath the appearance of the soul, and still more of the self or ego in its full character. It is not that the mere lapse of time or the intricacy of changes postulated by evolutionary theory can make a transformation explicable, which would be inexplicable if simpler or more rapid. But it is that the determinate incidents of self-maintenance which necessarily come into being in the constitution of a living and still more of a sentient body—the structures, the reflexes, the instincts, the feelings—are shown as at once the instruments by which consciousness and then self are evoked, and the world with which from their first appearance they are identified. Individuality is there for the observer before it is for the subject; or, we may say, determinateness, objective continuity, the character of a definite centre of experience, precede conscious selfhood and furnish its pre-supposition and materials. The finite self, then, qua finite, is the centre or awakening of a determinate world which is its pre-supposition. We may smile at the simplicity of the materialist who could explain consciousness as an effect of material combination; but it seems to remain true on the whole that when the self appears it is “granted by the absolute” as a solution to a definite situation in external arrangements; a solution which could not have been predicted or constructed from the mere observation of physical nature, but which, nevertheless, being given, can in some degree understand itself in correlation with its own experience of the physical order.43 And we must bear in mind that in the end this being granted by the Absolute upon a certain combination is all that any connection, any form of causation or inherence, can mean. There could therefore be no harm, if we knew what the words meant, in saying that matter or externality is the cause of consciousness. It is, in all probability, as Lotze says, that if we could observe the germinating soul as the microscopist observes the body, its development would appear to the observer to proceed pari passu with the organisation of the body.44 And in such a view, whether right or wrong in fact, there is nothing whatever materialistic or unspiritual. In apparent cosmic development, whether inorganic, organic, or logical, the rule is for the stream to rise higher than its source.45

We shall find, then, that the absolute must under certain conditions appear as a soul with capacity for forming a self, because the stuff, and pressure for utterance, are there, to which nothing less than a soul can do justice. There will be, as we said at the beginning, no motive whatever to level down the nature of consciousness to that of the psychical or physical foundation; on the other hand there will not be the smallest presumption that the psychical or physical stuff in which the Absolute has deigned to become self-conscious is unfit, because itself an externality, to be the instrument of the manifestation of which it has become the occasion; and no motive, therefore, to level up as is attempted by Panpsychism. What could be higher, short of the Absolute itself, than a being which is directly its organ for appropriation and appreciation of some context and province of experience?

It may be urged that a conclusion of this kind is mystical and equivocal. Is the self, we shall be asked, mechanically determined a tergo by the responses and excitements of the nervous system? Or is it purposive and selective, able to be determined by an idea of an object which is not yet in existence, and which is therefore incapable of producing physical effects upon the present nervous system? The question is not merely, Does a man act freely? but, Does a man act at all?46 We shall attempt to answer these questions precisely and concisely below. But in general principle I answer stubbornly that I cannot see why consciousness, being conceived as the determinate working; of a world of content, though gifted with a peculiar unity, a nisus towards totality, which can only be noted and not explained, should not be the meaning and true inwardness of a physical process which at every point there would be something definitely to determine.

If indeed the self brought with it from another world a new and independent content, there would not be in such a suggestion as the above even the show of rationality which I ascribe to it. But as the self is essentially a world of content engaged in certain transformations, and is nothing merely of itself or apart from its world, the conception that this, like other new qualities and responses, is granted as a supervenient perfection upon certain conjunctions of external elements, seems at least a way of formulating the problem with the minimum of temptation to definite error. At any rate, it places in strong relief a set of ideas which seem to me to demand attention: ideas of the dignity and splendour attaching to the position of a conscious being, just because it is a world, however subordinate in the whole scheme of the universe, in which the Absolute begins to reveal its proper nature, through and in union with a certain focus of externalities.

The point.

8. I will conclude by trying to bring this problem of body and mind to the clearest possible point, in order to leave no ambiguity as to the principle here advocated.

Mind is a self-shaping world, the centre of an externality.

i. It is hoped that the problem has been made more approachable by our attitude to teleology. The peculiarity of mind, for us, is to be a world of experience working itself out towards harmony and completeness. Such a world, as compared with a something bringing with it a new end or principle, some angel or genius, or some spark of intelligence coming from out-of-doors,47 is much more easily correlated with an arrangement ostensibly spatial, like the nervous system.

According to the conception here advocated then, mind is not so much a something, a unit, exercising guidance upon matter, as the fact of self-guidance of that world which appears as matter, when that reaches a certain level of organisation. Matter is externality, a side of our experience which seems essential to the whole of things,48 but not capable of independent reality. Under certain conditions, which are uniform in our experience, a certain type of this externality, also in the main uniform, persists and develops as the vehicle of life and mind. Its responsiveness, which all matter ex hypothesi possesses, takes on a new form, ceases to be spatial appearance, and becomes a centre of response, to which its own antecedent conditions persist as external environment. All that has come to pass is this new kind of apprehensiveness and responsiveness; purposiveness, according to our views, is an incidental consequence of it. Everything, from an elementary substance upwards, reacts in the whole in which it is a member; life and mind do no less, but nothing more. It is purely our eclecticism that fails to see “purpose” everywhere, e.g. throughout the inorganic world, and consequently, nowhere par excellence. The so-called purpose is really at every point of the whole, though more noted when it is a conscious self that is at some point in self-contradiction, when what we are apt to call a true or subjective purpose—a wish or want—arises. Thus the true representative of purposive consciousness is an organised system; not a mere subject feeling a want.

Life is very much wider than finite mind, and relatively “natural.”

ii. It is for us really a minor question whether life, with all the facts of organic regulation, can be explained on a physico-chemical basis. For us the point is that it most certainly can and must be explained, or left unexplained, apart from what is commonly called mind, that is, from finite centres of consciousness. If we take Driesch's theory of the entelechy as typical for vitalism, we see that the influence of the entelechy is precisely relevant to the state of the material system and to the stimuli acting upon it; and it becomes a verbal question whether in such a case we speak of natural causation or not. The theory with the facts on which it rests plainly shows the impossibility of denying that self-guidance can be immanent in a purely natural system, if we take natural in the sense of “unguided by conscious mind.” The attempt to treat the Entelechy as an element operating ab extra upon the material system, when it simply represents the latter in its normal functioning, must be held purely artificial and fictitious.49

Thus, then, we have it in principle, plainly from vitalist, and ex hypothesi from anti-vitalist,50 that organic regulation is natural and immanent. If matter cannot be said to do it, matter can produce a situation in which it must be done, and done relevantly to stimuli dependent on spatial and material relations. Regulation, then, is a fact prior to and independent of consciousness, and if it is extended when consciousness comes on the scene, as in action determined by experience, that does not necessarily mean that consciousness supplants and supersedes without any continuity the purely organic ground of regulation. It seems more likely that at a certain point the organism becomes aware of a feature of its own, which becomes at the same crisis more complete, than that its whole character, which, moreover, certainly persists for three-fourths of its processes,51 should be cut away about three-quarters up the scale and replaced by something totally different. Consciousness, we repeat, neither creates a high organism nor works it. It is rather the indispensable means of reaping the final and supreme result of the organism's complex adaptations.

