mental evolution in man origin of human faculty

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III. LOGIC OF RECEPTS. We have seen that the great border-land, or terra media, lying between particular ideas and general ideas has been strangely neglected by psychologists, and we may now be prepared to find that a careful exploration of this borcTer-land is a matter of the highest importance for the purposes of our inquiry. I will, therefore, devote the present chapter to a full consideration of what I have termed generic ideas, or recepts. It has already been remarked that, in order to form any of these generic ideas, the mind does not require to combine intentionally the particular ideas which go to construct it: a recept differs from a concept in that it is received, not conceived. The percepts out of which a recept is composed are of so comparatively simple a character, are so frequently repeated in observation, and present among themselves resemblances or analogies so obvious, that the mental images of them run together, as it were, spontaneously, or in accordance with the primary laws of merely sensuous association, without requiring any conscious act of comparison. This is a truth which has been noticed by several previous writers. For instance, I have in this connection already quoted a passage from M. Taine, and, if necessary, could quote another, wherein he very aptly likens what I have called recepts to the unelaborated ore out of which the metal of a concept is afterwards smelted. And still more to the purpose is the following passage, which I take from Mr. Sully:—"The more concrete concepts, or generic images, are formed to a large extent by a passive process of assimilation. The likeness among dogs, for example, is so great and striking that when a child, already familiar with one of these animals, sees a second, he recognizes it as identical with ...
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