Analysis Mind by Russell Bertrand

By Russell Bertrand

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But when we come to the analysis and scientific understanding of the facts, the advantages on the side of self-knowledge become far less clear. We know, for example, that we have desires and beliefs, but we do not know what constitutes a desire or a belief. The phenomena are so familiar that it is difficult to realize how little we really know about them. 30 The Analysis of Mind We see in animals, and to a lesser extent in plants, behaviour more or less similar to that which, in us, is prompted by desires and beliefs, and we find that, as we descend in the scale of evolution, behaviour becomes simpler, more easily reducible to rule, more scientifically analysable and predictable.

We will call the two together “vital” movements. We may then distinguish “vital” from mechanical movements by the fact that vital movements depend for their causation upon the special properties of the nervous system, while mechanical movements depend only upon the properties which animal bodies share with matter in general. There is need for some care if the distinction between mechanical and vital movements is to be made precise. It is quite likely that, if we knew more about animal bodies, we could deduce all their movements from the laws of chemistry and physics.

H. Head, in a recent publication, has stated this distinction as follows:** This brings us to the question of the nature of discomfort and pleasure. Since Kant it has been customary to recognize three great divisions of mental phenomena, which are typified by knowledge, desire and feeling, where “feeling” is used to mean pleasure and discomfort. Of course, “knowledge” is too definite a word: the states of mind concerned are grouped together as “cognitive,” and are to embrace not only beliefs, but perceptions, doubts, and the understanding of concepts.

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