Conscious Process is meaning, not effect, of physical process.

iii. In part of the behaviour of human beings, and also no doubt of the higher animals, externality and consciousness become plainly distinct and divergent. Nervous process, we must believe, is movement in space (not that its differences need be purely spatial; they are very probably to a great extent qualitative), while consciousness, even if some of its states and objects are extended, is in the main unspatial; its elements penetrate one another in a way which defies assignment of distance and relative locality. All bodily movement and brain change is caused, we must believe, if there is to be any science, by bodily conditions. But again, consciousness is the only thing we recognise as the nature and substance of any act which we call our own.

Now we have seen that interaction asks us to make consciousness at once material and not material, and in this way opens up an unlimited vista of inconceivable suggestion, while parallelism is not so much a positive theory as a precaution of method.

Hence the only possible course, as it seems to me, is simply to accept conscious process as the essence of a certain kind of physical process, and as covered by its physical cost in the body's balance-sheet. In all probability, as we have seen, we have to accept an analogous principle of unity in the realms of life below consciousness. This unity and responsiveness of part to whole, as seen in organic “regulation,” is a character, it seems, of or necessitated by organic matter; and in the case of unconscious life, it seems impossible that it should be set out by itself as an additional effect, demanding a separate output of energy. There is no separate factor concerned that could be thus set out.

Now consciousness, as we read the relation, is a character of further increased sensitiveness and responsiveness on the same analogy. Take as an example the incoming sensation—the feeling of the prick of a pin. Is this feeling, a sensation with a painful tone, an effect of the physical prick or not? I should reply, “No; not an effect but an interpretation.” An effect is a continuation of a process into a further stage. The pin-prick sets up neural change, and ultimately some degree of motor stimulus. That is an effect. An interpretation is a going into, an appreciating, the nature of a process as it happens. It is an interpretation when we hear certain shocks as music, instead of regarding them, on physical evidence, as transmitted vibrations. Very possibly it may be a rule that there is more effect observable when a physical process finds interpretation; because interpretation has something to do with the degree in which the process excites the nervous system. There may be more physical effect when no anaesthetic is used for an operation, than when it is used. But, all the same, an interpretation is not an effect; it is not a new happening; it is an appreciation of what is happening.

Is this mere words and evasion? I cannot think so. It follows from our whole line of thought. The approach to the nature of mind has been for us, always on the basal conception of a centre of a world, an approach to a wider apprehensiveness and responsiveness. We thought of a brick just resting on another brick, of a brick in an arch or in a façade, of an element, one might add, in a crystal. We argued that the growth towards teleology was simply the growth towards individuality of the whole recognised by the centre. Of course there is a gap between external relation and conscious apprehension and response; but, especially considering the intermediate realm of mere life, it involves, from our point of view, no change of principle. On the hypothesis of interaction you destroy continuity by extracting the principle of unity, and then setting it, empty, to act ab extra; it is a different thing when you keep it within the concrete to which it belongs. All that happens, on our view, is that when you come to matter which has been granted life or consciousness, its capacities of apprehension and response open up a new significance and become the focus of a new kind of whole. Sensation and pain, it is submitted, are what the prick is when the apprehension of it is deepened; they are no additional reaction, but the reaction as apprehended by a certain kind of system. They are what the effect on the sentient organism is like when you come to realise it.52

So with volition and with speculative thought. The difference of the brain process and the conscious process is given, when we take the one as spatial and the other as not. When this is accepted, the facts are truly given by saying, “We control our acts and ideas; that is, the contents, habits, and reflexes which we are, and which in our nerve-change and brain process blend, inhibit, and enhance each other, correspondingly blend and inhibit and enhance each other in the unity—a very partially realised unity, of course—of our non-spatial thought. And in our awareness of this we feel and know what in the nervous process we do—what the world of contents and habits, which is the self, generates by its total response.”

Much difficulty has been raised by the assumption that the two systems must be similar, a cell for a thought, a spatial coincidence for identity,53 and the like. All we need is that their systematic action should be capable of corresponding, and this in general we can understand.54 There is no reason for demanding point to point similarity between the two.

And there is a consideration, important in the theory of knowledge and will, which shows the value of accepting a correspondence between the nervous system and our self-determination. For the self is not wholly an affair of the distinctest consciousness. Its clear course of ideas, as we have constantly insisted, is only a light that breaks out over a huge organisation of adaptations, impulses, reflexes, peripheral sensitiveness of every kind and degree. We get a truer conception of the self, in many important and valuable ways, from thinking of the whole nervous system, and not merely of cortical process, as corresponding to what we are, than by merely following the central course of our clearest purposes and reflections and intensest emotions. Here is one fundamental point, for example, not generally recognised. We have been taught that the will is good or bad apart from failure or success, i.e. if there is an idea passing into realisation, in which a large component is of a type we generally approve, the detailed result, some would say as intended, and nearly all would say as achieved, makes no difference to its value. But this cannot really be so. If an idea cannot secure its own adequate realisation, it is “not ideal enough.” It has not enough conformity with the environment; it does not really contain as much of the secret of coherence or perfection as it professes to contain. I take it that a glance at the nervous system shows us this incontrovertibly. A phase of consciousness, as I gather, corresponds to a set of co-ordinations in which ultimately the whole nervous system is or may be engaged. What we can think depends largely both on our receptiveness and on our active dispositions (psychical or physical), and these need not appear as such and distinctly in the focus of our thinking. All the same, our general ideas will be truncated, or rather aborted, if they do not find copious and largely organised active dispositions to fit their content to corresponding detail, and carry it out adequately into the real world. What we can will is reacted upon by what we can do. This is why in the beginning we do not know how to will the good, and have to learn it with pain and labour, by forming habits adequate in detail to its content as the concrete unity of our world.

A man wishes, let us say, as purely as he knows how to wish, to promote religion among his neighbours. But he has no habits or formed dispositions of self-adaptation, self-repression, sympathy, beneficence, penetrative imagination. This defect reacts on his religious ideas themselves. He cannot promote them, because they are imperfect; but also they are imperfect because he has no trained capacities adequate to promoting them. The religious idea is not filled in and made to bridge the gap between abstraction and realisation. The cortical process (should we not be justified in saying?) is in such a case starved and aborted by the failure to find habitual systems and dispositions, whether cortically or subcortically seated, which can meet and amplify and enrich its content with theirs. It has not at its disposal either extended areas of cortical excitement or complex systems of motor activity; and those which it can dispose of, being insufficiently co-ordinated lines of action and expression, are immediately and continually being checked by failure, and consequently bring no peripheral reinforcement to the idea. The same would be true, reading suggestion for realisation, of defective theoretical thinking. Now such defects, or their countervailing merits, are in a great degree not factors within consciousness in our explicit volitions and trains of thought. But they affect it and make it other than it would be if the whole nervous organisation were different.

