After inner perception, outer perception! The next three chapters will treat of the processes by which we cognize all times the present world of space and the material things which it contains. And first, of the process called Sensation.
The words Sensation and Perception do not carry very definitely discriminated meanings in popular speech, and in psychology also their meanings run into each other. Both of them name processes in which we cognize an objective world; both (under normal conditions) need the stimulation of incoming nerves ere they can occur; Perception always involves Sensation as a portion of itself; and Sensation in turn never takes place in adult life without Perception also being there. They are therefore names for different cognitive functions, not for different sorts of mental fact. The nearer the object cognized comes to being a simple quality like 'hot,' 'cold,' 'red,' 'noise,' 'pain,' aprehended irrelatively to other things, the more the state mind approaches pure sensation. The fuller of relations an object is, on the contrary; the more it is something eased, located, measured, compared, assigned to a function, etc., etc.; the more unreservedly do we call the state mind a perception, and the relatively smaller is the part it which sensation plays.
Sensation, then, so long as we take the analytic point of view, differs from Perception only in the extreme simplicity of its object or content. 1 Its function is that of mere acquaintance with a fact. Perception's function, on the other hand, is knowledge about 2 a fact; and this knowledge admits of numberless degrees of complication. But in both sensation and perception we perceive the fact as an immediately present outboard reality, and this makes them differ from 'thought' and 'conception,' whose objects do not appear present in this immediate physical way. From the physio- logical point of view both sensations and perception differ from 'thoughts' (in the narrower sense of the word) in the fact that nerve-currents coming in from the periphery are involved in their production. In perception these nerve-currents arouse voluminous associative or reproductive processes in the cortex; but when sensation occurs alone, or with a minimum of perception, the accompanying reproductive processes are at a minimum too.
I shall in this chapter discuss some general questions more especially relative to Sensation. In a later chapter perception will take its turn. I shall entirely pass by the classification and natural history of our special I sensations, such matters finding their proper place, and being sufficiently well treated, in all the physiological books. 3
A pure sensation is an abstraction; and when we adults talk of our 'sensations' we mean one of two things: either certain objects, namely simple qualities or attributes like hard, hot, pain; or else those of our thoughts in which acquaintance with these objects is least combined with knowledge about the relations of them to other things. As we can only think or talk about the relations of objects with which we have acquaintance already, we are forced to postulate a function in our thought whereby we first become aware of the bare immediate natures by which our several objects are distinguished. This function is sensation. And just as logicians always point out the distinction between substantive terms of discourse and relations found to obtain between them, so psychologists, as a rule, are ready to admit this function, of the vision of the terms or matters meant, as something distinct from the knowledge about them and of their relations inter se. Thought with the former function is sensational, with the latter, intellectual. Our earliest thoughts are almost exclusively sensational. They merely give us a set of thats, or its, of subjects of discourse, with their relations not brought out. The first time we see light, in Condillac's phrase we are it rather rather than see it. But all our later optical knowledge is about what this experience gives. And though we were struck blind from that first moment, our scholarship in the subject would lack no essential feature so long as our memory remained. In training-institutions for the blind they teach the pupils as much about light as in ordinary schools. Reflection, refraction, the spectrum, the ether-theory, etc., are all studied. But the best taught born-blind pupil of such an establishment yet lacks a knowledge which the least instructed seeing baby has. They can never show him what light is in its 'first intention'; and the loss of that sensible knowledge no book-learning can replace. All this is so obvious that we usually find sensation I postulated as an element of experience, even by those philosophers who are least inclined to make much of its importance, or to pay respect to the knowledge which it brings. 4
But the trouble is that most, if not all, of those who admit it, admit it as a fractional part of the thought, in the old-fashioned atomistic sense which we have so often criticised.
Take the pain called toothache for example. Again and again we feel it and greet it as the same real item in the universe. We must therefore, it is supposed, have a distinct pocket for it in our mind into which it and nothing else will fit. This pocket, when filled, is the sensation of toothache; and must be either filled or half-filled whenever and under whatever form toothache is present to our thought, and whether much or little of the rest of the mind be filled at the same time. Thereupon of course comes up the paradox and mystery: If the knowledge of toothache be pent up in this separate mental pocket, how can it be known cum alio or brought into one view with anything else? This pocket knows nothing else; no other part of the mind knows toothache. The knowing of toothache cum alio must be a miracle. And the miracle must have an Agent. And the Agent must be a Subject or Ego 'out of time,' -- and all the rest of it, as we saw in Chapter X. And then begins the well-worn round of recrimination between the sensationalists and the spiritualists, from which we are saved by our determination from the outset to accept the psychological point of view, and to admit knowledge whether of simple toothaches or of philosophic systems as ultimate fact. There are realities and there are 'states of mind,' and the latter know the former; and it is just as wonderful for a state of mind to be a 'sensation' and know simple pain as for it to be a thought and know a system of related things. 5 But there is no reason to suppose that when different states of mind know different things about the same toothache, they do so by virtue of their all containing faintly or vividly the original pain. Quite the reverse. The by-gone sensation of my gout was painful, as Reid somewhere says; the thought of the same gout as bygone is pleasant, and in no respect resembles the earlier mental state.
Sensations, then, first make us acquainted with innumerable things, and then are replaced by thoughts which know the same things in altogether other ways. And Locke's main doctrine remains eternally true, however hazy some of his language may have been, that
"though there be a great number of considerations wherein things may be compared one with another, and so a multitnde of relations; yet they all terminate in, and are concerned about, those simple ideas 6 either of sensation or reflection, which I think to be the whole materials of all our knowledge. . . . The simple ideas we receive from sensation and reflection are the boundaries of our thoughts; beyond which, the mind whatever efforts it would make, is not able to advance one jot; nor can it make any discoveries when it would pry into the nature and hidden causes of those ideas." 7
The nature and hidden causes of ideas will never be unravelled till the next between the brain and consciousness is cleared up. All we can say now is that sensations are first things in the way of consciousness. Before perceptions can come, sensations must have come; but sensations come, no psychic fact need have existed, a current is enough. If the nerve-current be not given, nothing else will take its place. To quote the good Locke again:
"It is not in the power of the most exalted wit or enlarged understanding, by any quickness or variety of thoughts, to invent or frame one new simple idea [i.e. sensation] 8 in the mind . . . I would have any one try to fancy any taste which had never affected his palate, or frame the idea of a scent he had never smelt; and when he can do this, I will also conclude that a blind man hath ideas of colors, and a deaf man true distinct notions of sounds." 9
The brain is so made that all currents in it run one way. Consciousness of some sort goes with all the currents, but it is only when new currents are entering that it has the sensational tang. And it is only then that consciousness directly encounters (to use a word of Mr. Bradley's) a reality outside itself.
The difference between such encounter and all conceptual knowledge is very great. A blind man may know all about the sky's blueness, and I may know all about your toothache, conceptually; tracing their causes from primeval chaos, and their consequences to the crack of doom. But so long as he has not felt the blueness, nor I the toothache, our knowledge, wide as it is, of these realities, will be hollow and inadequate. Somebody must feel blueness, somebody must have toothache, to make human knowledge of these matters real. Conceptual systems which neither began nor left off in sensations would be like bridges without piers. Systems about fact must plunge themselves into sensation as bridges plunge their piers into the rock. Sensations are the stable rock, the terminus a quo and the teminus ad quem of thought. To find such termini is our aim with all our theories -- to conceive first when and where a certain sensation maybe had, and then to have it. Finding it stops discussion. Failure to find it kills the false conceit of knowledge. Only when you deduce a possible sensation for me from your theory, and give it to me when and where the theory requires, do I begin to be sure that your thought has anything to do with truth.
Pure sensations can only be realized in the earliest days of life. They are all but impossible to adults with memories and stores of associations acquired. Prior to all impressions on sense-organs the brain is plunged in deep sleep and consciousness is practically non-existent. Even the first weeks after birth are passed in almost unbroken sleep by human infants. It takes a strong message from the sense-organs to break this slumber. In a new-born brain this gives rise to an absolutely pure sensation. But the experience leaves its 'unimaginable touch' on the matter of the convolutions, and the next impression which a sense-organs transmits produces a cerebral reaction in which the awakened vestige of the last impression plays its part. Another sort of feeling and a higher grade of cognition are the consequence; and the complication goes on increasing till the end of life, no two successive impressions falling on an identical brain, and no two successive thoughts being exactly the same. (See above, p. 230 ff.)
The first sensation which an infant gets is for him the Universe. And the Universe which he latter comes to know is nothing but an amplification and an implication of that first simple germ which, by accretion on the one hand and intussusception on the other, has grown so big and complex and articulate that its first estate is unrememberable. In his dumb awakening to the consciousness of something there, a mere this as yet (or something for which even the term this would perhaps be too discriminative, and the intellectual acknowledgment of which would be better expressed by the bare interjection 'lo!' ), the infant encounters an object in which (though it be given in a pure sensation) all the 'categories of the understanding' are contained. It has objectivity, unity, substantiality, causality, in the full sense in which any later object or system of objects has these things. Here the young knower meets and greets his world; and the miracle of knowledge bursts forth, as Voltaire says, as much in the infant's lowest sensation as in the highest achievement of a Newton's brain. The physiological condition of this first sensible experience is probably nerve-currents coming in from many peripheral organs at once. Later, the one confused Fact which these currents cause to appear is perceived to be many facts, and to contain man qualities. 10 For as the currents vary, and the brain-paths are moulded by them, other thoughts with other 'objects' come, and the 'same thing' which was apprehended as a present this soon figures as a past that, about which many unsuspected things have come to light. The principles of this development have been laid down already in Chapters XII and XIII, and nothing more need here be added to that account.
"THE RELATIVITY OF KNOWLEDGE."
