An Introduction to Social Psychology

Chapter 7: The Hormic Psychology

William McDougall

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IN the volume Psychologies. of 1925 I took the field as an exponent of purposive psychology. Anticipating a little the course of history, I shall here assume that the purposive nature of human action is no longer in dispute, and in this article shall endeavour to define and to justify that special form of purposive psychology which is now pretty widely known as hormic psychology. But first a few words in justification of this assumption.

Fifteen years ago American psychologists displayed almost without exception a complete blindness to the most peculiar, characteristic, and important feature of human and animal activity, namely, its goal-seeking. All bodily actions and all phases of experience were mechanical reactions to stimuli, and all learning was the modification of such reactions by the addition of one reaction to another according to the mechanical principles of association. The laws of learning were the laws of frequency, of recency, and of effect ; and, though the law of effect as formulated by Thorndike may have suggested to some few minds that the mechanical principles involved were not so clear as might be wished, the laws of frequency and recency could give rise to no such misgivings. The law of effect, with its uncomfortable suggestion of an effect that somehow causes its cause, was pretty generally regarded as something to be got rid of by the substitution of some less ambiguous and more clearly mechanical formula.

Now, happily, all this is changed ; the animal psychologists have begun to realise that any description of animal behaviour which ignores its goal-seeking nature is

( 445) futile, any " explanation " which leaves it out of account, fictitious, and any experimentation which ignores motivation, grossly misleading ; they are busy with the study of " drives,"" sets," and " incentives." It is true that their recognition of goal-seeking is in general partial and grudging ; they do not explicitly recognise that a " set " is a set toward an end, that " a drive " is an active striving toward a goal, that an " incentive " is some-thing that provokes such active striving. The terms " striving " and " conation " are still foreign to their vocabularies.

Much the same state of affairs prevails in current American writings on human psychology. Its problems are no longer discussed, experiments are no longer made with total and bland disregard for the purposive nature of human activity. The terms " set,"" drive," and " incentive, "having been found indispensable in animal psychology, are allowed to appear in discussions of human problems, in spite of their anthropomorphic implications ; " prepotent reflexes,"" motives,"" drives,"" preponderant propensities,"" impulses toward ends,"" fundamental urges," and even " purposes " now figure in the texts. In the final chapter on personality of a thoroughly mechanical text (1), in which the word " purpose " has been conspicuous by its absence, a rôle of first importance is assigned to " dominant purposes. "Motivation, after being almost ignored, has become a problem of central interest. Yet, as was said above, we are in a transition period ; and all this recognition of the purposive nature of human activity is partial and grudging. The author (Dr. H. A. Carr), who tells us on one page that " Man attempts to transform his environment to suit his own purposes, "nowhere tells us what he means by the word " purposes " and is careful to tell us on a later page that “We must avoid the naïve assumption that the ulterior consequences of an act either motivate that act or serve as its objective." Almost without exception the authors who make any recognition of the goal-seeking or purposive nature of human and animal activities fall into one of the three following classes : (a) they imply that, if only we

(446) knew a little more about the nervous system, we should be able to explain such activities mechanically ; or (b) they explicitly make this assertion ; (c) more rarely, they proceed to attempt some such explanation.

Partial, half-hearted, reluctant as is still the recognition of purposive activity, it may, I think, fairly be said that only the crude behaviourists now ignore it completely ; that, with that exception, American psychology has become purposive, in the sense that it no longer ignores or denies the goal-seeking nature of human and animal action, but accepts it as a problem to be faced.

It would, then, be otiose in this year of grace to defend or advocate purposive psychology in the vague sense of all psychology that recognises purposiveness, takes account of foresight and of urges, impulses, cravings, desires, as motives of action.

My task is the more difficult one of justifying the far more radically purposive psychology denoted by the adjective " hormic," a psychology which claims to be autonomous ; which refuses to be bound to and limited by the principles current in the physical sciences ; which asserts that active striving towards a goal is a fundamental category of psychology, and is a process of a type that cannot be mechanistically explained or resolved into mechanistic sequences ; which leaves it to the future development of the sciences to decide whether the physical sciences shall continue to be mechanistic or shall find it necessary to adopt hormic interpretations of physical events, and whether we are to have ultimately one science of nature, or two, the mechanistic and the teleological. For hormic psychology is not afraid to use teleological description and explanation. Rather, it insists that those of our activities which we can at all adequately describe are unmistakably and undeniably teleological, are activities which we undertake in the pursuit of some goal, for the sake of some result which we foresee and desire to achieve. And it holds that such activities are the true type of all mental activities and of all truly vital activities, and that, when we seek to interpret more obscure instances of human activity and when we observe on the part of animals

(447) actions that clearly are goal-seeking, we are well justified in regarding them as of the same order as our own explicitly teleological or purposive actions.

While the academic psychologies of the recent past have sought to explain the higher types of activity from below upward, taking simple physical and chemical events as their starting-point, hormic psychology begins by accepting the higher activities, those which are clearly and explicitly purposive and into the nature of which we have the most insight, and seeks to extend such insight downwards to the simpler but more obscure types of action.

Teleology, Intrinsic and Extrinsic

I introduce the term " teleological " early in the exposition because I do not wish to seem to smuggle it in at a later stage after betraying the innocent reader into 'acceptance of a position which commits him unwittingly to teleology. Modern science has shown an aversion to all teleology ; one might almost say that it has a " complex " on that subject. The origin and development of this unreasoning and unreasonable. aversion is intelligible enough. It developed in the course of the conflict of science with religion. The favourite explanation of all obscure natural processes offered by the theologians was that they expressed and were governed by the purpose of the Creator, who had designed and constructed the various objects of the natural world in order that, as parts of one grand system, they might exhibit and fulfil His purposes. Whether the theologians conceived natural objects as having been once and for all designed and created in such a way that natural events would run their courses, fulfilling God's purpose without further intervention on His part, or believed that the finger of God still actively directs the course of natural events, these teleological explanations were, in either case, utterly repugnant to the spirit of modern science : for science had found it possible to explain many events as the effects of natural causes, and

( 448) it had become the accepted programme of science to extend such explanations as widely as possible.

It has become usual to speak of the explanations offered by science as naturalistic, and to oppose them to the supernatural explanations of the theologians. Now, to explain an event is to assign the causes of it, the play of antecedent events of which the event in question is the consequence. Early scientists inclined to interpret many events after the model of our own experience of causation. We foresee a particular event as a possibility ; we desire to see this possibility realised ; we take action in accordance with our desire, and we seem to guide the course of events in such a way that the foreseen and desired event results. To explain an event as caused in this way was to invoke teleological causation, not the extrinsic super-natural teleology of the theologians, but a natural teleological causation, a causal activity thoroughly familiar to each man through his own repeated experiences of successful action for the attainment of desired goals. Primitive man applied explanation of this type to many natural events, regarding anthropomorphically many natural objects which modern science has taught us to regard as utterly devoid of any such affinity with ourselves. The early students of physical nature did not entirely discard explanations of this type. They regarded natural events more analytically than primitive men had done ; but they still inclined to regard the elements into which they analysed the given natural objects as acting teleologically, as moved by desire, and as striving to achieve the effects they naturally desired. The Newtonian mechanics put an end to explanation of this type in the physical sciences. For it appeared that very many physical events, more especially various astronomical events, could be adequately explained in terms of mass, motion, momentum, attraction, and repulsion, all exactly measurable; and many such events became strictly predictable from such principles of causation. From such causal explanations all reference to foresight of something, to desire for something, to striving for that something, in fact all reference to the future course of events, was wholly

(449) excluded. The explanation of any event was given in terms only of other events antecedent to it ; all reference to possible or probable consequences proved to be unnecessary ; explanation was purged of all taint of teleology. Explanation of this type was so successful in the physical sciences that, although the hope of strictly mechanical explanation of all events of the inanimate world is now seen to have been illusory, such ateleological explanation has become established as the type and model to which naturalistic explanation should conform. Such ateleological explanation is what is meant by mechanistic explanation in the broad sense.[1] The mechanistic or ateleological explanations of science were dubbed naturalistic and were accepted in place of the supernatural teleological explanations of theology. So far all was well ; the procedure was entirely justified. But at this point an unfortunate confusion of thought became very general. The confusion consisted in falling victim to the compelling force of words and in regarding as supernatural, not only the external teleological causation of the theologians, but also the internal teleological causation or causal activity of men.

This, I say, was an unfortunate and unwarranted confusion ; and it still pervades the thinking of most men of science when they approach the problems of psychology and biology. Any proposal to take seriously the teleological causation which seems to be revealed in human activities, to regard such causation as real and effective, they repudiate as trafficking in supernatural causes ; for, in learning to repudiate the external super-natural teleology of theology, they have come to regard as also supernatural the internal teleological causation of the human organism. Yet there is no good ground for so regarding it. To desire, to strive, and to attain our goal is as natural as falling off a log, and with such

( 450) teleological causation we are entirely familiar ; we have more intimate understanding of it than of mechanistic causation.

During the nineteenth century, under the prevalence of the faith that strictly mechanical or Newtonian causation was adequate to the explanation of all events of the inanimate world, it was natural enough to regard such causation as the one and only type of naturalistic causation, and, therefore, to class intrinsic teleological causation with the extrinsic teleological causation of the theologians, as supernatural. But now, when it has become clear that that faith or hope was illusory and that we have no insight into the nature of mechanistic causation, this ground for repudiating intrinsic teleological causation has been taken away—and none remains.

It is probable that the remaining prejudice against it is more than a hang-over from the days of belief in strictly mechanical or Newtonian causation. To accept the teleological causation of human agents is to believe in the causal efficacy of psychical events ; and it seems to be widely felt that to do this is necessarily to commit one's self to psychophysical dualism or animism, and thus to offend against the common preference for a monistic world-view and against the theory of continuity of evolution of the organic from the inorganic. But this is an error which a little clear thinking should quickly dispel. Two monistic theories, both implying continuity of evolution, are now enjoying considerable vogue among both philosophers and men of science, namely, psychic monism and the emergent theory.

Psychic monism, as expounded by Paulsen, Morton Prince, C. A. Strong, Durant Drake, and L. T. Troland, has no ground for doubting the causal efficacy of psychic events ; for its teaching is that all events are psychic Morton Prince, with his ever youthful mind, saw this clearly enough and hence did not hesitate to figure as an exponent of purposive psychology in the volume Psychologies of 1925 (27). Dr. Troland, curiously enough, seems to cast aside in the most gratuitous fashion the opportunity afforded by his espousal of psychic monism

( 451) to lift psychology above the sterile plane of mechanistic explanation.

The emergent theory[2] is equally compatible with, and in fact asserts, the causal efficacy of psychic events and the continuity of organic with inorganic evolution ; and it is a monistic theory. Hence it fulfils all the requirements of the psychologist who cannot blind himself to the reality of goal-seeking behaviour and purposive activity, and yet holds fast to monism and continuity of evolution. And it is a theory now in excellent standing, sponsored by such outstanding thinkers as S. Alexander, L. T. Hobhouse, Lloyd Morgan, H. S. Jennings, R. B. Perry, W. M. Wheeler.

