Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Dictionary of philosophy and psychology including many of the principal conceptions of ethics, logics, aesthetics ... and giving a terminology in English, French, German and Italian, vol. 2 [lead-zwing]
Baldwin, James Mark
§ i ), and he himself regards thinking as a special 
case of it—the case in which perception 
involves voluntary attention. Hume’s usage 
is similar. The first English writer who 
made a serious attempt to give a precise and 
circumscribed meaning to the word perception 
is Reid. His views, so far as they are psycho¬ 
logical and not epistemological, agree in 
substance with those of modern psychologists. 
On the one hand he distinguishes perception 
from sensation, and on the other from ideal 
revival. The word sensation connotes only 
subjective state produced by an external 
stimulus without implying any awareness of 
an object. To have a sensation is merely to 
have a certain kind of feeling due to an im¬ 
pression on the organs of sense. Pure sensation 
would be purely affective consciousness (see 
Affection). To have a perception is to be 
aware of an object by means of a present 
sensation. Perception is sensation only in so far 
as sensation conveys a meaning. ‘ I perceive 
a tree that grows before my window ; there, 
is here an object which is perceived, and an 
act of the mind by which it is perceived. . . . 
The object is made up of a trunk, branches, 
and leaves ; but the act of the mind by which 
it is perceived hath neither trunk, branches, 
nor leaves. I find nothing that resembles it 
so much as the remembrance of the tree, or 
the imagination of it’ (Reid, Works, Hamil¬ 
ton’s ed., i. 183). Modern psychologists in 
general follow Reid in distinguishing between 
perception and sensation on the one hand, 
and perception and ideal revival on the other ; 
but many of them refuse to make these dis¬ 
tinctions so sharp and clear-cut as Reid 
makes them. There is a tendency to regard 
the distinction between sensation and per¬ 
ception as one of degree, and to treat ideal 
revival as merely a perception reinstated in 
a fainter form. A tendency to regard the 
distinction between sensation and perception 
as one of degree may take two forms ; on the 
one hand, it may be denied that pure sensa¬ 
tion as mere subjective state without cognitive 
function ever actually exists : this position 
may be held while the distinction between 
sensation and perception is in principle 
sharply recognized. On the other hand, it 
may be held that the difference between 
sensation and perception is merely one of 
complexity. On this view, what is called 
perception is actual sensation modified and 
supplemented by the revived residua of past 
sensations. Thus the distinction between 
sensation and perception has in principle dis¬ 
appeared ; it is regarded as merely a matter 
of degree. The second position is well repre¬ 
sented by James and Titchener; but there 
is this important difference between them, 
that whereas James reduces sensation to per¬ 
ception, Titchener reduces perception to 
‘ It is impossible to draw any sharp line of 
distinction between the barer and the richer 
consciousness, because the moment we get 
beyond the first crude sensation all our con¬ 
sciousness is a matter of suggestion, and the 
various suggestions shade gradually into each 
other, being one and all products of the same 
psychological machinery of association. In 
the directer consciousness fewer, in the re¬ 
moter more, associative processes are brought 
into play’ (James, Princ. of Psychol., ii. 
76). In general, those who regard the dis¬ 
tinction between sensation and perception 
as one of degree of complexity, also tend to 
minimise the difference between perception and 
ideal revival. At the present day this position 
is best represented in the school of Wundt, 
of which we may take Titchener as a typical 
representative. ‘ Perceptions and ideas are, 
both alike, groups of sensations ; and, both 
alike, groups of sensations which are held 
together by the command of nature. They 
differ solely in this respect: that, when we 
perceive, the object which arouses the sensa¬ 
tions is actually before us, appealing to 
various sense-organs ; whereas, when we 
have an idea, the object is not before us, but 
the sensations are set up inside the brain 
without any disturbance of the organs on the 
surface of the body ’ (Primer of Psychol., 
95). In his Outlines of Psychology, Titchener 
applies the word idea both to perception 
itself and to the mental reproduction of it. 
The whole theory is based on the assumption 
that there are certain ultimate elements called 
sensations, and that the whole fabric of cog¬ 
nitive consciousness is built up by compound¬ 
ing these in more or less complex forms. This 
is a view which the writers are unable to 
accept. Ideational consciousness does not 
seem to be merely a more faint and imperfect 
reinstatement of perceptual consciousness. If, 
on the one hand, it contains less than percep¬ 
tual consciousness, on the other hand it con¬ 
tains more. Cf. Stout, Analytic Psychol., ii. 
31 ff. (G.F.S.-J.M.B.) 
In German the word Perception is not 
clearly distinguished from Wahrnehmung (cf. 
Terminology, German, sub verbis). Wundt 
defines Perception as ‘Wahrnehmung which 


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