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of those which are purely reflex and instinctive ; so that if we did not resemble the lower animals in performing the latter we should never be capable of the former; and if this were the case—if we could not perform a voluntary act—there would be no use in considering what act would be best. This means there would be no use in reasoning ; for sooner or later all reasoning in this world has reference to some possible act. Therefore, as man is actually constituted, his being rational is connected in the closest possible way with being an animal, subject to all sorts of impressions from the world outside, and bound to respond sooner or later to these impressions by some kind of action.
The advantage which man possesses of being able to stop and consider how to act longer than any of the other animals is not without its dangers. To let an opportunity for action
go by is often quite as fatal as to act rather stupidly. A fox >
that considered too long because he feared a trap would soon starve to death, and a man who never did anything until it was too late would get along as badly as one who acted on every impulse as soon as it arose. What we need is some way of combining the advantages of both kinds of action, the wisdom of the deliberate with the rapidity of the purely reflex or impulsive ; and this we get in a large measure through our capacity for forming habits. When an act has been advantageous we tend to do it again under similar circumstances, and every time we repeat it it becomes more spontaneous, easy and rapid, until at last it becomes to all intents and purposes purely instinctive or reflex. These results of habit are very useful in the main. Of course habit has its drawbacks as well as its advantages; for occasionally we form habits that are bad from the beginning, and some
times an exceptional condition of things will make a mode i of action which is generally good extremely inappropriate.
But the race would not have acquired and kept the habitforming tendency at all except in adjustment to a world in which there is uniformity enough to make it profitable.
Mental anticipations are one form of habit. These do not seem to come at first in the form of anything so definite as a judgment. The new-born child does not say "Now I shall see this or feel that'. He does not ask 'Is it to be so or is it not ?' and then answer his own question in the affirmative. There is no antithesis between 'Yes' and 'No'. There is only a purely reflex expectation The image of the anticipated experience enters the mind and fills it. But the anticipation comes nevertheless, and thus in the imagination, as in the muscles, the nervous system produces a very naïve and elementary form of expectation. This expectation when it arises is not, as some philosophers used to think, derived from any ‘innate principle' or 'implicit' or 'unconscious' thought that nature is always uniform; but in each particular case the particular expectation arises spontaneously and mechanically as a result of 1 habit.
All this is only to say that man is a creature of habit because he has to live in a world in which Nature is uniform. It does not tell how we came to believe in that uniformity. The blind tendency to form habits and thus act as though order were to be expected in the world is something very different from the explicit thought that it exists; and yet without the former it is difficult to see how we could have gained the latter. The process by which the one leads to the other is something like the following.
As the child gets along in life and his expectations are sometimes disappointed he gains a sense of the difference between the images and expectations that arise from within and the experiences that come from without, i.e., between thoughts and realities; and at the same time he gains a sense of the difference between the thoughts that correspond to the realities and those that do not; i.e., between the true which he can welcome with the judgment ‘Yes, it is so’ and the false that he must reject with the judgment “ No, it is not so'. Some of his expectations, however, are neither grati
fied immediately nor finally disappointed, but only delayed. If he smells something good to eat he may have to wait before he can get it or even see it. But everything that he does in the interval is done with the anticipated experience in mind, and thus his activity takes the form of a search.
Thus a period of delay between two connected experiences produces a modification in the original association. It is now no longer a matter of smell and sight or taste, but of smell, expectation and search, and then sight or taste. Moreover, the period of expectation and search is sometimes longer and sometimes shorter, and consequently if the child had to go away some day without finding the object of his search he would still think of it as there and picture himself finding it at the end of a longer search; so that at last he might say to himself, “When you get the smell (or other sign, whatever it is) you can always find the object if you look long enough ’. In some such way as this we come to believe that a uniform connection between two given circumstances exists whether we happen to observe it or not. The same sort of experience taking place in a thousand other relations, we learn with each one of them to look for the circumstance that is necessary to fulfil our spontaneous expectations, or, in other words, to look for the relations of things necessary to make our experience of the world uniform.
In cases where our expectations are not only delayed but positively disappointed, the disappointment or surprise is apt to prick our attention and make us notice the presence of some variation in the conditions that we had not observed at first; and if this circumstance happens to be connected in any real way with our disappointment and the experience is repeated, we soon learn to modify our expectations and to say “ When A is present expect B, except when C is present also '. In this way our expectations of uniformity become more and more refined. Moreover, since the feeling of surprise is present in every case of disappointed expectations, if the feeling once makes us open our eyes and look around for the relation necessary to make our experience uniform and if the search proves useful, we shall be more likely to look around the next time we are surprised; and thus form the general habit of seeking for uniformities when they are not apparent.
Even this habit of seeking for uniformities in all the situations in which we are placed is something different from a formal conviction that Nature is always uniform, just as the habit of meeting one's obligations is different from any theory that he should be honest; but for practical purposes the habit without the theory is better than the theory without the habit. The habit alone is sufficient to give the practical confidence in uniformity with which induction starts. When the logician asks the man of sound sense and practical usefulness what reason he has for believing that the uniformity he looks for is always present the answer will probably not satisfy the logician. The man has never tried to give his habit of thought a logical basis; perhaps he has hardly recognized that he had it.
It was merely one of the unconscious products of his nature that happened to help keep him alive. Yet, after all, when the general truth that Nature is always uniform does dawn upon us and does become explicitly recognized, it is through the habit. For if the question of the uniformity of Nature is ever put to us in this general way, we try to think of some situation in which we should not or could not feel the impulse to seek uniformity whether we actually found it or not, and when we cannot think of any we agree that uniformity is always to be sought; and this implies that it always exists.
There is nothing in the world but a vast number of things of various kinds acting upon each other in various ways
under various circumstances, and we cannot possibly conceive of an event which could not
be explained, if we knew enough about it, as due to the action of a thing or things of some particular kind
Its two main aspects.
under some particular kind of circumstance. This is only another way of saying that the uniformities we expect to find in the world take two main aspects, one of which is indicated by the term 'thing' and the other by the term 'circumstance'.
This distinction we make between things and circumstances enables us to find uniformity in phenomena even when they are not precisely alike. If the same series of phenomena should persist or recur with absolutely no variation, like the notes in a piece of music reeled off by a machine, the distinction between things and circumstances would not be necessary; each part would be determined in every respect by its relation to the inflexible whole, and there would be no other particular part to which it bore any special relation. But, as our experience actually occurs, this is not the case. Experience is capable of infinite variation, and still it can be reduced to uniformity of the sort that we believe in by distinguishing between these two aspects, the thing-aspect and the circumstance-aspect, and by supposing that either the thing or the circumstance can be changed while the other remains the same, or that both can be changed or remain the same together. In this way our belief in uniformity does not require us to expect an absolute repetition events except when things and circumstances are both the same.
To explain first of all what we mean by the thing-aspect of uniformity. We distinguish between different things, and therefore this thing-aspect of uniformity does not mean that all things are alike. For if everything in the world were to appear and act precisely like everything else no one would be able to distinguish his hat from the cat or a bar of soap, and there would be no reason why he should. On the other hand, if everything in the world were not only to appear different and act differently from everything else, but were also to be continually changing its appearance and mode of acting in a perfectly arbitrary way, it would still be impossible to distinguish between one thing and another, for the