To the reader who is tired of so much Erkenntnisstheorie I can only say that I am so myself, but that it is indispensable, in the actual state of opinions about Sensation, to try to clear up just what the word means. Locke's pupils seek to do the impossible with sensations, and against them we must once again insist that sensations 'clustered together' cannot build up our more intellectual states of mind. Plato's earlier pupils used to admit Sensation's existence, grudgingly, but they trampled it in the dust as something corporeal, non-cognitive, and vile. 11 His latest followers seem to seek to crowd it out of existence altogether. The only reals for the neo-Hegelian writers appear to be relations, relations without terms, or whose terms are speciously such and really consist in knots, or gnarls relations finer still in infinitum.
"Exclude from what we have considered real all qualities constituted by relation, we find that none are left." "Abstract the many relations from the one thing and there is nothing. . . . Without relations it would not exist at all." 12 "The single feeling is nothing real." "On the recognition of relations as constituting the nature of ideas, rests the possibility of any tenable theory of their reality."
Such quotations as these from the late T. H. Green 13 would be matters of curiosity rather than of importance, were it not that sensationalist writers themselves believe in a so-called 'Relativity of Knowledge,' which, if they only understood it, they would see to be identical with Professor Green's doctrine. They tell us that the relation of sensations to each other is something belonging to their essence, and that no one of them has an absolute content:
"That, e.g., black can only be felt in contrast to white, or at least in distinction from a paler or a deeper black; similarly a tone or a sound only in alternation with others or with silence; and in like manner a smell, a taste, a touch, only, so to speak, in statu nascendi, whilst, when, the stimulus continues, all sensation disappears. This all seems at first sight to be splendidly consistent both with itself and with the facts. But looked at more closely, it is seen that neither is the case." 14
The two leading facts from which the doctrine of universal relativity derives its wide-spread credit are these:
1) The psychological fact that so much of our actual knowledge is of the relations of things -- even our simplest sensations in adult life are habitually referred to classes as we take them in; and
2) The physiological fact that our senses and brain must have periods of change and repose, else we cease to feel and think.
Neither of these facts proves anything about the presence or non-presence to our mind of absolute qualities with which we become sensibly acquainted. Surely not the psychological fact; for our inveterate love of relating and comparing things does not alter the intrinsic qualities or nature of the things compared, or undo their absolute givenness. And surely not the physiological fact; for the length of time during which we can feel or attend to a quality is altogether irrelevant to the intrinsic constitution of the quality felt. The time, moreover, is long enough in many instances, as sufferers from neuralgia know. 15 And the doctrine of relativity, not proved by these facts, is flatly disproved by other facts even more patent. So far are we from not knowing (in the words of Professor Bain) "any one thing by itself, but only the difference between it and another thing," that if this were true the whole edifice of our knowledge would collapse. If all we felt were the difference between the C and D, or c and d, on the musical scale, that being the same in the of notes, the pairs themselves would be the same, an language could get along without substantives. But Professor Bain does not mean seriously what he says, and spend no more time on this vague and popular form of doctrine. 16 The facts which seem to hover before the minds of its champions are those which are best described under the head of a physiological law.
I will first enumerate the main facts which fall under this law, and then remark upon what seems to me their significance for psychology. 17
[Nowhere are the phenomena of contrast better exhibited, and their laws more open to accurate study, than in connection with the sense of sight. Here both kinds -- simultaneous and successive -- can easily be observed, for they are of constant occurrence. Ordinarily they remain unnoticed, in accordance with the general law of economy which causes us to select for conscious notice only such elements of our object as will serve us for æsthetic or practical utility, and to neglect the rest; just as we ignore the double images, the mouches volantes, etc., which exist for everyone, but which are not discriminated without careful attention. But by attention we may easily discover the general facts involved in contrast. We find that in general the color and brightness of one object always apparently affect the color and brightness of any other object seen simultaneously with it or immediately after.
In the first place, if we look for a moment at any surface and then turn our eyes elsewhere, the complementary color and opposite degree of brightness to that of the first surface tend to mingle themselves with the color and the brightness of the second. This is successive contrast. It finds its explanation in the fatigue of the organ of sight, causing it to respond to any particular stimulus less and less readily the longer such stimulus continues to act. This is shown clearly in the very marked changes which occur in case of continued fixation of one particular point of any field. The field darkens slowly, becomes more and more indistinct, and finally, if one is practised enough in holding the eye perfectly steady, slight differences in shade and color may entirely disappear. If we now turn aside the eyes, a negative after-image of the field just fixated at once forms, and mingles its sensations with those which may happen to come from anything else looked at. This influence is distinctly evident only when the first surface has been 'fixated' without movement of the eyes. It is, however, none the less present at all times, even when the eye wanders from point to point, causing each sensation to be modified more or less by that just previously experienced. On this account successive contrast is almost sure to be present in cases of simultaneous contract, and to complicate the phenomena.
A visual image is modified not only by other sensations just previously experienced, but also by all those experiences simultaneously with it, and especially by such as proceed from contiguous portions of the retina. This is the phenomenon of simultaneous contrast. In this, as in successive contrast, both brightness and hue are involved. A bright object appears still brighter when its surroundings are darker than itself, and darker when they are brighter than itself. Two colors side by side are apparently changed by the admixture, with each, of the complement of the other. And lastly, a gray surface near a colored one is tinged with the complement of the latter. 19
The phenomena of simultaneous contrast in sight are so complicated by other attendant phenomena that it is difficult to isolate them and observe them in their purity. Yet is evidently of the greatest importance to do so, if one could conduct his investigations accurately. Neglect of this principle has led to many mistakes being made in counting for the facts observed. As we have seen, if the eye is allowed to wander here and there about the field as ordinarily does, successive contrast results and allowance must be made for its presence. It can be avoided only by successfully fixating with the well-rested eye a point of one field, and by then observing the changes which occur in is field when the contrasting field is placed by its side. Such a course will insure pure simultaneous contrast. But even thus it lasts in its purity for a moment only. It reaches its maximum of effect immediately after the introduction of the contrasting field, and then, if the fixation is continued, it begins to weaken rapidly and soon disappears; thus undergoing changes similar to those observed when any field whatever is fixated steadily and the retina becomes fatigued by unchanging stimuli. If one continues still further to fixate the same point, the color and brightness one field tend to spread themselves over and mingle with the color and brightness of the neighboring fields, thus substituting 'simultaneous induction' for simultaneous contrast.
Not only must we recognize and eliminate the effects of successive contrast, of temporal changes due to fixation, and of simultaneous induction, in analysing the phenomena of simultaneous contrast, but we must also take into account various other influences which modify its effects. Under favorable circumstances the contrast-effects are very striking, and did they always occur as strongly they could not fail attract the attention. But they are not always clearly apparent, owing to various disturbing causes which form no exception to the laws of contrast, but which have a modifying effect on its phenomena. When, for instance, the ground observed has many distinguishable features -- a course grain, rough surface, intricate pattern, etc. -- the contrast effect appears weaker. This does not imply that the acts of contrast are absent, but merely that the resulting sensations are overpowered by the many other stronger sensations which entirely occupy the attention. On such a ground a faint negative after-image -- undoubtedly due to retinal modifications -- may become invisible; and even weak objective differences in color may become imperceptible. For example, a faint spot or grease-stain on woollen cloth, easily seen at a distance, when the fibres are not distinguishable, disappears when closer examination reveals the intricate nature of the surface.
Another frequent cause of the apparent absence of contrast is the presence of narrow dark intermediate fields, such as are formed by bordering a field with black lines, or by the shaded contours of objects. When such fields interfere with the contrast, it is because black and white can absorb much color without themselves becoming clearly colored; and because such lines separate other fields too far for them to distinctly influence one another. Even weak objective differences in color may be made imperceptible by such means.
A third case where contrast does not clearly appear is where the color of the contrasting fields is too weak or too intense, or where there is much difference in brightness between the two fields. In the latter case, as can easily be shown, it is the contrast of brightness which interferes with the color contrast and makes it imperceptible. For this reason contrast shows best between fields of about equal brightness. But the intensity of the color must not be too great, for then its very darkness necessitates a dark contrasting field which is too absorbent of induced color to allow the contrast to appear strongly. The case is similar if the fields are too light.
To obtain the best contrast-effects, therefore, the contrasting fields should be near together, should not be separated by shadows or black lines, should be of homogeneous texture, and should be about equal brightness and medium intensity of color. Such conditions do not often occur naturally, the disturbing influences being present in case of almost all ordinary objects thus making the effects of contrast far less evident. To eliminate these disturbances and to produce the condition most favorable for the appearance of good contrast-effects, various experiments have been devised, which will be explained in comparing the rival theories of explanation.