With these alternatives open to the choice of the psychologist, he has no valid ground for denying the causal efficacy of psychic activity in the natural world, no ground for continuing to regard intrinsic teleological causation as supernatural, and therefore no ground for blinding himself to the purposive nature of human activity. One suspects that the prevalent reluctance to recognise fully and freely the purposive nature of human activity and the goal-seeking nature of animal activities is mainly due to the fact that most of us were brought up to believe in epiphenomenalism or psychophysical parallelism, those equally illogical, profoundly unsatisfactory, and now discredited makeshifts of a generation dominated by mechanical materialism and imbued with an ill-founded prejudice in favour of regarding all causation as mechanistic. Or perhaps the common case is simpler : throughout a considerable period the physical sciences have worked very successfully in terms of purely mechanistic or ateleological causation ; therefore psychology and all the biological sciences must do likewise. To this contention the answer is obvious : this policy is running psychology and biology in general into a blind alley. Weismannism, the only purely mechanistic theory of biological evolution, has broken down ; and vague theories of creative evolu-

(452) -tion or orthogenesis are the order of the day. There is renewed interest in the possibility of Lamarckian trans-mission. Physiologists are breaking away from the mechanistic tradition. Dr. K. S. Lashley, in his presidential address to the American Psychological Association, speaking in the light of his own very extensive researches, has thrown all the prevailing views on cerebral action back into the melting-pot without offering a substitute. Three at least of the leaders of biology in America, Lillie, Herrick, and Jennings, are calling aloud for recognition of the causal efficacy in nature of psychical activities.[3] In Great Britain, Drs. J. S. Haldane and E. S. Russell are building up the psychobiological school, which utterly denies the adequacy of mechanistic principles of explanation in biology. (The former bluntly denounces as " clap-trap " the claim, so often repeated " parrot-like," that physiology is revealing the mechanism of life.) The German thinkers interested in the various human sciences, impatient of the failure of the " strictly scientific " psychology taught in the universities to furnish any psychological basis for those sciences, are turning away to construct a psychology of the kind they need, a geistes-

( 453) -wissenschaftliche Psychologie, which frankly throws aside the mechanistic principles and recognises the teleological nature of human activity. The Gestalt school of psychology protests against mechanistic interpretations.

Clearly the dominance of biology by the mechanistic ideal of the physical sciences is passing ; while physical science itself is giving up strict determinism and exact predictability. Where, then, is to be found any justification for the old-fashioned prejudice against psychical causation, which, if admitted at all, can be only teleological causation ? Why should not we psychologists, whose business is with the psychical, boldly claim that here is the indeterminate and creative element in nature, rather than leave it to physicists and physiologists to show the way and force us to recognise the fact ? To admit the efficacy of psychical activity in nature is not, as so many seem to imagine, to deny causation.[4] Science must

( 454) hold fast to causation, if not to strict determination. Psychical events, though teleological, have their conditions and their causal antecedents ; but in them the foreseeing activity is a real factor which makes, not the future event foreseen, but the foreseeing of it as possible and as desirable or repugnant a co-operating factor in the total con-figuration of the present moment. To put it in other words, valuation is a psychical function which is rooted in the past history of the individual and of the race ; and it is an activity that makes a difference ; applied to the foreseen possibility, it inclines our activity this way or that, to seek or accept, avoid or reject.


Surely, a future age, looking back upon the vagaries .of our own, will record with astonishment the fact that in this early stage of the development of the biological sciences, men of science, while perceiving clearly that the power of foreseeing, of anticipating the future course of events, has developed steadily in the race until in man it has become his most striking characteristic, yet persistently deny that this wonderful capacity is of any service in our struggle for existence.[5]

Two Forms of Teleological or Purposive Psychology, the Hedonistic and the Hormic

The psychologist who can summon enough courage to follow the lead of physicists and biologists and to accept the causal efficacy of psychical activity, of foresight and desire, is confronted with a choice between two theories of the ground of all desire, of all striving or conation, the hedonistic and the hormic.

Psychological hedonism enjoyed a great vogue in the

( 456) nineteenth century and is not yet dead ; for it embodies some truth. Not every theory of action that assigns a rôle to pleasure and pain is teleological. Two prominent American psychologists, Drs. E. L. Thorndike and L. T. Troland, have elaborated a theory which remains strictly mechanistic, though it assigns a rôle to pleasure and pain. In this theory, pleasure accompanying any form of activity " stamps in " that activity, affects the brain structures in such a way that similar activity is the more likely to recur under similar conditions ; and pain has the opposite effect. It is clear that there is nothing teleological in this form of hedonic theory ; it is a hedonism of the past. It is a striking evidence of the strength of the prejudice against teleological causation, that Dr. Troland, who believes that all things and events are in reality psychical, should thus choose to elaborate his psychical theory in terms of purely mechanistic causation.[6]

A second form of hedonism may be called " hedonism of the present." It asserts that all action is to be regarded as prompted by the pleasure or the pain of the moment of experience. Its position in relation to mechanism and teleology is ambiguous. It can be held and stated in a mechanistic form : the feeling accompanying present process is a factor of causal efficacy in the total configuration, one that prolongs and modifies the total process. It can be stated in a teleological form : the pleasure of the moment prompts efforts to prolong the pleasurable activity and secure more pleasure ; the pain of the present moment prompts an effort to get rid of the pain and secure ease.

(457) In this second form the rôle assigned to foresight renders the formulation teleological.

This second variety of hedonism embodies truth.

But it is false if put forward as a general theory of all action. We do seek to prolong pleasant activities and to get rid of pain. But it is not true that all, or indeed any large proportion, of our activities can be explained in this way. Our seeking of a goal, our pursuit of an end, is an activity that commonly incurs pleasure or pain ; but these are incidental consequences. Our striving after food, or a mate, or power, knowledge, revenge, or relief of others' suffering is commonly but little influenced by the hedonic effects incident to our striving. The conation is prior to, and not dependent upon, its hedonic accompaniments, though these may and do modify its course.

The traditional psychological hedonism is thoroughly teleological. It asserts that all human action is performed for the sake of attaining a foreseen pleasure or of avoiding foreseen pain. It is, however, inacceptable, and for two reasons chiefly. First, it is in gross contradiction with clear instances of human action initiated and sustained, not only without anticipation of resulting pleasure or of resulting avoidance of pain, but with clear anticipation of a resulting excess of pain. Secondly, it cannot be applied to the interpretation of animal action (unless, possibly, to some actions of the highest animals) ; and thus would make between human and animal action a radical difference of principle, inconsistent with the well-founded theory of continuity of human with animal evolution.[7]

The hopeless inadequacy of psychological hedonism appears very clearly when it is attempted to apply it to the explanation of our valuations. J. S. Mill attempted to

( 458) extricate the doctrine from its predicament in face of the problem of values by recognising lower and higher pleasures ; but it is generally conceded that in so doing he saved his moral theory at the cost of making an in-defensible psychological distinction.

It should be sufficient answer to point to that sphere of human experience which the hedonists most commonly adduce in illustration of their theory, namely, the sexual. When we reflect on the profound influence of the sex urge in human life, its vast range, its immeasurable strength that so often drives men to the most reckless adventures and the most tragic disasters or sustains them through immense and prolonged labours, its frenzies of passionate desire, its lofty exaltations and its deep depressions, we must surely conclude that he who would see the ground of all these phenomena in the pleasurable tone of certain cutaneous sensations must lack all personal experience of any but the most trivial manifestations of sex.

The Hormic Theory of Action

We are thus driven to the hormic theory as the only alternative teleological theory of action. The essence of it may be stated very simply. To the question—Why does a certain animal or man seek this or that goal ?—it replies :Because it is his nature to do so. This answer, simple as it may seem, has deep significance.

Observation of animals of any one species shows that all members of the species seek and strive toward a limited number of goals of certain types, certain kinds of food and of shelter, their mates, the company of their fellows, certain geographical areas at certain seasons, escape to cover in presence of certain definable circumstances, dominance over their fellows, the welfare of their young, and so on. For any one species the kinds of goals sought are characteristic and specific ; and all members of the species seek these goals independently of example and of prior experience of attainment of them, though the course of action pursued in the course of striving

(459) towards the goal may vary much and may be profoundly modified by experience. We are justified, then, in inferring that each member of the species inherits the tendencies of the species to seek goals of these several types.

Man also is a member of an animal species. And this species also has its natural goals, or its inborn tendencies to seek goals of certain types. This fact is not only indicated very clearly by any comparison of human with animal behaviour, but it is so obvious a fact that no psychologist of the least intelligence fails to recognise it, however inadequately, not even if he obstinately reduces their number to a minimum of three and dubs them the " prepotent reflexes " of sex, fear, and rage. Others write of " primary desires," or of " dominant urges," or of " unconditioned reflexes," or of appetites, or of cravings, or of congenital drives, or of motor sets, or of inherited tendencies or propensities ; lastly, some, bolder than the rest, write of " so-called instincts."- For instincts are out of fashion just now with American psychologists ; and to write of instincts without some such qualification as " so-called " betrays a reckless indifference to fashion amounting almost to indecency. Yet the word " instinct " is too good to be lost to our science. Better than any other word it points to the facts and the problems with which I am here concerned.

The hormic psychology imperatively requires recognition not only of instinctive action but of instincts. Primarily and traditionally the words " instinct " and " instinctive " point to those types of animal action which are complex activities of the whole organism ; which lead the creature to the attainment of one or other of the goals natural to the species ; which are in their general nature manifested by all members of the species under appropriate circumstances ; which exhibit nice adaptation to circumstances ; and which, though often suggesting intelligent appreciation of the end to be gained and the means to be adopted, yet owe little or nothing to the individual's prior experience.[8]

( 460)

The words as thus traditionally used point to a problem. The word " instinctive " describes actions of this -type. The word " instinct " implies that unknown some-thing which expresses itself in the train of instinctive action directed towards a particular natural goal. What is the nature of that x to which the word " instinct " points ? The problem has provoked much speculation all ,down the ages ; the answers ranging from " the finger of God " to " a rigid bit of reflex nervous mechanism."

It is characteristic of the hormic theory that it does not presume to give a final and complete answer to this "question in terms of entities or types of events that enjoy well-established scientific status.

Hormic activity is an energy manifestation ; but the hormic theory does not presume to say just what form or forms of energy or transformations of energy are involved. It seems to involve liberation of energy potential ,or latent in chemical form in the tissues ; and hormic theory welcomes any information about such transformations that physiological chemistry can furnish. But it refuses to go beyond the facts and to be bound by current

( 461) hypotheses of physical science ; and it refuses to be blinded to the essential facts. And the most essential facts are, (a) that the energy manifestation is guided into channels such that the organism approaches its goal ; (b) that this guidance is effected through a cognitive activity, an awareness, however vague, of the present situation and of the goal ; (c) that the activity, once initiated and set on its path through cognitive activity, tends to continue until the goal is attained ; (d) that, when the goal is attained, the activity terminates ; (e) that progress towards and attainment of the goal are pleasurable experiences, and thwarting and failure are painful or disagreeable experiences.