In a word, our whole world is at work in every remodelling of itself;55 and if we admit that its habitual and automatic elements help to mould our thinking and our will, we need not scruple to admit that the formed mechanism of the brain is our instrument throughout. Consciousness, as we have maintained throughout, is not an epiphenomenon, if that mean something extraneous and otiose, but it is a supervenient perfection; it is plainly and unmistakably so. It comes when the individuality of worlds has reached such a pitch of comprehensiveness and their self-direction is faced with such problems of apprehensiveness, that to be an object of experience no longer does justice to their value. Suppose a mountain had a mind—a mind, according to all analogy, lower than that of an oyster—what could it know of its own worth? That would still remain for the artist and the alpine walker to appreciate. It is not meant that the value to be realised evokes by a miracle the means of realising it. But we shall see reason to conclude that the degree of individuality, which, on the one side, is the evolutionary demand that self-direction, hitherto unconscious or associative, shall become explicit and freely logical, is, on the other side, the measure of value.

This, then, is our conclusion in principle. The difference between bodily change and mental action cannot be explained away, but, while accepting it, we have no right to make capital of it in the way of multiplying differences praeter necessitatem. In saying that body is spatial and mind not spatial we have said in effect that body is a causal system and mind a logical one. But body is a causal system long disciplined and subordinated to a unitary self-maintenance, and it has within it, clearly and obviously, the bases of all the motives and stimuli which enter into mind. I believe we have just to accept the action and expression of a logical system through such a physical one. If it follows that matter is not confined to physico-chemical properties we should accept the conclusion. But it cannot follow that the principle of Uniformity, rightly understood, and of conservation of energy, are inapplicable to it. There is no ground for contending aggressively that rational prediction is inapplicable to its organic forms. We must, indeed, remember that bare calculation will give neither quality nor meaning, and significant prediction would need both. But there is nothing in this to cause the foes of intelligence to triumph. In principle all intelligence is one, and its logic is the very essence of creative and inventive process. Therefore a greater intelligence may include a lesser, and in regard to the main problems and purposes of a lifetime, still in the future, not infrequently does so, and if all intelligences did not in this way “cover” one another to some extent, there could be no spiritual world, and no creative activity, implying co-operation, in the universe. To suppose that this unity involves an interference with freedom and initiative is totally to misapprehend the nature of originality.

In a future lecture we will draw out the nature of freedom and initiative as an embodiment of that self-directing logical process, which is the true meaning and the actual working of our minds, through the instrumentality of our organised nervous system.

Appendix 1. to Lecture 5

The “Guidance” Theories

Cf. Taylor's Metaphysics, p. 289: “Nor again have we any experimental means of proving that those quantities (mass and energy) are more than approximately constant,” and references there cited. Add Ward, Naturalism, ii. 59, 82-4, where he explains but rejects the notion of a mechanical system guided by mind with no expenditure, or an inappreciable expenditure, of energy, and so far his view seems just and consistent. But it is clear from p. 84 and from his attitude throughout, that, though for him a mechanical theory is to be rejected in principle, yet in effect what we are to look for is again an inappreciable interference ab extra with the laws of motion. It is inert mass plus direction, which, on the whole, he has in mind, although a different ideal sometimes suggests itself to him. It is this separation of the whole from the guiding element which the view of the text regards as a survival in principle of the notion of matter plus miracle—the attitude of common external teleology. The “plan” is brought to the material; is not in it or elicited from it. The same discontinuity is startlingly apparent in M. Bergson's views, and here, again, unites itself with the inappreciable quantity. I cite a characteristic passage (Évolution créatrice, p. 125): “Supposons, comme nous le faisions entrevoir dans le précédent chapitre, qu'il y ait au fond de la vie un effort pour greffer, sur la nécessité des forces physiques, la plus grande somme possible d'indetermination. Cet effort ne peut aboutir à créer de l'énergie, ou, s'il en crée, la quantite créée n'appartient pas à l'ordre de grandeur sur lequel ont prise nos sens et nos instruments de mesure, notre expérience et notre science [italics mine]…Lui-même [l'effort] ne possède que ce pouvoir de déclancher. Mais le travail de déclanchement, quoique toujours le même et toujours plus faible que n'importe quelle quantité donnée, sera d'autant plus efficace qu'il fera tomber de plus haut un poids plus lourd, on, en d'autres termes, que la somme d'énergie potentielle accumulée et disponible sera plus considérable.”

So Schiller, Humanism, according to M'Dougall's Social Psychology, p. 234, suggests the idea of a ball balanced in unstable equilibrium on the top of a high divide, disturbed by a minimal force. I have not been able to find the passage referred to.

All these ideas seem to show the radical defect at which my argument is aimed; the choosing unit or element is not a system of the contents dealt with by choice. Mind and its world, choice and action, become utterly discontinuous. For a hint of a better view cf. Bergson, Données, p. 135. (The criticism of taking directions of action as things which await our choice.)

Driesch's form of vitalism exhibits all these difficulties in the relation of “mechanical” to “natural” and“psychical” operation. By “mechanical” operation he means the production of an extensive manifold by a previously existing extensive manifold, involving a single and external cause correlative to every element in the effect. No such extensive manifold, no arrangement of parts in the three dimensions of space, is capable, in his view, of producing the results which are observed in the “regulation” characteristic of organic life, by which, for example, a typical form may be developed out of the set of elements which normally produce it, though rearranged at random in space, or halved in number. Life, then, is not for him “mechanically” explicable, and he proclaims himself a vitalist.

Per contra the entity, the x, which he takes to represent the interests of the normal organic whole, and to which he gives the name of Entelechy, is for him a purely natural element. It is never identical with consciousness, and in its purely organic forms it is not even accompanied by consciousness. It is conceived by him as an intensive manifold, revealed only in its operation. It exercises no energy, but has a power of “regulation” through postponing some to others of the reactions possible within the organism, and setting free those which it has itself suspended or postponed. I cannot offer a scientific criticism of these ideas, but they seem on the surface, though nominally excluding the ascription of physical energy to consciousness, very analogous to those which make mind control body by the exercise of an inappreciable amount of force, which seems to mean, by exercising force and yet not exercising it.