There are two theories -- the psychological and the physiological -- which attempt to explain the phenomena of contrast
Of these the psychological one was the first to gain prominence. Its most notable advocate has been Helmholtz. It explains contrast as a DECEPTION OF JUDGMENT. In ordinary life our sensations have interest for us only so far as they give us practical knowledge. Our chief concern is to recognize objects, and we have no occasion to estimate exactly their absolute brightness and color. Hence we gain no facility in so doing, but neglect the constant changes in their shade, and are very uncertain as to the exact degree of their brightness or tone of their color. When objects are near one another "we are inclined to consider those differences which are clearly and surely perceived as greater than those which appear uncertain in perception or which must be judged by aid of memory," 20 just as we see a medium sized man taller than he really is when he stands beside a short man. Such deceptions are more easily possible in the judgment of small differences than of large ones; also where there is but one element of difference instead of many. In a large number of cases of contrast, in all of which a whitish spot is surrounded on all sides by a colored surface -- Meyer's experiment, the mirror experiment, colored shadows, etc., soon to be described -- the contrast is produced, according to Helmholtz, by the fact that "a colored illumination or a transparent colored covering appears to be spread out over the field, and observation does not show directly that it fails on the white spot." 21 We therefore believe that we see the latter through the former color. Now
"Colors have their greatest importance for us in so far as they are properties of bodies and can serve as signs for the recognition of bodies. . . . We have become accustomed, in forming a judgment in regard to the colors of bodies, to eliminate the varying brightness and color of the illumination. We have sufficient opportunity to investigate the same colors of objects in full sunshine, in the blue light of the clear sky, in the weak white light of a cloudy day, in the reddish-yellow light of the sinking sun or of the candle. Moreover the colored reflections of surrounding objects are involved. Since we see the same colored objects under these varying illuminations, we learn to form a correct conception of the color of the object in spite of the difference in illumination, i.e. to judge how such an object would appear in white illumination; and since only the constant color of the object interests us, we do not become conscious of the particular sensations on which our judgment rests. So also we are at no loss, when we see an object through a colored covering, to distinguish what belongs to the color of the covering and what to the object. In the experiments mentioned we do the same also where the covering over the object is not at all colored, because of the deception into which we fall, and in consequence of which we ascribe to the body a false color, the color complementary to the colored portion of the covering." 22
We think that we see the complementary color through the colored covering, -- for these two colors together would give the sensation of white which is actually experienced. If, however, in any way the white spot is recognized as an independent object, or if it is compared with another object known to be white, our judgment is no longer deceived and the contrast does not appear.
"As soon as the contrasting field is recognized as an independent body which lies above the colored ground, or even through an adequate tracing of its outlines is seen to be a separate field, the contrast disappears. Since, then, the judgment of the spatial position, the material independence, of the object in question is decisive for the determination of its color, it follows that the contrast-color arises not through an act of sensation but through an act of judgment. 23
In short, the apparent change in color or brightness through contrast is due to no change in excitation of the organ, to no change in sensation; but in consequence of a false judgment the unchanged sensation is wrongly interpreted, and thus leads to a changed perception of the brightness or color.
In opposition to this theory has been developed on which attempts to explain all cases of contrast as depending purely on physiological action of the terminal apparatus of vision. Hearing is the most prominent supporter of this view. By great originality in devising experiments and by insisting on rigid care in conducting them, he has been able to detect the faults in the psychological theory and to practically establish the validity of his own. Every visual sensation, he maintains, is correlated to a physical process in the nervous apparatus. Contrast is occasioned, not by a false idea resulting from unconscious conclusions, but by the fact that the excitation of any portion of the retina -- and the consequent sensation depends -- not only on its own illumination, but on that of the rest of the retina as well.
"If this psycho-physical process is aroused, as usually happens, by light-rays impinging on the retina, its nature depends not only on the nature of these rays, but also on the constitution of the entire nervous apparatus which is connected with the organ of vision, and on the state in which it finds itself." 24
When a limited portion of the retina is aroused by external stimuli, the rest of the retina, and especially the immediately contiguous parts, tends to react also, and in such a way as to produce therefrom the sensation of the opposite degree of brightness and the complementary color to that of the directly-excited portion. When a gray spot is seen alone, and again when it appears colored through contrast, the objective light from the spot is in both cases the same. Helmholtz maintains that the neural process and the corresponding sensation also remain unchanged, but are differently interpreted; Hering, that the neural process and the sensation are themselves changed, and that the 'interpretation' is the direct conscious correlate of the altered retinal conditions. According to the one, the contrast is psychological in its origin; according to the other, it is purely physiological. In the cases cited above where the contrast-color is no longer apparent -- on a ground with many distinguishable features, on a field whose borders are traced with black lines, etc., -- the psychological theory, as we have seen, attributes this to the fact that under these circumstances we judge the smaller patch of color to be an independent object on the surface, and are no longer deceived in judging it to be something over which the color of the ground is drawn. The physiological theory, on the other hand, maintains that the contrast-effect is still produced, but that the conditions are such that the slight changes in color and brightness which it occasions become imperceptible.
The two theories, stated thus broadly, may seem equally plausible. Hering, however, has conclusively proved, by experiments with after-images, that the process on one part of the retina does modify that on neighboring portions, under conditions where deception of judgment is impossible. 25 A careful examination of the facts of contrast will show that its phenomena must be due to this cause. In all the cases which one may investigate it will be seen that the upholders of the psychological theory have failed to conduct their experiments with sufficient care. They have not excluded successive contrast, have overlooked the changes due to fixation, and have failed to properly account for the various modifying influences which have been mentioned above. We can easily establish this if we examine the most striking experiments in simultaneous contrast.
Of these one of the best known and most easily arranged is that known as Meyer's experiment. A scrap of gray paper placed on a colored background, and both are covered a sheet of transparent white paper. The gray spot then assumes a contrast-color, complementary to that of the background, which shines with a whitish tinge through the paper which covers it. Helmholtz explains the phenomena thus:
"If the background is green, the covering-paper itself appears to be a greenish color. If now the substance of the paper extends without apparent interruption over the gray which lies under it, we think that glimmering through the greenish paper, and such an object be rose-red, in order to give white light. If, however, the grey spot has its limits so fixed that it appears to be an independent continuity with the greenish portion of the surface it as a gray object which lies on this surface." 26
The contrast-color may thus be made to disappear by placing in black the outlines of the gray scrap, or by placing above the tissue paper another gray scrap of the same degree of brightness, and comparing together the two grays. On neither of them does the contrast-color now appear. Hering 27 shows clearly that this interpretation is incorrect, and that the disturbing factors are to be otherwise explained. In the first place, the experiment can be so arranged that we could not possibly be deceived into believing that we see the gray through a colored medium. Out of a sheet of gray paper cut strips 5 mm. wide in such a way that there will be alternately an empty space and a bar of gray, both of the same width, the bars being held together by the uncut edges of the gray sheet (thus presenting an appearance like a gridiron). Lay this on a colored back-ground -- e.g. green -- cover both with transparent paper, and above all put a black frame which covers all the edges, having visible only the bars, which are now alternately green and gray. The gray bars appear strongly colored by contrast, although, since they occupy as much space as the green bars, we are not deceived into believing that we see the former through a green medium. The same is true if we weave together into a basket pattern narrow strips of green and gray and cover them with the transparent paper.
Why, then, if it is a true sensation due to physiological causes, and not an error of judgment, which causes the contrast, does the color disappear when the outlines of the gray scrap are traced, enabling us to recognize it as an independent object? In the first place, it does not necessarily do so, as will easily be seen if the experiment is tried. The contrast-color often remains distinctly visible in spite of the black outlines. In the second place, there are many adequate reasons why the effect should be modified. Simultaneous contrast is always strongest at the border-line of the two fields; but a narrow black field now separates the two, and itself by contrast strengthens the whiteness of both original fields, which were already little saturated in color; and on black and on white, contrast colors show only under the most favorable circumstances. Even weak objective differences in color may be made to disappear by such tracing of outlines, as can be seen if we place on a gray background a scrap of faintly-colored paper, cover it with transparent paper and trace its outlines. Thus we see that it is not the recognition of the contrasting field as an independent object which interferes with its color, but rather a number of entirely explicable physiological disturbances.
The same may be proved in the case of holding above the tissue paper a second gray scrap and comparing it with that underneath. To avoid the disturbances caused by using papers of different brightness, the second scrap should be made exactly like the first by covering the same gray with the same tissue paper, and carefully cutting a piece about 10 mm. square out of both together. To thoroughly guard against successive contrast, which so easily complicates the phenomena, we must carefully prevent all previous excitation of the retina by colored light. This may be done by arranging thus: Place the sheet of tissue paper on a glass pane, which rests on four supports; under the paper put the first gray scrap. By means of a wire, fasten the second gray scrap 2 or 3 cm. above the glass plate. Both scraps appear exactly alike, except at the edges. Gaze now at both scraps, with eyes not exactly accommodated, so that they appear near one another, with a very narrow space between. Shove now a colored field (green) underneath the glass plate, and the contrast appears a once on both scraps. If it appears less clearly on the upper scrap, it is because of its bright and dark edges, its inequalities, its grain, etc. When the accommodation is exact, there is no essential change, although then on the upper scrap the bright edge on the side toward the light, and the dark edge on the shadow side, disturb somewhat. By continued fixation the contrast becomes weaker and finally yields to simultaneous induction, causing the scraps to become indistinguishable from the ground. Remove the green field and both scraps become green, by successive induction. If the eye moves about freely these last-named phenomena do not appear, but the contrast continues indefinitely and becomes stronger. When Helmholtz found that the contrast on the lower scrap disappeared, it was evidently because he then really held the eye fixed. This experiment may be disturbed by holding the upper scrap wrongly and by the differences in brightness of its edges, or by other inequalities, but not by that recognizing of it as an independent body lying above the colored ground, on which the psychological explanation rests.
