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By Russell Bertrand

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Besides mechanical movements, there are interrupted movements, as when a bird, on its way to eat your best peas, is frightened away by the boy whom you are employing for that purpose. If interruptions are frequent and completion of cycles rare, the characteristics by which cycles are observed may become so blurred as to be almost unrecognizable. The result of these various considerations is that the differences between animals and dead matter, when we confine ourselves to external unscientific observation of integral behaviour, are a matter of degree and not very precise.

To begin with, many instincts mature gradually, and while they are immature an animal may act in a fumbling manner which is very difficult to distinguish from learning. James (“Psychology,” ii, 407) maintains that children walk by instinct, and that the awkwardness of their first attempts is only due to the fact that the instinct has not yet ripened. , p. 406). In the second place, instinct often gives only a rough outline of the sort of thing to do, in which case learning is necessary in order to acquire certainty and precision in action.

We can observe such things as their movements, their physiological processes, and the sounds they emit. Such things as desires and beliefs, which seem obvious to introspection, are not visible directly to external observation. Accordingly, if we begin our study of psychology by external observation, we must not begin by assuming such things as desires and beliefs, but only such things as external observation can reveal, which will be characteristics of the movements and physiological processes of animals.

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