But in the facts which sustain the result, simply taken, we can hardly help finding a “natural” determination referable to the characteristics of certain material combinations, even if the special type of explanatory theory above defined as “mechanical” is rightly excluded. The determination is described as thoroughly univocal; consciousness is not concerned in it; it is characteristically relevant and differential (i.e. logically uniform) over an immense area of organic being. The elaborate proofs that it cannot be mechanical are themselves in every case proofs of very precise and relevant reactions to the variations of external stimuli. The very meaning of his equipotential system is that it is composed of elements each of which can do whatever its place in the system, however changed by disturbance, may demand in the interests of the normal form. One way or other, it has to be admitted that these powers are exercised not only apart from consciousness but in the closest concomitant variation with matter. If this is true it is unimportant that there is no one living substance (Driesch, ii. 246). Is it not really special pleading, a verbal distinction due ultimately to exaggerating the homogeneousness of physical causation, when such artificial hypotheses are resorted to in order to distinguish responses which cannot but be called natural, in toto and in principle from the qualitative reactions of the material world?

In Driesch's view of the psychical we see the relation yet more clearly. Even in life, without reference to mind, he makes a decided attempt to separate the “entelechy” from the material whole, to treat it as interfering ab extra like an artist with his material, even to think of it as a possible object of systematic classification on a priori grounds, apart from moulding by the environment. The universal is made a particular, operative among the particulars of spatial form, and its immanence in the environment, in the world, is neglected.

When we come, in Driesch's theory, to the Entelechy or Psychoid (as it may then be called) at the level of intelligence, the discontinuities inherent in all the guidance theories become glaringly prominent. It is admitted that the type of hypothesis we are dealing with is that (familiar from Lotze56) according to which there is a something that plays on the brain as a piano-player on a piano. Or, by a variation of the metaphor, the brain is represented as “a sort of warehouse, a place of storing;…it possesses the faculty of storing engrammata. But it can only store engrammata in the sense of given combinations of given elements, and therefore nothing but the psychical phenomena of simple recognition and of association by contiguity are immediately related to cerebral processes—the faculty of rearranging, nay, even the faculty of association by identity and contrast, has no relationship with any performance of physico-chemical agents whatever.” “Ideas,” again, “have real cerebral process as their starting point,” but judgment has not. Now, if we hold what I take to be plainly true, that all association is impure judgment “marrying only universals,” and that ideas are strictly elements in judgment, we are bound to condemn these discontinuities as contrary to fundamental truth in logic and psychology (see Driesch, Gifford Lectures, ii. 97 ff). Bergson appears to me to make an equally impossible dissociation between contemplative and motor memory, treating the former as corresponding to differences, and being wholly unconnected with brain; the latter as corresponding to identities, and being dependent upon it (Matiére, p. 169). The whole theory of the relation between mind and brain, critical no less than traditional, seems to suffer from a want of freedom—from an assumption that if matter is the instrument of mind we must somehow find material structure repeated in the structure of mind.

But in thinking thus, we are really doing just what, as critics of materialism, we intend to avoid. We are limiting our theory of mind to our theory of matter, and then, in order to escape from our limitation, cutting the manifestation of mind in two. Cf. Mitchell, p. 43.

Appendix 2. to Lecture 5

Neural and Conscious Process

Can we take the relations of neural process to conscious process a little more into detail, comparing the character of the two with respect to mechanism and logic, and estimate the need and meaning of postulating in the account of consciousness a single immaterial being, or “soul”?

A Logical system can act through a Causal system adapted to it.

i. We must, of course, beware of limiting the power of mind by inference from our notions of neural process. The object of the present remarks is in the other direction. We have seen that a full view of the nervous system tends actually to intensify our conception of the concreteness, and of the spiritual value of the concreteness, of the mental life. And now it seems possible to suggest how neural process must fall short of consciousness, and how nevertheless it may be a basis and instrument of mind, without placing any invidious limitation upon the latter.

We have endeavoured throughout, in dealing with body and mind, to substitute the idea of a logical whole, in the widest sense of the term, for that of teleological process in the sense of something mainly concerned with temporal transition from point to point—to replace a line by a system. This conception seemed to give a new value and reality to the unity of body and mind. We can see how it is natural and likely that, to use the most general and modest language, there is always a something in body to correspond to anything that there may be in mind. The notion of a system with all its parts in a state of reciprocal tension takes us some way towards a logical unity.

In thinking, then, of the correspondence between physical and mental movements and elements, we must dismiss, it would seem, some of the cruder difficulties.

To begin with the difference between causation and logical or teleological determination. All causation, as we have seen throughout, is in a fundamental sense logical, and thus, in the larger meaning of the term, teleological. It only falls short of agreement with what we take to be reasonable procedure in so far as special causal processes may only take account of a limited set of factors; and we have no guarantee in any given case that those will be included which are important or interesting to us. But causation embodied in a special machine may follow lines which are even in our sense reasonable, if the machine has been made to represent our interests. There can be, for example, as we all know, a logical machine; and the apparatuses which are used in experiment or observation to augment accuracy or correct error, are, as I have pointed out elsewhere, much more concretely and effectively logical than the so-called logical machines.57

Now we must remember that the nervous system is a machine, or rather a shopful of machines, built up by adaptive processes—however we may construe their nature—primarily to direct our bodily movements in the interest of the preservation of the species; secondarily and consequentially (secondarily, I mean, from a biological point of view) to represent and to realise our predominant interests and desires. I include among these the disinterested interests, which are the most characteristic, and which emerge from and yet include the others in a way not difficult to understand.58 We shall be helped and not hindered by frankly assuming that the brain like many other organs seems as if it had been meant to do one thing, and then had come to be used for something quite different. This, I suppose, is almost a law of the evolution of organs, and is really a useful clue in estimating the brain's relations to the guidance of movement and to activities of a theoretic type.

Hence if our interests and aims are embodied in the nervous system, predominating in its organised structure in proportion as they predominate in our lives—and is it not practically plain that this must be the case?—I can see no possible reason why the output of this physical system should not be logical, allowing for intensity and complexity of excitement as well as for its extent, and for coherence, or presence and absence of reciprocal inhibition; and why, therefore, it should not act as the engine of will, thought, and feeling. It has been said that it amounts to a miracle59 if physical movement and consciousness are simply concomitant. Well; it does, and it does not. In a sense everything is a miracle; all we can do is to require the miracle to be self-consistent and consistent with all else. And, after all, the apparent dualism between matter and consciousness is an arrangement which falls within consciousness; though we hold it only fair play to disregard this general sine qua non when we are studying and comparing the detailed content of experience. But the correspondence of psyche (life-mind) and body from the amoeba up to the nervous system of man is a very extensive, highly differentiated, and thoroughly self-consistent miracle; and if the nexus is impeached as illusory it may fairly claim the benefit of the saying, “Whom God deceives, he is well deceived.” The correspondence would not practically cover a much wider area if we were to succeed in eliciting life from inorganic matter. It would be then much as it is now; some material arrangements, by comparison extraordinarily simple, though in themselves no doubt exceedingly complex, are able to “produce” with inevitable certainty a minimum of soul. And if soul follows matter, corresponding to all its degrees from the amoeba—perhaps from the crystal60—to man's nervous system, this enormous world of detailed and graduated correspondence seems enough to supply the required rational continuity as between two stages of a process fundamentally identical. I refer again to the example of material undulations and musical tones. We bridge this gap without hesitation; yet though not so deep as the other it is quite as distinct.

