Can Sociology and Social Psychology Dispense with Instincts?[1]

William McDougall
Harvard University

SOME two years ago I wrote an article examining some of the objections that had been raised in recent publications against the conception of instinct in general and especially against the use of it as a fundamental conception for social psychology.[2] In spite of this endeavor to stem what seemed to me a reactionary and obscurantist tide, the tide has flowed on in the form of books and articles of similar tendency, that is to say, tending to discredit and reject the conception of instinct as a fact of human nature.

I propose, in this paper, briefly to examine solve of the more important of these writings in respect of this tendency.[3] Most important and influential of all these (if one may judge of this by the eminence of the author and the extremely eulogistic reception of the work by the reviewers) is Prof. John Dewey's Human Nature and Conduct; An Introduction to Social Psychology (New York, 1922).

In the year 1917 Professor Dewey published an article in which he seemed to welcome and accept wholeheartedly my treatment of Instinct as fundamental for Social Psychology. He wrote: "I hope I may find general agreement in pointing to the work of McDougall and Thorndike as indicative of the next great force in social psychology. . . . Henceforth our social psychology is placed upon the sure ground of observation of instinctive behavior." He welcomed "the advent of the new type of psychology which builds frankly on the original activities of man and asks how these are altered, requalified, and reorganized in consequence of their exercise in specifically different environmnts." [4]

This seemed almost to warrant the belief that the hope with which I wrote my "Social Psychology" was about to be fulfilled, the hope, namely, that my exposition of the human instincts and

( 14) of the processes by which the instinctive dispositions became modified and organized in sentiments, and the sentiments organized in the system which we call Character, might be accepted as a first and much needed approximation to an agreed basis for Social Psychology and for all the social sciences.

But, in the book under review, Professor Dewey goes back upon his endorsement and would almost seem to retract it entirely. He makes no explicit reference to my work but in his preface he tells us that his book "seriously sets forth a belief that an understanding of habit and of different types of habit is the key to social psychology." Accordingly the book opens with six chapters, devoted to the exposition of habit, and in the following section are two chapters which aim to show that there are "no separate instincts ".

In the chapters on habit we are told that "All virtues and vices are habits"; that "all habits are affections, that all have projectile power;" that "all habits are demands for certain kinds of activity; and they constitute the self. In any intelligible sense of the word will, they are will. They form our effective desires and they furnish us with our working capacities. They rule our thoughts, determining which shall appear and be strong and which shall pass from light into obscurity." We are told also that all habits are in continued operation. Were it not for the continued operation of all habits in every act, no such thing as character could exist. There would simply be a bundle, an untied bundle at that, of isolated acts. Character is the interpenetration of habits";—and "the dynamic force of habit taken in connection with the continuity of habits with one, another explains the unity of character and conduct, or speaking more concretely of motive and act, will and deed." Dewey writes also of "the motor urgent force of habit" and says "A habit impeded in overt operation continues nonetheless to operate. It manifests itself in desireful thought." "Morals mean established collective habits." "Habit is energy organized in certain channels"—and "to understand the existence of organized ways or habits we surely need to go to physics, chemistry and physiology rather than to psychology." "Emotion is a perturbation from clash or failure of habit, and reflection, roughly speaking, is the painful effort of disturbed habits to readjust themselves." "Habits formed in process of exercising biological aptitudes are the sole agents of observation, recollection, foresight and judgment."

"Concrete habits do all the perceiving, recognizing, imagining, recalling, judging, conceiving and reasoning that is done."

( 15) "Every habit is impulsive, that is projective, urgent, and the habit of knowing is no exception." "The primary fact is that man is a being who responds in action to the stimuli of the environment." And "Man is a creature of habit, not of reason nor yet of instinct."

From all of these passages, and from the context of the first six chapters, one might fairly conclude that Professor Dewey is just an orthodox stimulus-response behaviorist, set upon substituting for psychology a study of mechanical reflexes and deducing his physiology of reflexes from the mechanistic dogma. And that school is doubtless inclined to welcome him to the fold as a much, valued recruit.

But any such conclusion would be hasty. Although Dewey has fairly boxed the compass with habits, so that it may seem that no fact or function of human nature is left over for recognition as other than habit, yet with charming inconsistency, he professes. to find room for two other great principles or functions, namely impulse, and thought or intelligence. After persuading us in Part I that all is habit and habit is all in all, Dewey goes on in Part II to give us some account of impulses. "Habits as organized activities are secondary and acquired, not native and original. They are outgrowths of unlearned activities which are part of man's endowment at birth." And these "unlearned activities" are by no means mere mechanical reflexes.

"It goes without saying that original, unlearned activity has its distinctive place and that an important one in conduct. Impulses are the pivots upon which the reorganization of activities turn, they are agencies of deviation, for giving new directions to old habits and changing their quality. Consequently, whenever we are concerned with understanding social transition and flux or with projects for reform, personal and collective, our study must go to analysis of native tendencies. Interest in progress and reform is, indeed, the reason for the present great development of scientific. interest in primitive human nature. If we inquire," he says, "why men were so long blind to the existence of powerful and varied instincts in human beings, the answer seems to be found in the lack of a conception of orderly progress. It is fast becoming incredible that psychologists disputed as to whether they should choose between innate ideas and an empty, passive, wax-like mind. For it seems as if a glance at a child would have revealed that the truth lay in neither doctrine, so obvious is the surging of specific native activities." Again, "The, discovery of the scope and force of instincts has led psy-

( 16) -chologists to think of them as the fountain head of all conduct. . . ." "Native activities are organs of re-organization and re-adjustment." He goes on to indict educationists on the ground that their aim has been too often mere training, the formation of habits, the kind of educational aim in fact which inevitably goes with the acceptance of the doctrine of the all-importance of habit set forth by Dewey in his first six chapters. In this connection he writes: "There has grown up some consciousness of the extent to which a future new society of changed purposes and desires may be created by a deliberate humane treatment of the impulses of youth. This is the meaning of education; for a truly humane education consists in an intelligent direction of native activities in the light of the possibilities and necessities of the social situation" ; and "if modern thought and sentiment is to escape from this division, it must be through utilizing released impulse as an agent of steady reorganization of customs and institutions."

These "impulses" or "native activities", then, are sharply and rightly distinguished from habits. We are even told that "habit and impulse play war with each other".

It might perhaps be inferred from the chapter on "No Separate Instincts" that Dewey has fallen back upon the old doctrine of Bain, to the effect that the organism contains a reservoir of undirected spontaneity, an indefinite capacity to put forth effort or striving of a perfectly general or nonspecific kind; from which undifferentiated matrix all habits are gradually formed. Or it might be supposed that his excessive stressing of the rôle of habit was due to his acceptance in a very literal sense of James' -untenable "law of the transitoriness of instinct ",the doctrine that instincts, if and when evoked, at once become habits, but, if not evoked at the appropriate moment of development of the young organism, atrophy and disappear completely.

