I. WILLIAM LYALL
The two extremes in philosophizing - the highly ideal and the low sensational - are equally at fault. They both equally subject the mind to a kind of necessity of action, or of being acted upon, instead of viewing it as Being, having laws by which it is regulated, indeed, but still possessed of a free activity, a personal existence, and an action within itself.
William Lyall (1811 - 1890)
AN OVERVIEW OF WILLIAM LYALL’S PHILOSOPHY
Philosophy in Canada
Lyall the Philosopher, Lyall the Romantic
Lyall’s Understanding of the Intellect
Emotions, Morality and Being
INTELLECT, EMOTIONS AND IMAGINATION
This chapter aims to give a picture of William Lyall’s philosophical ideas. His work Intellect, the Emotions and the Moral Nature (1855) can be considered an example of the accommodationist theory of reason, as it is developed in Leslie Armour and Elizabeth Trott’s study of Canadian philosophy and culture, The Faces of Reason: An Essay on Philosophy and Culture in English Canada (1850 - 1950) published in 1981 (henceforth abbreviated as Faces of Reason). Briefly put, Armour and Trott consider that the accommodationist use of reason is (or, at least, used to be in the period of time analyzed in their work) typical of English Canadian philosophers and it implies that reason is used as a means to accommodate philosophical positions opposed to one’s own in order to learn from them. However, their analysis of Lyall’s work does not conclude on a very happy note. The Maritimes professor does not seem to have brought an original contribution to philosophy. Moreover, he seems, Armour and Trott consider, to be a representative of Canadian philosophy only in name. My claim in this chapter is that contrary to the above considerations, Lyall should be taken into account in an attempt to configure a picture of philosophy as done in Canada. Lyall’s particular understanding of the emotions (of the way they connect us with phenomenal world) and of their relationship with intellect in the imaginative state of mind is an original contribution which, however, is overlooked because it is not fully interpreted. Lyall’s philosophical ideas can be characterized as having an idealist streak, even though, as we will see, he rejects the sort of idealism that Berkeley, for example, or Hegel, practice. Moreover, there can be spotted in his work a tendency toward mind/body dualism which develops out of his struggle to meet the shortcomings of idealism and materialism. Following my explanation of Lyall’s thought it will be easy to see that, if the sort of idealism described by Armour and Trott is indeed specific to Canadian philosophers, then Lyall’s ideas fit their description very well. Lyall’s ideas are not easily accessible because of the peculiar way in which he narrows down what he thinks is worthy from the works of other philosophers regarding the issues that he analyzes. His understanding of the essential qualities of matter, where he “converses” with John Locke and Thomas Brown or the role played by emotions relative to morality, where he draws on David Hume’s and Immanuel Kant’s ideas illustrate this peculiarity. Another issue that underlies Lyall’s work is constituted by his proneness to using metaphorical language which is surely to be expected considering that he writes under the influence of the Romantic movement. However, this explanation is too simplistic and leaves undeveloped an important side of his work. The use of metaphorical language marks the existence of a preoccupation with the productive capacity of language. Imagination is a key term here: the imaginative state is the place where emotions and the intellect (in its ability to create metaphors) meet, where they are under each other’s influence. This represents an important issue, because although Lyall considered the intellect to be divorced from phenomenal reality and gave emotions full credit for making us a part of the world (an idea which will be analyzed in the second chapter), for connecting us with Nature, the intellect too should have been awarded this honour (this will constitute my preoccupation in the third chapter). Therefore, in this chapter, after giving a general perspective on Lyall’s Intellect, the Emotions and the Moral Nature I will analyze the part that deals with his theory of emotions and I will look closer at how emotions are connected with the intellect in the imaginative state. I will try to emphasize some of the relevant aspects which will become the foci of further and more detailed considerations which will establish more clearly Lyall’s status as a Canadian philosopher.