In like manner the claims of the psychological explanation can be shown to be inadequate in other cases of contrast Of frequent use are revolving disks, which are especially efficient in showing good contrast-phenomena, because all inequalities of the ground disappear and leave a perfectly homogeneous surface. On a white disk are arranged colored sectors, which are interrupted midway by narrow black fields in such a way that when the disk is revolved the white becomes mixed with the color and the black, forming a colored disk of weak saturation on which appears a gray ring. The latter is colored by contrast with the field that surrounds. Helmholtz explain the fact thus:
"The difference of the compared colors appears greater than it really is either because this difference, when it is the only existing one and draws the attention to itself alone, makes a stronger impression than when it is one among many, or because the different colors of surface are conceived as alterations of the one ground-color of the surface such as might arise through shadows falling on it, through colored reflexes, or through shadows falling on it, through colored reflexes, or through mixture with colored paint or dust. In truth, to produce an objectively gray spot on a green surface, a reddish coloring would be necessary." 28
This explanation is easily proved false by painting the disk with narrow green and gray concentric rings, and giving each a different saturation. The contrast appears through there is no ground-color, and no longer a single difference, but many. The facts which Helmholtz brings forward in support of his theory are also easily turned against him. He asserts that if the color of the ground is too intense, or if the gray ring is bordered by black circles, the contrast becomes weaker; that no contrast appears on a white scrap held over the colored field; and that the gray ring when compared with such scrap looses its contrast-color either wholly or in part. Hering points out the inaccuracy of all the claims. Under favorable conditions it is impossible to make the contrast dissappear by means of balck enclosing lines, although they naturally form a disturbing element; increase in the saturation of the field, if disturbance through increasing brightness-contrast is to be avoided, demands a darker grey field, on which contrast-color are less easily perceived; and careful use of the white scrap leads to entirely different results. The contrast-color does appear upon it when it is first placed above the colored field; but if it is carefully fixated, the contrast-color diminishes very rapidly both on it and on the ring, from causes already explained. To secure accurate observation, a complication through successive contrast should be avoided thus: first arrange the white scrap, then interpose a gray screen between it and the disk, rest the eye, set the wheel in motion, fixate the scrap, and then have the screen re- moved. The contrast at once appears clearly, and its disappearance through continued fixation can be accurately watched.
Brief mention of a few other cases of contrast must suffice. The so-called mirror experiment consists of placing at an angle of 45 [degree] a green (or otherwise colored) pane of glass, forming an angle with two white surfaces, one horizontal and the other vertical. On each white surface is a blackspot. The one on the horizontal surface is seen through the glass and appears dark green, the other is reflection from the surface of the glass to the eye, and appears by contrast red. The experiment may be so arranged that we are not aware of the presence of the green glass, but think that we are looking directly at a surface with green and red spots upon it; in such a case there is no deception of judgment caused by making allowance for the colored medium through which we think that we see the spot, and therefore the psychological explanation does not apply. On excluding successive contrast by fixation the contrast soon disappears as in all similar experiments. 29
Colored shadows have long been thought to afford a convincing proof of the fact that simultaneous contrast is psychological in its origin. They are formed whenever an opaque object is illuminated from two separate sides by lights of different colors. When the light from one source is white, its shadow is of the color of the other light, and the second shadow is of a color complementary to that of the field illuminated by both lights. If now we take a tube, blackened inside, and through it look at the colored shadow, none of the surrounding field being visible, and then have the colored light removed, the shadow still appears colored, although 'the circumstances which caused it have disappeared.' This is regarded by the psychologists as conclusive evidence that the color is due to deception of judgment. It can, however, easily be shown that the persistence of the color seen through the tube is due to fatigue of the retina through the prevailing light, and that when the colored light is removed the color slowly disappears as the equilibrium of the retina becomes gradually restored. When successive contrast is carefully guarded against, the simultaneous contrast, whether seen directly or through the tube, never lasts for an instant on removal of the colored field. The physiological explanation applies throughout to all the phenomena presented by colored shadows. 30
If we have a small field whose illumination remains constant, surrounded by a large field of changing brightness, an increase or decrease in brightness of the latter results in a corresponding apparent decrease or increase respectively in the brightness of the former, while the large field seems to be unchanged. Exner says:
"This illusion of sense shows that we are inclined to regard as constant the dominant brightness in our field of vision, and hence to refer the changing difference between this and the brightness of a limited field to a change in brightness of the latter."
The result, however, can be shown to depend not on illusion, but on actual retinal changes, which alter the sensation experienced. The irritability of those portions of the retina lighted by the large field becomes much reduced in consequence of fatigue, so that the increase in brightness becomes much less apparent than it would be without this diminution in irritability. The small field, however, shows the change by a change in the contrast-effect induced upon it by the surrounding parts of the retina. 31
The above cases show clearly that physiological processes, and not deception of judgment, are responsible for contrast of color. To say this, however, is not to maintain that our perception of a color is never in any degree modified by our judgment of what the particular colored thing before us may be. We have unquestionable illusions of color due to wrong inferences as to what object is before us. Thus Vou Kriest 32 speaks of wandering through evergreen forests covered with snow, and thinking that through the interstices of the boughs he saw the deep blue of pine-clad mountains, covered with snow and lighted by brilliant sunshine; whereas what he really saw was the white snow on trees near by, lying in shadow]. 34
Such a mistake as this is undoubtedly of psychological origin. It is a wrong classification of the appearances, due to the arousal of intricate processes of association, amongst which is the suggestion of a different hue from that really before the eyes. In the ensuing chapters such illusions as this will be treated of in considerable detail. But it is a mistake to interpret the simpler cases of contrast in the light of such illusions as these. These illusions can be rectified in an instant, and we then wonder how they could have been. They come from insufficient attention, or from the fact that the impression which we get is a sign of more than one possible object, and can be interpreted in either way. In none of these points do they resemble simple color-contrast, which unquestionably is a phenomena of sensation immediately aroused.
I have dwelt upon the facts of color-contrast at such great length because they form so good a text to comment on in my struggle against the view that sensations are immutable psychic things which coexist with higher mental functions. Both sensationalists and intellectualists agree that such sensations exist. They fuse, say the pure sensationalists, and make the higher mental function; they are combined by activity of the Thinking Principle, say the intellectualists. I myself have contended that they do not exist in or alongside of the higher mental function when that exists. The things which arouse them exist; and the higher mental function also knows these same things. But just as its knowledge of the things supersedes and displaces their knowledge, so it supersedes and displaces them, when it comes, being as much as they are a direct resultant of whatever momentary brain-conditions may obtain. The psychological theory of contrast, on the other hand, holds the sensations still to exist in themselves unchanged before the mind, whilst the relating activity of the latter deals with them freely and settles to its own satisfaction what each shall be, in view of what the others also are. Wundt says expressly that the Law of Relativity is "not a law of sensation but a law of Apperception" and the word Apperception connotes with him a higher intellectual spontaneity. 35 This way of taking things belongs with the philosophy that looks at the data of sense as something earthborn and servile, and the 'relating of them together' as something spiritual and free. Lo! the spirit can even change the intrinsic quality of the sensible facts themselves if by so doing it can relate them better to each other! But (apart from the difficulty of seeing how changing the sensations should relate them better) is it not manifest that the relations are part of the 'content' of consciousness, part of the 'object,' just as much as the sensations are? Why ascribe the former exclusively to the knower and the latter to the known? The knower is in every case a unique pulse of thought corresponding to a unique reaction of the brain upon its conditions. All that the facts of contrast show us is that the same real thing may give us quite different sensations when the conditions alter, and that we must therefore be careful which one to select as the thing's truest representative.
There are many other facts beside the phenomena of contrast which prove that when two objects act together on us the sensation which either would give alone becomes a different sensation. A certain amount of skin dipped in hot water gives the perception of a certain heat. More skin immersed makes the heat much more intense, although of course the water's heat is the same. A certain extent as well as intensity, in the quantity of the stimulus is requisite for any quality to be felt. Fick and Wunderli could not distinguish heat from touch when both were applied through a hole in a card, and so confined to a small part of the skin. Similarly there is a chromatic minimum of size in objects. The image they cast on the retina must needs have a certain extent, or it will give no sensation of color at all. Inversely, more intensity in the outward impression may make the subjective object more extensive. This happens, as will be shown in Chapter XIX, when the illumination is increased: The whole room expands and dwindles according as we raise or lower the gas-jet. It is not easy to explain any of these results as illusions of judgment due to the inference of a wrong objective cause for the sensation which we get. No more is this easy in the case of Weber's observation that a thaler laid on the skin of the forehead feels heavier when cold than when warm; or of Szabadfödi's observation that small wooden disks when heated to 122° Fahrenheit often feel heavier than those which are larger but not thus warmed; 36 or of Hall's observation that a heavy point moving over the skin seems to go faster than a lighter one moving at the same rate of speed. 37
Bleuler and Lehmann some years ago called attention to a strange idiosyncrasy found in some persons, and consisting in the fact that impressions on the eye, skin, etc., were accompanied by distinct sensations of sound. 38 Colored hearing is the name sometimes given to the phenomenon, which has now been repeatedly described. Quite lately the Viennese artist Urbantschitsch has proved that these cases are only extreme examples of a very general law, and that all our sense-organs influence each other's sensations. 39 The hue of patches of color so distant as not to be recognized was immediately, in U.'s patients, perceived when a tuning-fork was sounded close to the ear. Sometimes, on the contrary, the field was darkened by the sound. The acuity of vision was increased, so that letters too far off to be read could be read when the tuning-fork was heard. Urbantschitsch, varying his experiments, found that their results were mutual, and that sounds which were on the limits of audibility became audible when lights of various colors were exhibited to the eye. Smell, taste, touch, sense of temperature, etc., were all found to fluctuate when lights were seen and sounds were heard. Individuals varied much in the degree and kind of effect produced, but almost every one experimented on seems to have been in some way affected. The phenomena remind one somewhat of the 'dynamogenic' effects of sensations upon the strength of muscular contraction observed by M. Féré, and later to be described. The most familiar examples of them seem to be the increase of pain by noise or light, and the increase of nausea by all concomitant sensations. Persons suffering in any way instinctively seek stillness and darkness.
Probably every one will agree that the best way of formulating all such facts is physiological: it must be that the cerebral process of the first sensation is reinforced or otherwise altered by the other current which comes in. No one, surely, will prefer a psychological explanation here. Well, it seems to me that all cases of mental reaction to a plurality of stimuli must be like these cases, and that the physiological formulation is everywhere the simplest and the best When simultaneous red and green light make us see yellow, when three notes of the scale make us hear a chord, it is not because the sensations of red and of green and of each of the three notes enter the mind as such, and there 'combine' or 'are combined by its relating activity' into the yellow and the chord, it is because the larger sum of light-waves and of air-waves arouses new cortical processes, to which the yellow and the chord directly correspond. Even when the sensible qualities of things enter into the objects of our highest thinking, it is surely the same. Their several sensations do not continue to exist there tucked away. They are replaced by the higher thought which although a different psychic unit from them, knows the same sensible qualities which they know.
