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Under Construction I am not very organized or methodical in my reading. Web pages seem like a good way to keep track of the various threads I'm pursuing so I can find my way back to the main one--I'm trying to understand the context in which Montessori worked, so I can better understand what she wrote and where she got her ideas. To keep track of my reading, I write down quotes I find interesting and add thoughts in brackets as they occur to me. My goal is to one day have more notes than quotes on these pages, and maybe even develop something coherent and interesting. Until then, the "under construction" icon will remain as a warning for those who might mistakenly think there's something readable on these pages.

The following is a work in progress. Please send comments to tj@tjleone.com.

Idealism

[Three influences from idealists: (1) the mainly German psychophysical model, (2) Bergson, Freud, Adler, Jung and Nunn, (3) Italian idealists Croce and Gentile]

[Bergson, Freud, Jung and Nunn are all concerned with the relationship between the rational and the non-rational. Montessori's idea of stages seems closer to Freud's than Spencer's or Dewey's in that she is concerned with tendencies to behaviors/action (drives, horme) and does not consider movement through stages as progressive development. Bergson and Nunn both make naturalistic comparisons to explain rational/non-rational relations. Bergson considers torpor (most evident in plants), intuition (most evident in animals) and rationality (most evident in human animals) as three orthogonal dimensions of living organisms. Nunn sees meme as a species of memory, conation as a species of horme.

The German psychophysicists, include Wundt, Fechner and Weber (Ernst, not Max), are unable to use work in sense perception to improve understanding of higher functions.]

Italian Idealists: Croce and Gentile

[Gentile--Actual Idealism. Kant--Transcendental Idealism. Hegel--Absolute Idealism.]

[Something to think of in light of Gentile's discussion of idealism and realism: How does the child construct an understanding of quantity with the golden beads? In particular, how does the child develop the idea that ten to the zero is one, ten to the one is ten, ten squared is one hundred, and ten cubed is one thousand? To adults, these ideas seem to be presented to the senses through the representations of point, line, square and cube given by the golden beads. But these representations and their relation to the idea, e.g. of ten squared and ten cubed are not obvious to the child. Are these ideas constructed somehow from sensory input, or are there ideas of quantity and dimension and point, line, square and cube that exist in the mind apart from conscious awareness that is gradually recognized and connected in the material? Or is there some combination of these processes, or some other process altogether? Look at research on manipulatives.]

"...We know nature only when we are able to recognise an idea in nature: that is, an idea in each of its elements, and a system of ideas in the whole of nature. So that what we know is not really nature as it presents itself to our senses, still less nature as it is, before it has impressed our senses; but nature as disclosed to us by thought, as it exists in thought--i.e., the idea. And this idea must be real, otherwise nature, which has its truth in the idea, could not be real."

"...This reality makes the life of our thought possible, but it is not a product of this life. It is a condition and a prerequisite of thought, and as such it does not exist because we think of it: but rather we are able to think because it exists."

"...According to this transformed point of view, then, reality, which in the first instance appeared to be natural, that is physical or material, has now become ideal.

(Gentile, 1922, p. 68-69)

"But in substituting the conception of an ideal reality for the conception of a material one, reality as a whole continues to be something contradistinguished from us, an object indeed of our thoughts, but one which cannot be conceived as it is in itself except by abstracting it from our own thought."

(Gentile, 1922, p. 70)

"...Naturalism reduces itself to the affirmation we think nature, but do not ourselves exist; nature alone exists... Such is the absurd position we are forced into when we assume that Thought, in equipoise with reality, remains outside of it and leaves it out of its own self."

(Gentile, 1922, p. 73)

"We give the name of realism to that manner of thinking which makes all reality consist in an external existence, abstract and separate from thought, and makes real knowledge consist in the conforming of our ideas to external things. By idealism on the other hand we mean that higher point of view from which we discover the impossibility of conceiving a reality which is not the reality of thought itself."

(Gentile, 1922, p. 73)

"...It was Christ that first opposed to nature and to the flesh a truer reality,--not the world in which man is born, but that world to which he must uplift himself: that world in which he has to live, not because t is anterior to him, but because he must create it by his will: and this world is the kingdom of the spirit."

(Gentile, 1922, p. 74)

"On what side of the controversy should the teacher stand who means to absorb into his soul the life of the school? Will he with the realists believe in a reality which must be observed and verified? Or will he as an idealist trust that the only world is the one which is to be constructed by him; that in all this task he can rely only on the creative activity of the spirit that moves within us, ever unsatisfied with what is, incessantly aspiring for what does not yet exist, for what must come to be as being the only thing which deserves to exist and to fulfil life?"

(Gentile, 1922, p. 75)

[How are lessons or materials invented? What is the role, if any of observation in inventing lessons and materials and in verifying their effectiveness?]

"There are then these two ways of conceiving culture, the realistic and the idealistic. By the former we are led to imagine that man's spirit is empty, and that no nourishment can come to it except from the outside world, from those external elements which he can acquire because they exist prior to the activity by which he assimilates them. The latter, admitting only what is derived from the developing life of the spirit, can conceive of culture solely as an immanent product of this very life, and separable from it only by abstraction."

(Gentile, 1922, p. 76)

Croce's father was cousin of brothers Bertrando and Silvio Spaventa. Bertrando Silvio is especially well known as a thinker influenced by Hegel (who was influenced by Kant). After an 1883 earthquake killed his parents, Croce went to live with Silvio. When he went to study law, he became interested in Labriola's moral philosophy courses. He was also influenced by Giovanni Battista Vico (1668-1744), a historicalist. Vico said "that history is the only object of which man can have certain knowledge" (see https://www.radicalacademy.com/adiphile_giovannivico.htm).

[Labriola was a professor of Croce's. (Picolli, 1922, p. 71)]

"Croce, who is still not well known outside Italy, is regarded in that country as a true philosophical giant. In a long career, he made major contributions to a large number of disciplines including history--he was also a working historian--aesthetics, and various philosophical themes, particularly historicism. Croce was both a Hegel translator as well as significant Hegel commentator. His early book on the problem of what is living and what is dead in Hegel raises a crucial issue that remains important today. His study of Marx provided a sympathetic philosohical approach to Marx's theories, which he regarded as identical with historical materialism. He also contributed a very careful study of the writings of Giambattista Vico, who is still considered to be the single most important Italian thinker."

"Vico's influence on Croce's view of knowledge is already visible in an early article on 'History from the General Perspective of art' ('La storia ridotta sotto il concetto generale dell'arte,' 1893). In following Vico's view of the link between poetry and history, Croce argues here, as he will later argue in more detail, that the real is the product of spirit. In developing a view of art as knowledge of the individual and of history as the narration of facts, Croce stakes out the beginnings of his own position on a Vichian basis, a basis to which he returns in his later study of his great predecessor."