AN OVERVIEW OF WILLIAM LYALL’S PHILOSOPHY
Philosophy in Canada
Leslie Armour and Elizabeth Trott give an interpretation of philosophy as it was done in Canada by stressing a special use of reason which can be seen at work in the musings of most English Canadian philosophers. In the Faces of Reason, they state:
The single point which we would make here if we could make only one point in this book would be this: Dominantly in English Canadian philosophy, reason is used as a device to explore alternatives, to suggest ways of combining apparently contradictory ideas, to discover new ways of passing from one idea to another. Only rarely it is used as an intellectual substitute for force - as a device to defeat one’s opponent, to show his ideas to be without foundation, or to discredit his claims to philosophical thought. There is, in short, a kind of philosophical federalism at work, a natural inclination to find out why one’s neighbor thinks differently rather than to find out how to show him up as an idiot. (1981, 4)
Thus, for Armour and Trott, many of the early Canadian philosophers used reason in this particular accommodationist way. They shared “a willingness to attempt to understand and accommodate philosophical positions opposed to their own” (J.D. Rabb 1986, 93). In other words, the opinion of the Other counts. Dominantly, in Canada, following Armour and Trott’s findings, the Other as such counts, whether it represents other human beings or Nature. It should not be dismissed just because it asserts something different to what is expected or it assert itself - in as much as Nature is concerned - in rather unexpected ways. From the description given by Armour and Trott, one can infer that reason is not a rigid tool dividing and structuring ideas while being guided by very strict rules. Reason is the catalyst for mediating apparent confronting positions and not the tribunal where conflicting ideas meet. In their book, Armour and Trott look for “a particular way in which reason develops as it comes to be substituted for insight and intuition in order that certain kinds of conflicts might be overcome in a reasonable way” (1981, 18). Reason, when used by Canadian philosophers, is thus seen as developing and as assuming different “faces”, according to the inevitable changes that occur in either science or public awareness, or in its dialogue with faith or when different traditions are challenged. For example, John Watson saw reason as an ally in his concern to “develop and defend a kind of nationalism which would be compatible with a world order”, to attenuate individualism “while maintaining a strong sense of human rights and liberties” (Ibid., 512). George John Blewett uses reason in order “to find a picture of the world in which the world is not a mere plaything of God’s and not a mere machine. He wants to find a view of the world within which… animal life comes to have a point beyond its possibilities for human food, clothing, and amusement” (Ibid., 514). Rupert Lodge is searching for “the limits of reason in order to establish a truce between the combatant parties so that he can create, in an educational setting, a common heritage while preserving a cultural plurality” (Ibid., 513). These examples, among many others, entitle Armour and Trott to come to the conclusion that in Canada, there is a sort of philosophical federalism at work. Armour writes in “The Faces of Reason and Its Critics”, an article in the journal Dialogue, that:
[I]n the period which Prof. Trott and I chose, we find the kind of philosophical federalism which one might expect under the circumstances. We found James Beaven, perhaps something of a bigot before he left England, trying to find a rational framework within which rival kinds of Christians could make common cause. We found philosophers of the Scottish common sense tradition, like William Lyall, becoming much more eclectic as their lives wore on in Canada. (1986, 76)
There is, therefore, something distinctive about Canadian philosophy and there is something which gives shape to philosophical ideas promoted by Canadian philosophers. However, it is not my purpose here to argue whether the thesis sustaining Faces of Reason is legitimate or not. Rather, what I am interested in is to see how William Lyall’s work fits into the framework thus provided. In other words, given this matrix, I want to see how Lyall’s ideas develop within it and also how they are appreciated by Armour and Trott.
Lyall the Philosopher, Lyall the Romantic
What should be done now is to take a look at Lyall’s philosophical background and, by surveying Intellect, the Emotions and the Moral Nature, to sketch his philosophical stand point. First, let us briefly consider the context in which the book was written. William Lyall taught philosophy at the Free Church College in Halifax, which was later to become Dalhousie University. Armour and Trott tell us that Lyall:
had been educated first at the University of Glasgow and then at Edinburgh, where he encountered the thought of Thomas Brown which was to leave a lasting mark on his philosophy. For a time he served as a clergyman and took part of the Free Church in the Great Disruption of 1843. He had a church in Linlithgow when, in 1848, he came to Ontario as a tutor at Knox College. Two years later, Paxton Young replaced him at Knox when he decided to accept a chair at the new Free Church College in Halifax. The Free Church College of Halifax had a staff of two: Lyall, who served officially as Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy and Classical Literature, and Andrew King, who was Professor of Theology. In fact, Lyall taught all the arts subjects. (1981, 62)
Lyall was educated in Scotland where he encountered the philosophy of common sense. In Canada, after two years as a tutor at Knox College, he moved to Halifax where he taught not only philosophy of mind and ethics but all arts-related subjects as well. Lyall was, as it was written in the Dalhousie Gazette (20 December 1893, 136), “the whole Faculty of Arts”. The Intellect, the Emotions and the Moral Nature is Lyall’s major work. It touches upon many philosophical foci as it opens with an analysis of the intellect followed by an inquiry into the world of emotions, both of them constituting a picture of the human being in its uniqueness. The third part is made up of reflections on moral nature, where the conclusions reached in the first two parts are joined together in an attempt to explain how human beings coexist, how they come together in a community. However, according to F. Hilton Page, in William Lyall in His Settings (1980):
