Tuesday, August 26, 2014

JamesMill. Analysis of the phenomena of the human mind.2e. 1878. 10. Memory.


“The science of metaphysics, as it regards the mind, is, in its most important respects, a science of analysis; and we carry on our analysis, only when we suspect that what is regarded by others as an ultimate principle, admits of still finer evolution into principles still more elementary.” Inquiry into the Relation of Cause and Effect, by Thomas Brown, M.D. P. iv. s. i. p. 331.

IT has been already observed that if we had no other state of consciousness than sensation, we never could have any knowledge, excepting that of the present instant. The moment each of our sensations ceased, it would be gone, for ever; and we should be as if we had never been.
The same would be the case if we had only ideas in addition to sensations. The sensation would be one state of consciousness, the idea another state of consciousness. But if they were perfectly insulated; the one having no connexion with the other; the idea, after the sensation, would give me no more information, than one sensation after another. We should still have the consciousness of the present instant, and nothing more. We should be wholly incapable of acquiring experience, and accommodating our actions to the laws of nature. Of course we could not continue to exist.
Even if our ideas were associated in trains, but only as they are in Imagination, we should still be without the capacity of acquiring knowledge. One idea, upon this supposition, would follow another. But that would be all. Each of our successive states of consciousness, the moment it ceased, would be gone for ever. Each of those momentary states would be our whole being.
Such, however, is not the nature of man. We have states of consciousness, which are connected with past states. I hear a musical air; I recognise it as the air which was sung to me in my infancy. I have an idea of a ghost; I recognise the terror with which, when I was alone in the dark, that idea, in my childish years, was accompanied. Uniting in this manner the present with the past, and not otherwise, I am susceptible of knowledge; I am capable of ascertaining the qualities of things; that is, their power of affecting me; and of knowing in what circumstances what other circumstances will take place. Suppose that my present state of consciousness is the idea of putting my finger in the flame of the candle. I recognise the act as a former act (87) and this recognition is followed by another, namely, that of the pain which I felt immediately after. This part of my constitution, which is of so much importance to me, I find it useful to name. And the name I give to it is MEMORY. When the memory of the past is transferred into an anticipation of the future, by a process which will be explained hereafter, it gets the name of experience; and all our power of avoiding evil, and obtaining good, is derived from it. Unless I remembered that my finger had been in the flame of the candle; and unless I anticipated a similar consequent, from a similar antecedent, I should touch the flame of the candle, after being burned by it a hundred times, just as I should have done, if neither burning nor any of its causes had ever formed part of my consciousness.

[87 The recognition of an act as a former act, or of a present sensation as having formerly occurred, is a phrase of the intellectual power named consciousness of Agreement, or Similarity, which is both an essential of our Knowledge, and a means of mental Reproduction. The defectiveness of the author’s view of this function of the intellect has been elsewhere commented on. B.]

Our inquiry is, what this part of our constitution, so highly important to us, is composed of. All inquirers are agreed, that it is complex; but what the elements are into which it may be resolved, has not been very successfully made out.
It is proper to begin with the elements which are universally acknowledged. Among them, it is certain, that IDEAS are the fundamental part. Nothing is remembered but through its IDEA. The memory, however, of a thing, and the idea of it, are not the same. The idea may be without the memory; but the memory cannot be without the idea. The idea of an elephant may occur to me, without the thought of its having been an object of my senses. But I cannot have the thought of its having been an object of my senses, without having the idea of the animal at the same time. The consciousness, therefore, which I call memory, is an idea, but not an idea alone; it is an idea and something more. So far is our inquiry narrowed. What is that which, combined with an idea, constitutes memory?
That memory may be, the idea must be. In what manner is the idea produced?
We have already seen in what manner an idea is called into existence by association. It is easy to prove that the idea which forms part of memory is called up in the same way, and no other. If I think of any case of memory, I shall always find that the idea, or the sensation which preceded the memory, was one of those which are calculated, according to the laws of association, to call up the idea involved in that case of memory; and that it was by the preceding idea, or sensation, that the idea of memory was in reality brought into the mind. I have not seen a person with whom I was formerly intimate for a number of years; nor have I, during all that interval, had occasion to think of him. Some object which had been frequently presented to my senses along with him, or the idea of something with which I have strongly associated the idea of him, occurs to me; instantly the memory of him exists. The friend with whom I had often seen him in company, accidentally meets rne; a letter of his which had been long unobserved, falls under my eye; or an observation which he was fond of producing, is repeated in my hearing; these are circumstances all associated with the idea of the individual in question; the idea of him is excited by them, and with the mere idea of the man, all the other circumstances which constitute memory.
The necessary dependence of memory upon association, may be proved still more rigidly in this way. It has been already observed, that we cannot call up any idea by willing it. When we are said to will, there must be in the mind, the idea of what is willed. “Will, without an idea,” are incongruous terms; as if one should say, “I can will, and will nothing.” But if the idea of the thing willed, must be in the mind, as a condition of willing, to will to have an idea in the mind, is to will to have that in it, which, by the supposition, is in it already.
There is a state of mind familiar to all men, in which we are said to try to remember. In this state, it is certain that we have not in the mind the idea which we are trying to have in it. How then is it, that we proceed in the course of our endeavour to procure its introduction into the mind? If we have not the idea itself, we have certain ideas connected with it. We run over those ideas, one after another, in hopes that some one of them will suggest the idea we are in quest of; and if any of them does, it is always one so connected with it, as to call it up in the way of association. I meet an old acquaintance, whose name I do not remember, and wish to recollect. I run over a number of names, in hopes that some of them may be associated with the idea of the individual. I think of all the circumstances in which I have seen him engaged; the time when I knew him, the place in which I knew him, the persons along with whom I knew him, the things he did, or the things he suffered; and, if I chance upon any idea with which the name is associated, then immediately I have the recollection; if not, my pursuit of it is in vain. (88)

[88 This process seems best expressed by laying down a law of Compound or Composite Association; under which a plurality of feeble links of connexion may be a substitute for one powerful and self-sufficing link. B.
[The laws of compound association are the subject of one of the most original and profound chapters of Mr. Bain’s treatise (The Senses and the Intellect. Part ii. Chap. 3.). Ed.]]

There is another set of cases, very familiar, but affording very important evidence on the subject. It frequently happens, that there are matters which we desire not to forget. What is the contrivance to which we have recourse for preserving the memory; that is, for making sure that it will be called into existence, when it is our wish that it should. All men, invariably employ the same expedient. They endeavour to form an association between the idea of the thing to be remembered, and some sensation, or some idea, which they know beforehand will occur at or near the time when they wish the remembrance to be in their minds. If this association is formed, and the sensation or the idea, with which it has been formed, occurs; the sensation, or idea, calls up the remembrance; and the object of him who formed the association is attained. To use a vulgar instance; a man receives a commission from his friend, and, that he may not forget it, ties a knot on his handkerchief. How is this fact to be explained? First of all, the idea of the commission is associated with the making of the knot. Next, the handkerchief is a thing which it is known beforehand will be frequently seen, and of course at no great distance of time from the occasion on which the memory is desired. The handkerchief being seen, the knot is seen, and this sensation recalls the idea of the commission, between which and itself, the association had been purposely formed.
What is thus effected through association with a sensation, may be effected through association with an idea. If there is any idea, which I know will occur to me at a particular time, I may render myself as sure of recalling any thing which I wish to remember at that time, by associating it with this idea, as if I associated it with a sensation. Suppose I know that the idea of Socrates will be present to my mind at twelve o’clock this day week: if I wish to remember at that time something which I have to do, my purpose will be gained, if I establish between the idea of Socrates, and the circumstance which I wish to remember, such an association that the one will call up the other.
A very remarkable application of this principle offers itself to our contemplation, in the artificial memory which was invented by the ancient orators and rhetoricians. The orator made choice of a set of objects, sufficient in number to answer his purpose. The ideas of those objects he taught himself, by frequent repetition, to pass through his mind in one constant order. The objects which he chose were commonly such as aided him in fixing them according to a certain order in his memory; the parts, for example, of some public building, or other remarkable assemblage. Having so prepared himself, the mode in which he made use of his machinery was as follows. The topics or sentiments of his speech were to follow in a certain order. The parts of the building he had chosen as his instrument had previously been taught to follow by association, in a certain order. With the first of these, then, he associated the first topic of his discourse; with the second, the second, and so on. The first part of the building suggested the first topic; the second, the second; and each another, to the end of his discourse. (89)

