Social and Ethical Interpretations in Mental Development


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230. We have now attempted to trace the development of the social individual in such a way as to get a tolerably complete idea of his equipment at each of the critical epochs of his life; our inquiry has also, in some degree, indicated the character of the social environment in which he disports himself. Coming to look a little more objectively at his actions in society, we see that another very important question arises for consideration.

This question has to do with the individual mainly, and concerns the disposition he shows to accept the conditions of social life, and live his life as a citizen good or bad. As a matter of fact, we find that he usually accepts things as they exist. Philosophers have attempted to argue that he should not; that his life is not worth his while; that he has his fate in his own hands; and that it is at least an open question to each, as he grows to maturity and gets an intelligent view of the human turmoil called life, whether he will enter the lists or volun-

(359) -tarily withdraw. Yet, as I have said, men do not generally withdraw, although the means of self-destruction lie ready at hand. This is the fact, and there must be reasons for the fact; reasons which in some way actuate the man himself in maintaining his life and social place. Moreover, we may see, by a little more reflection, that these reasons are of two general classes according as we take the point of view of the single man, or of society as a whole. If we call all the reasons which are really operative on the individual, in keeping him at work and at play in the varied drama of life, his 'sanctions,' then there seem to be two great classes of such sanctions.

(1) We may try to find the reasons which a man sets before himself, the conscious objects which he sets up for pursuit, the ends of life as he is accustomed to pursue them, his own sanctions for the activities in which he engages. Let us for the purposes of discussion call these his 'personal sanctions,' and ask: what are the personal sanctions ?

(2) The other class of influences which bear on the individual man, to keep him in line with the requirements of life, are those of a social kind which he does not himself take into account consciously nor attempt to reckon with. They are the agencies which in a measure—at least we may say so at the start for the purposes of distinction — lie outside his own thought and control, but which he actually recognizes simply because they are there. Such, for example, is the civil law. These influences we may call ' social sanctions,'and ask : what are the social sanctions ?

Besides these two great topics, there is then the third and most important of all, in the sequel; the topic as to

(360) how these two sorts of sanctions are related to each other, and how the man comes to act as he does under the influence of the two together. In this chapter we shall consider the Personal Sanctions.

231. We have now grown sufficiently familiar with the general method of development in the mental life to lead us to think that the notion of sanction, in order to have general application, must be wide enough to describe, from its own point of view, each of the great epochs of mental evolution in the individual. The child at six, no less than the youth at sixteen and the man at sixty, must have sanctions for his acts. There must be a development in the idea of sanction —if it is to be a real thing —as there is in the mental life to which it applies. The neglect of this distinction seems to have been the source of many fallacies to be found in the works of Hobbes and Comte, on one side of political theory, and those of Thomas Hill Green, on the other. The tendency has been to limit the concept of sanction to the meaning which it has in the higher reflective life: either to rational motives in the individual, or to formulated statutes and penalties in social life.

Thus many writers have been accustomed to understand by a man's sanction his own conscious justification, the reasons which he himself has in mind, in a more or less clearly formulated way, for having an end, rather than the mere having of the end, considered as its own sanction.

The difficulty with such a form of thought is that it draws artificial limits by constraint of narrow definition. The theory of political life has suffered from this, much as the theory of ethics has suffered from a narrow reflective definition of the word 'motive.' In the discussion of ends, above, we have seen how the conception of the mind,

(361) as a developing thing which never loses its connection with the vitality of the physical organism, leads us to the further thought that mental growth never proceeds per saltum. The broader and more generic we are able to make all the concepts of mental life, the more adequate and unembarrassing will they be. The biologist has long since learned the necessity of this in dealing with problems of evolution. Claiming the right to do so in this case,—and leaving to the result to justify the use of the term given below, —we may go on to show the actual influences which work as sanctions in the individual's mind at his successive stages of development. The conclusion will show better, perhaps, than words could at this stage of our progress, that the individual's formulation of the reasons for his action are in no sense always the same as the actual reasons; and that the very distinction between his ability and his inability to formulate his reasons is in itself a vital distinction in his personal and social growth. In other words, the matter is not one of definition only; but one of material content. The following pages, therefore, will use the term in this sense: a sanction is any ground or reason which is adequate to initiate action, whether the actor be conscious or not that this is the ground or reason of the resulting action. For example, the senseless outcry of the lunatic has its sanction in the disordered condition of his faculties, although he think himself sane; and the voluntary calculation of the burglar has its sanction in the reward which he sets before himself. These two cases are given, from the opposite ends of the scale, to illustrate the limits of the term as I am going on to use it.

232. When we come with so much of introduction to

(362) cast a wide glance over the details of mental development, certain milestones, which we have now grown accustomed to look for, show out white and make the course before us less difficult. We have already had much evidence, both in theory and in practice, for the position that at least three great epochs of human life unroll themselves in order in each growing child; I have called them the spontaneous, the intelligent, and the ideal or ethical epochs.[2] This way of looking at the epochs of personal growth, it will be remembered, arose not from convenience, much less from theory, but from the actual stretches or levels of mental attainment on the part of the child, which are, as a matter of fact, so clearly distinguished that it is impossible to overlook them.

To illustrate, in the matter of sanction, we may cite three actions: the two-year-old's (or the dog's) cry for food, the five-year-old's run to avoid the punishment due to his lie, and the nun's act of attachment to the consolations of religion. I do not mean that these typical mental states are on the surface different-looking merely, nor that their differences might not be differently construed by different competent judges; but what I mean to say is that from the point of view of development, the actor of the first could not with reason—with any sanction then present in him —perform the second action, nor the second actor, the third action. All the reasons for the differences need not be exhausted; but the real one which includes the rest has been found, I think, in the progress of the actor in the thought of his own personal self.


So assuming the former characterizations as in a measure at least true, we should expect to find three great classes of reasons for action in these periods respectively, three great personal sanctions for conduct; they may be called by analogy with the epochs in which they arise, respectively, the Sanction of Impulse, the Sanction of Desire, and the Sanction of Right.

§1. The Sanction of Impulse

233. It is not necessary that we should stop long upon this lowest of all the categories of human action; especially as it is not realized in its purity outside of the nursery and the reform or criminal institution. In the child we find impulse at its best. It is there not complicated by the wreck of higher faculties, as in the insane; nor by interference from them as in the sane of an older growth; nor is it restrained by the agencies which give society its influence at a later period. We are amused at the child's innocent impulses, put a screen about him to keep him from toying with the hurtful, and give him the privileges due to his extreme youth. This very toleration of impulse, where it is all the endowment to be seen in the creature which shows it, is in itself a sufficient warrant for the owner's own confidence in his sanction. The natural and the normal is its own sanction, we say, in effect; and in so far as this is not true, we let it show its own incompetence. It is thus we tolerate the beasts about us. We do not seek to lead them out of what we might think to be a very inferior and imperfect realization of the possibilities of life. The defective classes and the lunatics of the types whose impulses are magnified in

(364) dangerous directions, we shut up, it is true, yet not for their sakes, but for our own. But if we were all at their level, if we were all children of the same age, or animals of the same flock, or lunatics of the same lack, even this limitation upon impulse would be impossible.