Lyall’s book is very much a period piece. I do not say this to belittle it as I am myself rather partial to period-pieces, especially those of Lyall’s own period…anyone reading Lyall’s book now has to be aware of the conventions and attitudes of the time; otherwise his attention will be distracted from the matter to the manner of writing…There was a time when almost every Scottish professor of philosophy published his lectures. Volumes of lectures were almost as popular as volumes of sermons. To understand Lyall it is necessary to understand the peculiarities of the Scottish philosophy lecture of this period, on which his own lectures were, if unconsciously, stylistically modeled…[For Lyall,]…eloquent passages; taste, culture, moral and spiritual elevation…[were important]. (1980, 59-61)
Though I would not say that Lyall’s book merely represents a collection of his public lectures, this explains, to a certain extent, why Lyall used it as a textbook for the classes he taught; for a good number of years, so did teachers in several other colleges (Dalhousie Gazette, 30 January, 1890). The “eloquent passages”, the metaphorical language intertwined with philosophical explanations as well as the abruptness of the presentation and the multitude of ideas that unexpectedly spring up here and there leaving enough space for details in the classroom can thus be understood. But this, I think, is not the only explanation for Lyall’s style. Reading Lyall is often similar to reading from the works of a Romantic poet. In his work, quotations from poets rival with quotations from philosophers. That which cannot be explained by reason alone, by the intellect, is often characterized by Lyall as something that “defies definition” or is “unexplainable” and thus is engulfed in an aura of mystery. When talking about the mind, for example, in an attempt to revise his ideas and his findings with regard to this issue in order to reject the possibility that mind is merely an organic product, Lyall writes in the tone of idealist philosophy: the first idea one has is about oneself and it is followed by the one about the other than self, or “externality” which implies the existence of “matter wrapping up the mind”. It follows the idea of substance, then those of space and time and power which become “the subjects of science”. Science itself is something which develops, something which advances and mind’s role “is not [to be] itself a mere law, but is conversant about the law”; it “is intelligent of it”; it “can unfold its own process or laws - is cognizant of itself”. But then, soon after talking about the mind employing concepts dear to the philosophy of the time, Lyall changes perspective and brings into discussion one of the faculties of mind, imagination and says that:
if we go into the region of imagination, if we mark the subtle process of that faculty, if we observe its potent sway - how it etherealizes or spiritualizes matter itself, clothes it in its own beauty, invests it in its own fair hues, scatters around its thousand spells, gives animation and meaning to every object by which we are surrounded, and to every sound that comes to us, to the lightest whisper of the breeze, and to the stillest rustling of the summer or the autumn foliage; which hears a voice in the gurgling brook, that comes from depths yet unfathomed by the mind itself, and listens in converse with the ocean as it murmurs unceasingly, and with Wordsworth, hears the sound of another ocean ‘rolling evermore’, when ‘our souls have sight of that immortal sea which brought us hither’: who will say that all this is the result of mere organization? Who would be a materialist who has ever felt the visitations of that spirit which comes to us when nature is still, which woos us in the moods and aspects of creation, who has felt - ‘A presence that disturbs him with the joy of elevated thoughts’, who has cultivated and cherished that presence, and is indeed hardly ever unattended by it, so that it meets him in every pathway where the influences of nature are around him? (1855, 93-94)
Mind, therefore, according to Lyall, is not a product, is not “an organic result”; it is different from matter. The philosophical inquiry, guided by reason, as well as the emotions one experiences under imagination’s spell bring us to the same conclusion which is that matter is not all there is and that the mind is not merely a product of it. This is, though, just an example among others. As Lyall sees it then, metaphors and concepts work together for the benefit of a better explanation. A connection between philosophy and poetry is something which often develops in the Romantic period. Gilles Deleuze, in one of his lectures about Kant (1978), advances the radical idea that we never find those who understand philosophers among philosophers. In Kant’s case, his best disciple was none other than Hölderlin. Time for Kant, to give an example, ceases to have a psychological or cosmological connotation. It becomes a pure form; it is not something that unfolds circularly but rather something that stretches itself, linearly. This kind of time is the pure and empty form in which, Deleuze claims, Hölderlin’s Oedipus wanders. There is then an intimate connection between the findings of philosophy and poetic effusiveness. But how is this related to Lyall? Is Lyall’s affluence of poetic language intertwined with philosophical arguments a mere proof of his writing for the sake of an audience, for the sake of eloquent, though scholarly presentations? Is it proof of his being an incurable Romantic? Or does it imply something more than that? Can it be that his efforts were directed toward an attempt to unpack Romantic themes and common places in a philosophical milieu thus feeding the philosophical reflection itself with meanings revealed by poetic creation? I think this question deserves an affirmative answer. In sum, with Lyall, philosophical reason and poetic imagination meet; with Lyall, reason and emotion join hands and create a balance. This way, reason is not used as the one and only true philosophical tool, which is an idea that underlines the thesis sustaining Armour and Trott’s Faces of Reason, that is, reason is used by English Canadian philosophers in an accommodationist manner.