But a closer reading shows that Dewey accepts neither of these doctrines. It is clear that, when he writes of "the surging of specific native activities", he repudiates the doctrine of Bain. And James' doctrine of the transitoriness of instinct is equally clearly repudiated in the following passages : "While childhood is the conspicuous proof of the renewing of habit rendered possible by impulse, the latter never wholly ceases to play its refreshing rôle in adult life. If it did, life would petrify, society stagnate. Instinctive reactions are sometimes too intense to be woven into a smooth pattern of habits. Under ordinary circumstances they appear to be tanned to obey their master, Custom. But extraor-

( 17) -dinary crises release them and they show by wild violent energy how superficial is the control of routine [i.e., habit]. . . . At critical moments of unusual stimuli the emotional outbreak and rush of instincts, dominating all activity, show how superficial is the modification which rigid habit has been able to effect." . . . Further: "There always exists a goodly store of nonfunctioning impulses which may be drawn upon. . Their manifestation and utilization is called conversion or regeneration when it comes suddenly. But they may be drawn upon continuously and moderately. Then we call it learning or educative growth. Rigid custom signifies, not that there are no such impulses, but that they are not organically taken advantage of. As a matter of fact, the stiffer and the more encrusted the customs, the larger is the number of instinctive activities that find no regular outlet and that accordingly merely await a chance to get an irregular, uncoördinated manifestation." Also: "The moral problem in child and adult alike as regards impulse and instinct is to utilize them for formation of new habits." Dewey tells us also that he uses "the words instinct and impulse as practical equivalents"; and, like James, he asserts that man has more instincts than the beasts. Nor are these instincts or impulses, these "native activities", purely nonspecific, i.e., without specific tendency towards an end or goal, merely so many packets of conative energy, all alike and equally capable of urging the organism towards any and every end; comparable to the cartridges which form the stock of energy of a machine gun, energies that may be turned toward any goal by the directing intelligence. For Dewey speaks of "the impulse of fear" and says that it "may become abject cowardice, prudent caution, reverence for superiors or respect for equals." He writes also of "a possessive tendency", of "the proprietory impulse", of "the intensity of the sexual instinct", of "impulse toward food", of "the impulse to look and see"; and he tells us that "among the native activities of the young are some that work towards accommodation, assimilation, reproduction, and others that work toward exploration, discovery and creation", and that "there are an indefinite number of original or instinctive activities, which are organized into interests and dispositions according to the situations to which they respond." Further, "Every impulse is, as far as it goes, force, urgency. It must either be used in some function, director sublimated, or be driven into a concealed, hidden activity" ; and he speaks of the balking and twisting of impulses and of "the evils of suppression o£ impulse".


The foregoing citations make it clear that Dewey is no exponent of the doctrine that man is a bundle of mechanical reflexes; but that rather he accepts without reserve the hormic theory of human and animal activity, that he recognizes purpose or purposive striving as fundamental for psychology; that he recognizess also that innate human nature comprises an array of native activities, tendencies, impulses, or instincts. Yet he sternly forbids us to ,attempt to define the nature of these impulses, to attempt to discover towards what goals they tend or impel us.

In my "Social Psychology" I took the view that if, as I maintained, human nature does comprise such native impulses or tendencies, it must be a prime task of the psychologist to attempt to ascertain their nature and number; and that some progress with this task is especially the prime condition of the building up of a social psychology. This was the proposition which in 1917 Dewey seemed to endorse unreservedly. But now he tells us that there are no separate instincts and forbids us to attempt to define them. He asserts that "to increase the creative phase and the humane quality of these activities [the indefinite number of original or instinctive activities] is an affair of modifying the social conditions which stimulate, select, intensify, weaken and coördinate native activities. The first step in dealing with it [i.e., with the increasing of the creative phase and the humane quality of the instinctive tendencies or impulses] is to increase our detailed scientific knowledge." Here the reader may well suppose that Dewey means that the first step must be to increase our knowledge of the tendencies in question. But no. In his opinion no such knowledge is required, and the attempt to acquire it is taboo. The knowledge he refers to, as needing to be increased, is knowledge, not of the impulses, but of social situations. For he goes on: "We need to know exactly the selective and directive force of each social situation; exactly how each tendency is promoted and retarded." Could anything be more perverse? How can we hope to know how each tendency is promoted and retarded by social situations unless we have some notion of the nature of these tendencies, unless we can, however imperfectly, define each tendency.

The reader turns with some curiosity to the chapters on "Classification of Instincts" and "No Separate Instincts" to discover the grounds of this taboo upon all attempts to study and understand the instinctive tendencies. And to his astonishment he finds that the only grounds of it adduced by Professor Dewey are three in number, all equally pointless. First, all definition and

( 19) classification are for some purpose. But surely this in itself does not invalidate them. If the purpose be good, namely a better understanding of human nature, the definitions achieved may be valid and useful. If this ground be accepted, every human undertaking, and especially all drawing of distinctions, must be equally condemned and tabooed and we must renounce all science and return to the indiscriminating ignorance of the savage or the animal.

Secondly, Dewey adduces the vulgar objection that various writers have defined very variously the number and nature of the instinctive tendencies of human nature. But, surely, this is only a good reason why an authority such as Dewey should throw himself into the task of critically examining, refining, and improving upon the attempts of previous writers, rather than to place a taboo upon all such attempts.

Thirdly, Dewey points out, as has often been pointed out before, that various writers, from Thomas Hobbes to Nietzsche, and Freud, and Trotter, have seized upon some one instinctive tendency, and have worked it for all and for far more than it was worth, seeking to make it the spring of all human activity and the master-key to the understanding of all social phenomena. There again, surely, our reaction to such errors should be, not to condemn all attempts at definition and understanding, and not to take refuge in vague generalities, as Dewey does; but rather, taking warning from such errors, to improve upon such ill-balanced attempts by undertaking a more discriminating analysis.

In the pages devoted to the discussion of motives we find similar confusion, inconsistency, and wilful obscurantism. "There is", we are told, "doubtless some sense in saying that every conscious act has an incentive or motive"; and on the same page: "In every fundamental sense it is false that a man requires a motive to make him do something. . . . The whole concept of motives is in truth extra-psychological. . . . But when we want to get him to act in this specific way rather than in that, when we want to direct his activity, that is to say in a specified channel, then the question of motive is pertinent. A motive is then that element in the total complex of a man's activity which, if it can be sufficiently stimulated, will result in an act having specified consequences. . . . An element in an act viewed as a tendency to produce such and such consequences is a motive. . . . A motive in short is simply an impulse viewed as a constituent in habit, a factor in a disposition. In general its meaning is simple. But in fact motives are as numerous as are original impulsive

( 20) activities multiplied by the diversified consequences they produce." Is it not implied in the last paragraph cited that motives are the native impulses directed through past experience upon specialized ends or goals. How then are they extra-psychological) And how can we understand and evaluate and direct them, unless we understand the nature of these impulses?

One might speculate on the motives which have led Professor Dewey into this strange position. But I will contend myself with pointing out what seem to me the intellectual errors involved. First, Dewey begins by accepting the vulgar overestimation of habit, and the misleading fashion of using "habit" in the widest possible sense, so that he speaks of "intellectual habits" and of "habits of independent judgment and of inventive initiation"; yet, at the same time, he fails to distinguish between the many different kinds of habit, and takes such a purely bodily habit as the habit of standing in a certain posture as the type of all habit, and so can say that "to understand habits we surely need to go to physics, chemistry and physiology rather than to psychology."[5]

Secondly, Dewey neglects consistently the distinction between activity and disposition, a distinction on which I have so repeatedly insisted as essential to clear thinking on this topic; and this neglect infects all his exposition with ambiguity. If he would observe the distinction, then, instead of saying that we inherit, as part of our endowment at birth, unlearned activities and impulses, he would say that we inherit dispositions to such activities or impulses. Then he would have to recognize that such dispositions are concrete facts of structure; and he would find the attempt

( 21) to distinguish, enumerate, and describe these several dispositions no more "one of the conspicuous traits of highbrowism, the essence of false abstractionism" than is the attempt of the anatomist to distinguish, enumerate, and describe the several muscles of the skeletal system. Rather, he would recognize that, just as some success in the latter attempt must be the foundation of all understanding of the mechanical movements of the limbs, so also some success in the former must be the foundation of all understanding of the purposive movements or activities of the mind.

Thirdly, Dewey implicitly rejects the principle which I have adopted as the surest guide to the identification of our impulses, namely the acceptance of the qualities of emotional experience that accompany impulsive actions or the evocation of the impulses as the recognition-marks of these impulses. For he repeats the doctrine, enunciated by him more than thirty years ago, that emotion is the result of a clash of habits, a doctrine the evidence for which I have demanded in vain on more than one occasion.

