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Extra info for Work and play : collected papers on the philosophy of psychology (1938-1963)

Example text

This, then, is an instance of causation without quantity being attached to the cause and to the effect. If, however, quantity loses its sense somewhat within the field of psychology, it becomes necessary to inquire into its use everywhere; maybe one would find out that the notion of quantity has within psychology but an analogous meaning and not univocally the same it is credited with on the level of matter. The very moment the term of analogy is introduced psychology is forced to give up certain ideas which, indeed, are not its own at all, but which were taken over, without the necessary critique, from science.

The psychologist is compelled, by the evidence of facts and the coercitive power of logical reasoning, to turn away from the modern – or still modern – conception of a thoroughgoing continuity; instead of assuming a series of transitions throughout the whole order of reality, he has to accept the idea of strata or levels existing together, related to each other, but nevertheless separated each from the other by an unbridgeable gulf. It is good to remember that the famous catchword natura non facit saltus is not the saying of a medieval philosopher but that it is contained in the works of the botanist Linnæus.

Irresistibility is not a fixed quality adhering to the impulse under all circumstances whatever and remaining unchanged when these circumstances are different. , temperature, acidity, concentration, etc. – become different. There is no reason to assume such an absolute constancy for impulses. The man who committed a crime because unhappily no policeman was in sight, is not held back by the idea of law, of crime, of punishment, or of their visible representative, the policeman; for an idea or a memory is never as powerful as an immediate and actual impression.

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