Let us now take a closer look at the content of the Intellect, the Emotions and the Moral Nature in order to illustrate what I called at the beginning of this chapter Lyall’s peculiar way of retaining what is useful from the works of other philosophers. Lyall’s ideas were developed in close connection to the Scottish philosophy of common sense. He studied thoroughly Locke, Reid, Carlyle and, especially, Thomas Brown, as well as Descartes, Kant and Fichte. His way of dealing with things can be reduced to sorting and clarifying intuitions, “which are basic certainties which are given to us” (Armour/Trott 1981, 66), in order to integrate them into a coherent pattern. Once at this point, he re-examines the philosophical situation to see what other, new intuitions come to light. Lyall “tends to state a thesis, and then qualify it, qualify it some more, and then qualify it still further. After several pages of such qualifications we discover that he does not hold the original thesis at all”(J.D.Rabb, 1990). For example, this is Lyall talking about the essential qualities of matter: he starts by saying that “we have thus, then, arrived at the essential properties of matter. These are extension, divisibility, solidity or fluidity, hardness or softness, and figure” (Lyall 1855, 47). Then, like Locke, he clearly distinguishes between these essential, or primary qualities and the secondary qualities such as color, sound, fragrance, heat or cold, sweetness or bitterness which ”do not enter into our idea of matter”. There is nothing surprising up to here. Other philosophers worked with this distinction in the European philosophical tradition. When one would expect that he is happy with the framework, he actually goes further, turning to the thought of his former teacher, the Scottish common sense philosopher Thomas Brown. With Brown’s help, he manages to change the “bundle” of properties with which he started: “According to Dr. Brown, himself, extension and resistance are the only two qualities which can invariably be predicated about matter; for figure and magnitude are modifications of extension, - as solidity and fluidity, hardness and softness, are of resistance” (Ibid., 48). Therefore, from the original list or primary qualities - extension, divisibility, solidity or fluidity, hardness or softness, and figure, we are now down to just two - extension and resistance. At least this new qualification should satisfy Lyall. After all, how much further can he go? But he does not stop even here. “Dr. Brown has reduced the primary qualities to these two. They may be reduced still further, viz., to resistance, for extension is rather a property of space than that of matter” (Ibid., 48). As can be seen, Lyall continuously qualifies his findings and this implies that a great deal of attention is required in order to get the correct position that he maintains. This is Lyall’s manner of presentation throughout the Intellect, the Emotions and the Moral Nature.