Fourthly, Dewey asserts the common view that all habits are impulsive, are urgent motor forces. I have recently shown reasons,[6] to my mind conclusive, for believing that this common assumption is false and that motor habits as such are mere inert machinery requiring to be actuated by impulses from the native dispositions or instincts. Of course, if with Dewey we speak of sentiments as habits, then it is true that such habits contain their own impulsive force, for they incorporate instinctive dispositions. And here we see one bad result of using the word "habit" in an indiscriminating fashion to cover all mental structure built up through individual experience. For it leads him to confound

( 22) sentiments with simple motor habits, and to assume that whatever is true of the one class is true also of the other. Yet Dewey seems to be subconsciously aware of the fact that motor habits have no impulsive power, in spite of his assertion to the contrary. For, after discussing the impulses, he no longer speaks of habits as the motive forces, but almost invariably uses the expression "impulses and habits".

In short, Professor Dewey's overestimation of habit in his first section is utterly inconsistent with the importance rightly assigned to native impulses in this second section of his book.

Prof. Knight Dunlap, in his Presidential Address to the Psychological Association,[7] returns to the attack upon my contributions to Social Psychology. Generously recognizing that my "Introduction" initiated a new school, he attacks both my conception of the Group Mind and my use of Instinct, and proposes a substitute for the latter. I admit that the exposition of Instinct in my Social Psychology was faulty, as proved by the fact that Professor Dunlap has not understood it. I hope that the more recent exposition of my "Outline" improves upon the older one.

Dunlap is especially concerned to know what is that central core of instinct on which I have insisted as a relatively unchanging fact of structure, which endures as a self-identical whole, although its expressions may suffer much modification in detail, and although it may enter into the constitution of various sentiments. He concludes that I "really mean that the emotion is the `central' portion of the instinct." Here he displays, and attributes to me, the same resolute neglect of the distinction between activity or process on the one hand and disposition or structure on the other, of which I have complained in criticizing Professor Dewey. I do not mean that the central portion is the emotion. I mean that it is an affective-conative disposition, a fact of mental structure which can only be defined in terms of its expressions in the successive activities which it partially determines and in which its nature is revealed, expressions of two kinds ; on the one hand in consciousness, as emotional and conative experiences, such as angry or sexual or self-assertive impulse and desire, or fearful aversion; and on the other hand bodily changes and movements adapted to bring about the satisfaction of the appetitive or aversive impulse.

Dunlap proposes to put in the place of such affective-conative

( 23) dispositions the specific processes of desire. He rightly points out that desire has been grossly neglected in recent American textbooks of psychology, an inevitable result of the prevalence of the mechanical psychology of sensations and reflexes.

Dunlap says : "It must not be supposed that in desire I am offering a mere formal substitute for the instincts." I desire to show that this is exactly what he does propose to do. He goes on

`The instincts are not concrete facts, but are points of view from which we classify the mass of activities. . . . Desires on the other hand . . . are actual facts in the organism . . . -we may classify desires among feelings or affections." . . . And "Feelings are literally conditions and processes in the soma and viscera." He proposes to recognize provisionally nine desires—"alimentary desire, excretory desire, desire of rest, desire of activity, desire of shelter, amatory desire, parental desire, desire of preëminence, and desire of conformity." Each of these is, he says, an objective fact of immediate experience; they are experienced by reactions initiated principally in receptors of the afferent visceral branch of the nervous system; they are experienceable objects, and they are real stimulus patterns and we might "guess at the tissues in which certain of these desires occur." Also the afferent current derived from a desire must go somewhere and so a desire contributes a driving force, energizing and activating the whole reaction system. "This activation is not the function of desire alone, but is also the work of many other feelings and emotions. Hunger, fear, rage, pain, joy and localized sex feeling are illustrations of feelings which have `driving force'. But none of these have social value except in so far as they involve, also, or are derived from, desire."

After this description, in which the language of the New Realism is strangely blended with that of introspection, desires being described both as chemical changes in visceral tissues, peripheral stimulus patterns, and as facts of immediate experience or feelings, and also as driving forces, Dunlap seems to become obscurely aware of some confusion in his language. Writing of "the desire of conformity", he says : "Perhaps I should not call it the desire, but rather the radical of the desire." And he postulates a similar ''radical'' for each of the other of his nine fundamental social desires which, he affirms, must be the basis of all social psychology.

In this use of the word "radical", Dunlap seems to express a dawning recognition of the distinction between process and structure, function and disposition. ' Clearly, if I experience

( 24) "desire of conformity" on two, or on many, occasions, it is not literally true to say that on each of these occasions I am moved by the same desire; rather, I am moved on the several occasions by the same kind of desire; on each occasion the process or activity of desire is unique; but the similarity, as experience and as function, of the desires of successive occasions justifies us in classing them together under the one name "desire of conformity". Further, we may assume that all these similar desires —which we class together by the aid of one name spring from, or are conditioned by, one enduring self-identical disposition or structural feature of our constitution. I am not concerned now with the question of how such a disposition may be best described. I am willing for the moment to accept Dunlap's view that it may be described in terms of the structure and chemical constitution of some visceral tissue or tissues. What I wish to bring out is the fact that Dunlap agrees with me in recognizing a number of relatively enduring dispositions, from each of which spring on successive occasions (or each of which is the indispensable condition of the rise of) desires of a certain class, desires of conformity, of sex, of food, etc. This recognition of enduring features of our constitution is the procedure which Dewey labels "one of the conspicuous traits of highbrowism, the essence of false abstractionism." I am glad to welcome in Professor Dunlap a fellow "highbrowist". My "desire of conformity" finds a certain satisfaction in this recognition of a fellow member of the herd of "highbrowists ".

The important point is, then, that Dunlap agrees with me in the recognition of these dispositions, each one an enduring and relatively unchanging spring or source of recurrent desires. The important differences between us are the following: First, that, while Dunlap prefers to call such an enduring disposition "a desire" and thus to confuse it with the successive desires which are conditioned by it, I prefer to use a terminology which distinguishes the disposition from its functionings, the successive activities of which it is a main condition; and therefore I speak of such an enduring disposition as an affective-conative disposition. Secondly, I attempt to relate such an affective-conative disposition, on the one hand, to our emotional experiences, and, on the other hand, to the facts of instinctive behavior such as we observe in the animals; and I regard each such disposition as the "central part" or relatively unchanging part of an innate, inborn, or instinctive disposition.

Thus, in my view, an instinct is not "a point of view" nor "a

( 25) systematic group of activities"; it is as concrete a fact as Dunlap's "desire" or "radical of a desire", and plays in my psychology the same rôle which Dunlap assigns to a desire, or rather to the radical of a desire, in his.

The third difference between us is that we do not entirely agree as to the number and nature of these radicals of desire, these affective-conative dispositions, proper to the human species. Dunlap names nine such ; while I, in my recent "Outline", have proposed to recognize thirteen major dispositions and a small number of minor dispositions of this affective-conative class. Dunlap seems to have reached his list by a simple process of inspection, much as Descartes and Spinoza achieved their strangely confused lists of passions.[8] I, on the other hand, have tried to make use of the principle of the continuity of human with animal evolution, and of a wide survey of animal and human behavior, and have called to my aid the principle that emotional experiences may serve as recognition-marks of the impulses or desires which they accompany and qualify.

But these differences are of minor importance compared with our agreement. For we agree in the all-important principle that the basis of Social Psychology must be the definition of the several enduring dispositions from which spring the desires of the several classes. This common ground is the all-important thing: for, this being given, we can, in spite of Professor Dewey, go forward with the common task of distinguishing them, defining their modes of operation, and tracing their growth and functioning in the lives of individuals and of societies.