"Croce, who was drawn to Hegel for different reasons, is especially interested in Hegel's emphasis on history. One of Croce's most important contributions lies in his conception of historicism. Historicism, which is a modern doctrine, receives very little attention in English-speaking lands. But it looms very large in Italian thought, starting as early as Vico. Croce's version of historicism consists in a theory of history as autonomous with respect to philosophy and science. In an important passage, he outlines a view of philosophy as the methodology of history. In his mature position, Croce gives up a traditional metaphysical view of philosophy in favor of a conception of philosophy as philosophy of history. He argues that philosophy and historiography are united, and can be separated for expository purposes only. Philosophy is not an abstract, disinterested discipline, but rather concerned with particular problems arising from our lived lives as well as the thems or issues interesting one or another group at a particular time. Philosophy, which cannot be definitive, is primarily concerned with explaining the categories of historical interpretation. The task of philosophy, which does not lie in applying an abstract scheme to experience, consists in formulating concepts to think the reality in which we live. As the methodological aspect of historiography, philosophy elucidates the constitutive characteristics of historical judgments in explaining, justifying and forging the central concepts of historical interpretation."

"Croce's historicism is entirely consistent with the strongly historicist temper of Italian thought. It is is consistent as well with his extensive experience not only as a philosopher but also as a working historian. Croce, like Hegel, rejects the Cartesian equivalence between certainty and truth. For Croce, history is neither a science, nor a metaphysical philosophy. He criticizes others through his central insight that knowledge can be neither a priori, nor the result of 'forcing' experience to correspond to our preconceived notions. What we know is the result of what we experience on the basis of conceptual resources, which depend on the historical moment in which we live, and which never achieve finality. For Cartesian finality, Croce substitutes the fragility of history; and, in place of certainty, he opts for the considered opinions of mere finite mortal beings. Like Descartes, Kant depicts knowledge as a problem of consciousness of an object. In Kant's wake, Hegel calls attention to the role of self-consciousness and to the way that claims to know depend on the finite human knower. For Croce, the problem of knowledge lies in finding the appropriate way to narrate the contents of experience. Like Vico, Hegel, Marx, and many constructivists, Croce calls attention to the difficult equilibrium of the knowing process in the interaction between what is given in experience and the role of human beings in constructing a framework to know it in at least a fleeting manner." (Rockmore, 2007, pp. 116-118)

"In English, Croce is primarily known through R.G. Collingwood, his most important English-language student." (Rockmore, 2007, p. 118)

"The criticism of the Italian academic philosophers of education was even more severe than those in America. They considered her Method the product of a superficial collection of marginal, dissimilar, juxtaposed, and obsolete sources and her pedagogical work at the Children’s Houses as banal and unscientific. In the conclusion of a famous examination of Montessori’s work at the Children’s Houses written by a powerful Roman academic of the time, we read:

Believe me, dear lady: it is funnier to relate simply the chatters with the little tenants of the philanthropic Roman building institute rather than reading those cold German or English books, so packed with experimental figures and serious questions concerning those problems that you consider so simple. Do not envy us, poor Philosophical Doctors, our melancholy. On the contrary, as a good Medical Doctor, please return to anthropology, pediatrics, legal medicine, obstetrics, hygiene, . . . to culinary [italics in text]. (cf. Della Valle, 1911, p. 80) "

(Foschi, 2008)

[On Della Valle, see https://www.istitutodellavalle.it/]

["RIVISTA PEDAGOGICA. Year IV, Vol. 2, No. 1, January, 1911... Guido Della Valle. "Children's Homes" and "Scientific Pedagogy." 67-80. A trenchant criticism of pseudo-scientific pedagogy as exemplified in a recent Italian publication. The author demands that before attempting to write about scientific pedagogy, one should at least know the names of such workers as Meumann, Binet, Hall, Thorndike and Spearman.", Journal of Educational Psychology, Volume 2, American Psychological Association, 1911, p. 174]

Psychophysics and Psychophysiology

[Web sources:

Wilhelm Wundt in history: the making of a scientific psychology By Robert W. Rieber, David Keith Robinson

Principles of physiological psychology, Volume 1 By Wilhelm Max Wundt

Lectures on human and animal psychology By Wilhelm Max Wundt, James Edwin Creighton, Edward Bradford Titchener

A history of philosophy By Frank Thilly

]

[Montessori saw a connection between Seguin's physiological method and Wundt's physiological psychology (Montessori, The Montessori Method, pp. 34-35). She modified tests used by Wundt to make didactic materials (ref?). To what extend, in what ways was she guided in these modifications by Seguin's work? Did anybody before Feuerstein try adopting psychometric tests (e.g., Binet's tests) for pedagogical applications? Why didn't Montesori do this?]

[It may seem odd to see these guys here, especially since their work aimed to disprove Kant's thesis that you couldn't have a science of psychology. Aside from Wundt, it is not clear that the rest were categorized by themselves or others as idealists. They are here for the following reasons: positivism didn't catch on in Germany (Herbart inspired positivism among Italian pedagogists, but was senior to Comte and died before Comte's major works were published), these guys were steeped in Kantian idealism, what else?]

[From one perspective, it seems like Spencer and Wundt are two sides of the same coin: Spencer, the speculative positivist, touted the efficacy of science over philosophy while using philosophy to build his arguments. Wundt, the materialistic idealist, built arguments largely on his experiments, but promoted the primacy of mental life. There is an important difference between the two, however. Spencer seemed not to notice the contradiction between the use of speculation to argue for positivism, while Wundt was explicitly trying to build a synthesis between materialism and idealism.]

[Look in the chapter on neo-idealism in the Hughes book. Before around 1894, I think I remember Hughes talking about some movement towards positivism in Germany. When did Wundt/Weber/Fechner publish?]

[So how did these guys affect Montesori as idealists? Look at Wundt's tests and the sensorial materials vs Dewey's idea of giving kids "raw material" to work with.]

["It is not the case that positivists must always advocate the use of the experimental method (as opposed to observational case studies, for example, and conversely, it is not the case that anyone who advocates conducting experiments thereby is a positivist." (Phillips & Burbules, p. 12]

"With the decline of Hegelianism came the reign of natural science and materialism, and the temporary eclipse of all philosophy. No one could hope to reestablish it in a position of respect who did not understand and appreciate the methods and results of natural science as well as those of philosophy. A number of thinkers arose in Germany, some from the ranks of natural science itself, through whose efforts philosophy has regained a place of honor in the hierarchy of the sciences. Most prominent in this group are Lotze, Fechner, Hartmann, Wundt, and Paulsen, All these men have profited by a study of the different movements of thought: positivism, materialism, criticism, and post-Kantian idealism. They regard as futile any attempt to construct a metaphysics by means of the rationalistic methods of the old schools and independently of natural science. Though rejecting subjective idealism and the a priori and dialectical methods, they may all be called descendants of German idealism. With Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, they hold that there can be no knowledge in science and philosophy without experience; with positivism, that there can be no system of metaphysics possessing absolute certainty."