These statements imply that hormic activity is essentially mental activity, involving always cognition or awareness, striving initiated ' and governed by such cognition, and accruing satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The theory holds that these are three fundamental aspects of all hormic activity, distinguishable by abstraction, but not separable or capable of occurring in nature as separate

( 462) events. Thus it necessarily holds that hormic activity can be exhibited only by organisms or natural entities that have a certain complexity of organisation, such entities as have been traditionally called monads. And it inclines to the view that the simplest form under which such monads appear to us as sensible phenomena is that of the single living cell. The theory does not seek to explain the genesis of such complex organisations by the coming together of simpler entities. It inclines to regard any attempt at such a genetic account (such, for example, as has been attempted by various exponents of emergent evolution) as inevitably fruitless : for it regards with extreme scepticism the common assumption that every thing and event can in principle be analysed into some complex of ultimately simple things and events ; and it is especially sceptical of the emergentists' assumption that a conjunction of purely mechanistic events can result in the emergence of teleological events.[9]

The theory is ready to welcome and accept any evidence which physical science can furnish of hormic activity, however lowly, in the inorganic sphere, and is ready to use such evidence to build a bridge between the organic and the inorganic realms ; but it is content to await the verdict of the physicists, confident that its own facts and formulations will stand fast whether that verdict prove to be positive or negative. In short, the hormic theory holds that where there is life there is mind ; and that, if there has been continuity of evolution of the organic from the inorganic, there must have been some-thing of mind, some trace of mental nature and activity in the inorganic from which such emergence took place.

The Adequacy of the Hormic Theory

The question arises : Is the hormic theory as here stated adequate to the interpretation of all forms of animal and human activity ? And the question takes two forms : First, can the hormic theory be carried over from psychol-

( 463) -ogy into physiology ? Can it be profitably applied to the interpretation of the activities of the several organs and tissues ? This is a very deep question which only the future course of science can answer. But we notice that biologists are becoming increasingly conscious of the inadequacy of mechanistic principles to their problems, especially the problems of evolution, of heredity, of self-regulation, of the maintenance of organic equilibrium, of the restitution of forms and functions after disturbance of the normal state of affairs in the organism, and are seeing that, as Dr. E. S. Russell (29) emphatically insists, " the essential difference between the inorganic unit and the living individual is that the activities of all living things tend toward some end and are not easily diverted from achieving this end . .. all goes on in the organic world as if living beings strove actively towards an end .. . what differentiates a living thing from all inorganic objects or units is this persistence of striving, this effort towards the expression of deep-lying distinctive tendencies. "We therefore are well disposed to agree with this physiologist when he writes : " We must interpret all organic activities as in some sense the actions of a psychophysical individual."[10] That is to say, we may reasonably hope that it may become increasingly possible to extend

(464) the hormic principle to the elucidation of fundamental problems of physiology and of general biology.

Secondly, are the inborn impulses (die Triebe) the only sources of motive power ? For this is the thesis of the hormic theory in the pure form as propounded in my Social Psychology in 1908 (13). Let me cite a restatement of it by Professor James Dreyer of Edinburgh (2). " The basis of the developed mind and character of man must be sought in the original and inborn tendencies of his nature. From these all development and education must start, and with these all human control, for the purposes of education and development, as for the purposes of social and community life, must operate. These are more or less truisms, but they are truisms which have been ignored in much of the educational practice of the past, and in many of the best intentioned efforts at social reorganisation and reform. The original human nature, with which the psychologist is concerned, consists, first of all, of capacities, such as the capacity to have sensations, to perceive, to reason, to learn, and the like, and, secondly, of conscious impulses, the driving forces to those activities without which the capacities would be meaningless." And " though control of primitive impulses becomes more and more complex, it is always a control by that which draws its controlling force, ultimately and fundamentally, from primitive impulses, never a control ab extra." Yet again : " Educationally the most important fact to keep in mind with regard to these specific ` emotional ' tendencies is that in them we have . . . the original, and ultimately the sole important, motive forces determining an individual's behaviour, the sole original determinants of the ends he will seek to attain, as of the interests which crave satisfaction."

If my knowledge of contemporary thought is not gravely at fault, four and only four attempts to supplement the pure hormic theory as here concisely stated call for consideration.

First, we have to consider a view maintained by Professor Dreyer himself, inconsistently as it seems to me, with his statements cited in the foregoing paragraphs.

( 465) He writes in the same treatise : " It must be granted that, in the human being, in addition to the instinctive springs of action, or motive forces which determine behaviour prior to individual experience, pleasure and pain are also motive forces depending upon individual experience " (2, p. 149). To admit this is to combine hedonism with hormism ; and in such combination Dr. Dreyer does not stand alone ; he is in the good company of Professor S. Freud and all his many disciples.

I take Dr. Drever's statement to mean that man learns to anticipate pain or pleasure from this or that form of activity and in consequence to turn away from the former and to choose the latter. Now, in so far as we have in view the modes of activity adopted or followed as means to our goals, this is certainly true doctrine. Past experiences of pain and pleasure attending our activities are remembered ; they determine our anticipations of pain and pleasure ; and we choose our forms of activity, our lines of approach to our goals, in accordance with such anticipations. But more than this is implied in the statement that " pleasure and pain are also motive forces," as also in Freud's " pleasure principle." It is implied that desire of pleasure and the aversion from pain are motive forces which impel us to goals independently of the hormic impulses. It is a mixed theory of action, which supplements the hormic theory with a measure of hedonism. Is this true ? Does the hormic theory require this admixture ? The answer seems clear in the case of pain. The anticipation of pain from a certain course of action can only deter from that line of activity ; it turns us not from the goal of that activity, but only from the form of activity previously followed in pursuit of that goal ; and, if we can find no other line of activity that promises attainment, we may in the end cease to strive toward that goal ; but the anticipation of the pain is not in itself a motive to action. Pain in the proper sense is always the accompaniment or consequence of thwarting of desire, of failure of impulse or effort ; and, if we desire nothing, if we strive after no goals, we shall suffer no

( 466) pains. This is the great truth underlying the Buddhist philosophy of renunciation.

There is one seeming exception that arises from the ambiguity of language ; the word " pain " is applied not only to feeling that results from thwarting and failure but also to a specific quality or qualities of sensation. And we are accustomed to regard " pain-sensation " as a spur to action, and also the aversion from anticipated " pain-sensation " as a motive to activity the goal of which is the avoidance of such " pain."Here is a grand source of confusion ; which, however, is cleared away forthwith when we recognise the fact that pain-sensation from any part of the body is a specific excitant of fear, and fear is or involves a powerful hormic impulse.

It is notorious that threats of physical punishment, if they are to spur the unwilling child or man to activity, must be pushed to the point of exciting fear in him ; short of that they are of no avail. The case might be argued at great length ;, but the citation of this one fact may suffice. The activity prompted by physical pain is an activity of one of the most deeply rooted and powerful of the hormic impulses, the impulse of fear.

If the hormic impulse excited by impressions that involve pain-sensation is not in every case the impulse of the fear instinct, then we can interpret the facts only by postulating a specific impulse of avoidance or withdrawal rooted in a correspondingly specific and simple instinct, closely comparable to the instinct to scratch an itching spot.

The case for desire of pleasure as a motive force is less easily disposed of, the problem is more subtle (18).

Let us note first that pleasure is an abstraction, not a concrete entity or situation ; it is a feeling qualifying activity. Hence we find that " pleasures " we are alleged to pursue are pleasurable forms of activity. In every case the activity in question is sustained by some impulse or desire of other nature and origin than a pure desire for pleasure, namely, some hormic impulse. Take the simplest instances, most confidently cited by the hedonist —the pleasures of the table and of sex. A man is said to seek the pleasures of the table. What in reality he

( 467) does is to satisfy his appetite for food, his hormic urge to eat, in the most pleasurable manner, choosing those food-substances which, in the light of past experience, he knows will most effectively stimulate and satisfy this impulse. But without the appetite, the hormic urge, there is no pleasure. So also of the man alleged to pursue the pleasures of sex. Moved or motivated by the sex urge he chooses those ways of indulging it which experience has shown him to be most' effective in stimulating and satisfying the urge. But without the hormic urge there is no pleasure to be had.

These instances seem to be typical of all the multitude of cases in which men are said to seek pleasure as their goal. Take the complex case of the man who is said to pursue the pleasure of fame or of power. In pursuit of fame or power many a man shuns delights and lives laborious days. But he is moved, his efforts are sustained, by the desire of fame or power, not by the desire of pleasure. If there were not within him the hormic urge to figure in the eyes of the world or to exert power over others, he could find no pleasure in pursuing and in attaining these goals, and he would not in fact pursue them. You may paint the delights of fame or of power in the most glowing colours to the boy or man who is by nature meek and humble ; and your eloquence will fail to stir within him any responsive chord, for in his composition the chord is lacking. On the other hand, in the man in whom the self-assertive impulse is naturally strong, this impulse readily becomes the desire of fame or of power ; and, under the driving power of such desire, he may sacrifice all " pleasures," perhaps with full recognition that fame can come only after his death, or that the attainment of power will involve him in most burdensome and exacting responsibilities. Without the hormic urge which sets his goal, neither will be pursue those goals nor would he find any pleasure in the possession of fame or power, if these came to him as a free gift of the gods. These surely are simple truths illustrated by countless instances in fiction and in real life.

Take one more instance Revenge, it is said, is

( 468) sweet ; and men are said to seek the pleasures of revenge. But, if the injured man is a meek and humble creature, if the injury does not evoke in him a burning desire to humble his adversary, to get even with him, to assert his power over him, the statement that revenge is sweet will have no meaning for him, he will have no impulse to avenge his injury, and the imagining of injury to the adversary will neither afford nor promise him pleasure. On the other hand, injury to the proud self-assertive man provokes in him the vengeful impulse, and in planning his revenge he may well gloat upon the prospect of hurting his adversary ; and, if he is a peculiarly sophisticated and ruthless person, he may choose such means to that goal as experience leads him to believe will be most gratifying, most pleasurable.

It is needless to multiply alleged instances of pleasure-seeking ; all alike fall under this one formula : the pleasure is not an end in itself it is incidental to the pursuit and attainment of some goal towards which some hormic impulse sets.

Perhaps a word should be added concerning beauty. Surely, it may be urged, we seek to attain the beautiful and we value the beautiful object for the sake of the pleasure it gives us ! Here again hedonist aesthetic inverts the true relations. The foundations of all aesthetic theory are here in question. It must suffice to say that the beauty of an object consists not in its power to excite in us a complex of sensations of pleasurable feeling-tone (if it were so, a patchwork quilt should be as beautiful as a Turner landscape) ; it consists rather in the power of the object to evoke in us a multitude of conations that work together in delicately balanced harmony to attain satisfaction in a rich and full appreciation of the significance of the object.[11]

( 469)

A second widely accepted supplementation of the hormic theory is that best represented by the thesis of Dr. R. S. Woodworth's little book, Dynamic Psychology (32). I have criticised this at length elsewhere (15) and can therefore deal with it briefly.