Dunlap remarks that "we have travelled far in three years" in this field. To me it seems that we have not travelled at all, unless it be backward, since the publication of my "Social Psychology" in 1908. The fact that Dunlap has arrived at what is, substantially my position (although he professes to repudiate my views) affords some hope that we may begin to travel forwards.

Prof. F. H. Giddings has made good use of the theory of instincts in the course of various sociological studies; but, in a recent essay, he has argued that the assumption of a gregarious or herd instinct, in men or animals, is unwarranted; because, as he seeks to show, all the modes of behavior which have been held to

( 26) imply such an instinct may be satisfactorily explained without that assumption. This, then, in view of the high competence and reputation of Professor Giddings, is an attempt deserving of careful examination; for, as Giddings himself rightly asserts, the question at issue is fundamental for social theory.

Writing of group behavior,[9] Giddings affirms : "The initial action is merely a pluralistic response (i.e., a reaction by more than one individual) to a common stimulation. In terms of like or of unlike, of prompt or of slow, of persistent or of intermittent response, all the phenomena of natural grouping and of collective behavior can be stated and interpreted (p. 116), and "according to their density and composition they (populations) react with more or less unity to a multiplying number of common stimuli, thereby becoming more or less alike in behavior, more or less homogeneous in feeling, thought and purpose. Through ever increasing intermental activity, they become increasingly conscious of their differences and resemblances. A consciousness of behavioristic kinds, combining with and supplementing like-response to stimulation, converts instinctive consorting and consorting by unthinking habit into a consciously preferential association, and thereby converts a herd into society. Also, combining with and supplementing like-response to stimulation, the consciousness of kind converts a merely instinctive coöperation into concerted action." . . . (p. 155) "Viewed as reaction to stimulus all behavior, both animal and human, unconscious and conscious, is mechanistic. Reflexes are reactions of relatively simple nervous mechanisms. Instincts are reaction tendencies, normally completed in reaction, of relatively complex mechanisms." . . . "Herd behavior is instinctive in part; in part it is a phenomenon of habit. Here we encounter a number of problems—which are fundamental for social theory. To say that herd behavior is instinctive is not equivalent to saying that gregariousness is an instinct—if an instinct is the response of a particular and definite nervous mechanism, there is no gregarious instinct. Yet it is equally certain that pursuit of prey by a pack of wolves and a stampede of cattle are instinctive behavior. The bare factual truth so far seems to be that a great part of gregariousness is nothing less and nothing more than a pluralistic instinctive reaction to common stimulation, and that no scientific necessity drives us to assume a gregarious instinct distinct from and coöperating with the primitive instincts of food-seizure and

(27) flight. This is not the whole case, however. The individual members of a herd keep together or frequently get together. Often they show distress or terror if separated and their cohesion is behavioristic; no material connective tissue holds them together." . . . "Is such behavior an instinct? By strict definition, no: there is no gregarious instinct-mechanism. Is it instinctive? Perhaps, or perhaps it is subinstinctive. Possibly it is a multitude of responses even simpler than instinctive ones. I am convinced that it is. Like the behavior of the lower organisms, it is essentially nothing more than reaction by the motor mechanisms of the body along lines o f beast resistance." The last sentence is intriguing. All mechanisms react only along lines of least resistance, and since, by definition, animals are mechanisms, the statement would seem to be a mere tautology. But the italics, used by Professor Giddings seem to imply that the words italicized embody a discovery, the solution of that secret which our author is pursuing, the secret of gregariousness. Professor Giddings was aware at this point that to say that animals are mechanisms active along lines of least resistance does not in itself explain the fact that some animals are gregarious. So he goes on to say : "Herd-fellows are highly similar. They look alike, smell alike, bleat, bark and bellow alike, and they otherwise behave alike. Therefore, the stimulation that herd-fellow A gets from herd-fellow B is extraordinarily like the stimulation that he gets from himself. It is familiar not only in the sense that he is used to it, but also in the deeper sense that it has been familiar from the beginning. Therefore again, and further, it is not repellent; it does not ordinarily cause recoil or set going the instinct of flight. In contrast, stimulation from animals not of the herd, and from the outer world in general, does alarm, as often as not. There is then recoil, and the adventurer is thown back upon his herd."

Here, then, the principle invoked is that the familiar ''stimulations'' alone do not alarm, that only "stimulations" from herdfellows are sufficiently familiar to provoke no alarm; that therefore in every situation other than the bosom of the herd, the animal's locomotory mechanisms are thrown into violent action, so that he is kept running about and, since he is a mechanism, his running is perfectly aimless. If by happy chance his running brings him into the herd, the familiar "stimulations" no longer excite the running reflexes and he remains at rest within the herd.

Whether this purely negative principle (of rapid locomotion in all situations other than the bosom of the herd) will suffice to

( 28) account for the continued aggregation of a herd of bison wandering over a vast prairie remains, I suggest, very much open to question. It is a problem in mechanics and statistics. Given a thousand locomotory machines, each so constituted that when within ten feet of a similar machine it moves slowly, but, when at greater distances from any similar machine, it moves rapidly, the direction of movement always being determined by a multitude of constantly varying chance factors, such as the varying slope of the surface; if a thousand such machines were assembled in a dense group on an uneven plain of indefinite extent and then set in motion, would they remain a group? Or would they not soon be found to be scattered widely and increasingly over the plain? I am strongly disposed to believe that the second alternative must be accepted.

Further, this ingenious mechanical hypothesis not only does not work, does not account for the phenomena of herding, but it is grossly inconsistent with the observable facts of behavior. When a gregarious animal, a horse or a steer, is turned into a large field, where a herd of his fellows is at pasture at some distance from him, he commonly joins the herd within a brief space of time. In doing so, he may show, by the rapidity of his movements and other signs, a certain excitement. This may be fear, as Professor Giddings suggests, excited by the sense-stimuli from the objects around him. But if, as he assumes, the expression of fear is merely running away from the exciting stimulus, such movements away from a multitude of objects will in general bring him into the herd only after a long period of running to and fro in all directions. Whereas observation shows that his joining the herd is quite other than the issue of such a multitude of movements of repulsion. Sooner or later, he catches sight or sound or smell of the herd, and thereupon makes for it with a directness which compels us to believe that it somehow exerts a specific attraction upon him, that his response to the sight, sound, or smell of the herd is to seek it actively. It is just in this tendency actively to seek the herd that the gregariousness of the gregarious animal consists, and it is this tendency which cannot be explained by any mechanical theory; for the only tendency known to mechanics is the tendency of a mechanical system to continue in its state of rest or motion, unless and until some force is applied to it.

But let us, for the moment, waiving these objections, assume that Professor Giddings' ingenius mechanical principle will do the work required of it. There remains a further difficulty, which has not escaped the penetration of our author. Namely, the theory

( 29) proves too much; for it proves that all animals, or at least all animals that grow up in families, should be gregarious. For they look alike, smell alike, bark alike and otherwise behave alike; and therefore "stimuli" from fellows are "not repellent: do not ordinarily cause recoil or set going the instinct of flight." And so Professor Giddings very properly goes on to ask, "If these facts (of pluralistic instinctive response to common stimulation, and reaction on lines of least resistance to interstimulation) sufficiently explain gregariousness, why, one may ask, are not all animals gregarious? The question is pertinent (we do not want our proofs of a theory to prove too much) but the answer to it is rather obvious." What then is that "rather obvious" answer? It is necessary to cite the whole of the paragraph in which it is wholly set forth: "The food of herbivorous animals does not take fright or run away when scores of them at a time tramp and mill about `all over the place'. The food of carnivorous animals starts at a flicker, or the crack of a twig. Dogs and wolves are able, nevertheless, to capture it because they are swift of foot and can run incredible distances without exhaustion. Dogs and wolves, therefore, can hunt in packs and they do, but a considerable `drove' of tigers beating the jungle would starve. Cubs of the stalking carnivora snuggle together in sleep and play together when awake; it is of necessity that they separate when mature. The `herds' of lions now and then observed are small."

