The elements of excitation


Peirce, C.S. (1878). Illustrations of the logic of science. In: Popular Science Monthly, Vol. 13 (August 1878). S.470-482.

Now, when our nervous system is excited in a complicated way, there being a relation between the elements of the excitation, the result is a single harmonious disturbance which I call an emotion. Thus, the various sounds made by the instruments of an orchestra strike upon the ear, and the result is a peculiar musical emotion, quite distinct from the sounds themselves. This emotion is essentially the same thing as an hypothetic inference, and every hypothetic inference involves the formation of such an emotion. We may say, therefore, that hypothesis produces the sensuous element of thought, and induction the habitual element. As for deduction, which adds nothing to the premises, but only out of the various facts represented in the premises selects one and brings the attention down to it, this may be considered as the logical formula for paying attention, which is the volitional element of thought, and corresponds to nervous discharge in the sphere of physiology.