[89 The conditions of the success of this expedient are interesting to study as illustrations of the working of association. The supposition is that the parts of the building are perfectly coherent in the mind, that they can recall each other easily and rapidly. The advantage gained will depend entirely upon the superior facility of attaching a head of discourse to the visible appearance of a room, as compared with the facility of attaching it to a previous head. If we can form an enduring bond between a topic and the picture of an interior, by a smaller mental effort than is necessary to conjoin two successive topics, there is a gain by the employment of the device; the difference of the two efforts is the measure of the gain. Probably the result would depend upon the relative force of the pictorial and the verbal memory in the individual mind. In minds where the pictorial element prevails, there might be a positive advantage; in cases where the pictorial power is feeble and the verbal power strong, there would almost certainly be a dead loss. B.]

We not only have ideas of memory, individually taken; that is, separately, each by itself; as in the instances which we have just been considering: we have also trains of such ideas. All narratives of events which ourselves have witnessed are composed of such trains. The ideas forming those trains do not follow one another in a fortuitous manner. Each succeeding idea is called up by the one which precedes it; and every one of these successions takes place according to a law of association. After a lapse of many years, I see the house in which my father died. Instantly a long train of the circumstances connected with him rise in my mind: the sight of him on his death-bed; his pale and emaciated countenance; the calm contentment with which he looked forward to his end; his strong solicitude, terminating only with life, for the happiness of his son; my own sympathetic emotions when I saw him expire; the mode and guiding principles of his life; the thread of his history; and so on. In this succession of ideas, each of which is an idea of memory, there is not a single link which is not formed by association; not an idea which is not brought into existence by that which precedes it.
Whensoever there is a desire to fix any train in the memory, all men have recourse to one and the same expedient. They practise what is calculated to create a strong association. The grand cause of strong associations is repetition. This, accordingly, is the common resource. If any man, for example, wishes to remember a passage of a book, he repeats it a sufficient number of times. To the man practised in applying the principle of association to the phenomena in which it is concerned, the explication of this process presents itself immediately. The repetition of one word after another, and of one idea after another, gives the antecedent the power of calling up the consequent from the beginning to the end of that portion of discourse, which it is the purpose of the learner to remember.
That the remembrance is produced in no other way, is proved by a decisive experiment. For, after a passage has been committed to memory in the most perfect manner, if the learner attempts to repeat it in any other order than that, according to which the association was formed, he will fail. A man who has been accustomed to repeat the Lord’s Prayer, for example, from his infancy, will, if he has never tried it, find the impossibility of repeating it backwards, small as the number is of the words of which it consists.
That words alone, without ideas, suggest one another in a train, is proved by our power of repeating a number of words of an unknown language. (90) And, it is worth observing, that the power of arithmetical computation is dependent upon the same process. Thus, for example, when a child learns the multiplication table, and says, 11 times 11 is 121, or 12 times 12 is 144, he annexes no ideas to those words; but, by force of repetition, the expression 12 times 12 instantly calls up the expression 144, or 11 times 11 the expression 121, and so upwards from twice 2, with which he begins. In illustrating the mode in which repetition makes association more and more easy, I used the process of arithmetical addition as a striking example. Persons little accustomed to the process perform it with great difficulty; persons much accustomed to it, with astonishing facility. In men of the first class, the association is imperfectly formed, and the several antecedent expressions slowly suggest the proper consequent ones; in those of the latter class the association is very perfectly formed, and the expressions suggest one another with the greatest expedition and ease.

[90 There is here a lapse, of mere expression. The meaning is not that words suggest one another without ideas; words do not suggest words, but the ideas of words. The author intended to say that words, or the ideas of them, often suggest the ideas of other words (forming a series) without suggesting along with them any ideas of the things which, those words signify. Ed.]

Thus far we have proceeded with facility. In Memory there are ideas, and those ideas both rise up singly, and are connected in trains by association. The same occurs in Imagination. Imagination consists of ideas, both suggested singly, and connected in trains, by association. This is the whole account of Imagination. But Memory is not the same with Imagination. We all know, when we say, we imagine a thing, that we have not the same meaning, as when we say, we remember it. Memory, therefore, has in it all that Imagination has; but it must also have something more. We are now, then, to inquire what that additional something is.
There are two cases of Memory. One is, when we remember sensations. The other is, when we remember ideas. The first is, when we remember what we have seen, felt, heard, tasted, or smelt. The second is, when we remember what we have thought, without the intervention of the senses. I remember to have seen and heard George III, when making a speech at the opening of his Parliament. This is a case of sensation. I remember my conceptions of the Emperor Napoleon and his audience, when I read the account of his first address to the French Chambers. This is a case of ideas.
We shall consider the case of sensations first. What is it to remember any thing I have seen?
First, there is the idea of it; and that idea brought into existence by association.
But, in Memory, there is not only the idea of the thing remembered; there is also the idea of my having seen it. Now these two, 1, the idea of the thing, 2, the idea of my having seen it, combined, make up, it will not be doubted, the whole of that; state of consciousness which we call memory. (91)

[91 The doctrine which the author thinks “will not be doubted” is more than doubted by most people, and in my judgment rightly. To complete the memory of seeing the thing, I must have not only the idea of the thing, and the idea of my having seen it, but the belief of my having seen it; and even this is not always enough; for I may believe on the authority of others that I have seen a thing which I have no remembrance of seeing. Ed.]