This "rather obvious" answer to this very obvious and fundamental question seems to me obviously obscure and unsatisfactory. The reference to the herbivores is irrelevant; the essential question is—Why do some species of hunting carnivores behave gregariously and other species behave nongregariously, although all of them grow up in families? Why do some species of canidae, some wolves and dogs hunt in packs, and, in some cases, form more or less enduring packs ; while the closely allied foxes, and most of the carnivorous felida, hunt and (except for family life with mate and young) live solitarily?

The only suggestion of an answer furnished by Professor Giddings is that the tiger, being larger than dogs and wolves (and less capable of running great distances) overcomes "of necessity" the mechanical compulsion to cohere which his theory postulates, the necessity namely of quietly stalking his prey. But the fox, which is smaller than the dog or the wolf and equally capable or running incredible distances, nevertheless hunts and lives in the nongregarious fashion of the tiger. And the wildcat, and, I believe, all the felidae, both small and large, are equally

( 30) nongregarious. The "rather obvious" answer, is then no answer at all. The question continues to call for an answer; not only in the case of the gregarious and nongregarious carnivora; but also in the many other cases where animals of allied species or of similar modes of life show this striking difference of behavior, birds such as the rook and the crow, the vulture and the eagle, the starling and the 'blackbird., the pigeon and the ring dove; insects, such as the hive-wasps and the solitary wasp, the locust and the grasshopper; fishes such as the herring and the perch; amphibious mammals, such as the porpoise and the dugong; herbivora, such as the reindeer and the moose, the sheep and the chamois.

In all cases, no doubt, the difference in respect to gregariousness is correlated with differences in the mode of obtaining food or with other important activities. But it will not suffice merely to point to these and to say that "of necessity" the solitary animal is solitary. It seems indisputable that the gregariousness of the gregarious species is in all cases (or with rare exceptions) innate; that each individual of the gregarious species is endowed by nature with a tendency to seek the group, to be uneasy and restless so long as he is isolated, and to join the group straightway when he in any way perceives it.

For, if the tendency is acquired, why do not all animals brought up in families acquire it? And why does the gregarious animal brought up in solitary captivity join the herd as soon as he runs free; while the cat, brought up in a den of cats, walks by herself, alone and unconcerned, as soon as she gets the chance to do so?

Evidence still more convincing, if possible, of the specific and innate nature of the gregarious tendency is afforded by many instances of animal species in  which it (like many other instinctive tendencies) shows seasonal variation, being dormant at some periods and active at others. This is the rule with some birds, and also some mammals, which become gregarious only at the season of migration or of pairing.

Is it not obvious that, if sociologists are to deal with such psychological problems as "the mind of the many", they must take, these problems seriously and not be content with "rather obvious answers to them.

Professor Giddings' discussion contains a suggestion which it is worth while to consider—May it be that gregariousness is, determined by a specilization of the instinct of fear or escape, the flight-tendency, of the species which exhibit it? The solitary animal when frightened, flees to cover; the gregarious animal flees to the herd. To these generalizations there are, I think, few if

(31) any exceptions. This suggestion, if it were tenable, would not make gregariousness other than instinctive; but it would relieve us of the necessity of postulating a specific gregarious tendency or instinct as a distinct feature of the innate endowment of the gregarious animal. But I cannot see that even this modest concession to the spurners of specific instincts can be matte without flying in the face of the facts.

First let us notice that the theory suggested by Professor Giddings, namely that gregarious behavior is a sort of by-product of fear, is utterly untenable. If it were true, gregariousness should run parallel with timidity, which obviously it does not; the proverbially timid hare is solitary, the proverbially brave lion shows some feeble gregarious tendency. The peccary is said to be almost devoid of fear, yet he is extremely gregarious. Nor is the wolf (or the dog) among the most fearful animals, though he is very gregarious. But the most convincing disproof of the theory is afforded by a fact which at the sane time negatives the suggestion that gregariousness may be regarded as the expression of a specialization of the instinct of escape in the gregarious species. This fact is that those species which become gregarious seasonally (the gregarious tendency varying from zero to a high degree of activity) show no corresponding or correlated variations of their timidity, (that is of the activity of the instinct of escape or fear). The timid birds which become gregarious at the season of migration seem to be more, rather than less, timid at other times, the times when they are not gregarious; and the saine seems to be true of those that become gregarious at the pairing season, as for example, the black game, which gather in groups for the antics leading up to pairing.

The hypothesis that gregariousness is due to the modification of the instinct of escape or fear in the gregarious species is further rendered untenable by the fact that many species of gregarious animals manifest it in situations in which we cannot assume the instinct of escape to be in any degree operative. I refer more especially to the gathering and cohesion of the pack in hunting. I do not understand how any reasonable person can doubt that the hunting yelp of the hound or terrier when he strikes the trail serves as a specific call to his fellows; and that the species has acquired the tendency to utter this call, because it secures this result. It seems equally clear that this innate endowment of the species implies as its complement the tendency to respond to. the call. Of course, the obstinate denier of instincts may endeavor to show that the tendency to respond by approaching and join-

( 32) -ing in the pursuit is acquired by each generation, being traditional with the species. My own limited observation of dogs would seem to make this in the last degree improbable. But I cannot cite conclusive evidence in this regard. There is, however, abundant evidence that gregarious animals are endowed with tendencies to utter calls appropriate to special circumstances and with the tendency to respond to such calls with behavior appropriate to the circumstances. I will cite only one piece of such evidence—a first-hand description of the behavior of semi-wild cattle on the prairie by Mr. Hamlin Garland. Describing his boyhood days, he writes: "We became, by force of unconscious observation, deeply learned in the language of the psychology of kine as well as colts.' W e watched the big bull-necked stags as they challenged one another, pawing the dust or kneeling to tear the sod with their horns. We possessed perfect understanding of their battle signs. The boastful, defiant cries, were as intelligible to us as those of men. Every note, every motion had a perfectly definite meaning. The foolish, inquisitive young heifers, the staid self-absorbed dowagers wearing their bells with dignity, the frisky two-year-olds and the lithe-bodied wide-horned truculent three-year-olds all came in for interpretation.

Sometimes a lone steer ranging the sod came suddenly upon a trace of blood. Like a hound he paused, snuffling the earth. 'Then with wide mouth and outthrust, curling tongue, uttered voice. Wild as the tigers' food-sick cry, his warning roar burst forth, ending in a strange, upward explosive whine. Instantly, every head in the herd was lifted, even the old cows heavy with milk stood as if suddenly renewing their youth, alert and watchful. Again it came, that prehistoric bawling cry, and with one mind the herd began to center, rushing with menacing swiftness, like warriors answering their chieftain's call for aid. With awkward lope or jolting trot, snorting with fury they hastened to the rescue, only to meet in blind bewildered mass, swirling to and fro in search of an imaginary cause of some ancestral danger. " [10]

I have pointed out [11] that the social life of many gregarious animals is largely regulated by two instincts which supplement the gregarious tendency, securing order and harmony in a more economical fashion than could be secured by pugnacity and fear. The same author, Mr. Garland, in the same work describes

( 33) the operation of these tendencies so clearly that I cannot forbear to cite his description. "This brings up an almost forgotten phase of bovine psychology. The order in which the cows drank as well as that in which they entered the stable was carefully determined and rigidly observed. There was always one old dowager who took precedence, all the others gave way before her. Then came the second in rank who feared the leader but insisted on ruling all the others, and so on down to the heifer. This order, once established, was seldom broken (at least by the females of the herd, the males were more unstable) even when the leader grew old and almost helpless. We took advantage of this loyalty when putting them into the barn. The stall furthest from the door belonged to `old Spot', the second to `Daisy' and so on, hence all I had to do was to open the door and let them in—for if any rash young thing got out of her proper place she was set right, very quickly, by her superiors."