Yet when we come to ask for the reason that such impulsive action, when uncomplicated by higher processes, seems to carry its own sanction, we see that it is still incumbent upon us to seek it out. In this case it reduces itself very largely to the biological and psychological question as to the terminus ad quem of the impulse. Even the blindest, most unpremeditated, action has a meaning in the scheme of life which has some vague representation in the creature's consciousness; how rich a meaning it may become and still be blind is seen in the creations of the instinct of certain insects. So the question as to the sanction here may carry with it also that of the life-function of the actions of which the question is asked. And it is the more important, since, as we shall see below, this lowest sanction, which expresses simply the general teleology of the life-processes as a whole, never in all the higher developments gets entirely vacated of its force. It is largely replaced, modified, inhibited, and much hidden in the child's later life when volition, thought, sentiment, come in to enrich it; but the man never ceases to be, with it all, in some degree, a creature of impulse acting with the biological machinery which he has in common with the babe and the beast.

Coming to inquire, accordingly, into the meaning and reason of the impulses of the child in this earliest stage, we are able to invoke a recent formulation of psychology which puts the case in general terms. It is now a widely

(365) accepted doctrine that all motor activities have risen through adaptation to environment; that is, as affording appropriate response to stimulation. The fixing of motor processes in the individual is through repetition or its equivalent; and this repetition is secured by the tendencies of the organism to acquire habits of keeping up actions which have proved themselves vitally beneficial. The species, we may assume, perpetuates such actions through natural selection. It follows that we may at once make the general statement that any form of action which a creature habitually shows must be directed toward a more or less definite class of sensory conditions or stimulations which the environment furnishes, as a suitable terminus of the acts in question. Generalizing this, we may say that the meaning and value of the particular action is found in the stimulus which it aims to reach and secure. The sanction, then, if we care to call it such, at this early stage of development, is found in the objective conditions under which the action of the organism comes into operation; and this for two reasons. First, it is by adaptation to these conditions that any particular action has come to be what it is, and to differentiate itself from other actions ; and it is only by such a differentiation, and on the ground of it, that we can ask the question of sanction of the particular reaction at all. And second, the future adaptation, progress, and very life indeed of the organism rests upon the continuance of the stimulations which its reaction alone serves to secure. There seems to be, therefore, both a retrospective and a prospective reasonableness, so to speak, in the thought that the biological sanction of the reaction is the beneficial experience which the reaction serves to absorb, continue, and render permanently available.


But this is evidently not in the mind of the organism, or of the child himself. Whether we ask why he reacts or why he thinks, still his mind is not filled up with the biological or psychological value of his act. At the lowest stage —the purely impulsive —when the question is one simply as to what antecedents in the child's own mind issue in this action or that, his mind is thoroughly objective. The object before him fills up his consciousness; he thinks nothing about it, he simply thinks it. His action goes out in the channels of inherited tendency, directly upon the object. So in it we have the justification of his conduct. Everything is so simple in his mind that it is impossible to make a complex thing out of it. He acts because it is his nature to—that is his only and adequate reason. He himself, when we ask him why he acted so and so, says: ' I don't know,' or ' I couldn't help it.' And we say the same of it when we behold the child or an adult of weak mind or overpowering impulse.

234. These two ways of looking at the matter may be distinguished with some emphasis for reasons of clearness in the subsequent epochs of growth, when they become of some importance. Let us call the former—the biological or psychological reasons for action which we are able to find out, from our theory of development, but of which the child himself is finely ignorant—the objective sanction; and then we may go on to call the reasons which the agent himself sets before him for his action the subjective sanction. This is a distinction which ethical writers have to maintain in their doctrine of ends; a doctrine with which our present topic has much in common. We then may say, in view of the suggestions made above on the condition of things in the impulsive epoch, that the sanc-

(367) - tion in this epoch is of two sorts: the objective sanction, which is the sanction of fact or of theory; and the subjective sanction, which is the sanction of necessity. The sanction of fact or theory in the case of all biological products is, in the current state of biological opinion, what is sometimes called the sanction of fitness, or the sanction of survival.[3] The sanction of necessity, on the other hand, is, like the other, equally ultimate from the psychological point of view, since it represents the final psychological fact—the initial form of activity which we find accompanied by consciousness.

We may say, therefore, after these explanations, that we have here two ways of looking at the conditions of the problem. Both are at their simplest in this stage of mental development. And we may give them simple common-sense terms throughout the discussions which follow; i.e., let us call the psychological sanction which is ordinarily described very justly under the term necessity, as the 'sanction of impulse.' Such usage will carry its own meaning, and be readily understood by psychologists. The other sort of sanction may best be described, apart from biological and philosophical theory, as the 'sanction of fact.' In tracing the development of the 'personal' sanction, —as we have called the individual's reasons for action, as contrasted with those which arise from social organization,—we will have little to do with the 'sanction of fact' as such; the further development of the person's private

(368) mental life is mainly an evolution proceeding out from the ' sanction of impulse.'

§2. The Lower Hedonic Sanction

235. Even in the impulsive life the great facts of pleasure and pain encounter us; facts which no theory of the active life can ignore. However we may be disposed to argue about the place of these facts in psychological theory, we may for our present purpose—taking advantage of the distinction just made—look simply at these states as elements of consciousness which come in to influence action. And throwing the two, pleasure and pain, together under the phrase 'hedonic consciousness,' we may say that the first departure from the simple sanction of impulse which we are able to observe in the child is toward what may be called the 'hedonic sanction.' The child begins very early to act with reference to the hedonic quality of his experience. He no longer takes impulse at its face value, and all impulses at equal value. His experience is wonderfully coloured by pain and wonderfully illumined by pleasure. Quick associations are formed between acts and their consequences for the mental life; and where association is too long a process to wait for, certain appearances suggestive of pain or pleasure are sufficient to warn, counsel, and instruct him. All this is a matter of such general recognition as fact—apart from the theories by which it may be explained—that we may simply state it without fear of dispute.

The direct result of this injection of the hedonic element into experience is the modification of impulse, not only as regards the purity of its issue in action, but as regards the

(369) form of the impulse itself. The hedonic ingredient does not follow upon action simply as its result; it is, by the quick associative and suggestive processes spoken of, welded upon the stimulations to which the organism is called upon to react. The stimulus arising from an object becomes the stimulation of a pleasurable or painful object. And the reaction which follows upon it now represents not the attitude to the object per se, taken alone, but to the whole source of stimulation, including the hedonic quality which the object has acquired. So the object serving as terminus for reaction is now different ; the child is now sharply conscious of the pleasure or pain aspect of the things with which he deals, more conscious in some cases of this aspect than of the mere cognition or presentative elements which before appealed to him for recognition.

As a result of this we find a very marked and subtle sense growing up in his mind; a sense of the worth of the things and events of life in terms of their hedonic aspect. It is an advance upon the simple impulsive consciousness which we have described —more or less artificially, it is true—in the earlier pages. And to this we have to give recognition in our progress toward a further statement of his personal sanctions.

236. This early effect of pleasure and pain must not be confused, however, with what is ordinarily called love of pleasure and fear of pain ; that is more complex and comes later. At the stage of which we now speak, the influence of pleasure or pain is not an influence distinct from that of the object upon which the child acts. On the contrary, it is a part, an aspect, of that object. In any case of urgency, the situation as a whole it is which

(370) appeals to the child for action. He does not weigh the object over against the pain and choose between them. He takes an attitude appropriate to the situation as a whole. And even in the case in which the pain prospect does seem to stand out in opposition to the remaining elements of the stimulating situation, and draw him in a contrary direction, even then he does not picture to himself the pain as such, as a reason for acting or refraining from action; even here his hesitation is due, I think, to the fact that a new object with a different hedonic colouring comes to oppose an old one; and he has a conflict of impulses of which one is more especially identified with the highly coloured hedonic cause or event. The cases in which pleasure is intelligently pursued and pain avoided come under the later sanction of desire.