(Thilly, 1914, pp. 494-495)

"Wundt defines philosophy as the universal science whose function it is to combine the general truths obtained in the special sciences into a self-consistent system. [seems that Montessori agrees with this--Morselli comment in Pedagogical Anthropology?] The facts of consciousness form the basis of all our knowledge; so-called external experience, the perception of an external world, is a phase of inner experience; all our experiences are mental. But this cannot be interpreted, in the sense of subjective idealism, as meaning that the world is a mere reflection of consciousness; we compelled to infer the existence of an external world (critical realism). Space and time, causality and substance, notions which originate in the mind, would never arise in us without the cooperation of the objective world. A knowledge of nature would be impossible without both external causes and conceptual forms. [This would allow Wundt to consider himself an idealist in some respects but still practice experimentation as a way of discovering or confirming ideas about psychology] If we make our external experiences the basis of our world-view, we are driven to an atomistic materialism; if we limit ourselves to the facts of our mental life, we shall end in idealism. We cannot, however, interpret the external world as devoid of inner life: the cosmic mechanism is the outer husk behind which lies concealed a spiritual creation, a striving and feeling reality resembling that which we experience in ourselves. The psychic element is given the priority, in accordance with the results of the theory of knowledge, for which inner experience must remain the original datum. Psychology shows that mental life is essentially activity, will: this manifests itself in attention, apperception, association, in the emotions and in volitions, and constitutes the central factor of mind (voluntarism)."

"The soul is not to be regarded as substance,--which would be a materialistic conception,--but as pure spiritual activity, actus purus. Reality must be conceived as a totality of striving, willing beings, manifesting themselves in material form: it is composed of independent beings determined by inner purposes (teleology). We are led by ethical reasons to comprehend these individual wills in a universal absolute will, the nature of which we cannot further define. The world is the evolution of a mind, a progressive development of interrelated purposive forms."

(Thilly, 1914, pp. 499-500)

"Dewey's and Wundt's psychologies viewed the mental as process instead of substance, emphasized that purposive, voluntary activity is integral to intelligence, dramatized the mind accordingly as constructive activities and functions, regarded feeling and aesthetic sense as central to the formation of judgment, and saw in lived experience not atomic sensations but rather a continuous and organic whole. They held some basic philosophical tenets in common. Experience is the common starting for all of the sciences, from physics to psychology, and each science must be permitted to use those explanatory principles which permit the best understanding of the phenonmena pertaining to that field. Psychology as a science should use teleological concepts and causality in it methodology and cannot be forced to conform mental processes to physiological mechanistic causality in order to understand them. Philosophy should neither attempt to legislate a priori to the sciences, nor should it permit the abandoment of its problems over to the sciences. Philosophy can only aid the attempt to gain internal coherence among not only the sciences but the other realms of human thought as well. Furthermore ontology should be the result of successful methodolgy and not the reverse. Any committment to extences (other than the granted existence of our conscious experience) should only proceed from successful theoretical explanation."

(Shook, p. 73)

"In his inaugural address at Zurich (1874; I have had access only to the French translation, 1875), Wundt left no doubt that a philosopher, not a physiologist, had come to fill the chair of inductive philosophy. The names of Aristotle, Leibniz, and Locke occurred once each; Fichte twice, Hegel 4 times, Schopenhauer 5, Herbart 8, and Kant 21 times. Those who expected to hear that physiological research on the brain and the senses had significance for epistemology, or that the principle of conservation had a bearing on cosmology, or tha Darwinism must modify our notions of man's place in the universe, were surely puzzled by the failure of this "inductive philosopher" to mention the name or work of a single scientist. The door was not slammed shut on such influence, but neither was it opened more than a crack. What was said with assurance was that "all experience is first of all inner experience" and that therefore, the monistic system that modern science requires "can only be idealism" (1875, p. 120). Furthermore, it must be an idealism along the lines initiated by Fichte, holding to the "idea of the necessary development of inner thought" (p. 125). This leaves little room for an "inductive" philosophy."

"The inaugural address at Leipzig (1876) had a similar message:

The more we are inclined today, and rightly, to demand that experience shall have an influence on philosophy, so much the more is it in place to emphasize that precisely in our time philosophy must assert its old influence among the empirical sciences... Nothing can be more mistaken than the widespread opinion that these [empirical and materialistic] views emerged from the development of natural science itself. The standpoint of modern empiricism got its foundation from philosophers... Perhaps time will not be far distant when the metaphysics which is now so scorned by empirical investigators will again be held in some measure of honor. (1876b, pp. 6, 23, 26)"

"...The enormous effort he sometimes expended on fruitless efforts to provide experimental support for overhasty generalizations shows that he placed more faith in the validity of his speculations than in the force of empirical evidence... Perhaps this is the real meaning of the priority he gave to 'inner' as against 'outer' experience and to 'will' over intellect."

(Rieber and Robinson, 2001, pp. 61-62)

[There is no mention of Weber, Fechner, Wundt or Helmholtz in Pedagogical Anthropology. Instead, Montessori refers to anthropologists who influenced her work. In The Montessori Method, she refers favorably to Weber, Fechner and Wundt as well as "morphological anthropology" (p. 1) and Lombroso, De-Giovanni and Sergi (p. 5). Note that The Montessori Method was first published in 1909. When did Bergon's Creative Evolution come out? Looks like first English edition was published in 1913. In Spontaneous Activity Montessori mentions Helmholtz (p. 130), Fecher (p. 58) and Wundt (p. 58). Also mentioned in Spontaneous Activity are the Austrian Sigmund Exner (1846-1926), who studied under Helmholtz and Bloch. Although instruments for psychophysical measurement were available and respected, she did not use them for measurement, but rather adapted them pedagogical purposes. Look up Weber, Fechner and Wundt in Discovery of the Child]

"It is necessary to remember that experimental psychology was established in 1860 by Fechner, who was a physicist accustomed to experiment on things, not on living creatures, and who merely adapted the methods employed in physics to psychical measurements, thus founding psycho-physics. The instruments specially invented for esthesiometric measurement were of extreme precision; but the results obtained showed such variations that by mathematical law they could not be attributed to 'errors of measurement,' but were obviously due to 'errors of method.'"

"...After psycho-physics, psycho-physiology was introduced by Wundt. Wundt, being a physiologist, applied the methods of study proper to physiological functions to psychical study. He did not make the exact metrical instrument his aim; but he measured nervous reactions exactly in time. Fecner's primitive researches made it possible to produce instruments so exact that they can measure the sound made by a drop of water falling from the height of a meter, while Wundt's researches have resulted in chronometers which can measure the thousandth part of a second. But the spirit did not correspond to the exactness of research--the results showed by their oscillations that nothing was being measured--that the object to be measured escaped. It will suffice to mention that in measuring the nervous currents in rate of transmission of impulse along the nerves and also in the ganglion cells of the spinal marrow, Exner arrived at a rapidity of eight meters, and Bloch at a rapidity of 194 meters, in the same unit of time."

"In spite of this startling contrast between the precision of the means of research and the huge variations in the results, which were shown by mathematical law to be absurd, experimental psychology carried on extensive studies, under the illustion that it rested upon a mathematical baisis."

(Montessori, 1917/1995, p. 58)

[Morphological anthropologists in Italy were positivists. The German experiemental psychologists she mentioned were schooled in idealism.]

[Ernst Heinrich Weber (1795-1878), Gustav Fechner (1801-1887) and Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), together with Helmholtz, are considered founders of modern experimental psychology (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Heinrich_Weber, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fechner)]

"In Germany positivism never gained as great a hold as in France or Italy. To a German, an idealist philosophy was a kind of second nature. For it was in this mold that German thought had been cast in the great era from the mid-eighteenth century to the Revolution of 1848. Kant... remained the dominant formative influence on the German mind... A generation later, and in more dogmatic and eccentric form, Hegel had reinforced the same precepts: like his predecessors, he had built out his doctrine from the idealist premise that the ultimate reality of the universe lay in 'spirit' or 'idea' rather than in the data of sense perception."

