Samuel Alexander


Australian-born British Philosopher, first Jewish Fellow of an Oxbridge College

Author Quotes

We cannot tell why one sensory process should make us see green and another make us see blue and another make us smell scent.

We cannot therefore say that mental acts contain a cognitive as well as a conative element.

The difference in the perceiving of a star and a tree is a variation in some intrinsic character which belongs to conation as such.

What is the meaning of the togetherness of the perceiving mind, in that peculiar modification of perceiving which makes it perceive not a star but a tree, and the tree itself, is a problem for philosophy.

The great usefulness of speculation for mental life lies in its thus suspending practice and introducing consideration.

What the occasions are which lead to the emergence of free images is no means clear.

The interval between a cold expectation and a warm desire may be filled by expectations of varying degrees of warmth or by desires of varying degrees of coldness.

When we come to images or memories or thoughts, speculation, while always closely related to practice, is more explicit, and it is in fact not immediately obvious that such processes can be described in any sense as practical.

The mental act of sensation which issues in reflex movement is so simple as to defy analysis.

You can mark in desire the rising of the tide, as the appetite more and more invades the personality, appealing, as it does, not merely to the sensory side of the self, but to its ideal components as well.

The perceptive act is a reaction of the mind upon the object of which it is the perception.

The reproductive conation means anyhow the existence in the mind of a conation in the absence of the memory object or rather in the absence of objects revealed as sensory.

The sensory acts are accordingly distinguished by their objects.

The thing of which the act of perception is the perception is experienced as something not mental.

Theoretical acts of mind are such as subserve the continuance of the object before the mind without alteration of it.

Thus a remembered object (event) is remembered as mine.

Thus the same object may supply a practical perception to one person and a speculative one to another, or the same person may perceive it partly practically and partly speculatively.

Thus we have to recognize that a thing as perceived contains besides sensory elements other elements present to the mind only in ideal form.

Time is the Mind of Space.

True, also, the psychosis is a different one according as the object is a sensum, an ideatum, etc; or according to the various sensory qualities of the object; or according to the various categories under which he thing presents itself.

Curiosity begins as an act of tearing to pieces or analysis.

Psychology is the science of the act of experiencing, and deals with the whole system of such acts as they make up mental life.

Desire in general, as the word is commonly used, is directed upon the past; to which the name is inappropriate.

Such being the nature of mental life, the business of psychology is primarily to describe in detail the various forms which attention or conation assumes upon the different levels of that life.

Desire then is the invasion of the whole self by the wish, which, as it invades, sets going more and more of the psychical processes; but at the same time, so long as it remains desire, does not succeed in getting possession of the self.

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Australian-born British Philosopher, first Jewish Fellow of an Oxbridge College