237. I think, therefore, that we may safely say that the individual finds himself sometimes in a position in which the sanction of impulse is complicated by a further hedonic sanction. And the effect of this is that there is instituted an inhibition upon the purely impulsive action. The hedonic sanction comes in to replace and annul the sanction of impulse. The child reaches for the fire by impulse; that alone, apart from experience, is sufficient sanction for the act; but the pain that follows comes, on the next occasion, to be a part of the very stimulation which the fire as a situation presents; and now the newer sanction of pain comes in to inhibit the reaching movement. So it is throughout all the life of pleasure and pain. It may suffice to remark that this much is sufficient for the theory of sanction at this stage, far as it may yet be from an adequate statement of a theory of pleasure and pain reactions. The question as to how far the reaction to

(371) pleasure or pain is itself impulsive, is of course an open one, and a theory from the psychological point of view should answer it. Here it is just our object to avoid these psychological questions and to aim only at putting plainly out the actual stages through which the child goes in his development toward a full consciousness of the grounds of his conduct.

This so-called 'hedonic sanction' is not confined to the life of the young child. On the contrary, it is a very gross and prominent feature of our common unreflective life. We say to the man who is wild with toothache that he may be excused from the amenities of polite social intercourse; his pain sanctions any amount of brutality to the unfortunate who comes in his way. We excuse the man to whom a fortune has been left if his feelings are expressed in a way which annoys his neighbours. The banging of crackers and noise of rioting is excused on occasions of patriotic demonstration—high feeling is their sanction. And some of the subtler processes of sympathy and tacit justification, in society—such, for example, as the sending of flowers to condemned criminals, the heroworship of the successful gambler, etc. —seem to reflect the sense in some that a desperate or a brilliant hedonic situation is in some degree its own sanction. This is true to the greater extent, according as we are able, at the same time, to reduce the situation, as it takes shape in the actor's mind, to a form which excludes from his cognizance all more intellectual and sentimental elements. it is very difficult to punish the boy who commits an act of daring crime, after the examples of cr iminal literature ; for we feel that the highest elements of the boy's nature, then so immature, really united in the general hedonic

(372) situation which success presented to him. While on the pathological side the expression 'crazed with grief or terror' really shows that suffering or joy may sanction almost any conduct, by breaking down for the moment the higher barriers which intelligence and morality commonly erect.

§3. The Sanction of Desire

238. The next epoch of the child's life is that which has been called the epoch of intelligence. We need not stop to trace the development of this stage of his progress, since we may assume, from the former analysis, something of the method of it. The characteristics of the period, considered over against the earlier or spontaneous period, have also been described. It remains here to analyze out a little more closely the reasons for action which prompt him in this great period of his attainment, and see what relation they bear to the earlier forms of his personal sanction.

The word 'desire' covers an essential aspect of intelligent action both in popular speech and in psychological science. In popular speech intelligent action is action which shows foresight. In psychological terms it is action which is directed to an end. The main thing in both these usages is the distinction which they make between such action, and that which does not show foresight, or does not have an end in view. The nature of this end we have touched upon briefly on an earlier page, where we saw the difference between the simple suggested or impulsive action which looks only to the terminus present in the immediate situation or stimulating event, and that which has foresight for what is to a

(373) degree distant in space and time. So when we come to ask the sanction for the action which we call intelligent, we are led to ask how the fact of having a more or less remote end complicates the consciousness of action.

239. Appeal to fact shows that there are again two cases which should be carefully distinguished. In the first place, there is the action which is still of the impulsive type; and second, there is the action of the hedonic type (applying that phrase to acts which are influenced by the presence of the hedonic colouring, as already described); both, however, being now at the higher level of desire.

In the one case the simple thought of the end or object sets agoing the desire to compass or attain it. This we may call 'spontaneous' desire. It is relatively complicated, and follows more or less deliberation on alternative courses of action, with voluntary choice of the particular end or thought which the actor goes on to realize. But still it has in common with impulse the character that it is the objective terminus —the thing or event —on which the energies of realization are bent. The object is forward and soul-filling in the lower forms of desire. There is very little thought of self, of the remote ends to be striven for, of distinction and choice of means, of desirable or undesirable consequences. The child sets his face toward an object, a thing, and lets the action necessary to its attainment take care of itself, very largely by the same impulsive and semi-automatic outgo which characterizes the epoch of impulse. As before, the sanction is almost or quite contained in the necessity of im pulse and suggestion, but these are complicated.

240. But we soon find a change coming over the youth-

(374) -ful consciousness with the growth of his reflection. We have seen this growth most richly and normally in the development of the child's own personal self; in the thought he has of himself, and the antithesis which he gets between himself and the 'other-self ' of his playmate or parent. This is so all-embracing a growth that other concerns of the child, in the epoch between the second and fifth years, say, sink into relative insignificance. This growth in personal completeness shows itself in 'reflective' desire.

To be brief, we may say that in ' reflective' desire there is a growing tendency to the implication of the sense of self. The slowly developing synthesis which stands for self is set over against the partial events of experience, the whole against the isolated parts, and just as the synthesis of self has already grown to be what it is by the incorporation and assimilation of new elements from experience, so the process tends to complete and extend itself. The measure of success in the past is reflected in the attitudes toward the events of the future. Discrimination in the value of events is due to the operation of the assimilating tendencies which former syntheses have established. The hedonic colouring of the former experiences has arisen from the degree of adaptation, or the contrary, of detached experiences to the demands of personal growth; the ratification of the adaptations, and revulsion from the misadaptations, gives just the twofold attitude of desire. So there comes now into consciousness a tendency on the part of the child to reflect —to weigh the new as well as the old —by the standards of reference supplied by his thought of self. Can I apperceive this thing consistently with the former apperceptive

(375) system built up in experience, or will it tend to disintegration ? The former demand is presented by my states of positive desire, which are indices of the advantage, the pleasure, of living as a person. The latter represents my repulsions, — my negative desires, my states of pain, as I think of myself in the light of my own history.

Reflective desire, is, therefore, the concrete determination of the sense of self. It represents motor integrations about to issue in particular pathways. It is the conserving, assimilating, compacting engine of experience, by which the old adjustments of materials in the unity of a self are reinstated; this on the side of habit, of retrospective reference. But desire is also the agent of the further development of the self-sense, since it is through the imitative aspect of desire, the aspect under which desire secures new accommodations, new satisfactions, that new increments are made to personal attainment, and the self-nucleus is enlarged. It has thus always a prospective reference as well, which is very prominent in the psychosis itself.

241. Now if this is what desire is, considered genetically as a state of mind, what shall we say of the sanctions which arise for the intelligent actions prompted by desire? In answer to this question it is well to look at the so-called 'end of desire' a little more closely.

Remembering our earlier result as to the end of intelligent action[4] —that it is simply the content itself which furnishes an appropriate terminus for the act—that is a sufficient determination also of the end of desire of the spontaneous kind. But certain of its implications in the case of reflective desire should be pointed out.


If the genetic function of reflective desire is to set action in directions which conserve and forward the assimilative and progressive synthesis of self, then, is not the end of desire what the idealistic thinkers are telling us—self-realization ? Undoubtedly, it seems to me, when looked at from a theoretical point of view. But is it not equally clear that, from that point of view, as illustrated by this philosophy, it is impossible to get at the subjective end of desire at all? We may say that by his desires the child is reflecting the sort of a self he has found out the way to be, and that his future self is to be gained and enriched through the reactions in which his present desires lead him to indulge. But is not that very far from saying that the child desires to conserve, extend, and realize the self which his present desires are calculated to secure ? This is just the confusion into which, in the mind of the writer, this formulation of the end of desire in ethical theory usually falls. And the confusion becomes all the plainer when we take the child as our subject of investigation at a time when it is evidently absurd to say that he has an adequate sense of any general end which his different desires conspire to realize.

