CHAPTER IX
SOME IMPLICATIONS OF THIS INQUIRY

OUR concern in this inquiry has been the reconsideration of the concept of Instinct: an examination of its validity at the present day and the extent to which it is of use in Comparative Psychology and in the study of man. This task has now been more or less completed. Our discussion, however, contains many implications for other spheres of investigation. As Ernest Jones has remarked: the study of instinct is of importance in that it comprises a 'border-land territory', touching upon many related questions of great interest. All the implications we shall raise would repay much further thought, but they require a more detailed treatment than can be afforded them in a closing chapter. Still, our task would not be rounded off satisfactorily without some mention of them.

Perhaps we should point out that this piece of work has not been undertaken for its own sake, nor even for the sake of Comparative Psychology as such, but chiefly in order to explore the possibilities of establishing a reliable basis of psychological theory which would prove useful in the context of wider sociological theory. This interest, and some of the reasons why we have considered the task to be of importance, will emerge, it is hoped, during this final discussion of the few following pages.


1. The Implications for Comparative Psychology

It has become clear during the course of our discussion that the concept of Instinct is of central importance and utility in the comparative study of animal species. The 'Universe of Discourse' of Psychology is the positive study of experience and behaviour, and entails the investigation of all experience and behaviour manifested in all forms of organic life. In all animal species, without exception, a certain instinctual endowment (comprising some degree of correlation of the several features we have been at pains to clarify) is established by heredity; and we can now see that a classificatory scheme of levels of experience and behaviour, or 'levels of psychic organization'. can be constructed for comparative purposes on the basis of the degree of rigidity of the inherited correlation

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