But what is it we are to understand by what I have called “the idea of my having seen the object?” This is a very complex idea; and, in expounding, clearly, to the comprehension of persons, not familiar with these solutions, the import and force of a very complex idea, lies all the difficulty of the case.
It will be necessary for such persons to call to mind the illustrations they have already contemplated of the remarkable case of association, in which a long train of ideas is called up so rapidly as to appear but one idea; and also the other remarkable case, in which one idea is so strongly associated with another, that it is out of our power to separate them. Thus, when we use the word battle, the mind runs over the train of countless acts, from the beginning of that operation to the end; and it does this so rapidly, that the ideas are all clustered into one, which it calls a battle. In like manner, it clusters a series of battles, and all the intermediate operations, into one idea, and calls it a campaign; also several campaigns into one idea, and calls it a war. Of the same nature is the compound idea, which we denote by the word year; and the still more compound idea, which we denote by the word century. The mind runs over a long train of ideas, and combines them so closely to gether, that they assume the appearance of a single idea; to which, in the one case, we assign the name year, in the other, the name century.
In my remembrance of George III., addressing the two Houses of Parliament, there is, first of all, the mere idea, or simple apprehension; the conception as it is sometimes called, of the objects. There is combined with this, to make it memory, my idea of my having seen and heard those objects. And this combination is so close, that it is not in my power to separate them. I cannot have the idea of George III.; his person and attitude, the paper he held in his hand, the sound of his voice while reading from it, the throne, the apartment, the audience; without having the other idea along with it, that of my having been a witness of the scene.
Now, in this last-mentioned part of the compound, it is easy to perceive two important elements; the idea of my present self, the remembering self; and the idea of my past self, the remembered or witnessing self. These two ideas stand at the two ends of a portion of my being; that is, of a series of my states of consciousness. That series consists of the successive states of my consciousness, intervening between the moment of perception, or the past moment, and the moment of memory, or the present moment. What happens at the moment of memory? The mind runs back from that moment to the moment of perception. That is to say, it runs over the intervening states of consciousness, called up by association. But “to run over a number of states of consciousness, called up by association,” is but another mode of saying, that “we associate them;” and in this case we associate them so rapidly and closely, that they run, as it were, into a single point of consciousness, to which the name MEMORY is assigned.
If this explanation of the case in which we remember sensations is understood, the explanation of the case in which we remember ideas cannot occasion much of difficulty. I have a lively recollection of Polyphemus’s cave, and the actions of Ulysses and the Cyclops, as described by Homer. In this recollection there is, first of all, the ideas, or simple conceptions of the objects and acts; and along with these ideas, and so closely combined as not to be separable, the idea of my having formerly had those same ideas. And this idea of my having formerly had those ideas, is a very complicated idea; including the idea of myself of the present moment remembering, and that of myself of the past moment conceiving; and the whole series of the states of consciousness, which intervened between myself remembering, and myself conceiving.
If we contemplate forgetfulness, not memory, we shall see how completely the account of it confirms the account we have just rendered of memory. Every case of forgetfulness, is a case of weakened, or extinct, association. Some years ago, I could repeat a certain discourse with accuracy and ease, from beginning to end; attempting it, the other day, I was unable to repeat more than a few sentences. The reason is obvious. The last of the words and ideas which occurred to me failed to suggest the following; that is to say, the association which formerly existed between them was dissolved.
A remarkable piece of natural scenery, composed of mountains, woods, rivers, lakes, ocean, flocks, herds, cultivated fields, gay cottages, and splendid palaces, of which I had a lively recollection many years ago, presents itself to me now very much faded: in other words, a great variety of the circumstances, which make up the detail and minute features of the scene, were formerly remembered by me, but are now for gotten. And how forgotten? The manner is obvious. The greater features, which I still remember, had formerly the power of calling up the smaller along with them, and the whole scene was revived; the association gradually declining, the great objects have no longer the power to excite the idea of the small; and they are therefore gone from me for ever.
There are things of which I have so entirely lost the recollection, that it never can be revived. The meaning is, that the associations which were formed between the ideas of them, and other ideas, are so completely dissolved, that none of my present ideas has the power of exciting them.
It is observable, that sensations have a stronger power to excite recollections than is possessed by ideas. (92) A man, after an absence of many years, revisits the scenes of his infancy: a variety of circumstances crowd into his memory, which, but for the scene before him, would never have been remembered again. These are the circumstances between which, and the perception of the pristine objects, the association is not yet dissolved. There are other circumstances, without number, which (the association being completely dissolved) not even that perception can revive, and which never can be remembered more.

[92 This is for no other reason than the superior intensity or impressiveness of the actual as compared with the ideal. Although as a rule, the sensation has a greater hold of the mind, than the corresponding idea, there are exceptions. An idea may sometimes be accompanied with an intensity of mental occupation and excitement, surpassing the reality: what we have looked at with indifference when it occurred, may take on an extraordinary importance in the retrospect; in which case its power of resuscitating collateral circumstances will be far greater than the power of the original sensation. B.]

We have seen that there are two cases of memory; that in which sensations are remembered, and that in which ideas.
It is said, that there are men, who, by often telling a mendacious story as true, come at last to believe it to be true. When this happens, the fact is, that a case of the memory of ideas, comes to be mistaken for a case of the memory of sensations.
How did the man know at first that it was a fictitious story; and how did he afterwards lose that knowledge?
He knew, at first, by certain associations; he lost his knowledge, by losing those associations, and acquiring others in their stead. When he first told the story, the circumstances related called up to turn the idea of himself fabricating the story. This was the memory of the fabrication. In repeating the story as real, the idea of himself fabricating the story is hurried over rapidly; the idea of himself as actor in the story is dwelt upon with great emphasis. In continued repetitions, the first circumstance being attended to as little as possible, the association of it grows weaker and weaker; the other circumstance engrossing the attention, the association of it grows stronger and stronger; till the weaker is at last wholly overpowered by the stronger, and ceases to have any effect.
In delirium, madness, and dreams, men believe that what they only imagine, they hear, see, and do. This so far agrees with the case of forgetfulness, just explained, that, in both, there is a mistake of ideas for sensations; but, in the case of memory, it is a mistake of past ideas for past sensations; in delirium, madness, and dreaming, it is a mistake of present ideas for present sensations.
How men in sound memory distinguish the ideas remembered, from sensations remembered, and know that the one is not the other, seems to be accounted for by the difference of the things themselves. A sensation is different from an idea, only because it is felt to be different; and being felt to be different, and known to be different, are not two things, but one and the same thing. I have a sensation; I have an idea: if these two are distinguishable in the having, it is likely that the copy of the sensation should be distinguishable from the revival of the idea, when they are both brought up by association; just as when I have two distinguishable sensations, one, for example, of red, and another of black, the copies of them, when brought up by association, are distinguishable. Besides, the accompaniments of a sensation are always generically different from those of an idea; of course, the associations are generically different. The accompaniments of a sensation, are all the simultaneous objects of sensation, together with all those which, to a certain extent, both preceded and followed it. The accompaniments of an idea are not the simultaneous objects of sensation, but other ideas; namely, the neighbouring parts, antecedent and consequent, of the mental train. A sensation, therefore, called up by association, and an idea called up by association, are distinguished both by the difference of the two feelings, and the difference of the associated circumstances.
It is observable, that the idea of a sensation called up by association, and recognised as the idea of a sensation, is of course a remembrance. The recognition consists in that highly complex idea, consisting of three principal ingredients: 1, the point of consciousness called the remembering self; 2, the point of consciousness called the percipient self; 3, the successive states of consciousness which filled up the interval, between these two points.
An idea called up by association is not necessarily a remembrance; it is only a remembrance when recognised as having been an idea before. And it is recognised as having been an idea before, by the association of that idea, which connects the self of the present moment with the self of the past moment, the remembering self with the conceiving self: in other words, the complex idea is made up of those two selfs and the intermediate states of consciousness.
Another distinction is here suggested between the memory of a sensation and the memory of an idea. The complex idea, which needs to be associated with a mere simple idea, to make it memory, is not the same in the two cases. There is a specific difference. The self which is at the antecedent end of the associated train, in the case of sensation, is the sentient self; that is, seeing or hearing; the self at the antecedent end of the associated train, in the case of ideas, is not the sentient self, but the conceptive self, self having an idea. But myself percipient, and myself imagining or conceiving, are two very different states of consciousness: of course the ideas of these states of consciousness, or these states revived by association, are very different ideas.
The simplest of all cases of memory is that of a sensation immediately past. I have one sensation, and another sensation; call them A and B; and I recognise them as successive. Every man has experience of the fact, and is familiar with it. But not every man can tell what it involves.
When a sensation ceases, it is as completely gone, as if it had never existed. (93) It is, in a certain sense, revived again in its idea. But that idea must be called into existence by something with which it is associated. In my two sensations, supposed above, the one antecedent, the other consequent, how do I recognise the succession; if the first is gone, before the coming of the second? It is evident that it must be by memory. And how by memory? The preceding developments seem to make the process clear. The consciousness of the present moment calls up the idea of the consciousness of the preceding moment. The consciousness of the present moment is not absolutely simple; for, whether I have a sensation or idea, the idea of what I call Myself is always inseparably combined with it. The consciousness, then, of the second of the two moments in the case supposed, is the sensation combined with the idea of Myself, which compound I call Myself Sentient.” This “Self Sentient,” in other words sensation B, combined with the idea of self, calls up the idea of sensation A combined with the idea of self. This we call MEMORY; and, there being no intermediate link, immediate MEMORY. Suppose that, instead of two sensations, there had been three, A, B, C. In order to remember A, it is necessary to step over B. The consciousness of the third moment, namely, “sensation C, united with the idea of self,” calls up the idea of “sensation A, united with the idea of self,” and along with this the intermediate state of consciousness, “B, with the constant concomitant self.” If the intermediate state, B, were not included, the sensation A would appear to have immediately preceded sensation C, and the memory would be inaccurate.