If, therefore, we say that self-realization is the end of desire, in the sense that it is the meaning of all the processes of desire looked at from the point of view of mental development as a whole, we may then call it the theoretical or philosophical end, as before in the epoch of impulse we found a theoretical or biological end. This is so much to the good in our theory of sanction, since in self-realization we have the theoretical or philosophical sanction for acts of reflective desire. But then we may inquire further into the subjective end as the child himself conceives it.


242. In the first place, it seems essential to the integrity of the objective generalized end which we find to be self-realization, that the individual, in his concrete choices and desires, should not know it nor aim to realize it. For it is a generalization based upon the details of many specially differentiated functions, each of which must do its normal part in the scheme of the whole. Each particular act and desire represents such a partial function, with its own concrete end. Suppose the child did reflect on its good as a whole, and did come to judge between the desires which normally arise, might it not divert the energies of life into channels very far from the realization of a complete self ? And is not this just what men of mature years actually do, when they come by reflection to construct theories of life, and to set up ends which they wish to realize ? - thus interfering with the spontaneity of desire, and deranging the relative adjustments to one another of the different moving springs of our personal nature.

In the second place, and more positively, what the child does aim at is still just things and situations. Yet we find a new development in the constructive processes by which he reaches his sense of things and situations. Distinguishing, as we may, between his sense of things as facts, and things as objects of desire, we may look more closely at the latter as related to the former, and at the meaning of the antithesis between them.

243. In general, there is to each of us, both a world of things as facts and a world of things as desirable objects. They are very different, considered as worlds. The world of facts is common to us all very largely; the world of desires is very different to us one and another. In a general way, these two worlds coincide both with each

(378) other and in different persons, since the world of desires has its points of origin in the world of facts ; and different men are constituted enough alike to make the trend of their desires the same. But in any concrete case, when it is a question as to the desirableness here and now of a particular thing or action, we differ largely in our choices and decisions.

Considering the individual, however, we find a sharp distinction between the thing as it exists and the thing as it is desired. A preliminary of desire is a sense of unreality, want, tendency toward a thing that is pictured, but not accomplished. Let us call the thing, object, event, which is now real before me, A ; and let us call it when I desire it, in its absence, a ; then let us see what the difference is between the former, considered as a thing that exists, an A, and the latter, the thing that is desired, the a.

The difference is this, that the one, the A, is a hard and dry skeleton of rigid reality held in the grip of so-called mechanical law, whose operation is indifferent to my needs and satisfactions. In its origin, as a fact, I get it just by stripping off my experience of its personal aspect to me, by reading out the personal equation element from it, and leaving out there, in space and time, only what is common to many experiences and to all experiencing individuals who come that way, and get the perception of this thing, this A. Such is the what, the object, the thing, apart from my desire. 

But the a, on the contrary, the thing as desired, is very different from this. That bare A, out there in space, is not what I think of when I set it forth with urgent desire. I set toward the fact, the A, it is true ; but I think of a very different sort of thing. What I think of, in desiring, 

(379) is an experience, a rich full state of existence, of which the thing of perception is the nucleus, but which flows over and around this nucleus with an overflowing that is peculiar to me. The hard, dry, impersonal fact, A, rigid in its obedience to law, and common alike to all men in the world — this is replaced in my thought by a thing which awakes all sorts of reminiscences of pleasure, excitement, association trains, social intercourse, self-satisfactions, etc. ; and all this is there — a great bursting mind-full of treasurable personal meaning.

This means what we saw above: that the apperception system which we call self, is involved in the 'thing of desire,' the a. It is the echo of my personal thought of reality, of all my dealings with it, of all that I have suffered and enjoyed in my life with things of the A series, that now gives desire its meaning. It is an assimilation function, a struggle to get at the personal meaning; this it is that moves me. All this comes over me when the thing is not present, by the very thought of its possible presence ; and I desire the object, the bare thing, only in the sense that it is the consciousness of that, and of the need of that, which serves to excite all this moving turmoil in my breast.

If this is so, there seems to be some ground for the historical controversy, already referred to, as to the 'object' or 'end' of desire.

Some have said that men act directly to secure the a, the thing of the world of desire. They wish to bring back all the rich fulness of this experience. Others say no, that is not what men consciously strive for; if they did, they would never get it. They strive for the thing of fact, the object of external value; and only so do they come

(380) into the gain of more, through the gain of it. This point has already been before us,[5] and our examination shows that the distinction is largely one of development. The pursuit of the object A is typical of what we have called 'spontaneous' desire. Yet for our present purpose it is important to see that the distinction involved is a real one.

Generally, when most spontaneous, men act directly with reference to the object of fact—that seems plain. Yet, in that case, there is most often a vaguely conscious distinction between what they pursue, and what they have in mind as impulse to the pursuit; that latter is the a, the 'thing of desire.' This is usually called 'motive,' in the best use of that word; and I shall call it so, reserving the word 'end' for the actual image, the thing pursued, in most cases the A, the thing of fact.[6]

244. So much preliminary to the question of sanction in this field of desire. In this epoch, the motive is the sanction. What else could be the sanction ? There is no other possible sanction, except the thing of fact, toward which desire is directed. But this is not eligible because, except in cases of purest ideo-motor automatism, it is not the real content of consciousness. Even spontaneous desire and pure impulse, we have found merging, as soon as experience widens, into that state in which a hedonic element enters into the motive-complex. Besides, the thing of fact is a common element in many states of consciousness, perhaps, and in many persons at once; and the differing attitudes and acts which result call for very

(381) different sanctions. In other terms, the rigid stationary A, the thing from which all character for consciousness and personal life has been abstracted, just for the purposes of abstract and common indifference in multiplied situations,—the bare thing, which is simply there at all times and for all men,—cannot be at the same time the justification for the varied and differentiated actions which different men, at the same time, and the same man at different times, perform with reference to it.

The only sort of intelligent activity that it could sanction would be the pursuit of itself, found in the description of the facts of the world as such ; that is, in science. Science is justified of her own children, the A's; but desire may rebel against science, and inevitably seeks to supplement it. Science cannot be called upon to legitimate the children of desire.

245. The pursuit of science, however, represents a real and normal sanction. For it is typical of the more general use of intelligence seen above in what we called 'selective thinking.'[7] The selective criteria of the value of his thoughts, considered as survivals, are generalized in the thinker's mind under the wider term 'truth.' The correspondences discovered and tested between the thoughts and the things of fact are held in a system of truths ; and the activities of the man, no less in society than in the private laboratory, or in the fields of external nature, must terminate first of all upon this system of truths. Seeing, further, that the satisfaction of desire —the realization of the motive entertained —is conditioned upon the attitudes suitable to reinstate things of fact inside the relationships of truth, truth itself becomes a recognized subjective or

(382) personal sanction. Truth, thus defined, is one of the great and controlling sanctions of desire, since it thus becomes motive.

246. If this be really the psychological sanction of desire, — i.e., the motive, defined in the broad way that it has been above, — then an act would seem to have objective sanction just in proportion as it is really the action to which the present motive in its fulness prompts. Does this action which I now contemplate really carry out the desire which I have toward a given object of fact? Normally it must, if it issue from the full state of consciousness which constitutes the desire. Then, in that case, the appropriateness being granted, the action secures the thing, in greater or less degree, and with that the desire is satisfied. The sanction, then, is maintained in consciousness in proportion to the success of the action to which the thought prompts; and we reach the general truth that, for intelligent action, prompted as it is by desire, the objective sanction is success.[8]

247. Success becomes the subjective sanction also when it is made motive in reflective consciousness; and it so soon becomes the individual's criterion of the desirableness of an action that we may speak on occasion of the sanction of success as representing the individual's motive.