(Hughes, 1977, p. 183)

"The psychophysical model owes its origin to predominantly-German, nineteenth century attempts to make psychology a respectable science. To this end people, the subjects of psychological research, were modeled as physical entities governed by Laws of the type that had been so successful in predicting the behavior of the physical world. As examples we can list Emmert's Law (1881), Bloch's Law, Weber's Law (1834), Ekman's Law, Ricco's Law (1915), Fechner's Law (1860), Hering's Law (1942), Donder's Law and Listing's Law (1866). Notice that, also following from the precedent set in the physical sciences, these 'Laws' are named not after the phenomena they purport to describe or govern, but after the protagonist... We wonder if it is significant that some of the greatest figures of the time, e.g. Mach, Helmholtz and Exner, do not seem to have Laws named after them. Especially as it turns out that, except under very restricted circumstances, none of these so-called Laws is actually true. Some of them (e.g. Ekman's and Fechner's) are actually incompatible with each other."

(Harris & Jenkin, 1998, p. 2)

"As soon as I knew that I had at my disposal a class of little children, it was my wish to make of this school a field for scientific experimental pedagogy and child psychology. I started with a view in which Wundt concurs; namely, that child psychology does not exist. Indeed, experimental researches in regard to childhood, as, for example, those of Preyer and Baldwin, have been made upon not more than two or three subjects, children of the investigators. Moreover, the instruments of psychometry must be greatly modified and simplified before they can be used with children, who do not lend themselves passively as subjects for experimentation. Child psychology can be established only through the method of external observation. We must renounce all idea of making any record of mental states, which can be revealed only by the introspection of the subject himself. The instruments of psychometric research, as applied to pedagogy, have up to the present time been limited to the esthesiometric phase of the study."

"My intention was to keep in touch with the researches of others, but to make myself independent of them, proceeding to my work without preconceptions of any kind. I retained as the only essential, the affirmation, or, rather, the definition of Wundt, that 'all methods of experimental psychology may be reduced to one; namely, carefully recorded observation of the subject.'"

"Treating of children, another factor must necessarily intervene: the study of the development. Here too, I retained the same general criterion, but without clinging to any dogma about the activity of the child according to age."

(Montessori, 1909/1912/1964, pp. 72-73)

The Unconscious: Bergson, Freud, Adler, Jung and Nunn

["There is one name that will not appear on the list of memory-heredity theorists--C. G. Jung--although many might expect to see it because of Jung's well known ideas concerning archetypes and the collective unconscious. But Jung had almost nothing to say about heredity (or Lamarckism), and viewed archetypes as part of the basic structure of the psyche rather than as inherited 'racial memories.' Modern Jungian scholars, such as Jacobi (1959), strenuously attempt to separate Jung's theory from Lamarkism: 'It has been remarked in many quarters that from the standpoint of our present scientific knowledge acquired characters or memories cannot be inherited. Those who have raised this argument have assiduously overlooked the fact that Jung's archetypes are a structural condition of the psyche... and that this has nothing to do with the inheritance of definite images (p. 51).' Jacobi also specifically denied any connection between Jungian theory and Semon's Mneme (1959, p. 48).]

[Adler gives a way of understanding the phrase "follow the child". When a baby cries, we try to figure out what needs to be done, we do something, and figure out by the baby's responses and past experience if we've done the right thing. Like a baby, the child who is acting out can't necessarily tell us what's wrong. We try to figure out what needs to be done, and judge by the response of the child and past experience if we've done the right thing. So "following the child" is very different from letting the child do whatever they want or punishing them for transgressions. Also, as the child matures, she becomes capable of a wider range of activities with a wider range of consequences. We must teach her to recognize these consequences and take responsibility for them.]

[We do not follow the child by relying only on the child's conscious assessment of her needs. If a baby cries, it may be that she is hungry or that she has soiled herself, in which case some action is needed on the part of the adult that directly relates to the need perceived by the child. It may also be that she has awakened from a nightmare and believes there is a monster under her bed. In this case, the response of the adult is not directed toward an actual perception but toward a misperception of reality. It may also be the case that the child does not recognize a danger related to her own behavior. We don't leave a baby to play in her own feces because this is a hazard to her health. The point of following the child is that we encourage or dissuade activities based on our knowledge of the child and the actual needs of the child as we understand them, not necessarily the needs as perceived by the child. Part of what the child needs is to learn to live in the wider society, so we help with that, too. We won't always be right in our assessments, but if we pay attention to the child and come to know her as an individual, we may be able to do a better job of determining her needs than the child herself. In fact, we must do a better job, because the very young child, left to her own judgment, even with support, is unlikely to flourish and is more likely than a caring adult to unintentionally or intentionally put herself or others in harm's way.]

"Bergson had early taken his stand against positivism and "scientism"... and Bergson had declared in his first book that Kant's epistemology was fundamentally mistaken."

(Hughes, 1977, pp. 106-107)

[Like Montessori, Bergson had tremendous personal charisma (Hughes, 1997, p. 115). In his youth, Bergson "had fallen under the spell... of the ubiquitous Herbert Spencer." (Hughes, 1997, p. 115). Like Spencer, Bergson and Montessori both used tenuous biological analogies to support claims.]

[Creative Evolution was the book that made Bergson famous. However, according to Hughes, it was not his best work. (Hughes, 1997, p. 118)]

"Creative Evolution was repetitious and elusive work. Its argument rested on a series of exceedingly shaky biological analogies, and Bergson's word magic only just succeeded in concealing its logical insufficiencies. Its underlying drift, however, was quite clear. Bergson had already set his course toward that suave advocacy of 'higher' spiritual and moral values, that coquetting with the idea of personal immortality, which at the end of his life was to bring him into whole-hearted sympathy if not actual communion with the Roman Catholic Church." (Hughes, 1977, p. 119)

"...Bergson's line of reasoning, which professed to meet modern science on its own ground, offered the best possible avenue for winning back to religious belief a generation that had been suckled on positivism... On his death in 1941 [Bergson's] last will revealed that it was only a sense of solidarity with the sufferings of Jewish co-religionists under Nazi rule that held him back from formally adhering to Catholicism, and he asked that a priest read the prayers at his funeral."

(Hughes, 1977, pp. 119-120)

[An early devotee of Bergson, Sorel came to see "Bergsonism as a way-station to Jamesian pragmatism... To the extent that it actually could be applied to the study of society, Bergsonism--in its emphasis on the fluid character of reality--could be considered the equivalent of pragmatism. And in this realm, [William] James was the clearer thinker. Unlike Bergson, he did not push his case too far by laying a claim to 'absolute' knowledge. Indeed, the whole idea would have struck James as very odd indeed. And the absolute was the last thing in which most social scientists were interested." (Hughes, p. 123)]

"Freud did not believe that his own theory of the mind required explicit philosophical buttressing."