Woodworth's thesis may be briefly stated by adopting the language of the passage cited above from Dr. Dreyer, in which he distinguishes between " capacities " for activities, on the one hand, and, on the other, " conscious impulses, the driving forces to those activities without which the capacities would be meaningless."

The " capacities " that are inborn become immensely differentiated and multiplied in the growing child ; all these may be divided roughly into two great classes, capacities of thinking (of ideation) and capacities of acting, of skilled movement. Now Woodworth's contention is that every such capacity is intrinsically not only a capacity but also a spring of energy, a source of impulsive or motive power ; it is implied that every capacity to think or to act in a certain way is also ipso' facto a tendency or impulse to think or to act in that way. To put it concretely—if I have acquired the capacity to recite the alphabet, I have acquired also a tendency to repeat it ; if I have acquired the capacity to solve quadratic equations,1 have acquired a tendency to solve them ; and so on of all the multitude of specific capacities of thinking and acting which all of us acquire.

This is the modern form of the old intellectualistic doctrine that ideas are forces ; and its long sway proves that it has its allure, if no solid foundation. The hormic

( 470) theory contends that there is no truth, or, if any truth, then but the very smallest modicum in this doctrine. It asks : If each one of the immense array of capacities possessed by a man is also intrinsically a tendency to exercise itself, what determines that at any moment only a certain very small number of them come into action ? The old answer was given in the theory of the association of ideas. Its defects, its utter inadequacy, have been expounded again and again. Yet it rears its head again in this disguised modern form. The hormic answer to the question is that the " capacities " are but so much latent machinery, functional units of differentiated structure ; and that the hormic impulses, working largely through the system of associative links between " capacities," bring into play in turn such capacities as are adapted for service in the pursuit of the natural goals of those impulses. In other words, it maintains that the whole of the machinery of capacities and associative links is dominated by the " interest " of the moment, by conation, by the prevalent desires and active impulses at work in the organism.

It points to " capacities," simple or complex, that remain latent and unused for years, and then (when " the interest " in whose service they were developed is revived, is awakened once more by some change in the man's circumstances) are brought back into action in the service of the renewed interest ; as when a man, having become a parent, recites once more for his children the nursery rhymes and the fairy stories he has learned in childhood.

It may be suggested that the current psychoanalytic treatment of the " complex " is in harmony with Woodworth's principle ; that in this special case " ideas " or " capacities," are validly treated as possessing, in their own right, motive power or conative energy.

It is true that much of the language of Professor Freud and other psychoanalysts seems to countenance this interpretation of the facts. But it must be remembered that the energy of the complex is regarded as in some sense derived from some instinct, generally the sex instinct ; it is libido. And though these authors speak of emotion

( 471) -ally charged ideas, or ideas besetzt with emotional energy (as though each complex owed its power to a charge of libido imparted once for all to it), yet it is, I think, in line with Freud's general treatment to say that such a " complex " is a " capacity," a structural unit, which has acquired such connections with the sex (or other) instinct that the libido, or hormic energy of the instinct, readily flows into it and works through it, and thus is determined to modes of expression recognisable as due to the influence of the complex. Consider a fear complex, say a phobia for running water. There has been acquired a peculiar formation which leads to a paroxysm of fear with great expenditure of energy upon the perception of running water, a reaction which may be repeated at long intervals through many years. Are we to suppose that this formation, the complex, contains as an integral part of itself all the energy and all the complex structural organisation which every manifestation of fear implies, that each fear complex involves a duplication of the fear organisation peculiar to itself ? Surely not ! The essence of the new formation is such a functional relation between the perceptual system concerned in the recognition of running water and the whole apparatus of fear, that the perception becomes one of the various afferent channels through which the fear system may be excited. In this connection it is to be remembered that a sufficient mass of evidence points to the thalamic region as the principal seat of the great affective systems or centres of instinctive excitement. In neurological terms, the perception of running water is in the main a cortical event, while the manifestation of fear is in the main a subcortical or thalamic event ; and the essential neural ground of the complex-manifestation is a special acquired cortico-thalamic connection between the two events, or, more strictly, between the two neuron systems concerned in the two events and respectively located in cortex and in thalamus.

The hormist can find no clear instances that support Woodworth's thesis and can point to a multitude of instances which indicate an absence of all driving power in the " capacities " as such He maintains therefore

( 472) that the burden of proof lies upon his opponents ; and, though he cannot conclusively prove the negative thesis, that no " capacity " has driving power, he sees no ground for accepting this supplement to the hormic theory.

There remain for brief consideration two very modern theories which claim to find the hormic theory in need of supplementation and to supply such supplement.

I refer first to the psychology of Dr. Ludwig Klages and of his able disciple, Dr. Hans Prinzhorn.[12] According to this teaching (I write subject to correction, for it is not easy to grasp), the hormic theory is true of the life of animals and of the lower functions of the human organism, of all the life of instinct and perceptual activity ; but the life of man is complicated by the co-operation of two factors of a different order, Geist and Wille, spirit and will, two aspects of a higher purely spiritual principle which is not only of an order different from that of the hormic impulses but is in many respects antagonistic to them, a disturbing influence that threatens to pervert and even destroy the instinctive basis of human life.

I know not what to say of this doctrine. To me it seems to involve a radical dualism not easily to be accepted. It seems to contain echoes of old ways of thinking, of the old opposition of the instinct of animals to the reason of man, of Hegel's objectified spirit, even of Descartes' dualism, the animal body a machine complicated in man by the intervention of reason, although, it is true, these authors repudiate whole-heartedly the mechanical physiology. I suggest that the Geist and Wille which, as these authors rightly insist, make human life so widely different from the life of even the highest animals, are to be regarded not as some mysterious principles of a radically different order from any displayed in animal life ; that they are rather to be identified with what the Germans call objectiver Geist, objectified spirit of humanity, the system of intellectual processes and of cultural values which has been slowly built up as the traditional possession of each

(473) civilisation and largely fixed in the material forms of art and science, in architecture, in tools, in written and printed words, in enduring institutions of many kinds. Each human being absorbs from his social environment some large part of this objectified spirit ; and it is this, working within him, that gives rise to the higher manifestations of human life which in Klages' doctrine are ascribed to Geist and Wille. Until this interpretation of the facts shall have been shown to be inadequate, there would seem to be no sufficient foundation for the new dualism of Kiages and Prinzhorn.

Lastly, I mention an interesting supplement to the hormic theory offered in a recent book by Mr. Olaf Stapledon (30). The author begins by accepting the hormic theory in a thoroughgoing teleological sense. But he goes on to say : " A human being's inheritance would seem to include a capacity for discovering and conating tendencies beyond the inherited nature of his own organism, or his own biological needs." And he chooses, as the clearest illustrations of what he means, instances of love of one person for another. Criticising my view that in sex love we have a sentiment in which the principal motive powers are the impulses of the sexual and of the parental instincts in reciprocal interplay, he writes : " But this theory ignores an important difference between parental behaviour and love, and between the tender emotions and love. Parents do, as a matter of fact, often love their children ; but they do also often merely behave parentally toward them, and feel tender emotion toward them. The love of a parent for a child may be said to be ` derived ` from the parental tendency, in the sense that this tendency first directed attention to the child, and made possible the subsequent discovery of the child as itself a living centre of tendencies. And it may well be that in all love there is something of this instinctive parental behaviour. But genuine love, for whatever kind of object, is very different from the tender emotion and from all strictly instinctive parental behaviour. . . . Genuine love . entails the espousal of the other's needs in the same direct manner in which one espouses one's own private needs.


Merely instinctive behaviour is, so to speak, the conation of a tendency or complex of tendencies of the agent's own body or person. Genuine love is the conation of tendencies of another person . . if love occurs, or in so far as it occurs, the other is regarded, not as a stimulus, but as a centre of tendencies demanding conation in their own right."

Referring to the patriotic sentiment of Joan of Arc, Stapledon writes : " That sentiment certainly did become the ruling factor of her life. And, further, whatever its instinctive sources, her cognition of her social environment turned it into something essentially different from any mere blend of instinctive impulses. The chief weakness of instinct psychology is that it fails, in spite of all efforts to the contrary, to do justice to the part played in behaviour by environment. And this failure is most obvious in human behaviour." He adds that the " instinct psychologists . . . have left out the really distinctive feature of human behaviour."

What, then, is this distinctive feature ? Here is a new challenge to the hormic theory ; a denial not of its truth, up to a certain point, but of its adequacy to cover all the facts and especially the facts of distinctively human activity.

The " distinctive feature," this alleged source of conations not derived from native impulses, is defined as follows : " I am suggesting, then, that the essential basis of conation is not that some tendency of the organism, or of a simple inherited mental structure, is the source (direct or indirect) of every conative act, but that every cognition of tendency may give rise to a conative act. Every tendency which is an element in the mental content suggests a conation, and is the ground of at least incipient conation. If the tendency does not conflict with other and well-established conative ends, its fulfilment will be desired."

Now, obviously, if this doctrine be true, it is very important. For among tendencies the cognition of any one of which gives rise to corresponding conation, the desire of its fulfilment, Mr. Stapledon includes not only

( 475) all human and animal tendencies, but also all physical tendencies, e.g. the tendency of a stream of water to run downhill, of a stone to fall to the ground, of a needle to fly to the magnet. Of every tendency he asserts : " In the mere act of apprehending it, we desire its fulfilment." And " if we ask—' How does the primitive self expand into the developed self ? ' we find the answer is that the most important way of expanding is by the cognition of a wider field of objective tendencies and the conative espousal of those tendencies " ; for " any objective tendency may enter the mental content and influence the will in its own right."

I find this theory very intriguing. But I find also the grounds advanced as its foundation quite unconvincing. They are two : first, the alleged inadequacy of the instinct theory ; secondly, the assertion that every cognition of any tendency tends to evoke corresponding or congruent conation. As regards the former ground, I am, no doubt, a prejudiced witness, yet, in Stapledon's chosen instance of love, I cannot admit the inadequacy. I admit that Joan of Arc's patriotic behaviour was " different from any mere blend of instinctive impulses." Here Stapledon has failed, I think, to grasp the implication of the theory of the sentiments. In the working of a developed sentiment, whether love of country, love of parent for child, or of man for woman, we have to do not merely with a blending and conflicting of primitive impulses. Such a sentiment is a most complex organisation comprising much elaborated cognitive structure as well as instinctive dispositions, and its working can only properly be viewed in the light of the principles of emergence and Gestalt.