Of course there are cases in which the action which follows on a desire is not really appropriate to it: cases in which the action does not succeed. Then the man laments his conduct, seeing that he has not done well.

(383) In such cases we have really no departure from the formula reached just now. For in that case the man is lacking in intelligence or in experience. For him the action was sanctioned; for us it departs from the intelligent type. He may say, 'what a fool I have been to do this,' or 'how I was misled in this scheme' ; but objectively his object of desire was not attached to the proper objects of fact; or his construction of the object of desire did not proceed by a proper interpretation of experience; or the train of action was so complex that he could not trace out the end from the beginning, and so missed a link or two; or perhaps he did not estimate the bearing, upon his scheme of life, of the influence of the desires and conduct of others, or the presence of his own changing emphasis upon other things of fact. All these influences and many others make his actual success problematical and so seem to take away the sanction when his consciousness comes to take an ex post facto point of view. At the time, doing the best he could, his action was sanctioned for him by the motive ; but in its results, both for the on-looker and for him, it finds its sanction in the success which it proves more or less suited to bring.

Success considered as personal sanction is also reinforced by the sanction of truth. For every truthful correspondence between thought and fact represents the successful carrying out of the thought in the world of fact. So we are the more justified in speaking of success as the sanction of intelligence, seeing that it is operative in both spheres, i.e., those of fact and desire.

248. There are further psychological questions which arise here; but I shall only take up a phase or two of the

(384) case by which our inquiry may be advanced into the social life, at this epoch of intelligence.

The child's thought of self is, as will be remembered, identified with two somewhat opposed systems of emotional and active expressions. It was one of the results of our examination of the early sense of self, that we found it showing a certain duality in the midst of its growing definiteness. There is in action a necessary distinction between the self of aggression, self-assertion, selfishness, in short; and the self of imitation, sympathy, accommodation, altruism. If this be true, then what we have found about the sanctions, both in the impulsive and in the intelligent period, must be held to with a view of these two forms of the thought of self. If actions are so different as to be worthy of the two opposed terms 'egoistic' and 'altruistic,' then the motive-sanctions from which they spring must be different too.

As to the impulsive period, the difference is not of much theoretical importance, since the whole active life is given over to impulse ; but it is then a question of great practical importance whether the facts show both these two kinds of reaction in the child. Is he a creature of so-called generous as well as of so-called selfish impulses? The facts give no room for doubt, as I have had occasion to point out above in some detail. The child acts under the sanction of impulse or necessity whether he act in one way or in the other. This we may leave here, only stopping to say that the consideration of the social sanction which is to follow in the next chapter takes it as its point of departure.

But coming to the epoch of intelligence, to the question of the sanction of desire, we find it necessary to make further distinctions. If, as we found reason for

(385) believing, the motive, the object of desire, the thing of the world of desire, as opposed to the thing of the world of fact, is a construction in which the sense of self is the assimilating thing; if it is this thought which goes out in its own power of attractiveness to absorb the things of fact into its forms of personal construction, then we have to ask at once, which of the two normal thoughts of self is it that does this. Is the thing-of-desire an egoistic thing-of-desire or an altruistic thing-of-desire ? Is it I, the selfish, aggressive, self-asserting, domineering self which desires; or is it I, the imitative, teachable, generous, altruistic, self-denying self which desires ? Or is it both, or is it neither ?

Of course it must be both, either separately or together. It cannot be the two together at the earlier stages of the growth of the sense of self ; since there has not yet arisen the assimilation of the partial thoughts of self which brings them together. But it is the characteristic of the later epoch of sentiment—ethical, religious, etc.,—as has been said, that there grows up a generalized thought of self in which the combined motive influences of all the personal thoughts take form in an ideal thought to which the partial semi-detached thoughts are more or less consciously subordinated. If, then, we keep over the examination of this ideal epoch for separate inquiry in the matter of sanction, defining the epoch of desire strictly in terms of the growth of intelligence, and the ability to use intelligence for personal purposes; then we must say that the two thoughts, representing self, the ego, and self, the, alter, both act in turn to stimulate conduct, and so each gives its own sanction to the sort of action which it begets.

249. If we look at these two cases in a somewhat

(386) artificial way at first, we see what sorts of personal action would thus get sanction. Action done from personal aggression, pride, self-assertion, eager egoism, would have the private ego thought as its motive —assimilating to itself the things of fact, the circumstances of social life, the acts of others, the content of experience generally; and success in bringing all these agencies and materials into subjection to the selfish movements of the individual would be its reward. This seems to be realized, in the main, in the period of childhood from the second to the fourth years (say). I have already cited some of the facts which show the selfish use which the child makes of his intelligence when he is just learning that he has it and can use it to his personal advantage. He hoodwinks his juniors, circumvents his attendants, attempts to deceive his elders. The use of intelligence in this way is one of the first reasons for the genuine 'lie' in child life. His sanction is success; simply that. That is his rule of action, and he has no reason for hesitating to apply it, except as his acts themselves or the copies which he is called upon urgently to imitate bring out the other and different thought of self, so arouse his sympathy, and bring on a conflict for temporary supremacy between the two thoughts of self. There are also men in society whom we instinctively class as selfish, and often they are very gifted in the matter of intelligence. Such men use the social environment for their personal advantage. And there is, of course, the criminal whose selfish line of conduct not only illustrates his life under the sanction of personal success, but who also puts to defiance the sanctions which society attaches in the way of penalties and rewards to actions of a different kind.


While not intending to discuss social theories at this point, yet it may not be amiss to point out here the ground which an individualistic theory of society has to rest upon when we consider man simply from the point of view of intelligence operating under the sanction of personal desire. The stress of individual competition tends directly to justify the pursuit of success. ' Nothing succeeds like success' is its motto. There are great departments of human competitive life in which this sanction is never repealed nor even much modified.

250. Yet to say that this is the only sanction of intelligent conduct is to deny the other motive which is correlative with this. The thought of self as an ego is psychologically impossible without its correlative, the thought of self as an alter. The reaction of emotion and conduct to this latter is as original as that to the former. The child does seem to show a great liking at the period of dawning intelligence for the selfish exercise of his newly acquired power. But the other side of his nature does not die. I have already pointed out reasons for the one-sidedness of his development for a time at this epoch. It is mainly for purposes of exercise, training, practice, strengthening, that the intelligence is used so much for selfish ends at this period. We very soon find in the child a sort of reaction to the other pole. He begins to widen the circle of his concern. His selfishness varies according as he is in the household or out of it. He begins to show actions of meditated generosity. All this has already been dwelt upon. The essential thing is that this generous conduct also has its sanction in exactly the same sense that the selfish conduct has. The self which now constructs the things in the world of desire is an alter; it fills consciousness; its normal issue

(388) is in sympathetic, disinterested action; the sanction belonging to this type of motive is success in the sort of action which is normal to it; and that makes success in being generous a thing of normal intelligent sanction. It is quite analogous to the normality of impulsive action of both kinds,—that which seems to be selfish and that which seems to be generous; both are so elementarily natural that the presence of each is the sanction of each. So in the sphere of intelligence, where a construction of desire is induced upon the thing of fact on which the desire terminates, the construction takes two equally normal forms.

