I remind the readers; they should read Part 1 and 2 to be able to understand this article to get the useful information.
But now let us leave these fantasies of psychological fiction. Let us turn to the concrete facts, let us see them in the spirit of modern scientific psychology, let us try to explain them in harmony with the principles of psychological explanation, and let us discriminate the various groups of facts which have led to that easy-going hypothesis of the subconscious. Discrimination indeed is needed, as it would be impossible to bring the whole manifold of facts under one formula, but there is certainly no unification reached by simply putting the same label on all the varieties and behaving as if they are all at once explained when they are called the functions of the subconscious. Two large groups may be separated. Facts are referred to the subconscious mind which do not belong to the mind at all, neither to a conscious nor to a subconscious one, but which are simply processes in the physical organism; and secondly, facts are referred to the subconscious mind which go on in the conscious mind but which are abnormally connected. Thus the subconscious mental facts are either not mental but physiological, or mental but not subconscious.
What does the scientific psychologist really mean by consciousness? We saw clearly that the psychology which is a descriptive and explanatory science of mental phenomena can by no means have the ambition to be a full interpretation of the inner reality. Our inner life, we saw, is not a series of phenomena, is not a chain of objects which we are aware of and which we therefore can describe, and which finally we can explain. But in its living reality, we saw that it is purposive, has a meaning and aim, is will and intention, and can thus be understood in its true character, not by describing and explaining it but by interpreting it and appreciating it. This is the life attitude towards personalities when we deal man to man. We do not at first consider ourselves or our fellows as mental objects to be explained but always as subjects to be understood in their meaning. If we pass from this primary attitude to the attitude of the scientific psychologist we gain, as we saw, an artificial perspective. We must consider then our inner experience of ourselves with all our states as a series of objects made up of elements connected by law. Instead of the real things which in our real life are objects of will and purpose, tools and means for us, the psychologist knows only objects of awareness, objects which have no meaning, but which simply exist and which are no longer related to a will but are connected with other objects as causes and effects. Now we deal no longer with the chairs and tables before us but from a psychological point of view they become perceptive ideas of chairs and tables, ideas which are not in the room but in our own minds. While these objects of our will and of our personality become mere ideas, our will and personality themselves become, too, a series of phenomena. Our self is now no longer the purposive will but is that group of sensations and ideas which clusters about the perception of our organism and its actions; in short, our self itself becomes an object of awareness.
Our whole inner experience thus becomes a manifold of objects. Our self and the actions of our self are thus alike for the psychologist mere phenomena, mere objects which are perceived. Will and emotion, memory idea and thought—they all are now passing appearances like the sunshine and rain, the flowers and waves. By this transformation the immediate will character of real life is given up, but instead of it a system of objects is gained, that allows description and explanation. If we are to deal at all with inner life not from a purposive but from a causal point of view, we are obliged to admit this reconstruction. Without it we cannot have any science of the mind, without it we can understand the intentions of our neighbour and appreciate the truth and morality of his meanings but we cannot causally explain his experiences or determine which effects are to be expected. It is thus not an arbitrary substitution but a procedure just as necessary and logically obligatory as the work of the chemist who substitutes trillions of invisible atoms for the glass of water which he drinks.
Thus for the psychologist the mental world is a system of mental objects. To be an object means of course to be object of some subject which is aware of it. What else could it mean to exist at all as object if not that it is given to some possible subject? But the world of objects is twofold; we have not only the mental objects of the psychologist but also the physical objects of the naturalist. Science must characterize the difference between those two and we pointed once before to the only fundamental difference. Physical objects are those which are possible objects of awareness for every subject; psychical objects are those which are possible objects of awareness for one subject only. The tree which I see is as physical tree object for every man, it is the same tree which you and I see; my psychical perception of the tree is object for one subject only. My perception can never be your perception. Our perceptions may agree but each has his own. As to the physical objects, we can entirely abstract from such reference to the subjects. We say simply: the tree exists or is part of nature; and only the philosopher is aware that we silently mean by it that it exists for every subject and that it is therefore not necessary to refer to any particular subject. But the perception of the tree which is either your idea or my idea evidently gets its existence only if it is referred and attached to a particular subject which is aware of it. Such subject of awareness is that which the psychologist calls consciousness and all the ideas and volitions and emotions and sensations and images which make up the mental life are then contents of the consciousness or objects of the consciousness. To have psychical existence at all means thus to be object of awareness for a consciousness.
Something psychical which simply exists but is not object of consciousness is therefore an inner contradiction. Consciousness is the presupposition for the existence of the psychical objects. Psychical objects which enjoy their existence below consciousness are thus as impossible as a wooden piece of iron.
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