(Hughes, 1977, p. 107)

"...For German idealist thought as a whole the problem of how one could possibly arrive at an understanding of human (i.e., spiritual) behavior remained peculiarly vexing. A positivist-type determination of the 'causes' of an action clearly would not do. A more flexible procedure, free from mechanistic or naturalistic taint, was urgently required..."

"...Bergson's recourse to the faculty of intuition had much in common with what his German contemporaries were advocating. Bergson, we may remember, was emphatic in his denial that he meant the same thing by 'intuition' as what the Romanticists had sought to convey: he was not attacking, as they had, the claims of reason and science; he was, rather, trying to supplement and to complete the work of the intellect."

(Hughes, 1977, pp. 187-188)

[The intellect operates well on inert matter, and tries to operate on the living in the same way it operates on the inert. This leads to a mechanistic view of nature in which God has no role to play. This view breaks down because the intellect is not up to the task of creating knowledge about nature. "So philosophy swings to and fro between the doctrine that regards absolute reality as unknowable and that which, in the idea it gives us of this reality, says nothing more than science has said... Having wished to prevent all conflict between science and philosophy, we have sacrificed philosophy without any appreciable gain to science."]

(Bergson & Mitchell, 1913, p. 197)

"On our personality, on our liberty, on the place we occupy in the whole of nature, on our origin and perhaps also on our destiny, [intuition] throws a light feeble and vacillating, but which none the less pierces the darkness of the night in which the intellect leaves us."

"These fleeting intuitions, which light up their object only at distant intervals, philosophy ought to seize, first to sustain them, then to expand them and so unite them together. The more it advances in this work, the more will it perceive that intuition is mind itself, and, in a certain sense, life itself: the intellect has been cut out of it by a process resembling that which has generated matter. Thus is revealed the unity of the spiritual life. We recognize it only when we place ourselves in intuition in order to go from intuition to the intellect, for from the intellect we shall never pass to intuition."

(Bergson & Mitchell, 1913, p. 268)

Montessori met Bergson some time in 1919 or 1920. In her book, The New Children: Talks with Maria Montessori, Sheila Radice said that Montessori "marveled greatly at [Bergson's] understanding of her aims." (Radice, 1920, p. xiii).

"The cardinal error which, from Aristotle onwards, has vitiated most of the philosophies of nature, is to see in vegetative, instinctive and rational life, three successive degrees of the development of one and the same tendency, whereas they are three divergent directions of an activity that has split up as it grew. The difference between them is not a difference of intensity, nor, more generally, of degree, but of kind."

(Bergson & Mitchell, 1913, p. 135)

"...Vegetable and animal life.. are at once mutually complementary and mutually antagonistic... Intelligence and instinct also are opposite and complementary... They have not succeeded one another, nor can we assign to them different grades."

(Bergson & Mitchell, 1913, p. 135)

"...All concrete instinct is mingled with intelligence, as all real intelligence is penetrated by instinct. Moreover, neither intelligence nor instinct lends itself to rigid definition: they are tendencies, and not things."

(Bergson & Mitchell, 1913, p. 136)

"...Intelligence, considered in what seems to be its original feature, is the faculty of manufacturing artificial objects, especially tools to make tools, and of indefinitely varying the manufacture."

(Bergson & Mitchell, 1913, p. 139)

"Basically what Bergson did was to codify in quasi-scientific terminology certain central truths about human experience that the great religious mystics had always known."

(Hughes, 1977, p. 120)

"By following the path of observation, we reach a goal analogous to that sought along the path of intuition."

(Pedagogical Anthropology, p. 476)

"There is something wonderful in the power of observation and intuition shown by Sergi, who, running counter to the convictions of the majority of anthropologists, arrived through these conclusions at a truth the key to which was destined to be discovered later on through studies, very far removed from anthropology..."

(Pedagogical Anthropology, pp. 61-62)

"The two most typically characterized and original directions of Italian pedagogics to-day are Neo-Hegelian idealism and absolute transcendental realism. The first direction is followed by Benedetto Croce and Giovanni Gentile, author of the Summary of Pedagogics, where he identifies Pedagogy with Idealistic Philosophy, makes every reality consist in the actual moment of consciousness and maintains that self-education alone is possible."

(Watson, 1921, p. 899)

"In 1922, Benito Mussolini and his Fascists marched on Rome and established a Fascist regime in Italy. Mussolini's intense Italian nationalism drew the support of some leading Italian intellectuals, such as the idealist philosopher Giovanni Gentile (1875-1944). In Gentile's interpretation of idealism, the overarching idea of the nation-state embraced and surmounted all the individuals within it. His emphasis on the paramount role of the nation-state attracted him to Mussolini's Fascist ideology, which glorified and exalted the total state as the sum of all human loyalties. In 1923, Mussolini appointed Gentile minister of education. As president of the Supreme Council of Public Education from 1926 to 1928, he influenced the direction of education in Fascist Italy. Gentile's emphasis on children's self-education, or auto-education, caused him to look favorably on the Montessori method. Gentile, along with Queen Margherita, was interested in promoting the Montessori method in Italy.

"Through the auspices of Gentile, Mussolini and Montessori met in 1924, and the duce expressed an interest and commitment in establishing Montessori schools. It is assumed that Mussolini was interested in a method that he believed instilled discipline and order and in which children learned to read and write at age four. He also wanted to use Montessori's name and her associations with societies in other countries to popularize his Fascist idealogy. Montessori, in turn, was receptive to receiving official support for her educational ideas. In 1926, Montessori was officially recognized by the Tessera Fascista, the Fascist women's organization, and was made an honorary member of the party. The Ministry of Education officially appointed Montessori to conduct a six-month training course for Italian teachers in Milan. Mussolini accepted the honorary presidency of the course and authorized a subsidy for its support. In March 1927, Montessori and Mussolini met again in a private audience. There was more cooperation between Montessori and the Fascist government. The government advised the mayor of Rome to establish a Montessori training school. The government also supported a montly publication, L'Idea Montessori. By 1929, the Italian government was sponsoring several Montessori enterprises, suchas a training college in Rome (the Regia Scuola Magistrale di Metodo Montessori), a Montessori training course in Milan, and seventy infant and elementary classes in schools throughout Italy.

"The years 1929-1930 marked the high point of Montessori's educational work in Italy with the support of Mussolini's Fascist state. There was a six-month international training course in Rome in 1930 under the auspices of the Opera Montessori. Mussolini accepted the presidency of the fifteenth International Theoretical and Practical Training Course on Child Education, with Gentile acting as president. Mussolini intended to use the international Montessori course to showcase modern Italian culture and education. However, Mussolini... had not counted on meeting the firm resolve of Maria Montessori and her determination to control her own method of education and keep it as she had designed it.

"In 1929, Montessori and her son, Mario, established the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) to control and supervise Montessori activities, including training programs, throughout the world. Montessori sought to unite all the Montessori movements throught the world in a single international organization. At first the AMI met in a concurrent conference with the New Education Fellowship, an organization of progressive and innovative educators. After 1933, it met as a completely independent organization in the annual Montessori Congresses. Montessori was appointed lifetime president of the AMI, which was headquartered in Berlin until 1935 and then in Amsterdam. The AMI controlled rights to the publication of Montessori's books and the manufacture and sale of the materials and training and training course fees. Mario became her agent, protector and representative. Both she and Mario insisted that ther be no deviation from the approved pedagogical ine that Montessori had instituted."