The theoretical determination of the sanction of desire, therefore, in terms of success must include both cases, and extend to action of the two distinct types : action of the strenuously selfish competitive type and action of the self-denying, generous, co-operative type. Each represents an intelligent form of success.

251. Another point may be taken up before we go on to more complicated stages of development. It is the relation of the sanction of intelligent action to that which justifies impulsive action.

The former supersedes and inhibits the latter, whenever it is a question between the two; or it tends to do so. In case it does not, then there is a violation of all sanction in the mind of the actor. Impulse is the servant of reason. If it becomes the master by its intrinsic intensity or by the weakness of the sanction of intelligence, then action becomes unreasonable, and impulse is again the only justification as before the intelligence arose. But when the intelligence recovers itself and begins to judge the situation from its own point of view, then the absence of any

(389) sanction higher than that of temporary necessity comes into consciousness as a sense of profound regret. Again the actor says: 'What a fool, child, lunatic, I was.' When taken in the general economy of personal development, this is a thing of great importance; for it represents the passage of consciousness into the new and all-important sphere of intelligent adaptation to men and things. As long as impulse is uncontrolled, there is no governor on the wheels of the human machine. The bio logical justification is the only justification. Impulse is a thing of blind action, save to the theorist on the principles of biological development. But when intelligence comes upon the scene with its selection of means to ends, and its utilizing of the forces of life and impulse for the accomplishment of designs all its own, thus bringing some measure of control and balance into the warfare of impelling activities, then a new era begins, not only in the individual, but, as we have had reason to think from the point of view of his social equipment, also in society. Think of the difference between self-control and license, between the judge and the mob, between the child kicking against the pricks and the man removing them by his genius, and you have something of what the entrance of the sanction of intelligence means in the history of man. Consistency arises out of chaos, steady purpose and plan of life succeed capricious indulgence in fragmentary enjoyments, economy of mental and vital energy follows reckless waste and unavailing struggle. What a wonderful thing is self-control, den where it is directed to ends not the best! How great is success even when its sphere is ignoble! And how the man with a distant end lays his game for the self-betrayed man of impulse and emotion, not only

(390) maintaining ends of calmness and sobriety, but using the other's forces perhaps wherewith to accomplish them!

252. Finally, it may be pointed out that the distinction between the world of things and the world of desire extends itself into the realm of social activity as well; and in it we find certain of the most subtle and interesting movements which inspire and agitate the individual. Persons as well as things are different in the kind of existence which they have. A person may be to another an A in the world of fact, — indeed must be, —and also an a in the world of desire. A person as a mere A, a fact, a thing, from which experiences are expected, as they are from a chair or a door, is only a recognized object; and he may also be a matter of desire, or he may not. His existence may be as indifferent to me as that of the chair; but it may be as vital to me as is the mother to the child, or friend to friend when 'help faileth and the mourners go about the streets.' The ego may knit this or that alter to itself, so that there is one self and I am you; or the alter may be the enemy to life and peace, and tolerance of him cease to be a virtue.

This development of the personal presences of others into objects of desire, while they remain also things of fact, is fruitful of much of our intelligent action. I may treat you as a thing, in order to win you as a person. Or I may cater to you as a person with a pretence of affection when to me really you are as a thing, and my end, my real desire, goes beyond you. In other words, intelligence may manipulate its personal material, as it does the external world, bending the things to secure the desires; and having the same sanction for so doing as in the former case —as merciless as it seems —the sanction of success.


Except—and this is where there arises one of the subtleties of the situation —except that in this case the use of the person as a mere thing, a means to some remote end, tends to conflict with the necessary thought of the alter as one himself having desires, and intrinsically arousing sympathy. This is a complication which actually arises in society as well as in individual conduct. For example, the opposition to vivisection, and in general the unwillingness to use living animals for human purposes, illustrates just this case. Here the intelligent end requires the use of living things simply as things, as means, denying them the right to be elevated in themselves to the rank of objects of desire, or of personal worth. But the sympathetic impulses go out by necessity toward the thought of a suffering alter. So a conflict. Of course there is no reasonable conflict. Sympathy is an impulse, and its sanction is necessity, —considered apart from any ethical sanction which other elements may give it,—while the intelligent end is a thing of adaptation, and so claims the right to precedence. The end sanctions the vivisection, i.e., the successful solving of the biological problem that is set. Whether the solving of the problem in a particular case is a worthy end—that brings in again the ethical standards at a higher level; but if intelligence sanctions vivisection, that is sufficient as against merely impulsive sympathy.

The complication is seen also in the cases where we give pain to an individual for his own good. Many a mother knows the fearful character of this situation ; when she is driven to torture her child for his larger happiness, as in the case of a necessary surgical operation. In this case there are no less than three thoughts of the same child in

(392) the mother's mind: the child of fact, diseased; the child of sympathy, suffering the knife; and the child of desire, cured. The first of these, the child of fact, is in a measure an abstraction; but unless he be enough a reality to lead to the inhibition of the impulsive action of repelling the surgeon which finds its sanction in the child of sympathy, the action of intelligence could never be. For then there could not be constituted the child of desire from which this action of intelligence proceeds.

These situations are sufficient to illustrate the embarrassments into which consciousness may fall, even at the relatively low stage of development before the rise of ethical and social sentiment. How weak appear the constructions of the political and economical writers who treat desire as a sort of constant quantity, which may be multiplied into the number of individuals, and so serve as a basis for a theory of value; or identified with 'demand' and so be correlated with 'supply.' And this complexity is nothing to that which develops in the higher realm into which consciousness grows, as personality takes on its ideal forms.

§4. The Higher Hedonic Sanction

253. The development of consciousness in the way now depicted leads to a refining in the sense of pleasure and pain to the actor. We saw that the hedonic colouring of experience goes over largely into the sense of self, producing attitudes of the personal self toward individual things. And this is the basis of the 'thing of desire' as opposed to the 'thing of fast.' The thing of fact remains a thing of knowledge, science, observation; the thing of desire becomes that rich hedonic experience with which the self is immediately identified.


But in the reflective consciousness another movement often takes place; indeed, always takes place in reference to some one or other type of experience in this mind or that. The discovery is made by the actor himself that there is just this distinction between things as facts and things as objects of personal desire. He comes to see that it is not the object per se that he strives for, but the states of self which come through the realization of the things of desire. The state of happiness which this involves is thus isolated, in a measure, in his thought, and set up as itself a thing of desire. He generalizes the _hedonic experience as such, sets it before him as an end, and pursues the objects of fact, and even also the customary objects of desire, for the sake of this new and derived object of desire, —pleasure. In this form of reflection we find, therefore, for the first time realized, a pure hedonism of the subjective consciousness. It is an outgrowth in the sphere of desire, as the corresponding lower hedonic sanction already spoken of is in the sphere of impulse. The child acts first impulsively toward objects as things, then comes to act impulsively toward them as painful things, and even as pure pains (and pleasures), but still impulsively. So in the sphere of desire, the first action of reflective desire is toward the object of desire, which takes the place of the simple thing of fact. The object of desire is constituted by the clustering up upon the experience of all those highly coloured pleasurable and painful states which go to produce the personal attitudes of the self. Then, finally, the pleasure as thought comes to be itself the object of pursuit, and the agent is, when acting thus, now a refined reflective hedonist. For such a person there would really be a 'hedonic calculus.'


This is, then, the final and much-talked of hedonic sanction, the pursuit of pleasure as such. It represents the most refined egoism, in the sense of individualism.[9] It shows the culmination of intellectual development considered as affording a type of sanction for conduct. We shall see, later on, under what conditions it is actually present in social life.

