1902 Encyclopedia > Psychology > Relation of Feeling to Cognition and Conation

(Part 6)

(B) General Analysis of Mind. Its Ultimate Constituents. (cont.)

Relation of Feeling to Cognition and Conation

Broadly speaking, in any state of mind that we can directly observe, what we find is (1) that we are aware of a certain change in our sensations, thoughts, or circumstances, (2) that we are pleased or painted with the change, and (3) that we act accordingly. We never find that feeling directly alters—i.e., without the intervention of the action to which it prompts—either our sensations or situation, but that regularly these letter with remarkable promptness and certainty alter it. We have not first a change of feeling, and then a change in our sensations, perceptions, and ideas ; but, these changing, change of feeling follows. In short, feeling appears frequently to be an effect, which therefore cannot exist without its cause, though in different circumstances that same cause may produce a different amount or even a different state of feeling. Turning from what we may call the receptive phase of consciousness to the active or appetitive phase, we find in like manner that feeling is certainly not, in such cases as we can clearly observe, the whole of consciousness at any moment. True, in common speech we talk of liking pleasure an disliking pain; but his is either tautology, equivalent to saying, we are pleased when we are pleased and pained when we are pained, or else it is an allowable abbreviation, and means that we like pleasurable objects and dislike painful objects, as when we say, we like feeling warm and dislike feeling hungry. And feeling warm or feeling hungry, we must remember, is not pure feeling in the strict sense of the word. Such states admit, if not of description, yet at least of identification and distinction as truly as colours and sounds do. Within the limits of some more or less definite presentation which for the sake of it becomes the object of appetite or aversion ; in other words, feeling implies a relation to a pleasurable or painful presentation, that, as cause of feeling and end of the action to which feeling prompts, is doubly distinguished feeling from cognition and conation make against the hypothesis that consciousness can ever be all feeling.

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