Further, Stapledon seems to neglect to take account of the principles of passive and of active sympathy. It is true, I think, that the cognition of a tendency at work in another person tends to evoke or bring into activity the corresponding tendency in the observer; and in very sympathetic personalities this sympathetic induction works strongly and frequently. When we recognise fully these facts, we cover, I suggest, the manifestation of such

( 476) complex sentiments as love, which Stapledon chooses to illustrate the inadequacy of the hormic principles. As to his essential novelty, his claim that cognition of any tendency, even merely physical tendency, gives rise to conation similarly directed, I remain entirely unconvinced. There are two parts of this thesis, the second depending on the former ; and both seem to me highly questionable. First, he assumes that the conation rooted in the instinctive nature arises through cognition of an active tendency at work in oneself. This is to make a two- or three-stage affair of the simplest impulsive action. First, the tendency is aroused into activity, presumably by cognition of some object or situation ; secondly, it is cognised ; thirdly, this cognition gives rise to conation. Is not this pure mythology ? Is it correct to say that we strive only when we " espouse " a tendency which we cognise as at work within us ? Is it not rather true that the activity of the tendency primarily aroused by cognition of some object or situation is the conation which proceeds under guidance of further cognition. It seems clear that the instinctive impulse may and often does work subconsciously, that is, without being cognised ; and in any case, its working is so obscure to cognition that the majority of psychologists, failing to cognise or recognise it in any form, deny the reality of such experience of active tendency.

Admitting the wide range in human life of the sympathetic principle, admitting that, in virtue of this principle, cognition of desire in others evokes similar desire in ourselves, or a tendency towards the same goal, or a tendency to co-operate with or promote the striving cognised in the other, I cannot find sufficient ground for believing that cognition of tendency in physical objects also directly evokes in us congruent tendency or conation. I would maintain that only when in the mood of poetry or primitive animism we personify natural objects and events, only then do we feel sympathy, or antagonism ; and on the whole we are as liable to feel antagonism as sympathy. When I contemplate the flow of a river, I may murmur with the poet " Even the weariest river winds

( 477) somewhere safe to sea," and may feel a sympathetic inclination to glide with the current ; but I may equally well (especially if a resident of the lower Mississippi valley) regard the flowing river as a hostile force against which I incline to struggle, or (if I am a thrifty Scot) as a distressing waste of energy ; and, if it is a mountain stream, I may even be moved to try to dam its course. Immersed in the water, I am equally ready to enjoy swimming with the current or struggling up-stream, letting myself be rushed along with the breaker or hurling myself against it. If I contemplate the wind gently moving the branches of a tree or caressing my face, I may feel it to be a friendly power and exclaim, " O Wild West Wind, thou breath of autumn's being " ; or I may observe with delight the little breezes that " dusk and shiver." But if I apprehend the wind as tearing at a tree, buffeting the ship, or lashing the waves to fury, I am all against it as a fierce and cruel power to be fought and withstood ; I sympathise with the straining tree, the labouring ship, or the rock or stout building that stands foursquare to all the winds that blow. In short, my réaction to the wind varies as it seems to whisper, to whistle, to sing, to murmur, to sigh, to moan, to roar, to bluster, to shriek, to rage, to tear, to storm. Such sympathies and antagonisms provoked by the forces of nature are the very breath of nature poetry ; but they seem to me to afford no support to Mr. Stapledon's thesis. The primitive animistic tendency is, I submit, an extension of primitive or passive sympathy ; an imaginative extension to inanimate nature of the emotional stirrings we directly or intuitively discern in our fellow-creatures, rather than an immediate and fundamental reaction to all cognition of physical agency, as Mr. Stapledon maintains. In gentle highly sympathetic natures, such as Wordsworth's, it works chiefly in the form of sympathy with natural forces ; but more pugnacious and self-assertive natures are more readily stirred to antagonism and opposition than to congruent conation. It would seem that, as is commonly the case when writers on ethics undertake to construct their own psychology, Stapledon's supplementation of the hormic

(478) psychology is determined by the needs of his ethical theory rather than by consideration of the observable facts of experience and activity.

I conclude, then, that the hormic theory is adequate and requires no such supplementations as those examined in this section and found to be ill-based and otiose.

The Advantages of the Hormic Theory

One advantage of the hormic theory over all others is that it enables us to sketch in outline an intelligible, consistent, and tenable story of continuous organic evolution, evolution of bodily forms and mental functions in intelligible relation to one another ; and this is some-thing which no other theory can achieve. It does not attempt the impossible task of describing the genesis of experience out of the purely physical and of teleological activity out of purely mechanistic events. It does not make the illegitimate assumption that experience can be analysed into and regarded as compounded out of simple particles or entities. It insists that experience, or each phase of it, is always a unitary whole having aspects that are distinguishable but not separable. It finds good reason to believe that the life of the simplest creature involves such experience, however utterly vague and undifferentiated it may be. It regards the story of organic evolution as one of progressive differentiation and specialisation of structure, of experience and of activity from the most rudimentary and simplest forms. It regards the striving capacities, the hormic tendencies, of each species as having been differentiated out of a primal urge to live, to be active, to seek, to assimilate, to build up, to energise, to counteract the forces of dissolution. Such differentiations of striving involve parallel differentiations of the cognitive function subserving the discrimination of goals. And still further differentiation of it for the discernment and adaptation of means results in longer and more varied chains of activity through which remoter and more difficult goals are attained. The theory recognises that only in the human species does cognitive differentia-

( 479) -tion attain such a level that detailed foresight of remote goals becomes possible, with such definite hormic fixation on the goal as characterises action properly called purposive in the fullest sense of the word. But it claims that, though the foresight of even the higher animals is but of short range, envisaging only the result to be attained by the next step of action, and that perhaps very vaguely, the cognitive dispositions of the animal are often linked in such fashion as to lead on the hormic urge from step to step, until finally the biological goal is attained and the train of action terminates in satisfaction. It finds in human activity and experience parallels to all the simpler forms of activity displayed and of experience implied in the animals. It sees in the growing infant signs of development from almost blind striving with very short-range and vague foresight (when its cognitive powers are still but slightly differentiated) to increasingly long-range and more adequate foresight enriched by the growing wealth and variety of memory. It insists that memory is for the sake of foresight, and foresight for the sake of action ; and that neither can be validly conceived other than as the working of a forward urge that seeks always something more behind and beyond that which is given in sense-presentation, a something more that will satisfy the hormic urge and bring it for the time being to rest, or permit it to be turned by new sense-impressions to some new goal.

If we turn from the descriptive account of evolution to the problem of the dynamics of the process, the hormic theory again is the only one that can offer an intelligible and self-consistent scheme. It notes how the human creature, through constant striving with infinitely varied circumstances, carries the differentiation of both cognitive and striving powers far beyond the point to which the hereditary momentum will carry them, the point common to the species, how it develops new discriminations, modified goals of appetition and aversion, modified trains of activity for pursuit or retreat. It notes that these modifications are achieved under the guidance of the pleasure and the pain, the satisfaction and dissatisfaction, that

( 480) attend success and failure respectively ; it inclines to view the evolution or rather the epigenesis of the individual creature's adaptations as the model in the light of which we may interpret the epigenesis of racial adaptations. Such interpretation implies acceptance of Lamarckian transmission ; but, since the only serious ground for rejecting this is the assumption that mechanistic categories are sufficient in biology, an assumption which the hormic psychology rejects, this implication is in its eyes no objection. Rather it points to the increasing weight of evidence of the reality of Lamarckian transmission.[13]

The hormic theory insists that the differentiation of instinctive tendencies has been, throughout the scale of animal evolution, the primary or leading feature of each step. Bodily organs cannot be supposed to have acquired new forms and functional capacities that remained functionless until some congruent variation of instinctive tendency brought them into play. Rather, it is necessary to believe that, in the case of every new development of form or function, the first step was the variation of the instinctive nature of the species toward such activities as required for their efficient exercise the peculiarities of form and function in question. Given such variation, we can understand how natural selection may have brought about the development in the species of the peculiarities of bodily form and function best suited to subserve such modified or new instinctive tendency. Thus the theory overcomes the greatest difficulty of the neo-Darwinian theory, the difficulty, namely, that, if novelties of form and function are to be established in a species, very many of the members must have varied in the same direction at the same time and in such a wide degree as will give survival value to the variation. For, given some changed environmental conditions of a species (e.g. a growing

( 481) scarcity of animal food for the carnivorous land ancestor of the seal), the intelligence common to all members might well lead all of them to pursue prey by a new method (the method of swimming and diving). And if this relatively new mode of behaviour became fixed, if the tendency to adopt it became stronger through repeated successful efforts to secure prey in this fashion, natural selection might well perpetuate all congruent bodily variations and might eliminate variations of an opposite kind ; and thus convert the legs of the species into flippers. This is the principle that has been named " organic selection," rendered effective by the recognition of the causal efficacy of hormic striving and the reality of Lamarckian transmission, a principle which without such recognition remains of very dubious value.[14]

The hormic theory thus renders possible a workable theory of animal evolution, one under which the mind, or the mental function of cognition-conation, is the growing point of the organism and of the species, a theory under which the intelligent striving of the organism is the creative activity to which evolution is due. Surely such a theory is more acceptable than any that pretends to illuminate the mystery of evolution by such utterly vague terms as " orthogenesis " or " élan vital " or " the momentum of life."

The hormic theory is radically opposed to intellectualism and all its errors, the errors that have been the chief bane of psychology (and of European culture in general) all down the ages. It does not set out with some analytic description of purely cognitive experience, and then find itself at a loss for any intelligible functional relation between this and bodily activities. It recognises fully the conative nature of all activity and regards the cognitive power as everywhere the servant and the guide of striving. Thus it is fundamentally dynamic and leads to a psychology well adapted for application to the sciences and practical problems of human life, those of education,, of hygiene, of therapy, of social activity, of religion, of

(482) mythology, of aesthetics, of economics, of politics, and the rest.[15]

Of all forms of psychology the hormic is the only one that can give to philosophy the psychological basis essential to it. Philosophy is properly concerned with values, with evaluation and with standards and scales of value ; it seeks to establish the relative values of the goals men seek, of their ideals, of the forms of character and types of conduct. All such valuation is relative to human nature ; a scale of values formulated with reference, not to man as he is or may be, but to some creature of radically different constitution would obviously be of little value to men ; and philosophy can advance towards a true scale of values only in proportion as it founds itself upon a true account of human nature, its realities and its potentialities. The claim, then, that hormic psychology is the psychology needed by philosophy may seem merely a repetition of the claim that it is true. But it is more than this ; for a glance at the history of philosophy shows that the hormic psychology is the only one with which philosophy can work, the only one on which it can establish a scale of values that does not break to pieces under the slightest examination.

The intellectualist philosophy, adopting an intellectualist psychology of ideas, finds its source and criterion of all values in logical consistency of its system ; and surely it is plain that men do not and will not bear the ills they have, still less struggle heroically against them, supported only by the satisfaction of knowing themselves to be part of a perfectly logical system.

The mechanistic psychology can recognise no values ; can give no account of the process of valuation. At the best it can but (as in Mr. B. Russell's essay, " A Free

( 483) Man's Worship ") hurl defiance at a universe without meaning and without value which man is powerless to alter.

The hedonist psychology consorts only with a hedonist philosophy, which can save itself from being a philosophy of the pig-trough only by postulating with J. S. Mill, in defiance of clarity and of logic, a profound difference of value between higher and lower pleasures.