§5. The Sanction of Right

254. In the earlier, more psychological consideration of the development of the personality sense, we saw that the growth of a general or ideal self is gradual, coming through the continuation of the process of imitative accommodation, which is the engine of all mental progress. It is by assimilation that growth proceeds; and when consciousness is able, under the leading of the personalities which illustrate and enforce law, to assimilate both its partial thoughts of self —the selfish and the generous self —to a new ideal thought which stands for this law, then it enters the sphere of duties and rights. Following up this progress in the child with the question as to the sanction of conduct done at this highest epoch of personal development, we find before us a set of conditions of great complexity and difficulty. The interest of the topic, however, culminates here, as do also the practical bearings of it in social matters; so we may try to get some glimmerings of light on the subject, mainly from the carrying out of the principles which we have found reason for accepting in the simpler conditions already explored.[10]


The subjective sanction of right, that which impels the agent himself to recognize and perform duty, is just the sentiment called 'ought,' of which we have endeavoured to find out something, from the genetic point of view, in earlier pages. In theory, it has been called the 'categorical imperative'; in popular language it is called 'conscience.' It is not within our province to pursue speculation further about this sentiment, but only to ask how the presence of this sanction in the individual's own breast modifies the reasons for action, and consequently the actions themselves, which we found him performing in the earlier epochs. Impulse leads to action by 'necessity'; intelligence leads to different action, with view to 'success' ; both of these remain, the latter modifying the demands and the authority of the former. Now what new complications arise in the operation of both of these, when oughtness comes to its fruition, and man feels impelled to do 'right' ?

255. The first thing to be remarked about this new sanction is its similarity, in the person's own mind, to the sanction of impulse. It comes with no adequate or detailed construction of content by the thinker. He cannot explain his reasons for pronouncing conduct right; he has no reasons. He cannot picture to himself or communicate to others a general plan of life which will cover the details of action, as new circumstances arise; he only gets a single morsel of sanction at a time —a morsel appropriate to the emergency in which he is immediately called upon to act. In this, ethical action is impulsive. It represents habit facing toward law. And it is impulsive, also, in respect to the form of quasi-necessity with which its injunctions come upon him. In this case, it is true, it is a new form of necessity ; it does not play itself out in con-

(396) -duct through the immediate pressure of nervous conditions. But its imperative is categorical, and it executes its commands under the form of penalties as real, though not the same, as those which the lower impulses inflict. It is from this character, as quasi-impulsive, that the ought-sanction gets its relation to the others.

256. The sanction of right tends to supersede the earlier sanctions, in the main, and that because it represents a more inclusive form of mental synthesis. The generalization of the thought of self cannot proceed without the subsumption of the healthful and normal but partial selves. We can have no ideal thought of self without using the partial thoughts which contribute, in particular instances, material for the ideal. The impulsive self, with its self-seeking and its capricious sympathy, must be there; and the crafty, intellectual self must be there; and each must urge its own sanction, for it is only through the relative claims of these thoughts and the fitness of their corresponding appropriate actions, that the lawful, regular, ethical thought, and its appropriate action, can be constituted. If it be true that the ideal thought requisite to the rise of ethical sentiment comes by the generalization of the partial and lower thoughts, then the emerging forms of action which now get sanction must be, in some way, a reduction of the earlier forms to a single novel type. This leads us to the recognition of two conclusions : first, that the conduct which is sanctioned by the ought-sense exists normally and naturally by the side of the other forms of action in the same person ; and second, that it is only through the vitality of impulse and intellect and their normal pressure out into conduct, that this new union and higher adjustment of elements can take place.


257. The entire normality of the ethical sentiment, and the sanction which enforces it, deserve emphasis in contrast with the tendency of certain writers to look upon them as in some way foreign to humanity, and as only kept in operation by divine agencies, belief in supernatural penalties and rewards, etc. As opposed to this conception, we see that the sanction of duty arises from the natural play of the impulses and intellectual operations among themselves, just as we have also seen the higher forms of religious sentiment come up naturally from the ethical. The growth of intellectuality, considered as breadth of view and competence of personal judgment, carries with it normally growth in sensitiveness of feeling and rightness of ethical attitude. Intellectual power is primarily growth in the sense of personal worth and character based on widened social experience. This growth involves the entertainment of the sanction of the generous desires and impulses no less than that of the selfish desires and impulses. So the outcome—the higher and more adequate understanding and organization of the material of personal and social life—brings, by its very happening, the sanction of duty. The sanction arises just in this way, and in this way only; its adequacy and fulness of influence are functions of the adequacy and comprehensiveness of the synthesis on the intellectual side.

Hence no dualism of thought and action can be held in this highest realm. It is as untrue as would be a corresponding dualism in the realm of intelligence and desire, i.e., a dualism which should hold that the picturing of an object is natural and normal, but the tendency to desire and struggle for it is a thing of extraneous origin. The only possible opposition between the intellect and the

(398) sense of right, is that which arises, as in particular cases, when the intellectual process represents the lower synthesis of personal and social values whose sanction is success or pleasure. Then the opposition is sharp enough. The assimilation of the act which intelligence, at this lower stage, urges for performance, with the ideal personal thought about which the sense of duty hangs, is hindered or thwarted. It was therefore a real intuition of the Greek moralists that they made ethical insight, insight—reason, a perfection of apprehension, in opposition to the opinion and perception and illusion of the lower cognitive processes. Practical reason is reason still. But the Greeks shared the view which we are now criticising, on the side of the origin of this intuition, inasmuch as they found it necessary to account for it by a principle of illumination which could not come by the development of the natural processes of experience. A dualism between reason and sense or opinion ran through Greek thought very much as the dualism of thought and sentiment is current now.

As opposed to both dualisms, we must hold to a development process with two aspects, —a constructive aspect and an active aspect. The constructive aspect undergoes development from sense to thought; and with it, representing the constant outcome of it, the active aspect undergoes a corresponding development from impulse to conduct, from necessity to duty.

258. The other point mentioned above is also suggestive of certain reflections. It opens the question of actual content and play of functions in the healthy ethical conscious ness. The determinations already made show us that impulse and intelligence must be there, and that the normal growth of the ethical sense depends upon their

(399) growth. But it is evident that further definition may be made of the influences which give more subtle colouring to the phases of the life of duty—phases whose variations produce the various inequalities and pathological tendencies in the moral life.

The first great distinction which comes up, in prosecuting this inquiry, is that which we have already found between things, considered as objects merely, things as facts; and, on the other hand, things considered as more or less implicated in the progressive thought of self, things as objects of desire. We saw that, even in the life of intelligence, a comprehensive distinction exists here. The world of things, opposite to the world of desire, constitutes a series of reasonably constant manipulable terms, which remain put,' so to speak, in certain relationships, are capable of more or less exhaustive description for personal and social purposes, and have a relative neutrality of presence to us, as respects our active lives and attitudes. It is only as these things, on the other hand, take on certain relationships to persons and personal uses-to society, in some way or other, in short —that they are then constituted elements or details of the world of values. The mere judgment of existence, which is a mental attitude of the widest generality and of the least importance in the progress of our development, —since it is the presupposition of it all, —yields to certain graduated judgments of value which are the measuring rods of desire.