(Montessori & Gutek, 2004, p. 37)

[Montessori felt that her method should be adapted to different cultures, but the fact that she appealed so strongly to biology meant that she did not see culture as the only or even the primary shaper of human action. Consider Lionel Trilling comment on Freud in Freud and the Crisis of Our Culture (Boston, 1955, p. 48, cited on page 138 of Hughes, 1977): "Consider whether [Freud's] emphasis on biology... far from being a reactionary idea... is actually a liberating idea. I suggests that there is a residue of human quality beyond the reach of cultural control, and that this residue..., elemental as it may be, serves to bring culture itself under criticism and keeps it from being absolute."]

[In her endorsement of Percy Nunn's work, Montessori acknowledge the role of the unconscious. Did she push determinism down to the unconscious as Freud did? At least in Pedagogical Anthropology, she appears to agree with Lombroso's brand of determinism, which posited the idea of the born criminal as well as others for whom criminality results from particular combinations of social and biological factors.]

[When I brush crumbs off the table, I have a level of confidence that they will fall into my hand. When I put my socks away, I have a level of confidence that they will be there the next time I open the drawer. When I take out the garbage on Tuesday, I have a level of confidence that it will be picked up on Wednesday.

It's nice to be able to predict, with some level of certainty, the outcomes our actions. But this ability is only useful if there are outcomes that cannot be predicted with complete certainty. Because, if human action and its consequences can be completely determined, then no actions or consequences can be avoided and no alternatives can be pursued.

Scientists (and people in general) seek knowledge in order to predict or control events. This makes determinism a compelling idea, since it implies that everything can ultimately be predicted. Ultimately, however, events that can be completely predicted cannot be controlled. If we know there is a chance we might be hit by a car at a crosswalk, we can exercise the appropriate caution and avoid being hit. However, if we know for a fact that we are going to be hit by a certain car at a certain crosswalk at a certain time, there is nothing we can do to prevent it.]

"Throughout his life Freud was both scientist and artist--but it was the latter tendency that finally gained the upper hand."

(Hughes, 1977, pp. 127-128)

[Is it fair to say that Montessori was both a scientist and a mystic? What about her idea of normalization as conversion?]

Nunn

Education: Data and First Principles

Chapter 1: The Aim of Education - "Individuality is the ideal of life."

Chapter 2: Life and Individuality - "Starting from the position that there is more than physics and chemistry even in the humblest animal [we can] view the history of life as a striving towards the individuality which is expressed most clearly and richly in man's conscious nature. [Therefore]

  • "Education that aims at fostering individuality is the only education 'according to nature.'
  • "To limit the idea of individuality to the things of the mind is to take far too narrow a view of its scope."

[Nunn introduces the concepts of horme, conation, mneme, and engram. Horme is purposive effort whether conscious or not. Conation is conscious horme. Mneme is to memory as horme is to conation. The engram is the physical change that corresponds to the creation of a mneme. Habit, physical growth, physiological functioning, instinct and heredity all seem to call on mneme in some way because they all involve "the past... reasserting itself in the present." Horme can be seen in the behavior of the stentor, a microorganism that is capable of complex behavior "when a stream of carmine impinges against its disc." Also, even a clearly conative process such as reading "involves movements and adjustments of eyes which, being unconscious, cannot be ascribed to conation..."

Chapter 3: The Will to Live

--------------------------------------------------------

"While every man tends to draw his ideal of life largely from the inspiration of others, yet it may be maintained that, in a perfectly good sense of the words, each must have his own unique ideal... A poet who recognizes that his creative impulse has failed would never point to another poem and say, 'That is what I intended to do.' His ideal was concrete, and to be embodied, if at all, in his poem and no other... It follows that there can be no universal aim of education if that aim is to include the assertion of any particular ideal of life; for there are as many ideals as there are persons. Educational efforts must, it would seem, be limited to securing for every one the conditions under which individuality is most completely developed..." (Nunn, 1920, p. 5)

"Individuality is the ideal of life" (Nunn, 1920, p. 10)

"To speak of individuality as the ideal of life implies... that life as a whole is autonomous and that it constantly strives after unity." (Nunn, 1920, p. 11)

  1. "The statement that man's will is free is ridiculous if understood as a claim that he can escape from the laws of his own nature; but it is sound sense when understood as extending to the whole of life the obvious truth that it is impossible to invent a machine before it is invented or to compose a sonata before it is composed." (Nunn, 1920, p. 11)
  2. "Unity in diversity is... the clear mark of all purposive actions... It is [also] the mark of all knowledge, from the power to 'perceive' objects and events... to the power to understand the behaviour of a planet or a system of metaphysics. This unity, whether shown in action or in understanding, is a always a partial expression of the individual's unity..." (Nunn, 1920, p. 11)

"We have... borrowed the term 'autonomy' from the biologist Hans Driesch, who applies it [in the sense of self-determination] to the facts of morphogenesis." (Nunn, 1920, p. 12)

"Are we, since our bodies are 'matter,' to seek in physical laws an explanation for the whole of life; or are we, since our bodies are alive, to interpret their activities by what we know of the life where its character appears in the highest and clearest form--namely, in the conscious life of the mind?" (Nunn, 1920, pp. 12-13)

"...It is not surprising that physiologists come to think of the body as nothing but an exceedingly complicated physico-chemical machine. Theirs is, in fact, essentially the view of Descartes which made so much stir in the seventeenth century--namely, that man might be regarded as only a very cunningly fashioned automaton if we did not know from inner experience that he has a soul." (Nunn, 1920, p. 13)

"Either mental facts belong to a distinct province of being whose connection with physiological facts must be for ever inscrutable, or else they, too, are reducible somehow to facts of physics and chemistry." (Nunn, 1920, p. 14)

"Most advocates of the 'mechanistic conception of life' elect, prudently, if unheroically, the former course; but there are bolder spirits who do not shrink from the latter. [Dr. Jacques Loeb's] experiments.. have given him hope.. that a physico-chemical explanation will be found in time for all the 'wishes and hopes, efforts and struggles,... disappointments and sufferings' that form 'the contents of life from the cradle to the bier.'" (Nunn, 1920, p. 14)

"Meanwhile, psychologists, who do not welcome the annexation of mental facts by physics and chemistry, have been hard put to it to formulate a view which shall at once satisfy the just claims of those sciences and preserve the prerogative position of mind in life... Most of them have been driven... to a position which answers almost completely to that of the less intransigent mechanists... They treat the mind, or, rather, 'experience' as if it were a self-contained field of events and causation which has some inscrutable connection with bodily events, but plays no part in determining them. To hold this view--in the form called the 'doctrine of psycho-physical parallelism'--has long been, and perhaps still is, orthodoxy in psychology." (Nunn, 1920, pp. 14-15)

"But the labours of an increasing company of workers seem to promise an end to this unhappy divorce between the sciences of body and mind. We may take the work of Professor H. S. Jennings of Pennsylvania University as typical of them. This writer, like most of his school, has directed his studies chiefly to the behaviour of the lower organisms. Here if anywhere, it should be possible to analyze life into chemical and physical reactions, and Jennings' earlier researches were definitely guided by the mechanistic conception."

