An Autobiography: Herbert Spencer - Vol. 2

By Herbert Spencer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XLIV. FINISHING THE PSYCHOLOGY.
1870-72. ¦T. 50-52.

WITH the ending of the first volume of the Psychology and the beginning of the second, a new kind of mental action was commenced. While the first volume, or, to speak strictly, the constructive part of it, is synthetic, the second volume is analytic. The process of taking to pieces our intellectual fabric and the products of its actions, until the ultimate components are reached, had now to be undertaken; and, among other things, it had to be shown that the structure of Mind, as ascertained in this way, corresponds with its structure as ascertained by tracing up its successive stages of development.

Was this change an agreeable one? I think I may say that it was. Not, indeed, intrinsically, but simply as involving another form of intellectual activity. And here, as being relevant to the question whether I liked best the synthetic or the analytic mode of thought, I may say something about my intellectual tendencies in relation to the two. A few years ago I saw it remarked that there appeared to be in me equal proclivities towards analysis and towards synthesis. Up to that time I had supposed myself to be alone in the recognition of this trait.

-260-

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