It seems then that there is no necessary opposition of principle between the nervous system reacting to stimuli always in view of its acquired pre-arrangements, thus giving rise to just those movements which its meaning, our consciousness, demands, and the structure of consciousness as by its inherent logic demanding these movements, or in the same way those other neural changes which continue its own progression. Difficulties of this type are founded on misapprehension.

Mind the mainly non-spatial unity of body in action.

ii. Can we penetrate further into the meaning of the difference between the physical process and the consciousness which it subserves? Our very language regarding the two admits an enormous difference between them; and it is a difference, it would seem, that must carry us further. We assume that the neural process must be accepted as a movement in space or at most as a qualitative change of spatial objects of consciousness. Consciousness, on the other hand, is what can have objects, and is not spatial. We have said enough of the prima facie miracle that each should be tied to the other at all. Now the question is what their difference involves.

A hint for discussion might be taken from M. Bergson's conception of the brain as the pointe acérée of the mind.61 There is a brain state, he allows, for every psychical state. But the brain-movement includes only the tendency to action (action naissante), which the psychical movement involves. Brain is the point (and edge?) of the knife-blade, which as a whole is the mind. The two are not co-extensive, but the former is in play wherever the latter is effective.

And some such relation seems actually given in the obvious differences. The brain movements, as spatial objects, cannot be a unity in the sense in which consciousness is a unity. We have rejected all idea of representing identity as it is for consciousness by spatial coincidence in the brain. The excitement of an area of brain is prima facie matter in a certain state, with every point distinct from every other. The thought to which it corresponds has its factors distinguishable but not separable. Take our previous instance, meaning and purpose. In these cases there seem to be certain material systems, excitable or excited, so as to awaken, reinforce, or inhibit, each other's excitement. But it is impossible, one would say, that the excitements of physical systems could blend and qualify one another as do factors in a conscious whole. In brain process, the correlate of the sound of a word and of its meaning must be a spatial system; and the correlate of the purpose cannot be coloured and penetrated by the nature of the cooperant system in space (p. 186) as the purpose is in mind. And it seems to follow that there is in consciousness a something more, an actual fusion and interpenetration of contents, which could not be conceived as embodied in the physical movement. What corresponds to an individualised conception, “Socrates a mortal man,” cannot be at once, like the conception, singular and universal; in a word, within the physical world identity and diversity can only be symbolised and not realised in their own nature. It is as if the brain processes must have in them the materials of the conscious structure, but only in the rough; as if the being of the real system, the interpenetrating reciprocal qualifications, the unitary organisation of contents, can only be symbolised by the spatial process, and, in its real nature, is included in the miracle which we have agreed to admit, and cannot really be given in the physical connections. And yet these physical connections carry out—this is a simple fact—the work which the other structure demands, and may be the basis, the substructure of the true solidarity which belongs to it alone.62

The relation might be illustrated by that of our logical inference to the operations of the logical machine. As Mr. Bradley has pointed out,63 the machine can hardly be said to draw a conclusion. It conducts certain combinations and carries out certain eliminations, but it is we who take the result as the conclusion of an inference. The universal nexus, the thread of inference, is indeed in a sense real and a fact,64 but it hardly is together as a universal except when made one with the conation of a mind. Something of this kind might be the case as between mind and nervous system. Neural process, we might say, gives the physical response or the course of brain change; but only mind reads these off as elements in its unitary system, that is to say, as in psychological and logical union with each other. The important point is not to confuse the discontinuity between brain change and mind change with a supposed discontinuity between the parts of mind change. (See Appendix I.)

If we take the line just indicated, two difficulties meet us. That which we say does the work has no inkling of the initiation which it carries out. Not merely, it has been said of a kindred view, has no man on this hypothesis ever acted freely, but no man has ever acted at all.65 And why should consciousness have been evolved, if it was not a means of directing behaviour superior in practice to unconscious responses, and therefore, a fortiori at any rate, a means of directing behaviour?

On this view, what acts is not the man? Yes, it is; his system responds, through his machine.

α. If we pay attention, as is surely right, mainly to the main structure of brain and mind, there can be little doubt or difficulty. Here it is quite plain that the nervous system66 is the engine of the mind; its leading and predominating systems correspond to the mind's leading and predominating systems; its responses are determined by a whole which, in as far as we are awake to its working, is our mind par excellence; though really to describe our mind completely we ought to include a good deal to which at any given moment we are not awake.67 The difficulty arises, like so many difficulties in philosophy, from being desirous not merely to legislate for hard cases, but to make hard cases the sole basis of legislation. We will deny the obvious facts in order to conceive it possible that the mind shall be able to upset its own system; and so we go astray after an idea of guidance ab extra; not the guidance of a self-directing whole, a world which remodels itself; but a guidance which exercises upon its processes interferences of minimal and so inappreciable magnitude. But all this is evasion in the interest of preconceived theory. Take a central and unmistakable case of will, when the mind as a whole as near as possible, remodels its life as a whole as near as possible, in a volition extending perhaps over months or years. Here I hold it to be plain that no inappreciable exertion through any kind of steering gear will meet the case. It is not a case of a rudder at all; the direction is due to the comparative working of the propellers. To conceive it otherwise introduces, without any theoretical gain, an unintelligible breach of continuity. You are supposed to realise an idea not because of its logical character, its power to find alliances, and to disarm opponents in the mental structure, but because of a miraculous finger placed for no conceivable reason (for every conceivable reason is ex hypothesi ruled out of court) on the levers of the mind. But a system which is to be free must mould itself out of its own organisation of content, or its activity cannot be self-directed. For this the nervous system as we understand it is the appropriate engine. What would we have? An arrangement of psychical material acting straight on external things by a mere thought or feeling? It might be answered that is just what we have. We may, if we like, insist that our body is of psychical material—an “image” as M. Bergson says.68 The objector's difficulty does not lie there, but in the systematic fixity and partial unconsciousness of the acquired connections. If our psychical system is to have these characters69 it becomes partly dissociated, and so material or external. Yet if not, our whole conception of an acquired conformity with and mastery of the environment, of a vast machinery of response, leading up but gradually to a vision of significance, goes by the board. We should no longer see any reason why God and the Absolute should not be as adequately revealed in the amoeba as in civilised man. It is further worth noting that the brain is the less in need of a steering gear outside it, as “entelechy” or “psychoid,” because in a remarkable sense it is itself a specialised machine for not merely steering, but determining the direction to be steered, in contrast with merely transmitting impulses to the large scale machine—the body. What I refer to is the fact that the brain receives, modifies, and organises all sorts of impulses which are never allowed to try their isolated effects against each other on the big machine. What reaches the big machine has already competed with and been tried out and organised by myriads of adaptations and arrangements in the interest of the whole organism, connecting it with a countless incoming of stimuli and store of habits. An impulse to stop walking does not, as a rule, conflict in the leg-muscles with the impulse to go on. They come to terms previously in the brain, with all their allies on either side. Thus in its very nature it is prepared to act by logic and not by brute force.