"...After long familiarity with the ways of these lowly creatures he was forced to the conclusion that physics and chemistry are insufficient to explain even the simplest forms of animal life. The animal's life is, of course, permeated (as human physiology is) by chemical and physical factors; but just a a poem, though permeated by grammar, is more than a sum of grammatical expressions, so the behaviour, even of a protozoan, escapes beyond the conception of a physico-chemical machine. In short, the humblest creature is autonomous."

"The facts that converted Jennings to this view may be illustrated by some of his observations on the stentor--a single-celled, trumpet-shaped infusorian that dwells in marshy pools, attached to a water-plant or bit of débris, surrounds the lower end of its body by a translucent tube into which it can withdraw at need, and lives by agitating the cilia round the disc that (nearly) closes its trumpet and so whipping up vortices which carry food-particles into its mouth. When a stream of water containing carmine impinges against its disc, the stentor will at first drive the particles in the usual way into its mouth, but very soon begins to twist on its stalk and bend its trumpet away from the intrusive cloud. If several repetitions of this movement do not relieve it from the presence of the irritant, another reaction is tried; the ciliary movement is suddenly reversed, so that the particles are now thrown off the disc. If this manœuvre also fails, the animal contracts into its tube, remains there for about half a minute, then again emerges, unfolds its disc, and begins once more to move its cilia in the normal direction. A most interesting question now arises. The original conditions being restored, will the original sequence of reactions be repeated? The answer is definitely, No. As soon as the carmine reaches it, the stentor at once withdraws into its tube for a while, and continues to do so, remaining for a longer period each time, as often as, on re-emerging, it receives the particles upon its disc. Finally, it forces itself free from its attachment by violent contractions, quits its tube, and swims away to resume the business of life elsewhere."

"In describing these 'reactions' it is difficult to avoid using terms one would employ without risk of censure in speaking of the analogous behaviour of a higher animal, such as a dog or a man."

(Nunn, 1920, pp. 15-16)

"Jennings suggests that if the amœba--a tiny speck of living slime, without limbs or organs or even a definite form--were large enough to come within men's ordinary ken, they would regard it as 'controlled by the same elemental impulses as higher beasts of prey.' Moreover, he subscribes to the opinion, expressed by Dr. Raymond Pearl with regard to rather higher animals (the planaria) that 'it is almost an absolute necessity that one should become familiar, or perhaps better, intimate with an organism, so that he knows it in somewhat the same way that he knows a person, before he can get even an approximation of the truth regarding its behaviour.'"

(Nunn, 1920, pp. 16-17)

"Are we, since our bodies are 'matter,' to seek in physical laws an explanation for the whole of life; or are we, since our bodies are alive, to interpret their activities by what we know of the life where its character appears in the highest and clearest form--namely, in the conscious life of the mind?" (Nunn, 1920, pp. 12-13)

[Nunn answers that we must interpret the activities of our bodies by what we know of the conscious life of the mind.]

"Starting from the position that there is more than physics and chemistry even in the humblest animal, [one] comes to view the history of life as a striving towards the individuality which is expressed most clearly and richly in man's conscious nature, and finds, therefore, in that goal towards which the whole creation moves the true interpretation of its earlier efforts."

(Nunn, 1920, pp. 18-19)

[For Montessori, the history of life is a striving toward completion of cosmic tasks of which individual organisms are unaware. Is this effectively the same idea? Do organisms pursue their cosmic task by manifesting their individuality? Or are these two different views of the ends to which horme is directed?]

"From that view two important consequences immediately follow. One is that the criterion of educational effort laid down provisionally in the first chapter is justified by a sound reading of biological facts; for the education that aims at fostering individuality is the only education 'according to nature.' The other is that to limit the idea of individuality to the things of the mind is to take far too narrow a view of its scope. Individuality is an affair of the whole organism or 'body-mind.' The process we see shaping itself in the mind of a boy or girl is only the highest aspect of a process that actually involves the whole being, and includes movements that go back to pre-human days and even to the dateless beginnings of life. For a child is in literal truth the heir of the ages; he carries is what he ultimately makes of it."

(Nunn, 1920, p. 19)

"Of the writers who, with clear awareness of its import, have followed our method in modern times, one of the first and most notable was Samuel Butler, the author of 'Erewhon,' [and The Way of All Flesh] who upheld it as a criticism of what he regarded, perhaps with imperfect justice, as the mechanistic heresy of Charles Darwin. Butler argued, for instance, that the facts of habit, of physical growth, of physiological functioning, of instinct, of heredity, can be understood only if we regard them as a group of phenomena whose typical character is expressed most clearly in memory--most clearly there, because in memory we are directly conscious that the past is reasserting itself in the present. Following the principle that the less well known should be explained in terms of the better known, Butler boldly maintained that they should all be ascribed to the operation of 'unconscious memory.' Similarly he suggested that the emergence in history of such a limb as the crab's claw can be understood only if regarded as due to an unconscious factor entirely homologous with conscious human invention; the pincers which the carpenter uses for the same kind of purpose being, in fact, only a detachable limb, just as the claw is a permanently attached tool."

(Nunn, 1920, pp. 19-20)

"When Darwin first published his theory of evolution by natural selection in 1859, what most bothered many professionals was neither the notion of species change nor the posible descent of man from apes. The evidence pointing to evolution, including the evolution of man, had been accumulating for decades, and the idea of evolution had been suggested and widely disseminated before. Though evolution, as such, did encounter resistance, particularly from some religious groups, it was by no means the greatest of the difficulties the Darwinians faced. That difficulty stemmed from an idea that was more nearly Darwin's own. All the well-known pre-Darwinian evolutionary theories--those of Lamarck, Chambers, Spencer, and the German Naturphilosophen--had taken evolution to be a goal-directed process. The 'idea' of man and of the contemporary flora and fauna was thought to have been present from the first creation of life, perhaps in the mind of God. That idea or plan had provided the direction and the guiding force to the entire evolutionary process. Each stage of evolutionary development was a more perfect realization of a plan that had been present from the start." (see Loren Eiseley, Darwin's Century: Evolution and the Men Who Discovered It (New York, 1958), chaps. ii, iv-v.)

"For many men the abolition of that teleological kind of evolution was the most significant and least palatable of Darwin's suggestions. (For a particularly acute account of one prominent Darwinian's struggle with this problem, se A. Hunter Dupree, Asa Gray, 1810-1888 (Cambridge, Mass., 1959), pp. 295-306, 355-83.) "

(Khun, 1996, pp. 171-172)

"Butler's whimsical and malicious genius always prompted him so to phrase his arguments as to shake men most rudely out of their dogmatic slumber. Even the reader whose mind has been prepared by the preceding pages may be startled by the thought that the father of all crabs 'invented' his pincer-claws and that his descendents continue to grow them because they 'remember' that their forefathers have always done so. The phrases 'unconscious invention' and 'unconscious memory' contain, in fact, a contradiction which makes such statements seem grossly paradoxical. It will be useful, therefore, to substitute for them terms which may be employed to do justice to Butler's facts without awaking divergent associations."

