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Download PDF by Russell Bertrand: Analysis Mind

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By Russell Bertrand

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Sample text

The general description of the sort of phenomena that bear on our present question is as follows: A person states that his desires are so-and-so, and that it is these desires that inspire his actions; but the outside observer perceives that his actions are such as to realize quite different ends from those which he avows, and that these different ends are such as he might be expected to desire. Generally they are less virtuous than his professed desires, and are therefore less agreeable to profess than these are.

Thus the animal’s reflex and voluntary performances shade into each other gradually, being connected by acts which may often occur automatically, but may also be modified by conscious intelligence. “An outside observer, unable to perceive the accompanying consciousness, might be wholly at a loss to discriminate between the automatic acts and those which volition escorted. But if the criterion of mind’s existence be the choice of the proper means for the attainment of a supposed end, all the acts alike seem to be inspired by intelligence, for appropriateness characterizes them all alike.

There are first of all the movements which are “mechanical,” such as slipping and falling, where ordinary physical forces operate upon the animal’s body almost as if it were dead matter. An animal which falls over a cliff may make a number of desperate struggles while it is in the air, but its centre of gravity will move exactly as it would if the animal were dead. In this case, if the animal is killed at the end of the fall, we have, at first sight, just the characteristics of a cycle of actions embodying desire, namely, restless movement until the ground is reached, and then quiescence.

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Analysis Mind by Russell Bertrand

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