Mind is unity of self-direction, but absolute condition of sense of value.

β. How should it come to pass that finite consciousness should be evolved, if not as a superior means, and therefore, a fortiori, as certainly at least α means, of directing bodily movement? Here we must recall the fundamental fact of evolution, that organs, whose history looks as if they had been meant exclusively for one function, are constantly being re-adapted so as to do something else. The nervous system, when its history is considered, certainly looks as if it had only been meant to conduct external stimuli to the machinery of physical response.70 But when it has to become an instrument for dealing with stimuli from distant objects, with deferred responses, with possibilities, with the behaviour of other systems on the same footing as itself, then the fact of self-direction, common to all material things,71 passes, in view of the storage of experience and capacities, into a sense of centrality and self-value; and the microcosm, thus focused, becomes aware of its own self-direction. It awakens to a sense of its own meaning, because now it has a meaning which could not be represented through its being an object for another consciousness.

But why, it may be asked, should such a meaning be confined to high organisms? Why should not a mountain or the globe itself have such a meaning? How much they must have gone through; how much they might tell, if they had memory and could give utterance? All we can say is, that according to all analogy, full consciousness seems reserved for the high organisms par excellence; and its condition, no doubt, is mobility. As we suggested above, if a mountain had consciousness, it would, according to all analogy, be nothing to compare with the consciousness which we have of a mountain, and, therefore, there seems the less reason why it should have consciousness at all. It is mobility which demands the great and varied store of adaptations and experiences, and which, by the demand for a precise and flexible adjustment to the environment, prepares the way for the awareness in which the environment represents itself. The conditions of awareness were very probably first awakened by mobility, but it is contrary to all principles of evolution to infer from this that to control mobility is its final function.

But surely, it will be urged, it is an absurdity to say that the system would work as well if the awareness were unawakened, if pain had no deterrent effect, and if the meaning of books did not govern their composition and effect.

Here we must insist that there is an unwarranted assumption. We do not know that such a system as we possess could be developed beyond a certain level without an awareness being awakened.72 Our point has been that the principle of self-direction has been there throughout, and that in a whole of a certain representative capacity it must necessarily awaken to the value of its world. The system of the finite universe, we might say, is one of vicarious representation. Externality is joined to the absolute through conscious centres. Consciousness is the climax of direction, but the absolute condition of all sense of value.

“Soul” does nt help. The unity of finite mind is an ideal, no a fact.

iii. If the mind transcends the neural process in the way suggested above would it not be better to postulate a soul as the substratum, and to call it a single immaterial being?73

It is true that we do not want to make mind an adjective of body. It is, according to the view here advocated,74 a fuller unity, more completely differentiated, more thoroughly integrated. On the other hand, an immaterial being, other than and, so to speak, behind or below the uniting consciousness or experience, seems to be unintelligibly framed on the analogy of a material thing.75 It takes us back into all the difficulties of the persistent soul-substance, from which Kant's criticism of rational psychology had set us free. All we desire, and all we logically need, is to take mind or soul for what it is—a centre or unity of experience, in connection with a certain material arrangement, which has every appearance of being the condition of its special and distinctive organisation, and of its peculiar adaptation to the environment. If we ask, as an able writer has asked, why should mind have a body;76 the answer seems to be, as hinted above,77 “to store up and adapt the necessary resources for self-maintenance as a distinctive world.” And as we said, supposing the same task set to psychical characters, they would, in order to achieve it, have to throw off much of their psychical quality. They would have to be stored up in the form of relatively fixed and orderly combinations, embodying the ways in which, for the distinctive world in question, an appropriate way of being together had created itself. A being could not consist of mere momentary response and adaptation; it must bring along with it a stuff to give the adaptation content and value.78

And it would be a futile dualism to argue that the unity of experience, and its types of interconnection, are to come in from out of doors—from an immaterial being—and organise or crystallise a chaos of content. This is all upside down. The world comes first; it works towards finding a centre, and in this working the types of our thinking and experience arise. So far from the centre being given, in finite experiences it is only an ideal never to be completely realised. A spiritual nucleus, a given unitary being, does not help us at all. After postulating it, either in all living matter or at some arbitrary stage of its development, we should have to explain away by impediments to its self-assertion appearances which it is far simpler to treat as degrees of imperfection in the formation of finite centres of experience. Finite consciousness and the finite self come late, on the top of immense stores of unconscious mechanism and adaptation, which are to all appearance its pre-condition. It is not a datum from the beginning; it is a light and a revelation which comes only when it is prepared for and demanded, and in finite experience very unequally and imperfectly. The standing miracle lies in its difference from brain. The duty of rational theory, with this as with all the miracles of experience, is to interpret its plain character with as little intrusion as possible of gratuitous factors. Mind, so far as it can be in space, is nervous system; nervous system, focussed in the nisus towards unity, which a standing miracle associates with it, is finite mind. You cannot say that the one acts and not the other. There is nothing—no part nor point—in the one that is not in the other. Mind, we have suggested, is the interpretation of nervous system; but a false tradition inclines us to treat the interpretation as a gloss, and the letter as the reality. If we discard this false tradition, and also remember that in comparing mind to an interpretation we are comparing it to a part of its own activity, the suggestion takes us perhaps as far as we can get. Mind is the meaning of externality, which under certain conditions concentrates in a new focus of meaning, which is a new finite mind. When we speak of the making of souls, we mean nothing more than the moulding and relative perfecting of minds.

  • 1.

    Cf. author's Logic, 2nd ed., ii. 74 ff. on “a and a series.”

  • 2.

    Cf. Driesch, Gifford Lectures, ii. 193, which I had not seen when I wrote this passage.

  • 3.

    See below, p. 198.

  • 4.

    Morris, joint vol. of Lectures on Art, p. 195; Bosanquet, History of Aesthetic, p. 455.

  • 5.

    Daudet's Jack.

  • 6.

    See Stout, Manual of Psychology, Introd. Chapter iii. “Body and Mind.”

  • 7.

    There is a tendency to say that the unity of a system can lie solely in the purpose, and to treat it as a high conception that the means may be without limitation adaptable to the purpose. It follows from our analysis of teleology that this conception is a contradiction in terms.