The hormic psychology alone offers an intelligible and consistent account of human valuations and at the same time offers to philosophy a scientific foundation in which freedom of the rational will of man, the power of creating real novelties, actual and ideal, and the power of self-development towards the ideal both of the individual and of the race, can find their proper place consistently with its fundamental postulates. It is thus the only foundation for a philosophy of meliorism:

The hormic theory, holding fast to the fact that cognition and conation are inseparable aspects of all mental life, does not elaborate a scheme of the cognitive life, a plan of the structure and functioning of the intellect, and leave to some other discipline (be it called ethology or praxiology or ethics) the task of giving some account of character. For it understands that intellect and character are, as structures, just as inseparable as the functions of cognition and conation, are but two aspects, distinguishable only in abstraction, of the structure of personality.

Recognising that introspection can seize and fix in verbal report only the elaborated outcome of a vast and complex interplay of psychophysical events, it avoids the common error of setting over against one another two minds, or two parts of one mind or personality, under such heads as " the Conscious " and " the Unconscious,"and steadily sets its face against this mystification, which, though it appeals so strongly to the popular taste for the mysterious and the bizarre, is profoundly misleading.

It recognises that the fundamental nature of the hormic impulse is to work towards its natural goal and to terminate or cease to operate only when and in so far as

( 484) its natural goal is attained ; that the impulse which, in the absence of conflicting impulses, works toward its goal in trains, long or short, of conscious activity (activity, that is, which we can introspectively observe and report with very various degrees of clearness and adequacy) is apt to be driven from the field of conscious activity by conflicting impulses ; that, when thus driven from the conscious field, it is not necessarily (perhaps not in any instance) arrested, terminated, brought to zero ; that, rather, .any impulse, if it is driven from the conscious field before its goal is attained, continues to work subterraneously, subconsciously, and, so working, may obtain partial expressions in the conscious field and in action, expressions which often take the form of not easily interpretable distortions of conscious thinking and of bodily action ; that such subconscious activity (but presumably not in any strict sense unconscious activity, far removed though it be from the possibility of introspective observation and report) is a normal feature of the complex life of man, in whom so many natural impulses are checked and repressed by those evoked through the demands of society ; that in this way we are to interpret the phenomena now attracting the attention of experimental psychologists under the heads of " perseveration " and " secondary function," as well as all the many morbid and quasi-morbid phenomena of dream life, hallucinations, delusions, compulsions, obsessions, and all the multitudinous bodily and mental symptoms of functional disorder.

The principles of the hormic theory are capable of extension downwards from the conscious life of man, not only to the more explicitly teleological actions of animals, but also to the problems of physiology, the problems of the regulation and interaction of the functioning of all the tissues. It is thus the truly physiological psychology, the psychology that can assimilate and apply the findings of physiology, and in turn can illuminate the problems of physiology, and thus lead to a comprehensive science of the organism ; a science which will not regard the organism as a machine with conscious processes somehow mysteri-

( 485) -ously tacked on to it as " epiphenomena," but a science which will regard the organism as a true organic unity all parts of which are in reciprocal interplay with all other parts and with the whole ; a whole which is not merely the sum of the parts, but a synthetic unity maintained by the systematic reciprocal interaction of all the parts, a unity of integration, a colonial system of lesser units, whose unity is maintained by the harmonious hormic activity of its members in due subordination to the whole.

The hormic psychology has the advantage that it does not pretend to know the answers to the great unsolved riddles of the universe. It leaves to the future the solution of such problems as the relation of the organic to the inorganic realm, the origin or advent of life in our world, the place and destiny of the individual and of the race in the universe, the possibility of powers and potentialities of the race not yet recognised by science. In short, it does not assume any particular cosmology ; it recognises the littleness of man's present understanding ; it makes for the open mind and stimulates the spirit of inquiry, and is hospitable to all empirical evidences and all legitimate speculations.[16]

It is impossible to set forth here the many advantages of the theory in its detailed application to all the special problems of psychology. It must suffice to point out that, unlike the psychologies which begin by accepting such artificial entities of abstraction as reflexes,[17] sensations, ideas, concepts, feelings, in mechanistic interplay accord-

( 486) -ing to laws of association, fusion, reproduction, and what-not, it regards all experience as expressive of a total activity that is everywhere hormic, selective, teleological. Thus its recognition of the selective goal-seeking nature of our activity, of all the facts implied by the words " desire,"" motivation " " attention," and " will," is not reluctant grudging, and inadequate, added under compulsion of the facts to a mechanical system into which they refuse to fit. It recognises these aspects as fundamental, and traces the genesis of desire, attention, and rational volition from their germs in the hormic impulses of primitive organisms.

The hormic theory projects a completely systematic and self-consistent psychology on the basis of its recognition of the whole of the organised mind of the adult as a structure elaborated in the service of the hormic urge to more and fuller life. Every part of this vastly complex structure it regards as serving to differentiate the hormic impulses, and to direct them with ever-increasing efficiency towards their natural goals in a world of infinite complexity that offers a multitude of possible routes to any goal, possibilities among which the organism chooses wisely according to the richness of its apparatus of sensory apprehension and its span of synthetic integration of many relations, the effective organisation of its memory, the nicety of its discriminatory judgments, and its sagacity in seizing, out of a multitude of possibilities offered by sense-presentation and memory, the possibilities most relevant to its purposes.

Especially clearly appears the advantage of the hormic psychology in that it is able to render intelligible account of the organisation of the affective or emotional-conative side of the mental structure, a relatively independent part or aspect of the whole of vast importance which remains a closed book to all psychologies of the intellectualistic mechanistic types. This side of the mental structure, which the latter psychologies ignore or recognise most inadequately with such words as " attitudes " and " sets," is treated a little less cavalierly by the psychoanalytic school under the all-inclusive term—" the Unconscious,"

( 487) and a little more analytically under the heads of " complexes " and " emotionally toned ideas." But the treatment remains very confused and inadequate, confining itself almost exclusively to the manifestations of conflict and disorder in this part of the mind. The hormic psychology, on the other hand, insists that the elucidation of this part of the mental organisation is theoretically no less important, and practically far more important, than that of the intellectual structure and functions, and is an integral part of the task of psychology, not a task to be handed over to some other science, be it called ethics, or characterology, or ethology, or praxiology, or by any other name ; for it insists that we cannot understand the intellectual processes without some comprehension of the organisation and working of the affective processes whose servants they are.

Towards the elucidation of this part of the problem of psychology it offers the doctrine of the sentiments, the true functional systems of the developed mind, through the development of which in the growing individual the native hormic impulses become further differentiated and directed to a multitude of new and specialised goals, a process which obscurely and profoundly modifies the nature of these native tendencies ; for in these new and individually acquired systems, the sentiments, the native tendencies are brought into various co-operations, form new dynamic syntheses in which their individuality is lost and from which true novelties of desire, of emotion, and of action emerge.

Further, it aims to- show how these fundamental functional systems, the sentiments, tend to become organised in one comprehensive system, character, which; when it is harmoniously integrated, can override all the crude promptings of instinctive impulse however strong, can repress, redirect, or sublimate them on every occasion, and thus, in intimate co-operation with the intellectual organisation, engender that highest manifestation of personality, rational volition.

Lastly, the hormic theory is ready to welcome and is capable of assimilating all that is sound and useful in

( 488) the newer schools of psychology. Unlike the various' psychologies currently taught in the American colleges,' it does not find itself indifferent or positively hostile to these newer movements because incapable of assimilating what is of value in them. Rather it finds something of truth and value in the rival psychoanalytic doctrines of Freud, of Jung, and of Adler, in the allied doctrines of Gestalt and Emergence, in the verstehende psychology of the Geisteswissenschaftler, in the teachings of Spranger,;of Erismann, of Jaspers, in the personalistische psychology of Stern, in the Charackterologgie of Klages and Prinzhorn, in the child studies of the Bühlers, in the correlational studies and conclusions of Spearman, and in the quite peculiar system of dynamic interpretation which Dr. Kurt Lewin is developing. This catholicity, this power of comprehensive assimilation of new truth from widely differing systems of psychological thinking is, perhaps,;the best proof of the fundamental rightness of the hormic psychology.

Origins of the Hormic Psychology

The psychology of Aristotle is thoroughly teleological but it can hardly be claimed that it was purely hormic In his time the distinction between mechanistic an teleological explanations and that between hedonist and hormic explanations had not been sharply defined As with most of the later authors who approximate hormic psychology, his hormic theory is infected wit hedonism.[18] But it may at least be said that in Greek thought there were already established two broadly contrasting views of the world, the Apollinian and

(489) Dionysian, and that Aristotle was on the Dionysian side.[19]

The Apollinian view was the parent of European intellectualism, of which the keynote has been Socrates' identification of virtue with knowledge. It has generated the allied, though superficially so different, systems of absolute idealism and of Newtonian mechanism ; and modern psychology, from Descartes and Locke onward, has reflected in the main the influence of these two systems, with their fundamental postulates of the idea and the atom (or mass-point) in motion.

The inadequacy of the Apollinian view, the misleading nature of its ideal of perfect intelligibility, of complete explanation of all events by deduction from first principles or transparent postulates, has now been manifested in the collapse of pure idealism and of the strictly mechanistic physics ; and no less clearly in the culmination of centuries of effort to reconcile the Apollinian ideal with the facts of nature in the doctrine of psychophysical parallelism ; a doctrine so unsatisfactory, so obviously a makeshift, so unintelligible, so obstructive to all deeper understanding of nature, that although it was, in one form or another, very widely accepted at the close of the nineteenth century, the century dominated by the Apollinian tradition, it has now been almost universally abandoned, even by those who have nothing to put in its place.

The Dionysian tradition has lived in the main outside the academies. European thought, though it was dominated by Aristotle until the end of the mediaeval period, was more concerned with reason than with action, and yielded more and more to Apollinian tradition ; and, with the triumph of intellectualism at and after the Renaissance, the Dionysian tradition was represented only by the poets and came near to exclusion from their pages

( 490) also in the great age of Reason, the eighteenth century The early years of the nineteenth century saw its revival in the works of the nature poets and of such philosophers as Oken, Schelling, and Fichte. And in the Scottish school of mental philosophy it began to find definite expression in psychology, especially in the works of Hutcheson and Dugald Stewart, a movement which was well-nigh extinguished by Bain's capitulation to the intellectualism of the English association school.

On the continent of Europe, Schopenhauer revived it with his doctrine of the primacy of will ; and von Hartmann, his disciple, may be said to have first written psychology on a purely hormic basis,[20] but marred by the extravagance of his speculations on the unconscious. Nietzsche's scattered contributions to psychology are thoroughly hormic ; and Bergson's vague doctrine of the " élan vital " can be classed only under the same heading. Freud's psychology would be thoroughly hormic, if he had not spoilt it in his earlier writings by his inclusion of the hedonist fallacy in the shape of his " pleasure principle." My Introduction to Social Psychology (13) was, so far as I have learned, the first attempt to construct a foundation for psychology in strict accordance with the hormic principle ; and my two Outlines (16, 17) represent the first attempt to sketch a complete psychology (normal and abnormal) built on the hormic foundation. It was unfortunate for the hormic theory that my Social Psychology was shortly followed by my Body and Mind (i4). For my defence of animism in that book created in many minds the impression that hormism stands or falls with animism ; an impression that has been, I judge, largely responsible for the waning of the influence of the former book in American academic psychology. But the two theories do not necessarily hang together, as is clearly shown by Sir P. T. Nunn, that wisest of professors of education, distinguished as mathematician, philosopher, and psychologist, who founds his educational theory on a thoroughly hormic psychology, while repudiating animism. In his Education, its Data and First Principles (26), he

(491) has given the most lucid and persuasive statement of the hormic principles. In this statement he makes what is, I believe, the first definite proposal to use the terms horme and hormic in the sense in which they are used in this essay.