But Professor Giddings, though in some degree infected with the behavioristic virus, is not altogether a behaviorist. He still believes in the efficacy of mind and seeks to help himself out of the insuperable difficulties of behaviorism by making play with the great principle of his prebehavioristic period, namely "the consciousness of kind." It is the operation of this consciousness which in the human group converts a merely mechanical grouping into society: "A consciousness of behavioristic. kinds, combining with and supplementing like-response to stimulation, converts instinctive consorting and consorting by unthinking habit [i.e., mechanical cohesion due to the repellent stimuli of the environment] into a consciously preferential association, and thereby converts a herd into society."

Professor Giddings' "consciousness of kind" has long been before the public and has enjoyed a considerable vogue among sociologists, as an explanatory principle of the fundamental facts of human and animal association. So long as it was possible to accept the words as a somewhat vague alternative expression for the gregarious tendency or instinct, it seemed to be harmless enough. But he has now made it clear that this is not the meaning of the terni; he explicity repudiates any specific gregarious tendency and puts in its place, for animals, the mechanical repulsion of all unfamiliar objects, for man, similar mechanical repulsions supplemented by "a consciousness of behavioristic kinds". What then is the mystic virtue of a consciousness of kind? Surely it may just as . readily give rise to repulsion and departure as to approach and association. There are Jews who dislike Jews and

( 34) who, when "the consciousness of kind" is evoked in them, hastily betake themselves to some place where it may subside. So also there are professors who dislike professors, soldiers who dislike soldiers, colored men who prefer the company of white men, men who prefer the company of women to that of men, boys who prefer men to other boys, blondes who prefer brunettes, and swarthy southerners for whom a. blonde beauty is more attractive than all the dark-eyed penis of the south. There are even men who prefer the companionship of dogs or of horses to that of other men. The mere consciousness of kind is in itself not a motive power, a ground of preference, of judgment, or of choice. It is a mere intellectual awareness, a cognitive activity which may evoke either an aversion, or an impulse of attraction, or neither.

It is true that statistics reveal, as Karl Pearson and others have shown, the prevalence of assortative mating, and that on the whole and in general men do prefer the society of men like themselves by race, nation and occupation. But, in so far as these facts are not explicable through special circumstances, such as the greater ease of communication and of mutual sympathy and understanding, they seem to be rooted in the working of the gregarious impulse, which seems to find in the individual man or animal a more complete satisfaction the more similar to him are those fellow creatures with whom he finds himself.

I conclude then that Professor Giddings' attempt to dispense with the instinct of gregariousness is not successful. His attempt commits him to a view of human nature which is strangely like the Cartesian dualism. The animal is a pure mechanism; man is a similar mechanism modified in its mechanical operations by the intervention of a nonmechanical agency, "the consciousness of kind": the herd is natural and mechanical; society is supernatural. Let us, then, admit that naturalists and sociologists alike are well justified in positing an innate gregarious tendency or instinct as underlying the gregariousness of animals and of men.[12]

( 35)

While all of the three authors on whose work I have commented in the foregoing pages recognize the facts of human instinct in various manners and degrees, Professor C. C. Josey appears as one of that numerous band of behaviorists who are for casting out the conception from psychology, root and branch.

His discussion of Instinct [13] has been reviewed in these pages with admirable patience and geniality.[14] In that review, Professor Hocking has pointed out some of the weaknesses of the book: but I do not feel that he has sufficiently exposed its truly remarkable defects. Professor Hocking, admitting of some of the author's arguments against instincts that they have a superficially logical air, has no difficulty in showing that they go wide of the mark. For logicality, in any larger sense of the word, is conspicuously lacking throughout the book. Let me admit first that Professor Josey protests against a number of foolish and fanciful applications of the theory of human instincts that have been made again and again. In so far, his book has a certain value. For example, he rightly objects to the argument that whatever behavior is instinctive is natural and therefore right.[15] But the main purport of the book is a destructive criticism of the view that the innate constitution of man or animals comprises anything that can properly be called Instinct or instincts. The book consists of six chapters. In so far as each of them contributes to the argument against the theory of instincts (which throughout is confused inextricably with the author's protests against foolish applications of the theory),[16] they may be summarized as follows Chapter I. Some writers have described instincts as forces; but the word force has in great measure become unfashionable in physics; therefore there are no instincts. Chapter II. Many writers have regarded instincts as developed in the species according to the Lamarckian principle; but the majority of biologists now reject the Lamarckian principle of transmission; therefore there are no instincts. A subsidiary argument of the chapter runs Instincts have been regarded as implanted in the species by God; therefore there are no instincts. Chapter III. It has been fool-

(36) -ishly assumed that behavior that is instinctive is necessarily right, etc. (or instinctiveness has been falsely regarded as a sanction of various forms of conduct) ; therefore there are no instincts. Mixed up with this are such arguments as both conservatives and radicals find sanctions for their views in alleged instincts; therefore e there are no instincts : and—McDougall's view of instincts "must carry comfort to the conservatives": therefore there are no instincts. Chapter IV. The instincts of the human species are supposed to be common to all varieties and to all members of the species; yet human institutions are extremely various in various times and places; therefore we cannot simply explain the existence of any particular institution by ascribing it to the operation of some one instinct; therefore there are no instincts. Chapter V, entitled "Instinct in Psychology" is a polemic against heredity in general, against the ascription of any structure or function of any organism in any degree to hereditary transmission from its forbears. Chapter VI repeats in condensed form and in still greater confusion these several "arguments'".

Comment would seem needless; but the facts that the book has been written by a college professor and is widely advertised by a publishing firm of high standing justify a few words of criticism. Throughout the book runs one tediously repeated refrain: every action arises out of the present situation and is a function of the stimuli that affect the organism, therefore the hereditary constitution of the organism may properly be ignored in all explanations of conduct; e.g., "If the activities of an organism are determined by the relations of the organism to its environment, and if out of activities so determined are born impulses and emotions, it follows that the psychological assumptions on which the sanction of instinct is based are groundless" (p. 251).

After numerous passages in which the instincts are combated on the g round that "force" is a discarded and illegitimate conception, the reader is astonished to find that the author makes free use of this conception (or this word) and even asserts that we experience forces ; as in this passage among others, "the only forces that need concern us, therefore, are those that are experienced, and the ones that are experienced are definitely determined by the conditions in `which they appear. Hence the only forces that can be used in interpreting behavior are the forces that are formed as a result of the individual's experience" (p. 234).[17] But this inconsistency is only one of many equally glaring. Thus,

( 37) although his polemic is all directed against instincts and all other hereditary factors, yet: "It is true that the mother's care of her child may be regarded as determined by original nature. No doubt nature provides a mother with a love for her child as surely as it provides her with the organic changes. that make the care of the infant possible" (p. 145). Thus also, in the midst of his confused diatribe against all heredity, he interjects: "Such a position may be taken as a denial of the importance of heredity. In reality, however, it is not." And yet, if his argument here is not meant to refute all evidence for heredity (as it seems to be) it does not bear against the theory of instincts. The author's contention is that all development is a function of the environmental stimuli it may be summarised as follows: here are two cells in the ovary of a deer; both develope; one into a stag on whose head great antlers periodically grow up and which at times is easily excited to furious combat; the other develops into a doe which carries no antlers and which never fights. These differences between the two courses of development, which result in the male and female animals respectively, are due to the environmental stimuli; and it is as absurd to assume that the combative tendency of the male is due to some hereditary factor of his constitution as it is to suppose that the growth of his antlers is due to such a factor.