The principles laid down in Chapter VI seem then to be corroborated in this new connection. You cannot build up one thought or one sensation out of many; and only direct experiment can inform us of what we shall perceive when we get many stimuli at once.
We often hear the opinion expressed that all our sensations at first appear to us as subjective or internal, and are afterwards and by a special act on our part 'extradited' or 'projected' so as to appear located in an outer world. Thus we read in Professor Ladd's valuable work that
"Sensations . . . are psychical states whose place -- so far as they can be said to have one -- is the mind. The transference of these sensations from mere mental states to physical processes located in the periphery of the body, or to qualities of things projected in space external to the body, is a mental act. It may rather be said to be a mental achievement [cf. Cudworth, above, as to knowledge being conquering], for it is an act which in its perfection results from a long and intricate process of development. . . . Two noteworthy stages, or 'epoch-making' achievements in the process of elaborating the presentations of sense, require a special consideration. These are 'localization', or the transference of the composite sensations from mere states of the mind to processes or conditions recognized as taking place at more or less definitely fixed points or areas of the body; and 'eccentric projection I (sometimes called 'eccentric perception') or the giving to these sensations an objective existence (in the fullest sense of the word I objective') as qualities of objects situated within a field of space and in contact with, or more or less remotely distant from, the body." 41
It seems to me that there is not a vestige of evidence for this view. It hangs together with the opinion that our sensations are originally devoid of all spatial content, 42 an opinion which I confess that I am wholly at a loss to understand. As I look at my bookshelf opposite I cannot frame to myself an idea, however imaginary, of any feeling which I could ever possibly have got from it except the feeling of the same big extended sort of outward fact which I now perceive. So far is it from being true that our first way of feeling things is the feeling of them as subjective or mental, that the exact opposite seems rather to be the truth. Our earliest, most instinctive, least developed kind of consciousness is the objective kind; and only as reflection becomes developed do we become aware of an inner world at all. Then indeed we enrich it more and more, even to the point of becoming idealists, with the spoils of the outer world which at first was the only world we knew. But subjective consciousness, aware of itself as subjective, does not at first exist. Even an attack of pain is surely felt at first objectively as something in space which prompts to motor reaction, and to the very end it is located, not in the mind, but in some bodily part.
"A sensation which should not awaken an impulse to move, nor any tendency to produce an outward effect, would manifestly be useless to a living creature. On the principles of evolution such a sensation could never be developed. Therefore every sensation originally refers to something external and independent of the sentient creature. Rhizopods (according to Engelmann's observations) retract their pseudopodia whenever these touch foreign bodies, even if these foreign bodies are the pseudopodia of other individuals of their own species, whilst the mutual contact of their own pseudopodia is followed by no such contraction. These low animals can therefore already feel an outer world -- even in the absence of innate ideas of causality, and probably without any clear consciousness of space. In truth the conviction that something exists outside of ourselves does not come from thought. It comes from sensation; it rests on the same ground as our conviction of our own existence. . . . If we consider the behavior of new-born animals, we never find them betraying that they are first of all conscious of their sensations as purely subjective excitements. We far more readily incline to explain the astonishing certainty with which they make use of their sensations (and which is an effect of adaptation and inheritance) as the result of an inborn intuition of the outer world. . . . Instead of starting from an original pure subjectivity of sensation, and seeking how this could possibly have acquired an objective signification, we must, on the contrary, begin by the possession of objectivity by the sensation and then show how for reflective consciousness the latter becomes interpreted as an effect of the object, how in short the original immediate objectivity becomes changed into a remote one." 43
Another confusion, much more common than the denial of all objective character to sensations, is the assumption that they are all originally located inside the body and are projected outward by a secondary act. This secondary judgment is always false, according to M. Taine, so far as the place of the sensation itself goes. But it happens to hit a real object which is at the point towards which the sensation is projected; so we may call its result, according to this author, a veridical hallucination. 44 The word Sensation, to begin with, is constantly, in psychological literature, used as if it meant one and the same thing with the physical impression either in the terminal organs or in the centres, which is its antecedent condition, and this notwithstanding that by sensation we mean a mental, not a physical, fact. But those who expressly mean by it a mental fact still leave to it a physical place, still think of it as objectively inhabiting the very neural tracts which occasion its appearance when they are excited; and then (going a step farther) they think that it must place itself where they place it, or be subjectively sensible of that place as its habitat in the first instance, and afterwards have to be moved so as to appear elsewhere.
All this seems highly confused and unintelligible. Consciousness, as we saw in an earlier chapter (p. 214) cannot properly be said to inhabit any place. It has dynamic relations with the brain, and cognitive relations with everything and anything. From the one point of view we may say that a sensation is in the same place with the brain (if we like), just as from the other point of view we may say that it is in the same place with whatever quality it may be cognizing. But the supposition that a sensation primitively feels either itself or its object to be in the same place with the brain is absolutely groundless, and neither a priori probability nor facts from experience can be adduced to show that such a deliverance forms any part of the original cognitive function of our sensibility.
Where, then, do we feel the objects of our original sensations to be?
Certainly a child newly born in Boston, who gets a sensation from the candle-flame which lights the bedroom, or from his diaper-pin, does not feel either of these objects to be situated in longitude 72° W. and latitude 41° N. He does not feel them to be in the third story of the house. He does not even feel them in any distinct manner to be to the right or the left of any of the other sensations which he may be getting from other objects in the room at the same time. He does not, in short, know anything about their space-relations to anything else in the world. The flame fills its own place, the pain fills its own place; but as yet these places are neither identified with, nor discriminated from, any other places. That comes later. For the places thus first sensibly known are elements of the child's space-world which remain with him all his life; and by memory and later experience he learns a vast number of things about those places which at first he did not know. But to the end of time certain places of the world remain defined for him as the places where those sensations were; and his only possible answer to the question where anything is will be to say 'there,' and to name some sensation or other like those first ones, which shall identify the spot. Space means but the aggregate of all our possible sensations. There is no duplicate space known aliunde, or created by an 'epoch-making achievement' into which our sensations, originally spaceless, are dropped. They bring space and all its places to our intellect, and do not derive it thence.
By his body, then, the child later means simply that place where the pain from the pin, and a lot of other sensations like it, were or are felt. It is no more true to say that he locates that pain in his body, than to say that he locates his body in that pain. Both are true: that pain is part of what he means by the word body. Just so by the outer world the child means nothing more than that place where the candle-flame and a lot of other sensations like it are felt. He no more locates the candle in the outer world than he locates the outer world in the candle. Once again, he does both; for the candle is part of what he means by 'outer world.'
This (it seems to me) will be admitted, and will (I trust) be made still more plausible in the chapter on the Perception of Space. But the later developments of this perception are so complicated that these simple principles get easily overlooked. One of the complications comes from the fact that things move, and that the original object which we feel them to be splits into two parts, one of which remains as their whereabouts and the other goes of as their quality or nature. We then contrast where they were with where they are. If we do not move, the sensation of where they were remains unchanged; but we ourselves presently move, so that that also changes; and I where they were' becomes no longer the actual sensation which it was originally, but a sensation which we merely conceive as possible. Gradually the system of these possible sensations, takes more and more the place of the actual sensations. 'Up' and 'down' become 'subjective' notions; east and west grow more 'correct' than 'right' and 'left' etc.; and things get at last more 'truly' located by their relation to certain ideal fixed co-ordinates than by their relation either to our bodies or to those objects by which their place was originally defined. Now this revision of our original localizations is a complex affair; and contains some facts which may very naturally come to be described as translocations whereby sensations get shoved farther of than they originally appeared.
Few things indeed are more striking than the changeable distance which the objects of many of our sensations may be made to assume. A fly's humming may be taken for a distant steam-whistle; or the fly itself, seen out of focus, may for a moment give us the illusion of a distant bird. The same things seem much nearer or much farther, according as we look at them through one end or another, of an opera-glass. Our whole optical education indeed is largely taken up with assigning their proper distances to the objects of our retinal sensations. An infant will grasp at the moon; later, it is said, he projects that sensation to a distance which he knows to be beyond his reach. In the much quoted case of the 'young gentleman who was born blind,' and who was 'couched' for the cataract by Mr. Chesselden, it is reported of the patient that "when he first saw, he was so far from making any judgment about distances, that he thought all objects whatever touched his eyes (as he expressed it) as what 'he felt did his skin." And other patients born blind, but relieved by surgical op- eration, have been described as bringing their hand close to their eyes to feel for the objects which they at first saw, and only gradually stretching out their hand when they found that no contact occurred. Many have concluded from these facts that our earliest visual objects must seem in immediate contact with our eyes.
But tactile objects also may be affected with a like ambiguity of situation.
If one of the hairs of our head be pulled, we are pretty accurately sensible of the direction of the pulling by the movements imparted to the head. 45 But the feeling of the pull is localized, not in that part of the hair's length which the fingers hold, but in the scalp itself. This seems connected with the fact that our hair hardly serves at all as a tactile organ. In creatures with vibrisse, however, and in those quadrupeds whose whiskers are tactile organs, it can hardly be doubted that the feeling is projected out of the root into the shaft of the hair itself. We ourselves have an approach to this when the beard as a whole, or the hair as a whole, is touched. We perceive the contact at some distance from the skin.
When fixed and hard appendages of the body, like the teeth and nails, are touched, we feel the contact where it objectively is, and not deeper in, where the nerve-terminations lie. If, however, the tooth is loose, we feel two contacts, spatially separated, one at its root, one at its top.
