Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

Westermarck, Prof. James Sully, Dr. W. McDougall, F.R.S., Prof. Boyce Gibson, Prof. A. Caldecott. I have specially to thank Dr. McDougall for the generous praise in his “ Social Psychology," of what little I had accomplished, which, coming to me at a time when I was uncertain as to the plan of my book, was a great encouragement and help. I have also to thank Dr. F. W. Mott, F.R.S., for valuable physiological suggestions, and also his daughter, Miss P. Mott, for having collected some cases for me, and provided their references. Finally I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude to Prof. Carveth Read for the labour and self-sacrifice involved in reading and correcting my proofs, which he did in the thorough and conscientious way characteristic of him ; for his having drawn my attention to certain omissions, and for many valuable suggestions. Prof. Stout and Dr. McDougall also kindly read certain parts of the proofs bearing specially on the treatment of 'instinct.'

I hope to publish before long another volume treating of the sentiments in the same detail which I have in the present volume given to the primary emotions. This is necessary to complete the plan of my work.

A. F. S. LONDON,

February, 1914.

PREFACE

TO THE SECOND EDITION

In the present edition of my book the changes have been mainly verbal, and no alteration has been made in the paging or in the arrangement of the chapters. The Index has been made fuller than in the 1st edition. There I relied more on the summary of the book which was contained in the Contents,' hoping that it would both direct the reader to any particular chapter or section as well as help him to grasp the meaning of it as a whole. I have been much encouraged by the reception of the book by experts and the Press, and have tried to profit by the criticisms passed on it. The able and sympathetic article by Prof. Boyce Gibson on “ The Foundations of Character ( Mind,' N.S. Vol. XXV, pp. 25-46) has led me to write two additional chapters in the Appendix, one on the 'Expansive Tendency' of Joy, which had been overlooked in the chapters treating of this emotion; the other on the problem of the antagonism of Desire and Joy, already dealt with in B. III, Ch. VII. Prof. McDougall in the 14th Edition of his “ Social Psychology" has written a new chapter in which he attributed to me a theory of desire which he is at pains to refute and to substitute for it a “simpler” theory of his own. That I do not hold the first should be clear to anyone who reads p. 468 of my book. The second is much the same as the theory I had proposed. As I found that several writers were perplexed over the distinction between Desire and Sentiment, both being potentially systems of emotion, I have tried to show at the conclusion of the Appendix how they may be clearly distinguished, and why it is important that we should distinguish them; for in such cases, though we cannot alter the real differences between things, we may do much to maintain or efface a distinction by contracting or expanding the denotation of a term. I had a similar problem to deal with in the Appendix on “ Impulse, Emotion and Instinct,” a subject to which a considerable amount of attention has been recently directed. Here, too, it was easy to ignore the differences between primary emotion and instinct and to emphasise their identity, and to treat emotion and impulse as substantially the same psychological fact. To my mind it was all a question of the value of the distinction between them, and whether the points of difference which analysis could detect were sufficiently important to justify our emphasising them and employing different terms to check the tendency to confuse them.

One of the features of the book to which I attached considerable importance on account of its connection with the method advocated in it was the collection and formulation of a number of rules provisionally assumed to be ' laws of mind.' I did not suppose that these laws' were unchangeable, but that the new science needed them as a base to start from and return to-correcting, re-defining, but not abandoning them, as new conditions inevitably overlooked came to be recognised, and ambiguities in the meaning of abstract terms were distinguished. In this way I thought continuity of development and real progress might be assured. In the last two sections of the Appendix I have given some examples of the modification that certain of the laws of desire and joy require, and the kind of progress that we may hope to achieve in respect of them.

Some critics have supposed that anything that was new in my book was to be found in the particular laws that were expressed in it, whereas most of them were only refinements of popular opinion, and apart from the attempt to express them with clearness and precision, some might be charged with being platitudes. One writer has criticised me for formulating so many laws. It was only limitation of insight that prevented me finding many more. With a great number of subordinate laws at our disposal we could safely attempt to generalise from them so as to discover the supreme laws. To confine ourselves at first to the discovery and proof of these most general laws would in my opinion tend to sterilise the progress of the science, by involving it in abstract discussions leading to interminable misunderstandings and differences of opinion. Here we are dealing with living things, the most complicated that we can find human and animal characters with all their diversities. The closer we can get to these living things the better, provided we carry with us our hypothetical conceptions and laws, both to interpret the one and to test the other. But this is so much more difficult than to deal with conceptions of character in the abstract that few will attempt it. Here what is easiest for the reader is hardest for the writer, and vice versa. Those, on the other hand, whose imagination works naturally in the concrete-as the novelists and dramatists, who have a wide knowledge of the varieties of character-suffer from a complementary defect, and cannot interpret the richness of their material. Their minds do not move freely among abstract conceptions, nor can they give them a precise form or systematise them, or construct trains of reasoning and evidence to justify general conclusions. Nature seldom gives these opposite kinds of intelligence and imagination to the same man.

I have been sometimes criticised for not having given a definition of Character' at the beginning of this work. Instead of this, throughout the first Book, I have tried to form a progressive conception of character, as different features of it came to be successively studied, such as might serve as a guide as to what to include in it, but not as a barrier for excluding what might have been overlooked. Here at the beginning of the science we are on a great voyage of discovery, and is any one of us so wise as to foresee all that he may find ?

I had hoped before this to have completed a volume dealing with the Sentiments and based on the foundations I have attempted to describe in this book, but the distractions caused by the late

made it hard give the concentration of mind to this subject which it required. A short account of the problems connected with this highest level of character will be found in an article I have contributed on Character' to the forthcoming Encyclopædia of Education.

A. F. S. LONDON: May, 1920.

war

to

« AnteriorContinua »