  • 8.

    The typical action which, e.g., M. Bergson loves to use as an instance is the raising of one's hand. (Évolution, p. 99 and elsewhere.) And, no doubt, its unity as a felt action is very simple, though if M. Bergson takes it as indivisible in the sense of not possessing diversity because it is comprised in a single feeling, his view seems incorrect. (See Bradley, Mind, lxix. p. 51; Appearance and Reality, pp. 521, 569.) No doubt, also, as M. Bergson observes, the analysis of such an act into definite multiplicity, as e.g. into spatial positions traversed by the hand, is the application of an external point of view, which does not present itself in carrying out the act. That is to say, the positions traversed are felt as a whole, not one by one. (Mitchell, p. 45.) But what a type of act to choose, compared with what Spinoza or Leibniz, or M. Bergson at his best, would term in the full sense a free activity! (“C'est de l'âme entière, en effet, que la décision libre émane; et l'acte sera d'autant plus libre que la série dynamique à laquelle il se rattache tendra d'avantage à s'identifier avec le moi fundamental.” Données, p. 128.) What are we to say of the action of a statesman or a general, or of any dominant action in which the whole of a life is summed up, when a single piece of conduct issues from the logical focus of a library of books and papers and a life-time of experience? And for us, these are pre-eminently the actions by which man is man. And one strongly suspects that underneath the emphasis laid on spontaneity and immediacy of action as a part of “life,” and as contrasted with intelligence, there is a basis of latter-day prejudice and pessimism, by which the value and genuineness of such work as that just referred to is depreciated, and the conscious side of creative art and invention disparaged, by contrast with what is in the narrower sense naïve and impulsive and impressionist. We may call attention in M. Bergson as in all other recent theory of this type to the extraordinarily inadequate account of the artist and the inventor. Évolution, pp. 49 and 368. Invention for him, as for all of a certain group of French and American thinkers, is an unaccountable divergence from imitation—a difference split from its identity, which the intelligence cannot grasp. Cf. also Le Rire, p. 175. “L'art est une rupture avec la société et un retour à la simple nature.” (See Évolution, p. 178.) No doubt it is natural to suggest that for M. Bergson Intuition is inclusively related to Intelligence, much as, for Hegel, Reason to Understanding. Cp. Lindsay's Bergson, p. 237 ff. I see that it ought to be, but I do not think that it is.

  • 9.

    Cf. Wundt, Logic, ii. 507, cit. in the author's Logic, ii. 75.

  • 10.

    In Manual, Introd. chap. iii. Professor Stout points out, a little in the tone which I deprecate, that the Law of Conservation of Energy is only asserted of a material system. But surely a psychical system, capable of exchanging energy with a material system, is ad hoc material.

  • 11.

    In these regions it seems pretty much to equal an assumption that a finite existence has a finite quantity, that is to say, that although different forms of energy may not be measurable by the same physical unit, or some of them not by any physical unit at all, yet on the assumption defended in the text it is possible to say that in principle they correspond to measurable quantities, and will not vary without a reason affecting all the equivalents alike.

  • 12.

    It is noticeable in this connection that Driesch takes alleged spiritualist phenomena as an analogy for the action of his “Entelechy.” I believe him to be a thoroughly sound thinker, but the juxtaposition is suggestive. See G.L. ii. 235.

  • 13.

    See Appendix I. It is not merely that all such ideas are difficult and indemonstrable hypotheses. Our objection is, moreover, that they bring a fundamentally false bias into psychology and into all higher walks of mind. They disconnect directive power from dominance and organising power.

  • 14.

    The contention would have to be that the work of life could thus be bona fide carried on; the phenomena of trance and the like would not be fully relevant.

  • 15.

    Évolution, p. 275. “Maintenant, d'où vient l'énergie? De l'aliment ingéré, car l'aliment est une espèce d'explosif, qui n'attend que l'étincelle pour se décharger de léénergie qu'il emmagasine.” Cf. ref. to Wundt, p. 169, above.

  • 16.

    I believe, if the idea were worked out, such a “psychical’ system would show itself to be physical; cp. pp. 215, 218, below.

  • 17.

    P. 169, above.

  • 18.

    The qualitative wholes themselves, though less homogeneous, present, it must be remembered, innumerable relations of quantity, gradation, contrast, etc., essential to their effect.

  • 19.

    See further, Lect. IX., below.

  • 20.

    Taylor, Elements, p. 303. Bradley on identical nervous system, involving identical memory, Appearance (2nd ed.), p. 356, and Mind, xlix. 23, on the necessity of dispositions, partly physical, for that realisation of ideas which is will.

  • 21.

    Here M. Bergson's language is very significant. Our volitional life consists for him in constructing mechanisms, and selecting which to combine and to set going, e.g. Évolution, pp. 273-4. Cf. Bradley, Mind, xlix. e.g. p. 25. It may be said that the view of the text makes the mistake of regarding the work of the cortex as continuous and homogeneous with that of the seats of reflex action. But in modifiable reflexes I suppose it is so in some degree, and, at any rate, what is said in the text is sufficiently borne out by the facts of associative nexus, if we bear in mind that association marries only universals, and that the identity operative in a connection can always develop into fresh detail (Bradley, Logic, p. 303). Any habit may carry one on to new ground; sportsmanship, for instance, to politics.

  • 22.

    Phil. des Geistes, sect. 411.

  • 23.

    Ethics, iii. 2.

  • 24.

    Phil. des Geistes, sect. 390 ff.

  • 25.

    Bradley, loc. cit.

  • 26.

    Taylor, Metaphysic, p. 311; cf. App. i.

  • 27.

    Above, Lecture IV.

  • 28.

    Taylor, Metaphysic, p. 305.

  • 29.

    Ward, Naturalism, i. 276.

  • 30.

    See Lect. IV. sect. 5. Contrast “The only real reason I can think of why anything should ever come is that some one wishes it to be here” (James, Pragmatism, p. 289). If the fulfilment of a wish meant satisfaction this might be so. But it does not.

  • 31.

    Taylor, Metaphysic, p. 311. The quite extraordinary discontinuity introduced into mental life by Bergson's view must strike every student. It becomes in so many words, mechanism plus indeterminate choice. See reference above, p. 177.

  • 32.

    Cf. Mitchell, Structure, etc., p. 480.

  • 33.

    M. Bergson, e.g. Évolution, pp. 125, 284, makes a strange use of this idea, but his view supports our contention in some degree.

  • 34.

    It cannot be too strongly insisted on how small a part of a relatively individual system the desired logical complement at any moment may be—the opening of a door or the turning of one's head. It will be replied the end is not the existence but the possession of the whole, and the change, however slight, is ex hypothesi needed to achieve this. But it is the partial presence of the whole in you, a “partial” which may be all but complete, that conditions the need for completeness.

  • 35.