From this case to that of a hard body not organically connected with the surface, but only accidentally in contact with it, the transition is immediate. With the point of a cane we can trace letters in the air or on a wall just as with the finger-tip; and in so doing feel the size and shape of the path described by the cane's tip just as immediately as, without a cane, we should feel the path described by the tip of our finger. Similarly the draughtsman's immediate perception seems to be of the point of his pencil, the surgeon's of the end of his knife, the duellist's of the tip of his rapier as it plunges through his enemy's skin. When on the middle of a vibrating ladder, we feel not only our feet on the round, but the ladder's feet against the ground far below. If we shake a locked iron gate we feel the middle, on which our hands rest, move, but we equally feel the stability of the ends where the hinges and the lock are, and we seem to feel all three at once. 46 And yet the place where the contact is received is in all these cases the skin, whose sensations accordingly are sometimes interpreted as objects on the surface, and at other times as objects a long distance off.
We shall learn in the chapter on Space that our feelings of our own movement are principally due to the sensibility of our rotating joints. Sometimes by fixing the attention, say on our elbow-joint, we can feel the movement in the joint itself; but we always are simultaneously conscious of the path which during the movement our finger-tips describe through the air, and yet these same finger-tips themselves are in no way physically modified by the motion. A blow on our ulnar nerve behind the elbow is felt both there and in the fingers. Refrigeration of the elbow produces pain in the fingers. Electric currents passed through nerve-trunks, whether of cutaneous or of more special sensibility (such as the optic nerve), give rise to sensations which are vaguely localized beyond the nerve-tracts traversed. Persons whose legs or arms have been amputated are, as is well known, apt to preserve an illusory feeling of the lost hand or foot being there. Even when they do not have this feeling constantly, it may be occasionally brought back. This sometimes is the result of exciting electrically the nerve-trunks buried in the stump.
"I recently faradized," says Dr. Mitchell, "a case of disarticulated shoulder without warning my patient of the possible result. For two year she had altogether ceased to feel the limb. As the current affected the brachial plexus of nerves he suddenly cried aloud, 'Oh the hand, -- the hand!' and attempted to seize the missing member. The phantom I had conjured up swiftly disappeared, but no spirit could have more amazed the man, so real did it seem." 47
Now the apparent position of the lost extremity varies. Often the foot seems on the ground, or follows the position of the artificial foot, where one is used. Sometimes where the arm is lost the elbow will seem bent, and the hand in a fixed position on the breast. Sometimes, again, the position is non-natural, and the hand will seem to bud straight out of the shoulder, or the foot to be on the same level with the knee of the remaining leg. Sometimes, again, the position is vague; and sometimes it is ambiguous, as in another patient of Dr. Weir Mitchell's who
"lost his leg at the age of eleven, and remembers that the foot by degrees approached, and at last reached the knee. When he began to wear an artificial leg it reassumed in time its old position, and he is never at present aware of the leg as shortened, unless for some time he talks and thinks of the stump, and of the missing leg, when . . . the direction of attention to the part causes a feeling of discomfort, and the subjective sensation of active and unpleasant movement of the toes. With these feelings returns at once the delusion of the foot as being placed at the knee."
All these facts, and others like them, can easily be described as if our sensations might be induced by circumstances to migrate from their original locality near the brain or near the surface of the body, and to appear farther off; and (under current circumstances) to return again after having migrated. But a little analysis of what happens shows us that this description is inaccurate.
The objectivity with which each of our sensations originally comes to m, the roomy and spatial character which is a primitive part of its content, is not in the first instance relative to any other sensation. The first time we open our eyes we get an optical object which is a place, but which is not yet placed in relation to any other object, nor identified with any place otherwise known. It is a place with which so far we are only acquainted. When later we know that this same place is in 'front' of us, that only means that we have learned something about it, namely, that it is congruent with that other place, called 'front,' which is given us by certain sensations of the arm and hand or of the head and body. But at the first moment of our optical experience, even though we already had an acquaintance with our head, hand, and body, we could not possibly know anything about their relations to this new seen object. It could not be immediately located in respect of them. How its place agrees with the places which their feelings yield is a matter of which only later experience can inform us; and in the next chapter we shall see with some detail how later experience does this by means of discrimination, association, selection, and other constantly working functions of the mind. When, therefore, the baby grasps at the moon, that does not mean that what he sees fails to give him the sensation which lie afterwards knows as distance; it means only that he has not learned at what tactile or manual distance things which appear at that visual distances are. 48 And when a person just operated for cataract gropes close to his face for far-off objects, that only means the same thing. All the ordinary optical signs of differing distances are absent from the poor creature's sensation anyhow. His vision is monocular (only one eye being operated at a time); the lens is gone, and everything is out of focus; he feels photophobia, lachrymation, and other painful resident sensations of the eyeball itself, whose place he has long since learned to know in tactile terms; what wonder, then, that the first tactile reaction which the new sensations provoke should be one associated with the tactile situation of the organ itself? And as for his assertions about the matter, what wonder, again, if, as Prof. Paul Janet says, they are still expressed in the tactile language which is the only one he knows. "To be touched means for him to receive an impression without first making a movement." His eye gets such an impression now; so he can only say that the objects are touching it.'
"All his language, borrowed from touch, but applied to the objects of his sight, make us think that he perceives differently from ourselves, whereas, at bottom, it is only his different way of talking about the same experience. 49
The other cases of translocation of our sensations are equally easily interpreted without supposing any 'projection' from a centre at which they are originally perceived. Unfortunately the details are intricate; and what I say now can only be made fully clear when we come to the next chapter. We shall then see that we are constantly selecting certain of our sensations as realities and degrading others to the status of signs of these. When we get one of the signs we think of the reality signified; and the strange thing is that then the reality (which need not be itself a sensation at all at the time, but only an idea) is so interesting that it acquires an hallucinatory strength, which may even eclipse that of the relatively uninteresting sign and entirely divert our attention from the latter. Thus the sensations to which our joints give rise when they rotate are signs of what, through a large number of other sensations, tactile and optical, we have come to know as the movement of the whole limb. This movement of the whole limb is what we think of when the joint's nerves are excited in that way; and its place is so much more important than the joint's place that our sense of the latter is taken up, so to speak, into our perception of the former, and the sensation of the movement seems to diffuse itself into our very fingers and toes. But by abstracting our attention from the suggestion of the entire extremity we can perfectly well perceive the same sensation as if it were concentrated in one spot. We can identify it with a differently located tactile and visual image of 'the joint' itself.
Just so when we feel the tip of our cane against the ground. The peculiar sort of movement of the hand (impossible in one direction, but free in every other) which we experience when the tip touches 'the ground,' is a sign to us of the visual and tactile object which we already know under that name. We think of 'the ground' as being there and giving us the sensation of this kind of movement. The sensation, we say, comes from the ground. The ground's place seems to be its place; although at the same time, and for very similar practical reasons, we think of another optical and tactile object, 'the hand' namely, and consider that its place also must be the place of our sensation. In other words, we take an object or sensible content A, and confounding it with another object otherwise known, B, or with two objects otherwise known, B and C, we identify its place with their places. But in all this there is no 'projecting' (such as the extradition-philosophers talk of) of A out of an original place; no primitive location which it first occupied, away from these other sensations, has to be contradicted; no natural ' centre,' from which it is expelled, exists. That would imply that A aboriginally came to us in definite local relations with other sensations, for to be out of B and C is to be in local relation with them as much as to be in them is so. But it was no more out of B and C than it was in them when it first came to us. It simply had nothing to do with them. To say that we feel a sensation's seat to be 'in the brain' or 'against the eye' or 'under the skin' is to say as much about it and to deal with it in as non-primitive a way as to say that it is a mile off. These are all secondary perceptions, ways of defining the sensation's seat per aliud. They involve numberless associations, identifications, and imaginations, and admit a great deal of vacillation and uncertainty in the result. 50
I conclude, then, that there is no truth in the 'eccentric projection' theory. It is due to the confused assumption that the bodily processes which cause a sensation must also be its seat. 51 But sensations have no seat in this sense. They become seats for each other, as fast as experience associates them together; but that violates no primitive seat possessed by any one of them. And though our sensations cannot then so analyze and talk of themselves, yet at their very first appearance quite as much as at any later date are they cognizant of all those qualities which we end by extracting and conceiving under the names of objectivity, exteriority, and extent. It is surely subjectivity and inferiority which are the notions latest acquired by the human mind. 52
1 Some persons will say that we never have a really simple object or content. My definition of sensation does not require the simplicity to be absolutely, but only relatively, extreme. It is worth while in passing, however, to warn the reader against a couple of inferences that are often made. One is that because we gradually learn to analyze so many qualities we ought to conclude that there are no really indecomposable feelings in the mind. The other is that because the processes that produce our sensations are multiple, the sensations regarded as subjective facts must also be compound. To take an example, to a child the taste of lemonade comes at first as a simple quality. He later learns both that many stimuli and many nerves are involved in the exhibition of this taste to his wind, and he also learns to perceive separately the sourness, the coolness, the sweet, the lemon aroma, etc., and the several degrees of strength of each and all of these things, -- the experience falling into a large number of aspects, each of which is abstracted, classed, named, etc., and all of which appear to be the elementary sensations into which the original 'lemonade flavor' is decomposed. It is argued from this that the latter never was the simple thing which it seemed. I have already criticised this sort of reasoning in ChapterVI(see pp.17ff.). The mind of the child enjoying the simple lemonade flavor and that of the same child grown up and analysing it are in two entirely different conditions. Subjectively considered, the two states of mind are two altogether distinct sorts of fact. The later mental state says 'this is the same flavor (or fluid) which that earlier state perceived as simple, but that does not make the two states themselves identical. It is nothing but a case of learning more and more about the same topics of discourse or things. -- Many of these topics, however, must be confessed to resist all analysis, the various colors for example. He who sees blue and yellow 'in' a certain green means merely that when green is confronted with these other colors he sees relations of similarity. He who sees abstract 'color' in it means merely that he sees a similarity between it and all the other objects known as colors. (Similarity itself cannot ultimately be accounted for by an identical abstract element buried in all the similars, as has been already shown, p. 492 ff.) He who sees abstract paleness, intensity, purity, in the green means other similarities still. These are all outward determinations of that special green, knowledges about it, züallige Anischten, as Herbart would say, not elements of its composition. Compare the article by Meinong in the Vierteliahrschrift für wiss. Phil., xii. 324.