[93 This is a statement that should be qualified. Looking to the change of outward situation, we may say that the difference between the present reality, and the idea of it when past, is total and vast: the wide prospect before the eyes at one moment is gone, annihilated, non-existent. But looking at the mental process, we must use more moderate language. The mind does not adapt itself to the new situation with the same rapidity. If one is very much impressed with a picture, one maintains the rapt attitude for a little time, after the picture is withdrawn, and only by degrees loses the hold in favour of the next thing presented to the view. It is possible for us to resist the solicitation of the actual scene, and to be absorbed to the full measure of actuality by something no longer actual. The immediate past may still divide the empire with the present. The psychological transition follows a different law from the objective transition: a circumstance in no small degree involved in the subtle question of our mental continuity or personal identity. B.]

We have thus carried the analysis of Memory to a certain point. We have found the association to consist of three parts; the remembering self; the remembered self; and the train which intervened. Of these three parts, the last has been fully expounded. The recalling of the successive states of consciousness, which composed the intervening train, is an ordinary case of association. The other parts, the two selfs, at the two extremities of this train, require further consideration. The self, at the first end, is the remembered self; the self which had a sensation, or an idea. The idea of this self, therefore, consists of two parts: of self, and a sensation, or an idea. The last-mentioned part of this combination, the sensation or idea, needs no explanation; the first, that which is called self, does. The self at the other extremity of the chain of consciousness, is the remembering self. Remembering is associating. The idea of this self, then, is the combination of self with the idea of associating. And here, too, associating needs no explanation; it is the other part of the combination that does. The analysis, then, of SELF, or the account of what is included in that state of consciousness commonly called the idea of personal identity, is still wanting to the complete developement of Memory.
Philosophers tell us also, that the idea of Time is included in every act of MEMORY; and again, that it is from MEMORY we obtain our idea of Time: thus asserting that the idea of Time must precede MEMORY, and that MEMORY must precede the idea of Time. These contradicting propositions imply that the idea of Time in the minds of those who make them, is a very confused idea. Nevertheless, as there can be no memory without the idea called Time, the exposition of that idea, likewise, is necessary to the full understanding of Memory.
The idea of personal IDENTITY, and the idea of TIME, two very remarkable states of consciousness, will be very carefully examined hereafter. But for the more ready understanding of what is necessary to be adduced in expounding those complicated cases of association, some other phenomena of the mind will first be explained.
What is to be understood by that BELIEF which is said to accompany MEMORY, will be seen in the next chapter, where all the different cases of belief will be resolved into their elements. (94)

[94 The only difficulty about Memory, when once the laws of Association are understood, is the difference between it and Imagination; but this is a difference which will probably long continue to perplex philosophers. The author finds in Memory, besides the idea of the fact remembered, two other ideas: “the idea of my present self, the remembering self, and the idea of my past self, the remembered or witnessing self:” and a supposed rapid repetition in thought, of the whole of the impressions which I received between the time remembered and the time of remembering. But (apart from the question whether we really do repeat in thought, however summarily, all this series) explaining memory by Self seems very like explaining a thing by the thing. For what notion of Self can we have, apart from Memory? The fact of remembering, i.e. of having an idea combined with the belief that the corresponding sensation was actually felt by me, seems to be the very elementary fact of Self, the origin and foundation of the idea; presupposed in our having the very complex notion of a Self, which is here introduced to explain it. As, however, the author admits that the phenomenon of Belief, and the notions of Time and of Personal Identity, must be taken into account in order to give a complete explanation of Memory, any further remarks had better be deferred until these subjects have been regularly brought under our consideration. Ed.]

JamesMill. Analysis of the phenomena of the human mind.2e. 1878. 09. Abstraction.


“I think, too, that he (Mr. Locke) would have seen the ad vantage of ‘thoroughly weighing,’ not only (as he says) the imperfections of Language; but its perfections also: For the perfections of Language, not properly understood, have been one of the chief causes of the imperfections of our knowledge.” Diversions of Purley, by John Home Tooke, A.M., i. 37.