It is fitting, then, that this essay should conclude with citations from Dr. Nunn's book, citations that may serve further to clarify and fix the meaning of the terms horme and hormic and the implications of the theory.

" We need a name," writes Dr. Nunn, " for the fundamental property expressed in the incessant adjustments and adventures that make up the tissue of life. We are directly aware of that property in our conscious activities as an element of " drive,"" urge," or felt tendency towards an end. Psychologists call it conation and give the name conative process to any train of conscious activity which is dominated by such a drive and receives from it the character of unity in diversity." Referring then to instances of the many subconscious activities that find expression in action, he writes : " None of these purposive processes may be called conative, for they lie below, and even far below, the conscious level ; yet a superhuman spectator, who could watch our mental behaviour in the same direct way as we can observe physical events, would see them all as instances of the same class, variant in detail but alike (as we have said) in general plan. In other words, he would see that they all differ from purely mechanical processes by the presence of an internal " drive," and differ from one another only in the material in which the drive works and the character of the ends towards which it is directed. To this element of drive or urge, whether it occurs in the conscious life of man and the higher animals, or in the unconscious activities of their bodies and the (presumably) unconscious behaviour of lower animals, we propose to give a single name—horme (öp w). In accordance with this proposal all the purposive processes of the organism are hormic processes, conative processes being the subclass whose members have the special mark of being conscious. . . - Horme . . . is the basis of the activities that

(492) differentiate the living animal from dead matter, and, therefore, of what we have described as the animal's characteristic attitude of independence towards its world."

Accepting this admirable statement, I will add only one comment. In my recent Modern Materialism and Emergent Evolution (21), I have argued that we can interpret the subconscious hormic processes (which Dr. Nunn agrees to regard as purposive or teleological), we can begin to gain some understanding of them, how-ever vague, only if we regard them not as entirely blind but rather as involving, however dimly, something of that foresight (however vague and short-ranging) which is of the essence of our most clearly purposive activities ; that therefore we must regard every hormic process as of the same fundamental nature as our mental activity, even if that interpretation involves us in a provisional dualism, held as a working hypothesis the final verdict upon which can come only with the progress of both the biological and the physical sciences.


1. CARR, H. A. Psychology. London : Longmans, Green, 1925. P. 226.

2. DREVER, J. Instinct in Man. Cambridge : Cambridge Univ. Press, 1917. Pp. x+293.

3. HALDANE, J. S. The Sciences and Philosophy. London : Hodder & Stoughton, 1929. P. 344●

4. HARTMANN, E. V. Die Moderne Psychologie. Leipzig : Haacke, 1901. Pp. vii+474.

5. HERRICK, C. J. " The Natural History of Purpose." Psychol. Rev., 1925, 32, 417–430.

6.  —. " Biological Determinism and Human Freedom." Int. J. Ethics, 1926, 37, 36–52. 

7.  —. " Behaviour and Mechanism." Soc. Forces, 1928, 7, 1–1 1. 

8. HINGSTON, R. W. G. Problems of Instinct and Intelligence. London : Arnold, 1928. Pp. viii + 296.

9. JENNINGS, H. S. " Diverse Doctrines of Evolution, their Relation to the Practice of Science and of Life." Science, 1927, 65, 19-25.


10. KLAGES, L. The Science of Character. (Trans. by W. H. Johnson.) London : Allen & Unwin, 1929. P. 308.

I I. LILLIE, R. S. " The Nature of the Vitalistic Dilemma." J. Phil., 1926, 23, 693–682.

12. LODGE, O. " Beyond Physics." J. Phil. Stud., 1929, 4, 516–546.

13. MCDOUGALL, W. An Introduction to Social Psychology. London : Methuen. Enlarged Edition, 1928. Pp. xxvi+455.

14.     —   . Body and Mind. London : Methuen, 191 I. Pp. xix+384.

15. —   . "Motives in the Light of Recent Discussion." Mind, 1920, 29, 297–293.

16. —   .Outline of Psychology. London : Methuen. Revised Edition, 1928. Pp. xxii+456.

17.     —   . Outline of Abnormal Psychology. London : Methuen, 1926. Pp. xvi + 572.

18. —   ." Pleasure, Pain, and Conation." Brit. J. Psychol., 1926, 17, 171–180. 

19.     —   . " An Experiment for the Testing of the Hypothesis of Lamarck." Brit. J. Psychol., 1927, 17, 267.-304.  

20.     —   . Character and the Conduct of Life. London : Methuen, 1927. Pp. xiv+287. 

21.     —   . Modern Materialism and Emergent Evolution. London : Methuen, 1929. Pp. Xi + 296.

22.     —   ." Second Report on a Lamarckian Experiment. " Brit. J. Psychol., J. Phil. Stud., 1930, 4, No. 17.

23. —   .  " The Present Chaos in Psychology and the Way Out." J. Phil. Stud. 

24. MORGAN, C. L. Emergent Evolution. London : Williams & Norgate, 1923. Pp. xii + 313.

25. —   .. Life, Mind, and Spirit. London : Williams & Norgate, 1926. P. 356.

26. NUNN, P. T. Education : its Data and First Principles. London : Arnold, 1920. P. 224.

27. PRINCE, M. " Three Fundamental Errors of the Behaviourists and the Reconciliation of the Purposive and Mechanistic Concepts." Chap. 9 in Psychologies of 1925. Worcester, Mass. Clark Univ. Press, 1926. Pp. 199-220.

28. PRINZHORN, H. Leib-seele Einheit. Potsdam : Müller & Kripenhauer, 1927. P. 201.

29. RUSSELL, E. S. The Study of Living Things. London : Methuen, 1924. P. 294.

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30. STAPLEDON, W. O. A Modern Theory of Ethics : A Study of the Relations of Ethics and Psychology. London : Methuen, 1929. P. 278.

31 TROLAND, L. T. The Fundamentals of Human Motivation. New York : Van Nostrand, 1928. P. xiv + 521.

32. WOODWORTH, R. S. Dynamic Psychology. New York : Columbia Univ. Press, 1918. P. 210.

33. WOODWORTH, R. S. " Dynamic Psychology."Chap. 5 in Psychologies of 1925. Worcester, Mass : Clark Univ. Press, 1926. Pp. 111-126.