2 See above, p. 221
3 Those who wish a fuller treatment than Martin's Human Body affords may be recommended to Bernstein's 'Five Senses of Man,' in the International Scientific Series, or to Ladd's or Wundt's Physiological Psychology. The completest compendium is L. Hermann's Handbuch der Physiologie, Vol. III.
4 "The sensations which we postulate, as the signs or occasions of our perceptions" (A. Seth: Scottish Philosophy, p. 89). "Their existence is supposed only because, without them, it would be impossible to account for the complex phenomena which are directly present in consciousness" (J. Dewey: Psychology, p. 34). Even as great an enemy of Sensation as T. H. Green has to allow it a sort of hypothetical existence under protest. "Perception presupposes feeling" (Contemp. Review, vol. xxxi. p. 747). Cf. also sail passages as those in his Prolegomena to Ethics, §§ 48, 49. -- Physiologically, the sensory and the reproductive or associative processes may wax and wane independently of each other. Where the part directly due to stimulation of the sense-organ preponderates, the thought has a sensational character, and differs from other thoughts in the sensational direction. Those thoughts which lie farthest in that direction we call sensations, for practical convenience, just as we call conceptions those which lie nearer the opposite extreme. But we no more have conceptions pure than we have pure sensations. Our most rarefied intellectual states involve some bodily sensibility, just as our dullest feelings have some intellectual scope. Common-sense and common psychology express this by saying that the mental state is composed of distinct fractional parts, one of which Is sensation, the other conception. We, however, who believe every mental state to be an integral thing (p. 276) cannot talk thus, but must speak of the degree of sensational or intellectual character, or function, of the mental state. Professor Hering puts, as usual, his finger better upon the truth than any one else. Writing of visual perception, he says: "It is inadmissible in the present state of our knowledge to assert that first and last the same retinal picture arouses exactly the same pure sensation, but that this sensation, in consequence of practice and experience, is differently interpreted the last time, and elaborated into a different perception the first. For the only real data are, on the one hand, the physical picture on the retina, -- and that is both times the same; and, on the other hand, the resultant state of consciousness (ausgelöste Empfindungscomplex) -- and that is both times distinct. Of any third thing, namely, a pure sensation thrust between the retinal and the mental pictures, we know nothing. We can then, if we wish to avoid all hypothesis, only say that the nervous apparatus reacts upon the same stimulus differently the last time from the first, and that in consequence the consciouss is different too." (Hermann's Hdbch., iii. i. 567-8.)
5 Yet even writers like Prof. Bain will deny, in the most gratuitous way, that sensations know anything. "It is evident that the most restricted form of sensation does not contain an element edge. The mere state of mind called the sensation of scarlet is edge, although a necessary preparation for it." 'Is not know about scarlet' is all that Professor Bain can rightfully say.
6By simple ideas of sensation Locke merely means sensations.
7 Essay c. H. U., bk. ii. ch. xxiii. § 29; ch. xxv. § 9.
9 Op. cit. Bk. Ii ch. ii § 2.
10 "So far is it from being true that we necessarily have as many feelings in consciousness at one time as there are isles to the sense then played upon, that it is a fundamental law of pure sensation that each momentarily state of the organism yields but one feeling, however numerous may be Its parts and its exposures. . . . To this original Unity of consciousness it makes no difference that the tributaries to the single feeling are beyond the organism instead of within it, in an outside object with several sensible properties, instead of in the living body with its several sensitive functions. . . . The unity therefore is riot made by 'association' of several components; but the plurality is formed by dissociation of unsuspected varieties within the unity; the substantive thing being no product of synthesis, but the residuum of differentiation." (J. Martineau: A Study of Religion (1888), p.192-4.) Compare also F. H. Bradley, Logic, book i. chap. ii.
11 Such passages as the following abound in anti-sensationalist literature:
"Sense is a kind of dull, confused, and stupid perception obtruded upon the soul from without, whereby it perceives the alterations and motions within its own body, and takes cognizance of individual bodies existing round about it, but does not clearly comprehend what they are nor penetrate into the nature of them, it being intended by nature, as Plotinus speaks, not so properly for knowledge as for the use of the body. For the soul suffering under that which it perceives by way of passion cannot master or conquer it, that is to say, know or understand it. For so Anaxigoras in Aristotle very fairly expresses the nature of knowledge and intellection under the notion of Conquering. Wherefore it is necessary, since the mind understands all things, that it should be free from mixture and passion, for this end, as Anaxagorias speaks, that it may be able to know and master and conquer its objects, that is to say, to conquer and understand them. In like manner Pieus, in his book of Sense and Memory, makes to suffer and to be, conquered: one, also to know and to conquer; for which reason he concludes that that which suffers doth not know. . . . Sense that suffers from external objects lies as it were prostrate under them, and is overcome by them . . . Sense therefore is a certain kind of drowsy and somnolent perception of that passive part of the soul which is as it were asleep and acts concretely with it. . . . It is an energy arising from the body and a certain kind of drowsy or sleeping life of the soul blended together with it. The perceptions of which compound, or of the soul as it were half asleep and half awake, are confused, indistinct, turbid, and encumbered cogitations very different from the energies of the noetical part, . . . which are free, clear, serene, satisfactory, and awakened cogitations. That is to say, knowledges" Etc., etc., etc. (R. Cudworth: Treatise concerning Eternal and Immutable Morality, bk iii. chap. ii.) Similarly Malbranche: "THÉODORE. -- Oh, oh, Ariste! God knows pain, pleasure and the rest. But he does not feel these things. He knows pain, since he knows what that modification of the soul is in which pain consists. He knows it because he alone causes it in us (as I shall presently prove), and he knows what he does. In a word, he knows it because his knowledge has no bounds. But he does not feel it, for if so he would be unhappy. To know pain, then, is not to feel it. ARISTE. -- That is true. But to feel it is to know it, is it not? THÉODORE. -- No indeed, since God does not feel it in the least, and yet he knows it perfectly. But in order not to quibble about terms, if you will have it that to feel pain is to know it, agree a that it is not to know it clearly, that it is not to know it by light an by evidence -- in a word, that it is not to know its nature; in other words speak exactly, it is not to know it at all. To feel pain, for example, is to feel ourselves unhappy without well knowing either what we are or is this modality of our being which makes us unhappy. . . . Impose silence on your senses, your imagination, and your passions, and you will hear the pure voice of inner truth, the clear and evident replies of our common master. Never confound the evidence which results from the comparison of ideas with the liveliness of the sensations which touch and thrill you. The livelier our sensations and feelings (sentiments) are, the more darkness do they shed. The more terrible or agreeable are our phantoms, and they body and reality they appear to have, the more dangerous are they an to lead us astray." (Entretiens sur la Métaphysique, 3me Entretien ad init.) Malebranche's Theodore prudently does not try to explain God's 'infinite felicity' is compatible with his not feeling joy.
12 Green: Prolegomena, §§ 20, 28.
13 Introd. to Hume, §§ 146, 188. It is hard to tell just what this apostolic human being but strenuously feeble writer means by relation. Sometimes it seems to stand for system of related fact. The ubiquity of the 'psychologist's fallacy' (see p. 196) in his pages, his incessant leaning on the confusion between the thing known, the thought that knows it, and the farther things known about that thing and about that thought by later and additional thoughts, make it impossible to clear up his meaning. Compare, however, utterances in the text such others as these: "The waking of Self-consciousness from the sleep of sense is an absolute new beginning, and nothing can come within the 'crystal sphere' of intelligence except as it is determined by intelligence. What sense is to sense is nothing for thought. What sense is to thought, it is as determined by thought. There can, therefore, be no 'reality' in sensation to which the world of thought can be referred." (Edward Caird's Philosophy of Kant, 1st ed. pp. 393-4.) "When," says Green again, "feeling a pain or pleasure of heat to be connected with the action of approaching the fire, am I not receiving a relation of which one constituent, at any rate, is a simple sensation? The true answer is No." "Perception, in its simplest form . . . -- perception as the first sight or touch of an object in which is seen or touched is recognized -- neither is nor contains sensation. ( Contemp. Rev., xxxi. pp. 746, 750.) "Mere sensation is in truth a phrase that represents no reality." "Mere feeling, then, as a matter unformed by thought, has no place in the world of facts, in the cosmos of possible experience." (Proglegomena to Ethics, §§ 46, 50.) -- I have expressed myself a little more fully on this subject in mind, x. 27 ff.
14 Stumpf: Tonpsychologie, i. Pp. 7,8. Hobbes's phrase, sentire semper idem et non sentire ad idem recidunt, is generally treated as the original statement of the relativity doctrine. J. S. Mill ( Examn. of Hamilton, p. 6) and Bain (Senses and Intellect. p. 321; Emotions and Will, pp. 550, 570-2; Logic, i. p. 2; Body and Mind, p. 81) are subscribers to this doctrine also J. S. Mill's analysis, J. S. Mill's edition, ii. 11, 12.
15 We can steadily hear a note for half an hour. The difference between the senses are marked. Smell and taste seem soon to get fatigued.
16 In the popular mind it is mixed up with that entirely different doctrine of the 'Relativity of Knowledge' preached by Hamilton and Spencer. This doctrine says that our knowledge is relative to us, and is not of the object as the latter is in itself. It has nothing to do with the question which we have been discussing, of whether our objects of knowledge contain absolute terms or consist altogether of relations.