THE two cases of Consciousness, CLASSIFICATION, and ABSTRACTION, have not, generally, been well distinguished.
According to the common accounts of Classification, ABSTRACTION was included in it. When it is said, that, in order to classify, we leave out of view all the circumstances in which individuals differ, and retain only those in which they agree; this separating one portion of what is contained in a complex idea, and making it an object of consideration by itself, is the process which is named Abstraction, at least a main part of that process.
It is necessary now to inquire what are the purposes to which this separating of the parts of a complex idea, and considering and naming the separated parts by themselves, is subservient.
We have already observed the following remarkable things in the process of naming: 1, Assigning names of those clusters of ideas called objects; as man, fish; 2, Generalizing those names, so as to make them re present a class; 3, Framing adjectives by which minor classes are cut out of larger.
Those adjectives are all names, of some separate portion of a cluster, and are, therefore, all instruments of abstraction, or of that separating one or more of the ingredients of a complex idea from the rest, which has received the name of Abstraction. One purpose of Abstraction, therefore, is the formation of those subspecies, the formation of which is required for certain purposes of speech.
These observations will be rendered familiar by examples. We say, tall man, red flower, race horse. In my complex idea of a man, or the cluster of ideas of sense to which I affix that mark, are included, certain ideas of colour, of figure, size, and so on. By the word tall, I single out a portion of those ideas, namely, the part relating to size, or rather size in one direction, and mark the separation by the sign or name. In my complex idea of a flower, colour is always one of the ingredients. By applying the adjective red, I single out this one from the rest, and point it out for peculiar consideration. The explanation is obvious, and need not be pursued in a greater number of instances.
Words of this description all denote differences; either such as mark out species from genera, or such as mark out individuals from species. Of this latter sort the number is very small; of which the reason is obvious; individual differences are too numerous to receive names, and are marked by contrivances of abridgment which will be spoken of hereafter.
To explain this notation of differences; the same examples will suffice. In the phrase “tall man,” the adjective “tall” marks the difference between such a man, and “short man,” or “middle-sized man.” Of the genus man, tall men are one species; and the difference between them and the rest of the genus is marked by the word tall. Of the genus flower, red flowers form a species, and the difference between them and the rest of the genus is marked by the adjective red. Of the genus horse, race horse forms a species, and the difference between this species and the rest of the genus is marked by the word race.
It is of importance further to observe, that adjectives singling out ideas which are not differences, that is, ideas common to the whole class, are useless: as, tangible wood; coloured man; sentient animal. Such epithets express no more than what is expressed by the name without them.
Another thing requiring the attention of the student is the mode in which these differential adjectives are generalized. As the word man, applied first to one individual, then to another, becomes associated with every individual, and every variety of the species, and calls them all up in one very complex idea; so are these adjectives applied to one class after another, and by that means at last call up a very complicated idea. Let us take the word “black” for an example; and let us suppose that we apply this adjective first to the word man. We say “black man.” But we speedily see that for the same reason for which we say black man we may say black horse, black cow, black coat, and so on. The word black is thus associated with innumerable modifications of the sensation black. By frequent repetition, and the gradual strengthening of the association, these modifications are at last called up in such rapid succession that they appear commingled, and no longer many ideas, but one. Black is therefore no longer an individual but a general name. It marks not the particular black of a particular individual; but the black of every individual, and of all individuals. (81) The same is the case with all other words of the same class. Thus I apply the word sweet, first to the lump of sugar in my mouth, next to honey, next to grapes, and so on. It thus becomes associated with numerous modifications of the sensation sweet; and when the association is sufficiently strengthened by repetition, calls them up in such close succession, that they are converted into one complex idea. We are also to remember, that the idea and the name have a mutual power over one another. As the word black calls up the complex idea, so every modification of black calls up the name; and in this, as in other cases, the name actually forms a part of the complex idea.

[81 The example which the author has here selected of a general name, sets in a strong light the imperfection of the theory of general names, laid down by him in the preceding chapter. A name like “black,” which marks a simple sensation, is an extreme case of the inapplicability of the theory. Can it be maintained that the idea called up in our minds by the word black, is an idea compounded of ideas of black men, black horses, black cows, black coats, and the like? If I can trust my own consciousness, the word need not, and generally does not, call up any idea but that of a single black surface. It is still not an abstract idea, but the idea of an individual object. It is not a mere idea of colour; it is that, combined with ideas of extension and figure, always present but extremely vague, because varying, even from one moment to the next. These vague ideas of an uncertain extension and figure, combined with the perfectly definite idea of a single sensation of colour, are, to my consciousness, the sole components of the complex idea associated with the word black. I am unable to find in that complex idea the ideas of black men, horses, or other definite things, though such ideas may of course be recalled by it.
In such a case as this, the idea of a black colour fills by itself the place of the inner nucleus of ideas knit together by a closer association, which I have described as forming the permanent part of our ideas of classes of objects, and the meaning of the class-names. Ed.]

The next thing, which I shall observe, deserves in a high degree, the attention of the learner. In the various applications of that species of marks which we are now considering, they are associated with two distinguishable things; but with the one much more than the other. Thus, when we say black man, black horse, black coat, and so of all other black things, the word black is associated with the cluster, man, as often as black man is the expression; with the cluster horse, as often as black horse is the expression, and so on with infinite variety: but at the same time that it is associated with each of those various clusters, it is also associated with the peculiar sensation of colour which it is intended to mark. The CLUSTERS, therefore, with which it is associated, are variable; the PECULIAR SENSATION with which it is associated is invariable. It is much more constantly, and there fore much more strongly associated with the SENSATION than with any of the CLUSTERS. It is at once a name of the clusters, and a name of the sensation; but it is more peculiarly a name of the SENSATION.
We have, in a preceding note, observed, that such words have been called connotative; and I shall find much convenience in using the term NOTATION to point out the sensation or sensations which are peculiarly marked by such words, the term CONNOTATION to point out the clusters which they mark along with] this their principal meaning.
Thus the word, black, NOTES that of which black is more peculiarly the name, a particular colour; it CONNOTES the clusters with the names of which it is joined: in the expression, black man, it connotes man; black horse, it connotes horse; and so of all other cases. The ancient Logicians used these terms, in the inverse order; very absurdly, in my opinion. (82)