Professor Josey has grasped the truth that the normal development of an egg can only take place under a suitable environment upon which it may act and react and by which it may be acted upon. In the dazzling light of this discovery, he loses sight of the innate constitution of the organism or egg, and implies that all eggs are essentially alike, from the egg-cell of the worm to that of man. What else can be the purport of the following pas-

( 37) -sage, one of several similar ones? He refers to the "effort to explain our behavior in terms of conditions that affected our ancestors rather than in terms of conditions that affect us." And he goes on: "Criticism of this effort has occupied a large part of this essay, but in reality the criticism can be briefly stated. In fact, it is possible to reduce it to the dilemma. Either the behavior in the individual is caused by the same conditions that aroused the behavior in his ancestors, or it is not. If it is caused by the same conditions, there is no need to make an appeal to phylogny. If it is not caused by the same conditions, it is hard to understand how the behavior of remote ancestors under one set of conditions can be used as an explanation of the behavior of the individual under another set of conditions" (p. 244). This is a fair sample of the author's logic. I refrain from applying any adjective to it.[18] Or compare the following passages: "The course of development is to be regarded as determined by the give-and-take relations of the organism to its environment" (the context implies that "determined" here means "wholly and solely determined", for, if it does not, the whole argument is utterly pointless) : and, a few pages later, we find "the particular ovum and spermatazoon which produced us had an individuality of their own, which has exerted a powerful influence in determining our individual traits of character and physiology." Or compare again these two passages : "What is given innately is a tendency to react in a certain

( 39) way—provided a certain stimulus is presented"; and "In regard to the tendency to regard an impulse as innate because universal, it should be pointed out that universality may be brought about by the world in which man lives and the inevitableness of certain experiences. Universality, then, need not be regarded as a proof of innateness. For example, if it should be found that all living beings are at times afraid, this should not be taken as an indication that there is within all organisms a definite mass of the fear impulse awaiting an outlet. It would be simpler to regard this as due to the fact that conditions of living are uncertain for all living beings, who are at times afraid on account of the world of uncertainty and of painful experiences in which they live."

Professor Josey, in common with some other behaviorists, goes so far as to ask us to believe that sexual interests and activities (or the sexual impulses) are not rooted in any innate factors of our constitution. "When the sex impulse is so regarded, we have no difficulty in seeing that it, like all other interests and impulses, arises as the result of the experiences of the individual, and is to be regarded as such rather than the experiences regarded as the result of the impulseThe persistence and permanence of the impulse, like its universality, may better be regarded as due to the number of exciting stimuli, and the pleasure that accompanies the excitation" (p. 260). Thus we are asked to believe that love of man for woman, that strange madness to the description, exploration, and glorification of which the greatest poets and ten thousand writers of fiction and biography have devoted their utmost efforts, that madness which may raise a man to the loftiest heights or cast him to the lowest depths of degradation and despair, is rooted in nothing more than the fact that the titillation of certain skin-surfaces is apt to be accompanied by pleasure.

It would seem that Professor Josey has somehow come to believe that the theory of instinct makes some such assertions as follows : each germ-cell contains a large number of packets of compressed air (or sonic such units of energy or "force") which at intervals, throughout time life-history of the organism, detonate spontaneously, each one giving rise, in so doing, to an impulse or to a unit of behavior which is called an instinctive action. Only against some such theory would his polemic have any bearing. But no such theory has been proposed or implied by any intelligent person.

Professor Josey's general attitude of denial to man of all hereditary factors of any social importance places him among the group of "institutionalists" in social psychology; of which group

( 39) Professor Kantor seems to be the most prominent member. The view of this group seems to be a natural development of stimulus-response behaviorism. It maintains that, since every human action "arises out of the present situation" and is a mechanical response determined by the stimulus, all social behavior consists of reactions wholly determined by social stimuli; and these social stimuli are in the main social institutions. Therefore, the social psychologist need not concern himself at all with the nature of man, but only with the nature of the institutions that are the stimuli to social reactions. Is not this literally and in every sense a reactionary doctrine? It is the extreme outcome of the dogma of the tabula rasa. It would be useless to ask the exponents of this view how they would explain the fact that our domestic animals do not respond to these "social stimuli" in like manner with ourselves.

In conclusion, I would point out that naturalists, social scientists, educationists and psychiatrists continue to make fruitful application of the theory of instincts.[19]

It is the adoption of the theory of instincts by human psychology, or more generally stated, of the hormic theory, that, more than any other influence, has led to the present widespread interest of social scientists and social workers in pschology. The fact that so many of them have turned hopefully to psychology of this type and have found it to answer their need of theoretical interpretation of human conduct affords strong presumption that the theory is on the right lines, is an approximation to the truth; for psychological theories must be tested in the various fields of practical application. Such pragmatic testing is ultimately the only way of deciding between the claims of rival theories. And it is the practical workers with human nature, rather than the psychologists in their laboratories, or the philosophers in their armchairs, with whom this decision must lie. They have far more intimate contact with the problems and facts of human conduct than the most acute psychologist in the best equipped laboratory can achieve. Such. workers have, in very many cases, applied the theory of instincts crudely and have made unjustifiable deductions from it. But that fact surely does not justify psychologists in turning scornfully from the theory, or roundly condemning it, or refusing to take part in improving it, in correcting its errors and refining its conceptions. It is up to those psychologists who reject the theory of human instincts to formulate some theory of human nature that will take its place

(41) and prove more fruitful for the social scientists and the social workers. Until they can do that, their scorn for the theory of instincts must continue to make them appear a little ridiculous. Yet hitherto no constructive suggestion of any value in this direction has come from their camp. The pure behaviorists, followers of Dr. Watson, are in a position exactly comparable to that of the physician who should wilfully maintain a strictly empiric attitude asserting that he needs to know nothing of physiology and anatomy. Such a physician would assert that all he needs to know is that, when he gives. this or that drug, a certain effect follows; that he can generalize these observations and, by so doing, establish all the laws or rules that he needs for the guidance of his practice; and that he therefore refuses to concern himself with the interminable disputes among physiologists about the chemical and other problems of the organism; that it is enough for him to know as empirical generalization, what responses the human organism make to his "stimuli" (his drugs). The strict behaviorists, in rejecting psychology, in repudiating all attempts to describe human nature, are proceeding in a strictly analogous fashion. It is true that some of them make much play with the term "action-pattern" and that some of them in weak moments may talk about synaptic resistances. But the purely empiric physician might equally well generalize his observations on the effects of calomel in a statement of its action-pattern and in weak moments might even refer to the liver.

It is perhaps worth-while to point out that behaviorism enjoys the appearance of a much larger popular success than it can truly claim; this for two reasons. First, there is a widespread popular impression that it is the latest thing in psychology and that, if one wishes to appear to be up-to-date and in the swing, one must do lip service to behaviorism. Secondly, there are many practical workers, physicians and others, who express a general approval of behavioristic psychology; but who, in so doing, mean merely to endorse psychology of the type that does not neglect to observe and take full account of the facts of behavior, that does not rely on introspection alone for its data. That this is their meaning when they speak approvingly of behaviorism is especially clear in the case of those who pretend to combine it with Freudian psychology and the practice of psychoanalysis. For it is not open to question that the psychoanalyst makes use of the introspective reports of his patients, and that the Freudian theory, in spite of the deterministic claims sometimes made for it, is a form of the hormic theory of human nature.