17 What follows in brackets, as far as p. 27, is from the pen of my friend and pupil Mr. E. B. Delabarre.
19 These phenomena have close analogues in the phenomena of contrast presented by the temperature-sense (see W. Preyer in Archiv f. d. ges Phys., Bd. xxv. p. 79 ff.). Successive contrast here is shown in the fact that a warm sensation appears warmer if a cold one has just previously been experienced; and a cold one colder, if the preceding one was warm. If a finger which has been plunged in hot water, and another which has been in cold water, be both immersed in lukewarm water, the same water appears cold to the former finger and warm to the latter. In simultaneous contrast, a sensation of warmth on any part of the skin tends to induce the sensation of cold in its immediate neighborhood; and vice versá. This may be seen if we press with the palm on two metal surfaces of about inch and a half square and three-fourths inch apart; the skin between them appears distinctly warmer. So also a small object of exactly the temperature of the palm appears warm if a cold object, and cold if a warm object, touch the skin near it.
[20 ]Helmholtz, Physiolog. Optik, p. 392.
21 Loc. cit. p. 407.
22 Loc. cit. p. 408.
23 Loc. cit. p. 406.
24 E. Hering, in Hermann's Handbuch d. Physiologie, iii. 1, p. 565.
25 Hering: 'Zur Lehre vom Lichtsinne.' -- Of these experiments the following (found on p. 24 ff.) may be cited as a typical one: "From dark gray paper cut two strips 3-4 cm. long and ½ cm. wide, and lay them on a background of which one half is white and the other half deep black, in such a way that one strip lies on each side of the border-line and parallel to it, and at least 1 cm. distant from it. Fixate ½ to 1 minute a point on the border-line between the strips. One strip appears much brighter than the other. Close and cover the eyes, and the negative after-image appears . . . The difference in brightness of the strips in the after-image is in general much greater than it appeared in direct vision. . . . This difference in brightness of the strips by no means always increases and decreases with the difference in brightness of the two halves of tile background. . . . phase occurs in which the difference in brightness of the two halves the background entirely disappears, and yet both after-images of the strips are still very clear, one of them brighter and one darker than the back ground, which is equally bright on both halves. Here can no longer be any question of contrast-effect, because the conditio sine qua non of contrast, namely, the differing brightness of the ground, is no longer present. This proves that the different brightness of the after-images of the strips must have its ground in a different state of excitation of the corresponding portions of the retina, and from this follows further that both these portions of the retina were differently stimulated during the origin observation; for the different after-effect demands here a different effect. . . . In the original arrangement, the objectively similar strips appeared of different brightness, because both corresponding portions retina were truly differently excited."
26 Helmholtz, Physiolog. Optik, p. 407.
27 In Archiv f. d. ges. Physiol., Bd. XLI. S. 1 ff.
28 Helmholtz, loc. cit. p. 412.
29 See Hering: Archiv. f. d. ges. Physiol., Bd. XLI. S. 358 ff.
30 Hering: Archiv f. d. ges. Physiol., Bd. XL. B. 172 ff.; Delabarre: American Journal of Psychology, ii. 636.
31 Hering: Archiv f. d. ges. Physiol., Bd. XLI. S. 91 ff.
32 Die Gesichtsempfindungen u. ihre Analyse, p. 128.
34 Mr. Delabarre's contribution ends here.
35 Physiol. Psych., i. 351, 458-60. The full inanity of the law of relativity is best to be seen in Wundt's treatment, where the great 'allgemeiner Gesetz der Beziehung,' invoked to account for Weber's law as well as for the phenomena of contrast and many other matters, can only be defined as a tendency to feel all things in relation to each other! Bless its little soul! But why does it change the things so, when it thus feels them in relation?
36 Ladd: Physiol. Psych., p. 348.
37 Mind, x. 567.
38 Zwangsmässige Lichtempfindung durch Schall (Leipzig, 1881).
39 Ptlüger's Archiv, XLII. 154.
41 Physiological Psychology, 385, 387. See also such passages as that in Bain: The Senses and the Intellect, pp. 364-6.
42 Especially must we avoid all attempts, whether avowed or concealed, to account for the spatial qualities of the presentations of sense by merely describing the qualities of the simple sensations and the modes of their combination. It is position and extension in space which constitutes the very peculiarity of the objects as no longer mere sensations or affections of the mind. As sensations, they are neither out of ourselves nor possessed of the qualities indicated by the word spread-out." (Ladd, op. cit. p. 391.)
43 A. Riehl: Der Philosophischer Kriticismus, Bd. ii. Theil ii. p. 64.
44 On Intelligence, part ii. bk. ii. chap. ii. §§ vii, viii. Compare such statements as these: "The consequence is that when a sensation has for Its usual condition the presence of an object more or less distant from our bodies, and experience has once made us acquainted with this distance, we shall situate our sensation at this distance. -- This, in fact, is the case with sensations of hearing and sight. The peripheral extremity of the acoustic nerve is in the deep-seated chamber of the car. That of the optic nerve is in the most inner recess of the eye. But still, in our present state, we never situate our sensations of sound or color in these places, but without us, and often at a considerable distance from us. . . . All our sensations of color are thus projected out of our body, and clothe more or less distant objects, furniture, walls, houses, trees, the sky, and the rest. This is why, when we afterwards reflect on them, we cease to attribute them to ourselves; they are alienated and detached from us, so far as to appear different from us. Projected from the nervous surface in which we localize the majority of the others, the tie which connected them to the others and to ourselves is undone. . . . Thus, all our sensations are wrongly situated, and the red color is no more extended on the arm-chair than the sensation of tingling is situated at my fingers' ends. They are all situated in the sensory centres of the encephalon; all appear situated elsewhere, and a common law allots to each of them its apparent situation." (Vol. ii. pp. 47-53.) -- Similarly Schopenhauer: "I will now show the same by the sense of sight. The immediate datum is here limited to the sensation of the retina which, it is true, admits of considerable diversity, but at bottom reverts to the impression of light and dark with their shades, and that of colors. This sensation is through and through subjective, that is, inside of the organism and under the skin." (Schopenhauer: Satz vom Grunde, p. 58.) This philosopher then enumerates seriatim what the Intellect does to make the originally subjective sensation objective: 1) it turns it bottom side up; 2) it reduces its doubleness to singleness; 3) it changes its flatness to solidity; and 4) it projects it to a distance from the eye. Again: "Sensations are what we call the impressions on our senses, in so far as they come to our consciousness as states of our own body, especially of our nervous apparatus; we call them perceptions when we form out of them the representation of outer objects." (Helmholtz: Tonempfindungen, 1870, p. 101.) -- Once more: "Sensation is always accomplished in the psychic centres, but it manifests itself at the excited part of the periphery. In other words, one is conscious of the phenomenon in the nervous centres. . . . but one perceives it in the peripheric organs. This phenomenon depends on the experience of the sensations themselves, in which there is a reflection of the subjective phenomenon and a tendency on the part of perception to return as it were to the external cause which has roused tile mental state because the latter is connected with the former." (Sergi: Psychologie Physiologique (Paris, 1888), p. 189.) -- The clearest and best passage I know is in Liebmann: Der Objective Anblick (1869), pp. 67-72, but it is unfortunately too long to quote.
45 This is proved by Weber's device of causing the head to be firmly pressed against a support by another person, whereupon the direction of traction ceases to be perceived.
46 Lotze: Med. Psych., 428-433; Lipps: Grundtatsachen des Seelenlebens, 582.
47 Injuries to Nerves (Philadelphia, 1872), p. 350 ff.
48 In reality it probably means only a restless movement of desire, which he might make even after he had become aware of his impotence to touch the object.
49 Revue Philosophique, vii. p. 1 ff., an admirable critical article, in the course of which M. Janet gives a bibliography of the cases in question. See also Dunan: ibid. xxv. 165-7. They are also discussed and similarly Interpreted by T. K. Abbot: Sight and Touch (1864), chapter x.
50 The intermediary and shortened locations of the lost band and foot in the amputation cases also show this. It is easy to see why the phantom foot might continue to follow the position of the artificial one. But I confess that I cannot explain its half way-positions.
51 It is from this confused assumption that the time-honored riddle comes, of how, with an upside-down picture on the retina, we can see things right-side up. Our consciousness is naively supposed to inhabit the picture and to feel the picture's position as related to other objects of space. But the truth is that the picture is non-existent either as a habitat or as anything else, for immediate consciousness. Our notion of it is an enormously late conception. The outer object is given immediately with all those qualities which later are named and determined in relation to other sensations. The 'bottom' of this object is where we see what by touch we afterwards know as our feet, the 'top' is the place in which we see what we know as other people's heads, etc., etc. Berkeley long ago made this matter perfectly clear (see his Essay towards a new Theory of Vision, 93-98, 113-118).
52 For full justification the reader must see the next chapter. He may object, against the summary account given now, that in a babe's immediate field of vision the various things which appear are located relatively to each other from the outset. I admit that if discriminated, they would appear so located. But they are parts of the content of one sensation, not sensations separately experienced, such as the text is concerned with. The fully developed 'world,' in which all our sensations ultimately find location, is nothing but an imaginary object framed after the pattern of the field of vision, by the addition and continuation of one sensation upon another in an orderly and systematic way. In corroboration of my text I must refer to pp. 57-60 of Riehl's book quoted above on page 32, and to Uphues: Wahrnehmung und Empfiudung (1888), especially the Einleitung and pp. 51-61.
1 Prof. Jastrow has ascertained by statistical inquiry among the blind that if their blindness have occurred before a period embraced between the fifth and seventh years the visual centres seem to decay, and visual dreams and images are gradually outgrown. If sight is lost after the seventh year, visual imagination seems to survive through life. See Prof. J.'s interesting article on the Dreams of the Blind, in the New Princeton Review for January 1888.
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