34 Psychology. London : Methuen. Revised Edition, 1930. Pp. xiv + 590.


  1. As I have shown in my Modern Materialism and Emergent Evolution (21), there is no other way of defining the meaning of the word " mechanistic," no other way than this negative way which defines it by excluding all trace of teleology, all reference to the future ; mechanistic means ateleological.
  2. Cf. Lloyd Morgan's two volumes of Gifford Lectures, Emergent Evolution (24) andLife,Mind, and Spirit (25), also my Modern Materialism and Emergent Evolution (21) for exposition of the emergent theory.
  3. Dr. R. S. Lillie (11) writes : " What we agree to call the spiritual appears at times to act directly as a transformer of the physical, as in artistic or other creation. Such experiences cannot be accounted for on physical grounds, for one reason because it is in the very nature of physical abstraction to rule out as irrelevant all factors of a volitional or other ' psychic ' kind. To trace the course of the physiological processes accompanying an act of intellectual creation would undoubtedly give us curious information, of a kind, but would throw little if any light on the essential nature of the reality underlying."
    Dr. C. J. Herrick (5) writes : " No abyss of ignorance of what consciousness really is, no futilities of introspective analysis, no dialectic, destroy the simple datum that I have conscious experience and that this experience is a controlling factor in my behaviour. . . . The prevision of possible future consequences of action is a real causative factor in determining which course of action will actually be chosen." Cf. also (6).
    H. S. Jennings is no less emphatic. He writes (9) of " that monstrous absurdity that has so long been a reproach to biological science ; the doctrine that ideas, ideals, purposes have no effect on behaviour. The mental determines what happens as does any other determiner. . . The desires and aspirations of humanity are deter-miners in the operation of the universe on the same footing with physical determiners."
  4. E.g., Professor R. S. Woodworth (33) writes : " Some authors, as especially McDougall, appear to teach that any thorough-going causal interpretation of human behaviour and experience implies shutting one's eyes to the facts of purpose and striving. There is certainly some confusion here. There can be no contradiction between the purposiveness of a sequence of action and its being a causal sequence. A purpose is certainly a cause : if it had no effect, it would be without significance." There is confusion here ; but I suggest it is Woodworth's thinking, rather than mine, that is confused. Both in this essay and in his Psychology (34), Woodworth professes to give full recognition to " purpose " and even says, as in the passage cited, that a purpose is a cause. To me it seems very misleading to speak either of a purpose " or of " a cause." And the sentence, " a purpose is a cause," is ambiguous and confused ; it leaves the reader in doubt of the author's meaning. We go in search of passages which will tell what the author means by " a purpose." We find in the same essay that " Your purpose would be futile if it had no effects, it would be incredible if it had no causes. It is a link in a causal chain, but it is as fine a purpose for all that." Now, in the same essay, Woodworth characteristically refuses to face the question of what he calls " the philosophy of purpose and striving and their place in the world-process as a whole," as also the question of the validity of the mechanistic conception of life. He will not commit himself for or against the mechanistic conception. He seeks to give the impression that his psychology takes full account of the purposive striving of men and animals. He would like to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds ; he desires both to eat his cake and to have it. He is too clear-sighted to ignore the facts of goal-seeking ; but his thinking is too timid to allow him to see and to say that here is a parting of the ways, a crucial question to which one of two answers is right and the other wrong, the question, namely—Is human mental activity mechanistic or is it teleological ? However these two terms be defined (and as I have said, the only satisfactory way of defining " mechanistic process " is the negative one of defining it as the ateleological), they are by common consent mutually exclusive : if a process is mechanistic, it is not teleological ; and if it is teleological, it is not mechanistic. But in spite of Woodworth's careful non-committal ambiguity, and in spite of his air of giving full recognition to the causal efficacy of purposive striving, it seems that he remains mechanistic ; that he means by cause and causation always and only the mechanistic type, and means to repudiate all teleological causation. This comes to light in one passage : he writes of a " need " as " the controlling factor in the activity " ; and immediately adds : " Whether the concept of ' need ' is a useful dynamic concept is perhaps open to doubt ; it smacks considerably of the sort of teleology that we do well to leave aside." Even here he suggests vaguely that there is teleology of some sort that he would not leave aside ; but that is merely one more expression of his inveterate tendency to sit on the fence. When we discover finally his definition of " a purpose," it confirms our suspicion that, in spite of all his well-sounding camouflage, Woodworth is on the side of the mechanists : " Conscious purpose is an adjustment still in the making or just being tuned up, and specially an adjustment that is broad and still precise. . . . Purpose is the activity itself, initiated but not completed. It is an activity in progress." Again : " A purpose is a set for a certain activity with foresight of the result of that activity." But does the foresight play any part, or is it merely an accompaniment ?Woodworth refuses to commit himself. How can a conscious purpose have any effect on the brain and muscles anyway ? Thus one of the old puzzles of philosophy is injected into our peaceful psychological study, muddling our heads and threatening to wreck our intellectual honesty. We cannot deal with this metaphysical question here"(34).Woodworth would like to explain human action teleological) ; but he sees that to do so would be to admit the causal efficacy of psychical activity, and, as he cannot bring himself to take that step, his intellectual " honesty " compels him to put the responsibility on the meta-physicians until such time as the push from his scientific colleagues of the other sciences shall leave him and his fellow-psychologists no option in the matter.
  5. Many eminent physicists have insisted on the control and direction of energy transformations by human agency as something that will not fit with the physicists' scheme of things. Why, then, should psychologists fear to follow them ? I cite a very recent instance. Commenting on Eddington's discussion of the law of entropy as universally valid in the physical realm, Sir O. Lodge (12) writes : This has long been known, but Eddington illustrates it very luminously by what he calls the operation of ' shuffling.' Given an orderly pack of cards, it may be hopelessly disorganised by shuffling, and no amount of shuffling will bring it back into order. It is pointless to say, as does a recent reviewer of Eddington's book, that, if you continue to shuffle for an infinite time, the order will be restored ; for the order may be restored by human activity many times in a brief period.] Many of the processes in nature thus result in greater disorganisation ; and, according to Eddington, the irreversible disorganisation measures the entropy. Entropy is disorganisation. It is easy to break an orderly arrangement down, but not so easy to build it up. Yet it can be built up. Not by random and unintelligent processes truly : a mob of monkeys playing on a million typewriters will not compose a volume of poems. The only way to restore order is to apply the activity of mind. . . Shuffling, as Eddington luminously says, is ' an absent-minded operation.' . . . Mind is essential to organisation, and organisation or reorganisation is a natural result of mental activity consciously directed to a present end."
  6. Cf. (31). Dr. C. J. Herrick (7) follows the same strange procedure. He stoutly asserts the causal efficacy of psychical events, especially of ideals, but just as decidedly proclaims the all-sufficiency of mechanistic principles in biology and psychology. Like Woodworth (cf. footnote 4), he seems to believe that to admit the teleological causation involved in the working of an ideal would be to give up causation. His unexamined postulate is that the natural is the mechanistic, and any non-mechanistic or teleological causation is ipso facto non-natural or supernatural. He accepts emergent evolution and asserts that the human brain is a creative agent ; yet asserts also that it works purely mechanistically. He does not see that these two assertions are in flat contradiction, that a strictly mechanistic event cannot be creative of novelties ; that to assert it to be so is to make a self-contradictory statement, since " mechanistic " excludes " creation of novelty " in its definition.
  7. The fallacy that hedonism can explain both human and animal actions involves, I suggest, a confusion of teleological hedonism, the theory that we act for the sake of attaining pleasure or of avoiding pain, with mechanistic hedonism, the theory that pleasures and pains leave after-effects which play their parts in the determination of subsequent actions, and with hedonism-of-the-present, the theory that pleasure sustains present action and pain checks or turns it aside. The first is used to explain human action ; the second or third, or both, to explain animal action.
  8. Two very different prejudices have co-operated to give currency in recent psychology to a very perverted and misleading view of instinctive .action. On the one hand are those observers of animal life (of whom Fabre and Wasmann are the most distinguished) whose religious philosophy forbids them to admit the essential and close similarities 'between human and animal actions. Thus prejudiced, they select and 'emphasise in all their observations and reports of animal, and especially-of insect, behaviour the stereotyped unvarying instances, those which -seem to imply lack of all individual adaptation to unusual situations. Thus they emphasise the quasi-mechanical character of instinctive behaviour.
    On the other hand, the mechanists, moved by the desire to find instinctive actions mechanically explicable, also select and emphasise these same instances and aspects, neglecting to notice the very numerous and striking evidences of adaptability of instinctive action in ways that can only be called intelligent. Thus both parties are led into regarding instinctive behaviour as always a train of action precisely predetermined in the innate constitution of the animal. And this view, of course, readily lends itself to interpretation of all instinctive .action. as the mechanistic play of chains of reflexes, the touching-off by stimuli of so-called " action-patterns " congenitally formed in the nervous system.
    Yet any impartial review of instinctive behaviour [an excellent example is Major R. W. G. Hingston's recent book (8)] shows clearly the falsity of this view, shows beyond dispute that instinctive action (even among the insects) does not consist in any rigidly prescribed sequence of movements, and that any particular type of instinctive behaviour cannot be characterised by the particular movements and sequences of movements but only by the type of goal towards which the action is directed. Any such review reveals clearly two much neglected facts : (I) that very different instincts of the one animal may express themselves in very similar trains of movement ; (2) that one instinct may express itself in a great variety of movements. A dog racing along with utmost concentration of energy in the effort of speedy locomotion may be pursuing his prey ; he may be fleeing from a larger pursuing dog or leopard ; or he may be rushing to join a concourse of dogs. On the other hand, in either fighting or pursuing and seizing his prey, he may bring into play a very large proportion of his total capacities for co-ordinated movement, his native motor mechanisms ; and many of the motor mechanisms which he brings into play are identical in the two cases. Or consider the male pigeon in the two very different instinctive activities of fighting and courting ; the forms of bodily activity he displays are in many respects so similar that an inexperienced observer may be unable to infer which instinct is at work in him. In both, all the motor mechanisms of locomotion and of self-display, of flying, strutting, walking, running, and vocalisation, are in turn brought into action ; few, if any, of the many motor manifestations are peculiar to the expression of either instinct. These facts are very difficult to interpret in terms of neurology ; but that difficulty does not justify us in denying or ignoring them. The tendency to deny or ignore the many facts of behaviour that present this difficulty has long been dominant in American psychology and is a bar to progress of the first magnitude.
  9. Cf. my Modern Materialism and Emergent Evolution (21)
  10. Dr. J. S. Haldane (3), distinguished as one of the most exact of experimental physiologists, referring to the notion that life and mind may have emerged from a lifeless and mindless, strictly mechanistic realm, writes : I must frankly confess that to me it seems that such ideas are not clearly thought out. In fact they convey to me no meaning whatever. It is very different, however, if we conclude that in spite of superficial appearances something of conscious behaviour must in reality be present behind what appears to us as the mere blind organic behaviour of lower organisms or plants," to which he adds, though on very different grounds—behind also " what appears to be the mere mechanical behaviour of the inorganic world." In the same volume he rightly insists : " The knowledge represented in the psycho-logical or humanistic group of sciences is not only differentiated clearly from other kinds of scientific knowledge, but is the most fundamental variety of scientific knowledge." He adds : " I am thoroughly convinced of the limitations attached to physiological interpretation of human behaviour. At present there is what seems to me an exaggerated idea among the general public, not of the importance of psychological knowledge, for its importance can hardly be overestimated, but of the importance of mere physiological or even physical treatment of human behaviour."
  11. This topic is closely connected with the much neglected problem of the acquirement of " tastes,"a problem I have dealt with in my Character and the Conduct of Life (20).
    Since this article was put in print the International Library of Psychology has published a volume (Pleasure and Instinct : A Study in the Psychology of Human Actions. London and New York : Harcourt, Brace, 1930) wholly devoted to the examination of the question discussed in the foregoing section. The author, A. H. Burlton Allen, after carefully examining the question from every point of view and in the light of all available evidence arrives at the conclusion that the pure hormic theory as defined in this article and in my various books is the only tenable theory of human action. The writer says on p. 273 : " Thus it is no doubt true that there is in the feelings no original force that leads to action. The source of all movement and action lies in the driving force of the main instincts, that is to say, in the inherent energy of the organism striving towards outlet in the forms prescribed by its inherited structure. The feelings of pleasure and unpleasure are secondary results dependant on the successful or unsuccessful working of these instincts."
  12. Set forth in numerous works of which one only, Klages' Psychology of Character (10) has been translated into English Prinzhorn's Leibseele Einheit (28) gives the best brief approach to this system.
  13. Since 1920 I have conducted an experiment on strictly Lamarckian principles and have found clear-cut evidence of increasing facility in successive generations of animals trained to execute a particular task. This very great increase of facility seems explicable in no other way than by transmission of the modifications acquired by the efforts of the individuals. Cf. two reports in the British Journal of Psychology (1922)
  14. As formulated many years ago by the neo-Darwinians, E. B.. Poulton, J. M. Baldwin, and Lloyd Morgan.
  15. When a young man I was invited to dine with a distinguished economist and a leading psychologist of that period. It was mentioned that I was taking up psychology. " Ah !" said the economist, " Psychology ! Yes, very important, very important 1 Association of ideas and all that sort of thing. What ! " It was obvious to me that he did not attach the slightest importance to psychology and had neither the faintest inkling of any bearing of it on economics, nor any intention of seeking any such relation. From that moment dates my revulsion against the traditional intellectualistic psychology.
  16. Hence it does not close the mind to the much disputed field of alleged phenomena investigated by the Societies for Psychical Research, but makes for a truly scientific attitude towards them, an attitude so conspicuous by its absence in most men of science and especially in academic psychologists.
  17. It is of interest to note that from the purely physiological side protests against the mechanical atomising tendency multiply apace. One of the latest and most important of these is a paper read before the International Congress of Psychology in September 1929, by Dr. G. E. Coghill, who showed good embryological grounds for refusing to regard the spinal reflexes as functional units that first take shape independently and later are brought into some kind of relation with one another. He showed reason to believe that each reflex unit develops by differentiation within the total nervous system of which it never ceases to be a functional part in reciprocal influence with all other parts.
  18. Professor W. A. Hammond summarises Aristotle's theory of action as follows : " Desire, as Aristotle employs it, is not a purely pathic or affective element. Feeling as such (theoretic-ally) is completely passive —mere enjoyment of the pleasant or mere suffering of the painful Aristotle, however, describes desire as an effort towards the attainment of the pleasant ; i.e. he includes in it an activity or a conative element. It is feeling with an added quality of impulse (Trieb)." Here we s the cloven hoof of hedonism. The hormic theory would say rather that desire is impulse (Trieb) with an added quality of feeling.
  19. Nietzsche seems to have been the first to point clearly to these contrasting and rival world-views. I have attempted elsewhere (23) to show how these two currents have been represented in psychology all down the stream of European thought and how the distinction affords the best clue to a useful classification of psychological theories, since it distinguishes them in respect to their most fundamental features, their inclination towards intellectualism or towards voluntarism.
  20. ' Cf. his Die Moderne Psychologie (4).

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