"In the first place, then, we need a name for the fundamental property expressed in the incessant adjustments and adventures that make up the tissue of life. We are directly aware of that property in our conscious activities as an element of 'drive,' 'urge,' or felt tendency towards an end. Psychologists call it conation and give the name conative process to any train of conscious activity which is dominated by such a drive and receives from it the characters of unity in diversity and what Dr. Bosanquet has called 'coherent adaptiveness and progressiveness.' For instance, the reader's endeavour to understand the present sentence is a conative process in which a relatively complex system of mental acts moves towards a more or less clearly envisaged end."

(Nunn, 1920, p. 20)

"Conation refers to the intentional and personal motivation of behavior (e.g., the proactive direction, energizing, and persistence of behavior)... The study of intentionality is common to the behavior of both animals and human beings. However, Frankfurt (1982) proposes that human intentionality is different from animal intentionality in that human beings can desire to contravene their conditioning. Bandura (1997) believes this is possible because of the singularly human ability of self-reflective evaluation. More recent literature has focused on the concept of self-regulation as an aspect of conation (e.g., Bandura, 1991; Schunk & Zimmerman, 1994), adding an additional dimension to the study of self (e.g., self-concept, self-esteem, self-reflection, self-determination)."

https://chiron.valdosta.edu/whuitt/col/regsys/conation.html

"Now, although the behaviour of the stentor described on pp. 15-16 is essentially of the same character as this, we must hesitate to ascribe it to conation, for we have no good reason to suppose that the creature is conscious either of the carmine or of the end to which his movements are directed. And it is here important to observe that even reading, unquestionably a conative process, involves movements and adjustments of the eyes which, being unconscious, cannot be ascribed to conation, though they have the same general character as conative processes. For the reader's eye does not, like his spectacles, function merely as an optical instrument; its behaviour is the purposive behaviour of a living organ which enjoys, within the empire of the organism, a certain measure of responsible autonomy. Moreover, while the reader's mind is pursuing the printed argument, his neuro-muscular mechanisms are keeping his head aloft upon his shoulders, his digestive glands are dealing with his latest meal, his phagocytes are, perhaps, wrestling quietly with an invasion of the bacilli of influenza. None of these purposive processes may be called conative, for they lie below, and even far below, the conscious level; yet a supra-human spectator, who could watch our mental behaviour in the same direct way as we can observe physical events, would see them all as instances of the same class, variant in detail but alike (as we have said) in general plan. In other words, he would see that they all differ from purely mechanical processes by the presence of an internal 'drive,' and differ from one another only in the material in which the drive works and the character of the ends towards which it is directed."

(Nunn, 1920, pp. 20-21)

"To this element of drive or urge; whether it occurs in the conscious life of men and the higher animals, or in the unconscious activities of their bodies and the (presumably) unconscious behaviour of lower animals, we propose to give a single name--horme (This term is not altogether a neologism. It is used in a kindred sense by some recent writers on psychology). In accordance with this proposal all the purposive processes of the organism are hormic processes, conative processes being the sub-class whose members have the special mark of being conscious."

(Nunn, 1920, p. 21)

"I postulate a hypothetical fundamental striving which I designate libido... This energy may also be designated as hormé. Hormé is a Greek word [meaning] force, attack, press, impetuosity, violence, urgency, zeal. It is related to Bergson's 'élan vital.' "

(Jung, 1916, pp. 347-348)

"Similarly we shall bring together under a common designation all the varied phenomena referred by Butler to memory, conscious or unconscious. Following the German biologist Richard Semon, we shall speak of such phenomena as mnemic and shall give the mneme to the property of living substance which they exemplify. Memory, then, is conscious mneme just as conation is conscious horme."

(Nunn, 1920, p. 22)

"In the task of analyzing in outline the development of the human individual the concepts of horme and mneme will be our constant guides. It will be well, therefore, to begin our investigation with a somewhat fuller inquiry into the nature and the forms assumed by these fundamental aspects or factors of vital activities. That inquiry will occupy us in the next three chapters.

(Nunn, 1920, p. 22)

[In his "NOTES ON BOOKS, ETC. on page 22, Nunn cites "The Principle of Individuality and Value" (1912) and "The Value and Destiny of the Individual" (1913) by Bernard Bosanquet as works that "contain a masterly treatment of individuality from the neo-Hegelian standpoint." He also cites Samuel Butler's "Life and Habit" and "Unconscious Memory"]

"Matter from the environment is constantly flowing into and out of the organism being, in Dr. Haldane's vigorous phrase, only for a while 'caught up in the whirl' of its bodily structure. And the same is true of an organism's psychical activities... The texture of man's mind, like that of his body, consists in what is from time to time 'caught up in the whirl' of its structure in perception, in thought, in all the acts involved in the common social life. Nevertheless, every animal, so long as it is alive, continues to affirm or assert itself over against the world of which, from another point of view, it is merely a part."

(Nunn, 1920, pp. 23-24)

"Speaking broadly, we may say that the self-affirmation or self-assertion of the organism in the face of its world is shown in activities of two types, conservative and creative... But [the distinction between these two types] is by no means absolute... For the old way has to be pursued in the face of a constantly changing situation, and this adaptation itself implies the creative element. It is still more evident that conservation is an indispensable element in creation. The mathematician can discover a new theorem only if he retains command of the multiplication table; the scientific investigator advances mainly by reshaping or extending the hypothese of the forerunners; the methods of the modernist art, music or poetry are the old methods remoulded or combined afresh; and the most daring statesman rarely does more than give a novel turn to some ancient political idea. In short, conservation and creation are factors in all self-assertion, and what distinguishes one type of activity from another is not the presence or absence of one of them, but their relative prominence."

(Nunn, 1920, pp. 24-25)

[Montessori speaks of inhibition and impulse in Spontaneous Activity: "Now all our actions represent a resultant of the forces of impulse and inhibition, and by constant repetition of actions this resultant may become almost habitual and unconscious." (p. 171) Seems related to the conservative/creative activity types.]

"Just as in an army or a Church there is a hierarchy of officers whose duties and powers are always, except in the highest, subordinate to those of a superior, so in the individual organism we constantly meet with hierarchies of hormic processes."

(Nunn, 1920, p. 28)

"It is... by no means necessary that the constituents of a conative complex should themselves be conative. Let us suppose that a man, wishing to call on a distant friend, rides to his destination on a bicycle. The expedition as a whole is a conative process, and the act of cycling taken as a whole is also a conative process subordinate to the former. But the latter involves a great multiplicity of movements of limbs, and trunk, which are certainly not now conative processes, though they may have been so before the agent became an expert rider. Most of them are "automatic" processes, originally distinct and autonomous, which, as the cyclist acquired mastery of his art, became organized into a hormic system which works as a whole, and is ready as a whole to serve the interests of any higher system that calls for its collaboration. And in the complicated behaviour of those deeper parts of the organism that subserve digestion and respiration we have instances of hormic systems of an elaborate kind, in the organization and working of which consciousness plays as a rule no discernible part."

(Nunn, 1920, pp. 28-29)

 

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