[82 The word Connote, with its substantive Connotation, was used by the old logicians in two senses; a wider, and a narrower sense. The wider is that in which, up to this place, the author of the Analysis has almost invariably used it; and is the sense in which he defined it, in a note to section 6 of his first chapter. “There is a large class of words which denote two things both together; but the one perfectly distinguishable from the other. Of these two things, also, it is observable, that such words express the one primarily as it were; the other in a way which may be called secondary. Thus white, in the phrase white horse, denotes two things, the colour and the horse; but it denotes the colour primarily, the horse secondarily. We shall find it very convenient to say, therefore, that it notes the primary, connotes the secondary signification.”
This use of terms is attended with the difficulty, that it may often be disputed which of the significations is primary and which secondary. In the example given, most people would agree with the author that the colour is the primary signification; the word being associated with the objects, only through its previous association with the colour. But take the other of the two words, horse. That too is connotative, and in the same manner. It signifies any and every individual horse, and it also signifies those attributes common to horses, which led to their being classed together and receiving that common name. Which, in this case, is the primary, and which the secondary signification? The author would probably say, that in this case, unlike the other, horse is the primary signification, the attributes the secondary. Yet in this Equally with the former case, the attributes are the foundation of the meaning: a thing is called a horse to express its resemblance to other horses; and the resemblance consists of the common attributes. The question might be discussed, pro and con, by many arguments, without any conclusive result. The difference between primary and secondary acceptations is too uncertain, and at best too superficial, to be adopted as the logical foundation of the distinction between the two modes of signification.
The author, however, has, throughout the preceding chapters, regarded words as connoting any number of things which though included in their signification, are not, in his judgment, what they primarily signify. He said, for example, that a verb notes an action, and connotes the agent (as either me, thee, or some third person), the number of agents (as one or more), the time (as past, present, or future), and three modes, that in which there is no reference to anything preceding, that in which there is a reference to something preceding, and “that in which reference is made to the will of one of the Persons.” I cite this complicated case, to shew by a striking example the great latitude with which the author uses the word Connote.
But in the present chapter he follows the example of some of the old logicians in adopting a second and more restricted meaning, expressive of the peculiar connotation which belongs to all concrete general names; viz. that twofold manner of signification, by which every name of a class signifies, on the one hand, all and each of the individual things composing the class, and on the other hand the common attributes, in consideration of which the class is formed and the name given, and which we intend to affirm of every object to which we apply the name. It is difficult to overrate the importance of keeping in view this distinction, or the danger of overlooking it when not made prominent by an appropriate phrase. The word Connote, which had been employed for this purpose, had fallen into disuse. But, though agreeing with the old logicians in using the word Connote to express this distinction, the author exactly reverses their employment of it. In their phraseology, the class-name connotes the attributes: in his, it notes the attributes, and connotes the objects. And he declares that in his opinion, their mode of employing the term is very absurd.
We have now to consider which of these two modes of employing it is really the most appropriate.
A concrete general name may be correctly said to be a mark, in a certain way, both for the objects and for their common attributes. But which of the two is it conformable to usage to say that it is the name of? Assuredly, the objects. It is they that are called by the name. I am asked, what is this object called? and I answer, a horse. I should not make this answer if I were asked what are these attributes called. Again, I am asked, what is it that is called a horse? and I answer, the object which you see; not the qualities which you see. Let us now suppose that I am asked, what is it that is called black; I answer, all things that have this particular colour. Black is a name of all black things. The name of the colour is not black, but blackness. The name of a thing must be the name which is predicated of the thing, as a proper name is predicated of the person or place it belongs to. It is scarcely possible to speak with precision, and adhere consistently to the same mode of speech, if we call a word the name of any thing but that which it is predicated of. Accordingly the old logicians, who had not yet departed widely from the custom of common speech, considered all concrete names as the names of objects, and called nothing the name of an attribute but abstract names.
Now there is considerable incongruity in saying that a word connotes, that is, signifies secondarily, the very thing which it is a name of. To connote, is to mark something along with, or in addition to, something else. A name can hardly be said to mark the thing which it is a name of in addition to some other thing. If it marks any other thing it marks it in addition to the thing of which it is itself the name. In the present case, what is marked in addition, is that which is the cause of giving the name; the attributes, the possession of which by a thing entitles it to that name. It therefore seems more con formable to the original acceptation of the word Connote, that we should say of names like man or black that they connote humanity or blackness, and denote, or are names of, men and black objects; rather than, with the author of the Analysis, that they note the attributes, and connote the things which possess the attributes.
If this mode of using the terms is more consonant to propriety of language, so also is it more scientifically convenient. It is of extreme importance to have a technical expression exclusively consecrated to signify the peculiar mode in which the name of a class marks the attributes in virtue of which it is a class, and is called by the name. The verb “to note,” employed by the author of the Analysis as the correlative of “to connote,” is far too general to be confined to so specific a use, nor does the author intend so to confine it. “To connote,” on the contrary, is a phrase which has been handed down to us in this restricted acceptation, and is perfectly fitted to be used as a technical term. There is no more important use of a term than that of fixing attention upon something which is in danger of not being sufficiently taken notice of. This is emphatically the case with the attribute-signification of the names of objects. That signification has not been seen clearly, and what has been seen of it confusedly has bewildered or misled some of the most distinguished philosophers. From Hobbes to Hamilton, those who have attempted to penetrate the secret of the higher logical operations of the intellect have continually missed the mark for want of the light which a clear conception of the connotation of general names spreads over the subject. There is no fact in psychology which more requires a technical name; and it seems eminently desirable that the words Connote and Connotative should be exclusively employed for this purpose; and it is for this purpose that I have myself invariably employed them.
In studying the Analysis, it is of course necessary to bear in mind that the author does not use the words in this sense, but sometimes in a sense much more vague and indefinite, and, when definite, in a sense the reverse of this. It may seem an almost desperate undertaking, in the case of an unfamiliar term, to attempt to rectify the usage introduced by the actual reviver of the word: and nothing could have induced me to attempt it, but a deliberate conviction that such a technical expression is indispensable to philosophy, and that the author’s mode of employing these words unfits them for the purpose for which they are needed, and for which they are well adapted. I fear, however, that I have rarely succeeded in associating the words with their precise meaning, anywhere but in my own writings. The word Connote, not unfrequently meets us of late in philosophical speculations, but almost always in a sense more lax than the laxest in which it is employed in the Analysis, meaning no more than to imply. To such an extent is this the case, that able thinkers and writers do not always even confine the expression to names, but actually speak of Things as connoting whatever, in their opinion, the existence of the Things implies or presupposes. Ed.]

In using these connotative names, it is often highly convenient to drop the connotation; that is, to leave out the connoted cluster.
A mark is needed, to shew when it is meant that the connotation is dropped. A slight mark put upon the connotative term answers the purpose; and shews when it is not meant that anything should be connoted. In regard to the word black, for example, we merely annex to it the syllable ness; and it is immediately indicated that all connotation is dropped: so, in sweet ness; hardness; dryness; lightness. The new words, so formed, are the words which have been denominated ABSTRACT; as the connotative terms from which they are formed have been denominated CONCRETE; and, as these terms are in frequent use, it is necessary that the meaning of them should be well remembered.
It is now also manifest what is the real nature of ABSTRACT terms; a subject which has in general presented such an appearance of mystery. They are simply the CONCRETE terms with, the connotation dropped. And this has in it, surely, no mystery at all. (83)

[83 After having said that a concrete general name notes an attribute, that this, one of the sensations in a cluster, and connotes the objects which have the attribute, i.e. the clusters of which that sensation forms a part; the author proceeds to say that an abstract name is the concrete name with the connotation dropped.
This seems a very indirect and circuitous mode of making us understand what an abstract name signifies. Instead of aiming directly at the mark, it goes round it. It tells us that one name signifies a part of what another name signifies, leaving us to infer what part. A connotative name with the connotation dropped, is a phrase requiring to be completed by specifying what is the portion of signification left. The concrete name with its connotation signifies an attribute, and also the objects which have the attribute. We are now instructed to drop the latter half of the signification, the objects. What then remains? The attribute. Why not then say at once that the abstract name is the name of the attribute? Why tell us that x is a plus b with b dropped, when it was as easy to tell us that x is a?
The noticeable thing however is that if a stands merely for the sensation, x really is a little more than a: the connotation (in the author’s sense of the term) of the concrete name is not wholly dropped in the abstract name. The term black ness, and every other abstract term, includes in its signification the existence of a black object, though without declaring what it is. That is indeed the distinction between the name of an attribute, and the name of a kind or type of sensation. Names of sensations by themselves are not abstract but concrete names. They mark the type of the sensation, but they do not mark it as emanating from any object. “The sensation of black” is a concrete name, which expresses the sensation apart from all reference to an object. “Blackness” expresses the same sensation with reference to an object, by which the sensation is supposed to be excited. Abstract names thus still retain a limited amount of connotation in both the author’s senses of the term – the vaguer and the more specific sense. It is only in the sense to which I am anxious to restrict the term, that any abstract name is without connotation.
An abstract name, then, may be defined as the name of an attribute; and, in the ultimate analysis, as the name of one or more of the sensations of a cluster; not by themselves, but considered as part of any or all of the various clusters, into which that type of sensations enters as a component part. Ed.]

It hence, also, appears that there can be no ABSTRACT term without an implied CONCRETE, though cases are not wanting, in which there is much occasion for the ABSTRACT term but not much for the CONCRETE; in which, therefore, the concrete is not in use, or is supplied by another form of expression.
In irregular and capricious languages, as our own, the dropping of the connotation of the concrete terms is not marked in a uniform manner; and this requires some illustration. Thus, heavy is a concrete term, and we shew the dropping of the connotation, by the same mark as in the instances above, saying heaviness; but we have another term which is exactly the equivalent of heaviness, and frequently used as the abstract of heavy; that is, weight. Friend is a concrete, connotative term, in the substantive form. Its connotation is dropped by another mark, the syllable ship; thus, friendship; in like manner, generalship; brothership; cousinship. The syllable age is another of the marks we use for the same purpose; pilotage, parsonage, stowage.
Among concrete connotative words, we have already had full opportunity of observing that verbs constitute a principal class. Those words all NOTE some motion or action and CONNOTE an actor. There is the same frequency of occasion to leave out the connotation in the case of this class of connotative words, as in other classes. Accordingly ABSTRACT terms are formed from them, as from the connotative adjectives and substantives. The infinitive mood is such an abstract term; with this peculiarity, that, though it leaves out the con notation of the actor, it retains the connotation of time. (84) It is convenient, however, to have abstract terms from the verbs, which leave out also the connotation of time; such are the substantive amor from amo, timor from timeo, and so on.

