The materialistic point of view in psychology can claim, at best, only the value of an heuristic hypothesis.
We speak of virtue, honour, reason; but our thought does not translate any one of these concepts into a substance.
Physiology and psychology cover, between them, the field of vital phenomena; they deal with the facts of life at large, and in particular with the facts of human life.
The results of ethnic psychology constitute, at the same time, our chief source of information regarding the general psychology of the complex mental processes.
Physiological psychology is, therefore, first of all psychology.
Now, there are a very large number of bodily movements, having their source in our nervous system, that do not possess the character of conscious actions.
Physiology is concerned with all those phenomena of life that present them selves to us in sense perception as bodily processes, and accordingly form part of that total environment which we name the external world.
The distinguishing characteristics of mind are of a subjective sort; we know them only from the contents of our own consciousness.
Hence, even in the domain of natural science the aid of the experimental method becomes indispensable whenever the problem set is the analysis of transient and impermanent phenomena, and not merely the observation of persistent and relatively constant objects.
Physiological psychology, on the other hand, is competent to investigate the relations that hold between the processes of the physical and those of the mental life.
Philosophical reflection could not leave the relation of mind and spirit in the obscurity which had satisfied the needs of the naive consciousness.
Physiology seeks to derive the processes in our own nervous system from general physical forces, without considering whether these processes are or are not accompanied by processes of consciousness.
In the animal world, on the other hand, the process of evolution is characterised by the progressive discrimination of the animal and vegetative functions, and a consequent differentiation of these two great provinces into their separate departments.
The attitude of physiological psychology to sensations and feelings, considered as psychical elements, is, naturally, the attitude of psychology at large.
The task of physiological psychology remains the same in the analysis of ideas that it was in the investigation of sensations: to act as mediator between the neighbouring sciences of physiology and psychology.
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