By Russell Bertrand
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The physiologist can discover that both depend upon the nervous system, and he may find that the movements which we call voluntary depend upon higher centres in the brain than those that are reflex. But he cannot discover anything as to the presence or absence of “will” or “consciousness,” for these things can only be seen from within, if at all. For the present, we wish to place ourselves resolutely in the position of outside observers; we will therefore ignore the distinction between voluntary and reflex movements.
Language, however, is a subject upon which I do not wish to speak until a later lecture. The popular conception of instinct errs by imagining it to be infallible and preternaturally wise, as well as incapable of modification. This is a complete delusion. Instinct, as a rule, is very rough and ready, able to achieve its result under ordinary circumstances, but easily misled by anything unusual. Chicks follow their mother by instinct, but when they are quite young they will follow with equal readiness any moving object remotely resembling their mother, or even a human being (James, “Psychology,” ii, 396).
Without condemning the intrinsic theory, we can define discomfort and pleasure as consisting in causal properties, and say only what will hold on either of the two theories. Following this course, we shall say: “Discomfort” is a property of a sensation or other mental occurrence, consisting in the fact that the occurrence in question stimulates voluntary or reflex movements tending to produce some more or less definite change involving the cessation of the occurrence. e. as to the state of affairs that will bring quiescence with cessation of the discomfort.