Samuel Alexander


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

Author Quotes

A conational psychology may accordingly with perfect correctness employ this resource on the same principle as we infer from a man's energetic language the strength of his sentiments.

It is convenient to distinguish the two kinds of experience which have thus been described, the experienc-ing and the experienc-ed, by technical words.

A mental act is cognitive only in the sense that it takes place in reference to some object, which is said to be known.

It is more difficult to designate this form of conation on its practical side by a satisfactory name.

An expectation is a future object, recognized as belonging to me.

It may be added, to prevent misunderstanding, that when I speak of contemplated objects in this last phrase as objects of contemplation, the act of contemplation itself is of course an enjoyment.

An object is not first imagined or thought about and then expected or willed, but in being actively expected it is imagined as future and in being willed it is thought.

Mental life is indeed practical through and through. It begins in practice and it ends in practice.

Both expectations and memories are more than mere images founded on previous experience.

Now the acts of expecting and remembering are the theoretical or speculative forms of the same conative activity which in its practical form is desire.

But though cognition is not an element of mental action, nor even in any real sense of the word an aspect of it, the distinction of cognition and conation has if properly defined a definite value.

On the contrary, enjoyments can be understood and analyzed, and it is the business of psychology to analyze enjoyments.

But unfortunately Locke treated ideas of reflection as if they were another class of objects of contemplation beside ideas of sensation.

Practical acts are such as, through the medium of our bodily movements, alter the object or its relation to ourselves or to other subjects.

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.

For psychological purposes the most important differences in conation are those in virtue of which the object is revealed as sensed or perceived or imaged or remembered or thought.

Though religion... always envelops conduct, the sentiment of religion and the sense of moral value are distinct.

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