[84 The infinitive mood does not always express time. At least, it often expresses it aoristically, without distinction of tense. “To love” is as abstract a name as “love,” “to fear,” as “fear”: they are applied equally to past, present, and future. The infinitives of the past and future, as amavisse, amaturus esse, do, however, include in their signification a particular time. Ed.]

Verbs have not only an active but a passive form In the passive form, it is not the action, but the bearing of the action, which is NOTED; and not the actor, but the bearer of the action, that is CONNOTED. In this case, also, there is not less frequent occasion to drop the connotation. By the simple contrivance of a slight alteration in the connotative term, the important circumstance of dropping the connotation is marked. In the case of the passive as the active form of verbs, the infinitive mood drops the connotation of the person, but retains that of the time. Other abstract terms, formed from the passive voice, leave out the connotation both of person and time. Thus from legor, there is lectio; from optor, optatio; from dicor, dictio; and so on.
It is to be remarked that the Latin mode of forming abstract terms from verbs, by the termination “tio,” has been adopted to a great extent in English. A large proportion of our abstract terms are thus distinguished; as action, association, imagination, navigation, mensuration, friction, motion, station, faction, legislation, corruption, and many others.
It is also of extreme importance to mark a great defect and imperfection, in this respect, of the Latin language. Such words as lectio, dictio, actio, are derived with equal readiness either from the supine, lectum, dictum, actum; or from the participle, lectus, dictus, actus. The supine is active, the participle, passive. From this circumstance probably it is, that these abstract terms in the Latin language possess both the active and passive signification; and by this most unfortunate ambiguity have proved a fertile source of obscurity and confusion. This defect of the Latin language is the more to be lamented by us, that it has infected our own language; for as we have borrowed from the Latin language a great proportion of our abstract terms, we have transplanted the mischievous equivocation along with them. This ambiguity the Greek language happily avoided: thus it had πραζις and πραγμα the first for the active signification of actio, the latter the passive. (85)

[85 I apprehend that πραγμα is not an abstract but a concrete term, and does not express the attribute of being done, but the thing done – the effect which results from the completed action. Ed.]

Of the abstract terms, of genuine English growth, derived from the concrete names of action, or verbs, the participle of the past tense supplied a great number, merely dropping the adjective, and assuming the substantive form. Thus, weight, a word which we had occasion to notice before, is the participle weighed, with the connotation dropped: stroke is merely struck; the thing struck, the connotation, being left out: thought is the past participle passive of the verb to think, and differs from the participle in no thing, but that the participle, the adjective, has the connotation; the abstract, the substantive, has it not. Whether the concrete, or the abstract, is the term employed, is in such cases always indicated by the context; and, therefore, no particular mark to distinguish them is required.
In our non-inflected language, a facility is afforded in forming a non-connotative from the connotative, in the active voice of verbs; because the connotative word is always distinguished by the presence of the persons of the verb, or that of some part of the auxiliary verb. The same word, therefore, answers for the abstract, as for the concrete; it being of course the abstract, when none of the marks of the concrete are present. Thus the word love, is both the verb or the connotative, and the substantive or the non-connotative; thus also fear, walk, ride, stand, fight, smell, taste, sleep, dream, drink, work, breath, and many others.
We have in English, formed from verbs, a great many abstracts or non-connotatives, which terminate in “th,” as truth, health, dearth, stealth, death, strength. It may be disputed whether these words are derived from one part of the verb or another; but, in all other respects, the nature of them is not doubtful. The third person singular of the present, indicative active, ends in “th;” and, therefore, they may be said to be that part of the verb with the connotation dropped. The termination, however, of the past participle is “d,” and we know that “th” and “d,” are the same letter under a slight difference of articulation; and, therefore, they may just as well be derived from the past participle, and as often at least as they have a passive signification, no doubt are. Thus the verb trow, to think, has either troweth, or trowed; from one of which, but more likely from the last, we have truth: the verb to heal, has either healeth, or healed; from one of which, but more likely the last, we have health: the verb to string has stringeth, or stringed; from one of which we have strength; thus from dieth, or died, death; from stealeth, or stealed, stealth; mirth in the same manner, from a verb now out of use; so heighth, length, breadth. (86)

[86 The abstracts in -th belong to a very early stage of the language. We cannot now form words like health, truth, as we can abstracts in -ness. As in the case of adjectives in -en (wooden), and of preterites and participles like fell, fallen, that particular part of the vital energy of the language that produced them, is dead – ossified, as it were; and we cannot exemplify their formation by any process now going on. To account for many of them, we must suppose them formed from roots different from any now existing as separate words –  roots from which the corresponding verbs and adjectives that we are acquainted with have been themselves derived by augmentation or other change. This being the case, it is impossible to say with certainty whether the immediate root of any particular abstract in -th was a verb, a noun, or an adjective; and, indeed, the question need hardly be raised, since a primitive root was of the nature of all three.
The structure of these derivatives is better seen in some of the other Teutonic dialects than in the English or the Anglo-Saxon, in which the affix is reduced to a mere consonant. Thus, for Eng. depth the Gothic has diupi-tha; for heigh-th, hauhi-tha. In Old High German the affix -tha becomes -da, and we have heili-da corresponding to Eng. heal-th; strenki-da, to streng-th; besides a great number of analogous forms, such as evi-da, “eternity” (from the same root as ever; compare Lat. aetas for aevitas). In modern German comparatively few of these derivatives survive; and in those that do; the -da of the Old German has passed into -de, as in ge-baer-de, the way of ‘bearing’ oneself, behaviour; equivalent to Latin habi-tus. The modern German equivalents of bread-th, leng-th, are breit-e, Iäng-e; but in some of the popular dialects the older forms breite de, läng-de are still retained; and in Dutch warm-te corresponds to warm-th, and grôt-te is great-ness. When we recollect that th or d in the Germanic languages represents in such cases the t of the Greek and Latin (compare Gr. μέλιτ (ος), honey with Goth, milith; Lat. alter with Eng. other), we cannot help seeing how analogous is the formation of the class of words we are now considering to that of Latin past participles (araa-tus, dic-tus, audi-tus). In the case of those abstracts that seem to come more naturally from an adjective root than from a verb, we can conceive the adjective formed on the analogy of the past participle; just as there are in English adjectives having no possible verbal root, yet simulating past participles; as able-bodi-ed, three-corner -ed. The abstract noun would appear to have been originally distinguished from the participle, or participial adjective, by some additional affix, as in lec-t-io. In Greek and Latin this additional affix very often consisted in a reduplication of the formative element t, as if for the purpose of denoting multitude, generality; as in Greek (νεό-τητ-ος), Latin juven-tut-is, sani-tat-is. It is not impossible that Goth. diupi-tha, O.H.G. heili-da are abbreviations of diupi-tha-th, heili-da-d, just as Lat. sani-tat has dwindled down in modern Ital. to sani-.
In a great many words essentially belonging to the same class both in meaning and in mode of formation, the -th has, for the sake of euphony or from other causes, given place to t or d. Thus mood corresponds to Goth, mo-th, and means a motion (Lat. motus) or affection (of the mind); blood, to Goth. blo-th; theft, is in Ang. Sax. theof-th. Mur-ther, from a root akin to Lat. mori; burthen, from the root of to bear, are of similar formation, with additional affixes.
All these considerations would seem to put Horme Tooke’s proposed derivation of these abstracts from the third person singular of the present indicative of the verb, completely out of court. The famous case of truth from troweth is especially absurd. For one thing the Ang. Sax. verb treowan does not mean “to think,” but “to trust,” “rely on,” “believe.” This implies a ground for the trust, and that ground lies in the quality expressed by the adjective, true. Truth has the same relation, logically and etymologically, to true, that dearth has to dear, health to hale. Remarking on the identity in form be tween the Ang. Sax. treow, trust,” “a treaty,” and treow, “a tree” Jacob Grimm suggests that they are radically related, and that the idea common to tree and true is firmness, fixedness. Thus the “true” would be the “firm” the “fixed” – what may be relied on. This view is supported by the analogy of the Lat. robur, which means both an oak and strength. F.]