  1. Read in part before The American Sociological Society at Washington, D. C., December 29, 1923.
  2. "The Use and Abuse of Instinct in Social Psychology." JOURNAL OF ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, 1922.
  3. If my criticism of some eminent persons should seem rude and gloveless, I would plead in excuse that trenchant mutual criticism among psychologists seems to be much needed at the present time.
  4. Psychological Review, Vol. 24. " The Need for Social Psychology,"
  5. I utterly fail to understand what virtue or merit may inhere in this practice, so fashionable among philosophers and psychologists, of abdicating, shirking their tasks and handing over their own proper problems to the tender mercies of physicists, chemists and physiologists. Perhaps this undue humility is due to their ignorance of those sciences, of their limitations, of their inadequacy to the problems of behavior. In this connection the following passage from the pen of a great physical chemist is relevant: "It is simple now to indicate what to my mind are the two errors that hinder progress. Both are monistic obsessions due to the mind in its innate desire to reduce everything to its simplest terms ending by trying to reduce everything to its simplest term. The first links up the two ends of the chain running in diametrically opposite directions into a grand circle and so gets the sublimated conceptions of the mental world inextricably mixed up with the physical. The second error is perhaps more common in the sphere of economics. It may be called "ultra-materialism" and is the attempt to derive the whole of the phenomena of life by continuous evolution from the inanimate world. We begin with a nebula of primordial material condensing into ever more complex forms, first to the light and then the heavy elements, then to chemical compounds up to the complex colloids. By a continuation of the sane processes such a complex results that it is continually decomposing and as continually regenerating itself. The inanimate molecules begin to live and life then runs through its course of evolution up to man. This may satisfy a biologist, but it fails to satisfy me as a chemist. I cannot conceive of inanimate mechanism obeying the laws of probability, by any continued series of successive steps developing the powers of choice and reproduction any more than I can envisage any increase in the complexity of an engine resulting in the production of the "engine-driver" and the power of its reproducing itself. I shall be told that this is a pontifical expression of personal opinion. Unfortunately, however, for their 'argument, inanimate mechanism happens to be my special study rather than that of the biologist. It is the invariable characteristic of all shallow and pretentious philosophy to seek the explanation of insoluble problems in some other field than that of which the philosopher has first-hand acquaintance. The biologist has first-hand knowledge of animate mechanism and seeks the origin of it in colloid chemistry. The test of the hypothesis is not so much what the biologist as what the chemist has to say about it. The difference to my mind between dead and living matter is much that between Niagara Falls thirty years ago and now, and is not to be explained by the laws which Niagara formerly obeyed, by the laws of pure probability, but by their opposite, the operations of intelligence, as typified in their most rudimentary form by Clerk-Maxwell's conception of the `sorting-demon'." Professor Frederick Soddy in Cartesian Economics, London, 1922.
  6. "Motives in the Light of Recent Discussion." Mind, 1920, and "Outline of Psychology," 1923.
  7. "The Foundations of Social Psychology." Psy. Rev., March, 1923.
  8. But, as Sir Leslie Stephen has said, "Human nature is compounded of too many elements, too intricately blended, for any offhand guesses of the cleverst philosopher to be of much value."
  9. F. H. Giddings "Studies in the Theory of Human Society."
  10. "A Son of the Middle Border."
  11. "Outline of Psychology," p. —.
  12. In this connection I would refer to three recent articles by Dr. R. C. Miller. ("The significance of the Gregarious Habit," Ecology, April, 1922, and two articles on the gregarious behavior of the coast bush-tit, in "The Condor," 1921.) Dr. Miller shows the high utility of the gregarious habit to these birds, its high survival value, and he shows very clearly the operation of what he calls "the spread of impulse" through the flock. By this phrase he denotes the fact that certain forms of behavior (especially flight and concealment and warning cries upon occasion of alarm) excite almost instantly similar behavior in all members of the flock that perceive them. This is the principle which, regarding it in its aspect of emotional excitement, I have called "the direct induction of emotion" or "primitive passive sympathy". It is true that Miller speaks of the gregarious or flock habit, rather than of gregarious instinct. But all his descriptions imply that the tendency is innate or hereditary.
  13. The "Social Philosophy of Instinct" by C. C. Josey, N. Y. 1922.
  14. This journal, 1923.
  15. Curiously enough, although he seems to have read Dr. E. B. Holt's "Freudian wish," he does not cite it in this connection.
  16. This intimate confusion of valid protests (against foolish application of or deduction from the theory) with criticism of the theory itself, lends a superficial plausibility to the whole discussion. But it is surely time to recognize that a theory cannot be refuted by showing that various authors have made use of it in a fanciful and inept manner. Yet this is the argument which is most frequently advanced against the theory.
  17. In all that he says about "forces, " Prof. Josey seems to be blissfully ignorant of the difficulties physicists encounter in attempting to give any intelligible account of latent or potential energies. His principles would lead him to condemn as a mystic, a primitive savage, or a' theologian, any chemist who should speak of latent energy in gunpowder, or should doubt that the explosion is wholly determined by the spark, that the energy of the explosion is wholly a function of the relations between the gunpowder and its environment and of the stimuli that fall upon the former. "Stimuli" he says "do not simply unlock stores of energy. Nor is there a store of energy or impulses in the organism seeking to find expression in various outlets. The energy on. impulse comes into existence when there is a certain. situation in the same way that a certain explosive force comes into existence when the various elements composing nitroglycerine are combined in a certain way and then set off. It would be a mistake to regard the explosive force as existing in the nitrogen, carbon, and other elements. It exists only in the combination, and then only when the combination is treated in a certain way. When instincts and emotions are so regarded we have no difficulty in understanding that they are acquisitions determined by the experience of the individual" (p. 244). So easy to a great intellect is the understanding of organisms! Our author ignores the fact that an organism, even or the most strictly mechanistic or deterministic view of it, is a marvelously adjusted system of potential chemical energies. In short, all that he says about forces is merely a confused and prolix statement of the fact that he himself accepts the strictly r deterministic view of organisms in general and of human action in particular.
  18. I would commend to Professor Josey's attention the ancient problem-Does the egg come out of the hen, or the hen come out of the egg? He will have no difficulty in showing to his own satisfaction that hen and egg have nothing to do with one another, because both of them and all their processes are products or functions of "the present situation". To say that the hen is, somehow or in some sense, potentially present in the egg would be, for him, mysticism, primitive animism, religion, or, worse still, vitalism. He poses for its the following brain-racking riddle: If the actions of an organism are the expressions of inherited instincts, then how did the ancestral organism from whom they are inherited manage to act at all before it acquired its instincts? His answer is that, since this hypothetical ancestor must have first acted without instincts in order to acquire them, each of us may and does act in the same way and thus acquires his so-called instincts as the hypothetical ancestor acquired his. Therefore, innate instinct is an otiose conception. Perhaps the logical gent for which we should be most thankful is the following passage: "Explanations in terms of. structure are supplemented by the use of instinct regarded as adaptations or habits of the species! The prevalence of this use of instinct makes it imperative that we examine it closely. In what way can instinct regarded as impulses that arose as a result of past conditions be used as an interpretation of present behavior?
    Unless psychology is to abandon its hope of interpreting behavior in terms of causes that are acting here and now, it should he apparent that appeals of the above sort to phylogeny are quite worthless. This may be clearly shown through a simple consideration: Either the behavior in question is the result of similar conditions that arouse it in the ancestors, or it is not. If the behavior is due to the same conditions in hot]) cases, obviously there is no need to make an appeal to phylogeny, since the conditions which excited the behavior in phylogeny may be regarded as amply sufficient to arouse it in ontogeny. That is to say, living organisms react to the same situation in the same way and for the same reason that their ancestors did. Hence, the ancestors' responses may well be neglected" (p. 183).
  19. As a good recent illustration of the fact I make reference to Professor L. D. Edie's recent book, "Principles of the New Economics."

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