It follows from this that there may be two very different courses of development in the intellectual life according as the material with which it prevailingly deals belongs in one or other of these fields, —the world of facts or the world of desire. One person's life-development may be

(400) typical in that it is the pursuit in the main of facts, truths. The pursuit, of course, is motived in desire; but not in things as objects of desire, or as elements in the social world of desire. This sort of intellectuality we have already recognized in the scientific tendency which, as such, scouts utility and seeks only truth. The self-thought is ignored largely by the very statement of the material; the ideal of apprehension is without prejudice of personal interest. The only reason for mentioning this here is that in such intellectual development we see the absence of values just in so far as all human and social desire is absent. Value comes only from the introduction of the personal thought, and the measure of it is the measure of the possible assimilation of the new knowledge which a thing affords, to the attitudes of desire. When this is done, we reach the opposite pole of intellectual operation, and in it we find certain obtrusive characters which involve the ethical sanction.

259. The ethical life is pre-eminently a life of values. Its objects are things of desire, and things of desire at the highest level, where the self-thought is general or ideal. As to the line between thoughts of self which are general, and those which are not, it is usually -certainly in the developed consciousness-quite impossible to draw it. After the ethical sentiment has once arisen, in consciousness, through the assimilation of the partial self-thoughts, a habit is started of just such general assimilation; and it is then doing violence to the normal drift of growth to isolate either the ego thought or the alter thought and attempt to adjust the issues of life to either alone to any great extent. The whole life of desire takes on a normally ethical character. 'What ought I to do ?' becomes the

(401) mind's spontaneous response both to the demands of impulse and to the attractions of success.

This leads to the recognition of a social value in all the acts of life, except those whose performance is so usual or so trivial that we call them indifferent. But it should be noticed that real indifference cannot be predicated of any actions which have a personal motive. All actions which have such a motive are ethical and social, whether they be egoistic, altruistic, or seemingly neutral, simply because after consciousness has once fallen into the way of referring the partial personal thoughts to the ideal thought, all actions which are personal at all have a tacit or overt value as compared with action from the ideal point of view.

The result then is this, that all action which is in any sense interested is ethical; and upon it falls the ethical sanction, after the person has once entered the ethical epoch of growth. The intellectual sanction of success, and the impulsive sanction of necessity, both have to yield to the higher requirements of duty, or to violate them. But in either case, the requirements are there, and consciousness is different by reason of their presence. The ethical sanction has a direct inhibitive influence upon the operation of the lower sanctions, inasmuch as no one of them is to be considered the final sanction of the act which emerges from the crucible of ethical deliberation. That is the province of the sense of ought or of duty; and it may ratify any or none of the actual courses of conduct which the earlier sanctions would otherwise have called out.

260. This leads us to see that even the relative conflict between the intellectual and the ethical which seemed

(402) to arise under the hedonic sanction (Sect. 253) is seldom real. The pursuit of the dictates of self-interest may seem to represent a form of rational conduct in full opposition to the forms enjoined by the ethical sanction. The sanction of success may be enormously developed in an individual and in a society, without a corresponding development of the ethical. This refinement of individualism would now seem to be in some degree abnormal. Such intellectual development, as far as it is self-interested, must involve normally the conscious violation of the rights of other persons, and so must arouse some ethical feeling after such an individual has once come to be ethical. Pure intellectualism may arise, as we saw, before the conditions are such that the ethical is developed; but after that, the very violation of moral requirements—the very antithesis which we are discussing—is, in the individual consciousness, a lively sense of the ethical sanction. The sanction is then negative, as remorse, sense of ill-desert for the outrage done to the imperative; but it is ethical. The very dissatisfaction attaching to success is evidence that success is no longer the only sanction which consciousness has come to recognize.

261. The relation of this sanction to the other and lower ones, together with the variations which these relations may show, suggest interesting problems for the moral pathologist and the criminologist. The latter science, criminology, has to deal with the social applications and bearing of the ethical sanction, to which we come again below ; but there are certain derangements of the individual's private moral life which may lie at the foundation of his public conduct, and these it may be well to point out very briefly.


The pathology of the moral life seems to be, like mental pathology generally—apart from hereditary defect in the same direction, —simply lack of normal organization or systematization of experience. The works of recent pathologists find in impairment of mental synthesis or organization the method of decay, and psychologists find the relative success of the particular mind or of the particular mental function in effecting unity of attention and thought, the measure of sanity and of moral probity.[10] The work of the French pathologists, headed by Charcot,[11] has shown that alterations of personality, will, moral sense, etc., are due to the falling apart of the material of acquisition into different or disaggregated centres and syntheses : to the failure in ability to get hold by attention of all the material of experience and memory, and so to order life from the basis of the whole.

The sort of mental disease found, in each case, depends upon the sphere or class of the experiences in which the disintegration takes place. In the ethical sphere disease manifests itself when the synthesis of social and personal materials, necessary to the form of organization called the personal self, is not normally effected. Diseases in the moral life are essentially diseases of self-consciousness. And all diseases of self-consciousness are moral diseases, in so far as they disturb the sense of social and moral values by impairing the ideal thought of self, or the normal subordination of the partial thoughts of self to this ideal. All these perturba-

(404) -tions find direct social reference in the disturbance of balance between the sense of the alter in relation to the ego, and misadjustments in their common relationships in the community. In practical cases many interesting instances show the reality of this sort of disturbance and the havoc which it plays with the balance of sanctions in the moral life. The individual may become exalted in his thought of his personal self, with a corresponding debasement of the alter and violation of social and ethical rules. Or he becomes melancholic, through debasement of self, with correspondingly exaggerated sense of the importance, domination, persecution, etc., of others. In these cases, the intellect is likely to be sharpened into cunning and subterfuge at the expense, and in consequence of the failure, of the ethical. There is always a tendency, through the general loosing of the bonds of higher inhibition and synthesis, to lapse back into the life of craft and impulse. There results often a creature of impulse and suggestion. His fixed idea leads the rest of his mental life a wild chase; or the failure even of one idea to intrench itself firmly leads to the general besotting of the powers in a life of animality. All sorts and varieties of pathological conditions arise, and the general concept of the anti-social comes in to play its important part, and to set the social problems which arise about the criminal insane.[12]


  1. On the general topic of ' Sanction,' considered in its social bearings, the reader should consult Stephen on' Theory of Social Motives,' Science of Ethics, Chap. III.
  2. In considering the emotions, we found an earlier 'instinctive' period, and then spoke of the intelligent and ethical together. We here have no need to separate the so-called 'instinctive' and 'spontaneous' periods.
  3. It is evident that 'fitness' would apply both to the individual's functions and to the racial qualities which survive; and if we agree that the individual's actions are also selected by' functional selection' from over-produced movements, the test of 'survival' would also apply to them. Cf. my Mental Development, pp. 174 ff.
  4. Above, Chap. VII, § 1 (especially Sect. 161).
  5. Above, Chap. VI., Sect. 167.
  6. That is, ' motive' includes all the affective, subconscious, and motor processes additional to the intellectual or representative images which constitute the 'end.' The felt self is largely a 'motive,' and not an 'end' element.
  7. Chap. III., § 3.
  8. This simply means, from the point of view of the imitative character of volition, the reinstatement of the 'copy' (motive) series which releases the action. It illustrates also, in concrete cases, the philosophical sanction of self-realization.
  9. Yet not necessarily as anti-social or unaltruistic in the channels of its expression ; for the pleasures of society or of benevolence might be pursued simply as pleasures. Cf. also Sect. 260.
  10. I have gathered evidence for this general position in my Mental Development, Chap. VIII., making much use of the researches of M. Pierre Janet (Automatisme Psychologique_ on the pathological side.
  11. Charcot, Leçons sur les Maladies Mentales; cf. Binet, Alterations of Personality.
  12. So also the case, spoken of in Sect. 201, in which the relative balance between the private and public ingredients in the ideal self is disturbed.

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