    Page 176.

  • 36.

    Cf. Stout, Anal. Psych. i. 66, 72, on relative suggestion. A simple illustration is a cricketer playing a ball. He is guided by a “universal” which adjusts his movements to the special course of the ball; but the universal is a habit, all but unconscious, and involving no reflective action of the mind. Cf. p. 40, above.

  • 37.

    Mitchell, Structure and Growth of the Mind, p. 485.

  • 38.

    On the continuity of old and new adjustment, see Mitchell, p. 480.

  • 39.

    This externality, as of an artist to his material, is strongly expressed in Driesch, Gifford Lectures, ii. 336.

  • 40.

    On the limited truth of the connection between Introjectionism and Subjective Idealism, see Norman Smith, Mind, lviii, p. 149. I confess that the primary subjectivist argument seems to me to be simpler than Introjectionism, and to apply to one's private experience without consideration of the relation to others. It is simply that we have a logical idea of what self-subsistent objects should be, and that the immediate objects of experience fail, on account of their non-independence, to satisfy this idea. I may add that it is, I believe, an error in fundamental principle to try and obtain any conclusion from comparison with others’ experience which cannot be got from comparison with our own at different times.

  • 41.

    On the idea that mind is dealt with by Psychology is a wholly symbolic and unreal object, see Alexander, Ar. Proceedings, 1908.

  • 42.

    Phaedo, 93 D, E.

  • 43.

    It appears to me an absolute error of principle to say that “newly arising elemental agents must be conceived as already preexisting in some way so that life cannot arise upon a constellation of known non-vital agents.” (Driesch, Gifford Lectures, ii. 234.)

  • 44.

    Metaphysic, sect. 246.

  • 45.

    We have seen that if the inorganic world really follows the line of least resistance, then the line of least resistance is capable of leading up continuously to life and history.

  • 46.

    Stout, Manual, Introd., ch. iii.

  • 47.

    θύραθϵν (Ar. Πϵρὶ. p. 736 b 28).

  • 48.

    This is, as I understand, the point of divergence between our view and that of the many eminent thinkers (e.g. Professor Stout in Manual, introd. ch. iii.), who advocate pan-psychism. Even if there were, de facto, a psychical something underlying matter, yet it is only as definite externality that it plays a part in our life. We have no use for it as inwardness. Professor Stout seems to have modified his view. See Mind, lxxvii. p. 9.

  • 49.

    Driesch, Gifford Lectures, ii. 336.

  • 50.

    E.g. from Verworn.

  • 51.

    For all forms of regulation, except restitution, persist, of course, in high organisms, below the level of action due to experience.

  • 52.

    The difficulty is here. If I prick my hand, there is presumably all the movement pressure, etc., which there would be if I pricked an indiarubber ball; and then there is the sensation too. Is it not then an effect, and one unaccounted for? I think not. I, my hand, can interpret the complex responses of the organism to the simple shock (p. 185). A movement needs no more energy because its meaning is seen.

  • 53.

    This has, no doubt, partly to do with a false theory of identity, which destroys its range and grasp, and makes it analogous to a spatial point. As we are constantly urging, for us the true type of identity is the system of a world.

  • 54.

    See p. 185, above, on meaning and purpose. Cf. Mitchell, Structure and Growth of the Mind, p. 480 ff.

  • 55.

    Could there be a more suggestive description of the unity of mind than the following account of the nervous system? “(The student) should not forget the constant work that has to be done by the nervous system, and especially how action at every part of the whole is affected by action at any and every part. To work, to carry out its function, is necessary to the health of a neurone; efferent neurones have to maintain the tonus of muscles; in order to do this they require their own stimulation by afferent neurones; and the cortex, besides its conscious functions, regulates the nutrition of the whole body. Experiments in reflex action, and other facts concerning the summation of stimuli, show that the whole system is somehow affected by stimulation at any part. All parts of the nervous system hold each other in mutual tension, and the passage of an impulse, afferent or efferent, is better represented as a disturbance of equilibrium than as a transmission of energy” (Broadbent, Brain, xxvi. 324-5, cited by Mitchell, p. 452).

  • 56.

    Metaphysics, sect. 296. There must be a better reference, but I cannot recall it, Driesch, Gifford Lectures, ii. 97.

  • 57.

    Knowledge and Reality, p. 327.

  • 58.

    See, on the plot of Aristotle's Ethics, “The Perfecting of the Soul,” Appendix II. to Lect. X.

  • 59.

    Stout, Manual, introd. iii.

  • 60.

    See Lehmann on Liquid Crystals, Nature, Jan. 7, 1909.

  • 61.

    Évolution créatrice, p. 285. Mr. M‘Dougal's distinction between psycho-neural and psycho-physical parallelism seems to point in the same direction.

  • 62.

    It is important, and in some degree diminishes the magic of the matter, that psychical solidarity is so very imperfect as it is, and that its imperfection largely corresponds, I suppose, to physical non-organisation. The suggestion is one of a struggle towards unity, in which brain plays an indispensable part.

  • 63.

    Principles of Logic, p. 357.

  • 64.

    Alexander, Arist. Proceedings, 1908.

  • 65.

    Stout, Manual, l.c.

  • 66.

    I prefer this expression to the brain, because of the considerations stated on p. 202 above.

  • 67.

    See p. 200 above.

  • 68.

    Cf. Varisco, I Massimi Problemi, for whom all bodies are “sensibles,” though when not “sensed,” outside the unity of any subject.

  • 69.

    They are, in fact, precisely what, if we take body as psychical, it does have.

  • 70.

    This is M. Bergson's strong point, and I suppose has much to do with the modern disparagement of so-called Intellectualism.

  • 71.

    Or, if this is denied, at least to unconscious organisms. But it seems ridiculous to deny that the reactions which have made the terrestrial globe habitable are self-directed, or to maintain that, say, the participation of Diatoms in the formation of chalk-beds has introduced into them a new principle of direction.

  • 72.

    See above on the effect of an operation with and without anaesthetics. The “more” of physical effect and of feeling go together, and we incline to say this is because we feel more. But it may be because the nervous shock is more widely transmitted.

  • 73.

    M‘Dougal, Physiological Psychology, p. 168.

  • 74.

    Cf. Psychology of Moral Self, p. 124. The passage referred to does not, as has been alleged by critics, maintain psycho-physical parallelism in the received sense. Like the present work, it treats mind as the more complete and the superior system.

  • 75.

    Cf. Mitchell, p. 16 ff.

  • 76.

    Strong, Why Mind has a Body.

  • 77.

    Page 215.

  • 78.

    Would it be argued that the denial of this precisely gives the definition of a spiritual being, as having no stores or acquisitions relatively inert, but being all always in flaming activity through and through? But such would not be a finite spiritual being. It would be all always in contact and continuity, and could experience no succession.