PART III. .
FEELING

CHAPTER XVI.
NATURE AND DIVISIONS OF SENSIBILITY.1

§ 1. NATURE OF SENSIBILITY.

Definition. The term sensibility has been used heretofore as almost synonymous with consciousness; at least the assumption has been made that when consciousness is once reached, sensibility or feeling is its primary and most general characteristic.

Empirical observation justifies this assumption. Our final interpretation of all mental facts in common life is in terms of personal feeling. How do I know that I am willing a given act of conduct? Because I feel the act of will. My immediate ground of confidence is a qualitative state of being affected, which I have learned to distinguish in my experience under the name will. How again do I reach the assurance that I am thinking and not willing? By a similar awareness of feeling. I am affected in the way which I call thought. The original awareness of consciousness, therefore, is an affective state, and sensibility, feeling, is its first content.

If this be true, we would expect to find feeling everywhere in the mental life. It would be a more or less prominent accompaniment of all possible states of consciousness. This view, though generally admitted by psychologists, is only partially accounted for on many of

____________________
1
Cf. Handbook of Psychology, vol. ii. chap. iii.

-222-

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