It would be interesting to give a systematic account of the non-connotatives, derived from English verbs; and this ought to be done; but for the present inquiry it would be an operation misplaced. The nature of the words, and the mode of their signification, is all which here is necessary to be understood.
One grand class of connotative terms is composed of such words as the following: walking, running, flying, reading, striking; and we have seen that, for a very obvious utility, a generical name was invented, the word ACTING, which includes the whole of these specific names; and to which the non- connotative, or abstract term ACTION corresponds. There was equal occasion for a generical name to include all the specific names belonging to the other class of connotative terms; such as coloured, sapid, hard, soft,. hot, cold, and so on. But language has by no means been so happy in a general name for this, as for the other class. The word SUCH, is a connotative term, which includes them all, and indeed the other class along with them; for when we apply the word SUCH to any thing, we comprehend under it all the ideas of which the cluster is composed. But this is not all which is included under the word such. It is a relative term, and always connotes so much of the meaning of some other term. When we call a thing such, it is always understood that it is such as some other thing. Thus we say, John is such as James. Corresponding with our “such as,” the Latins had tails qualis. If we could suppose qualis to have been used without any connotation of talis, qualis would have been such a word as the occasion which we are now considering would have required. The Latins did not use qualis, in this sense, as a general concrete, including all the other names of the properties of objects other than actions. But they made from it, as if used in that very sense, a non-connotative or abstract term, the word QUALITY, which answers the same purpose with regard to both classes, as action does to one of them. That is to say; it is a very general non-connotative term, including under it the non-connotatives or abstracts of hot, cold, hard, soft, long, short; and not only of all other words of that description, but of acting, and its subordinates also.
Quantus, is another concrete which has a double connotation like qualis. It connotes not only the substantive with which it agrees, but also, being a relative, the term tantus, which is its correlate. By dropping both connotations, the abstract QUANTITY is made; a general term, including under it the abstracts of all the names by which the modifications of greater and less are denominated; as large, small, a mile long, an inch thick, a handful, a ton, and so on.
Much remains, beside what is here stated, of the full explanation of the mode in which talis qualis, tantus quantum, are made conducive to the great purposes of marking. But this must be reserved till we come to treat of RELATIVE TERMS, in general.
We have previously observed, that one of the purposes for which we abstract, or sunder the parts of a complex idea, marked by a general name, is, to form those adjectives, or connotative terms, which, denoting differences, enable us to form, and to name, subordinate classes. We now come to the next of the great purposes to which abstraction is subservient, and it is one to which the whole of our attention is due.
Of all the things in which we are interested, that is, on which our happiness and misery depend, meaning here by things, both objects and events, the most important by far are the successions of objects; in other words, the effects which they produce. In reality, objects are interesting to us, solely on account of the effects which they produce, either on ourselves, or on other objects.
But an observation of the greatest importance readily occurs; that of any cluster, composing our idea of an object, the effects or consequents depend, in general, more upon one part of it than another. If a stone is hot, it has certain effects or consequences; if heavy, it has others, and so on. It is of great importance to us, in respect to those successions, to be able to mark discriminately the real antecedent; not the antecedent combined with a number of things with which the consequent has nothing to do. I observe, that other objects, as iron, lead, gold, produce similar effects with stone; as often as the name hot can, in like manner, be predicated of them. In the several clusters therefore, hot stone, hot iron, hot gold, hot lead, there is a portion, the same in all, with which, and not with the rest, the effects which I am contemplating are connected. This part is marked by the word hot; which word, however, in the case of each cluster, connotes also the other parts of the cluster. It appears at once, how much convenience there must be in dropping the connotation, and obtaining a word which, in each of those cases, shall mark exclusively that part of the cluster on which the effect depends. This is accomplished by the abstract or non-connotative terms, heat, and weight.
Certain alterations, also, are observed in those parts of clusters on which such and such effects depend; which alterations make corresponding alterations in the effects, though no other alteration is observable, in the cluster, to which such parts belong. Thus, if a stone is more or less hot, the effects or successions are not the same; so of iron, so of lead; but the same alteration in the same part of each of those clusters, is followed by the same effects. It is true, that we know nothing of the alteration in the cause, but by the alteration in the effects; for we only say that a stone is hotter, because it produces such other effects, either in our sensations immediately, or in the sensations we receive from other objects. It is, however, obvious that we have urgent use for the means of marking, not only the alterations in the effects, but the alterations in the antecedents. This we do, by supposing the alterations to be those of increase and diminution, and marking them by the distinction of lower and higher degrees. But, for this purpose, it is obvious that we must have a term which is not connotative; because we suppose no alteration in any part of the cluster but that which is not connoted; thus we can say, with sufficient precision, that a greater or less degree of heat produces such and such effects; but we cannot say, that a greater or less degree of hot stone, of hot iron, of hot any thing else, produces these effects.
This then, is another use, and evidently a most important use, of abstract, non-connotative terms. They enable us to mark, with more precision, those successions, in which our good and evil is wholly contained.
This also enables us to understand, what it is which recommends such and such aggregates, and not others, for classification. Those successions of objects, in which we are interested, determine the classifications which we form of them.
Some successions are found to depend upon the clusters, called objects, all taken together. Thus a tree, a man, a stone, are the antecedents of certain consequents, as such; and not on account of any particular part of the cluster.
Other consequents depend not upon the whole of the cluster, but upon some particular part: thus a tall tree, produces certain effects, which a tree not tall, cannot produce; a strong man, produces certain effects, which a man not strong cannot produce. When these consequents are so important, as to deserve particular attention, they and their antecedents must be marked. For this purpose, are employed the connotative terms marking differences. These terms enable us to group the clusters containing those antecedents into a sub-class; and NON-CONNOTATIVE or ABSTRACT terms, derived from them, enable us to speak separately of that part of the cluster which we have to mark as the precise antecedent of the consequent which is engaging our attention.
It is presumed, that these illustrations will suffice, to enable the reader to discern the real marking power of abstract terms, and also to perceive the mode of their formation.