Lyall’s Understanding of the Intellect
Now let us see what Lyall thinks about how knowledge is gained, what the role of the intellect is and that of sensation in this enterprise. Reading the first part of the Intellect, the Emotions and the Moral Nature, one can be surprised by the struggle Lyall goes through in the attempt to explain how sensation becomes knowledge, how reality becomes idea. All this leads one further to think that he will not give up easily when it comes to the actual existence of the physical world. He cannot concede to materialism, because, on his view, materialism is “the proper spawn of too great an engrossment in mere matter, whether it be in the too exclusive devotion to the business and pursuit of life, or too entire an attention to the physical and mechanical sciences” (Ibid., 89). On the other hand, he does not subscribe completely to idealist views either, because he continuously speaks about the world outside and the existence of both sensation and intellect. “It is a marvelous connexion which exists between the world without and the world within” (Ibid., 102). The mind cannot work without the data which sensation provides it. There are places in the first third of his book where he can be perceived as nothing but a mind/body dualist and not an idealist at all. “Mind and matter are the two substances about which all philosophy is conversant. These two substances may be said to divide the universe” (Ibid., 13). Moreover, he repeatedly claims that: Mind cannot be an organic result. True, sensation is partly material and the difficulty of deciding where the material part of the process or phenomenon stops, and the mental part begins, may be urged in favor of materialism; but sensation is not all the phenomena of mind, and while we confess a difficulty, we still mark the total difference between a material and a mental product.(Ibid., 92)
Hence, Lyall disapproves of both the extreme materialism of “extreme sensationalists”, as he calls them, and the transcendetalism of the “extreme idealists”. Rather, he finds a middle path between the two more satisfying. In order to prove his point, he distinguishes between intellection, which is “the action of the mind as mind” and sensation which is “partly corporeal and partly a mental function or state” (Ibid., 102). Thus, in the presence of certain sensations, the mind produces ideas like those of matter, substance, space and time, etc. Through them we gain knowledge of the external world. These ideas rest upon existing things in the phenomenal world; there is more to the world than pure ideas as there is more to it than pure sensations. The intellect provides us with scientific knowledge which develops on the presupposition that there is a material world. However, for Lyall, the intellect is not the only source of knowledge. Let us recall Lyall’s manner of presentation: he states a thesis and then qualifies it in order to find out what new intuitions come to light. The same approach is used when talking about the intellect: he assumes and acknowledges the implications of his statements and then he proclaims that the intellect is not the only important element when it comes to explaining the way we gain knowledge. There is something else that also contributes to our understanding of the world. The intellect operates “from a distance”, it is “wholly divorced from the physical world”. Lyall appears to be an idealist but not of the German kind nor of the kind professed by Berkeley since as we said earlier, he was very much against both of them. Lyall’s idealism fits within the framework of a distinctive Canadian idealism which has as its most important particularity the search for a balance, for an equilibrium which will not be exclusive but rather accommodationist; in this case, a balance between reason and emotion. What I am talking about here is that Lyall finds necessary the use of another sort of reason apart from pure reason namely, practical reason. For Lyall, practical reason is what completes our interaction with the world. It refers to our moral nature and to our emotions. Unlike the intellect, the knowledge gained through the use of practical reason is indubitable and reveals to us our true nature as moral agents and our obligations to others. Lyall writes:
There is a practical power in the sentiment. It has an authoritative voice within us which makes us feel our relation to being, and such relations as we dare not disregard. It is here that consciousness cannot be mistaken. There can be no discussion about the truthfulness of its intimations. The feeling within now is such that no dubiety rests upon it; it is practical, overwhelming. There is reality here if nowhere else. We have got out of the world of shadows into the world of realities - of mere consciousness into authoritative consciousness which speaks aloud, which enforces itself, which does not admit for a moment of questioning, which will not allow debate or parleying, which unites us in relations not to be broken with our fellow-beings, while it makes us realize to ourselves our own substantive existence and importance. (Ibid., 469)
The claim that practical reason is indubitable cannot be easily explained without first understanding how emotions work and how they work in connection to moral nature. Lyall recognizes the importance of the intellect in the process of acquiring knowledge but he still thinks that, by itself, the intellect is useless. It presents us with a picture of reality which is not different from the one Plato offers in the Cave myth, in the Republic. Lyall pictures phenomenal reality as having the same constitution as the shadows on the walls of Plato’s Cave. However, unlike Plato, he considers these shadows to be the fabric from which the intellect tailors the phenomenal reality, a reality, though, which cannot be reached, which exists “out there”, which can only be analyzed and dissected as a corpse in a laboratory. Lyall writes that:
[t]he intellectual part of our nature is a surpassing mystery - those processes by which the mind becomes all light, opens to idea of itself and the outer world of the universe, puts upon all that is external or internal its forms, while these forms have their counterpart without, or in the inner self, constructs science, and makes its own processes the subject of its investigation - but marvelous as this is, there are mysteries of our nature far greater than these and the intellectual part may be said to be the least wonderful of our compound being.(Ibid., 279)
The intellect, therefore, is an important constituent of our nature, but it is not the most important one. The intellect alone is not able to give us a proper account of reality. It needs the input of emotions. Thus, we have seen that Lyall does not want to concede to either idealism or materialism. Instead, he wants to bring them to an equilibrium and he does that by claiming that emotions should be given their due.
Emotions, Morality and Being
After writing almost three hundred pages on the intellect and its functions, Lyall goes further and analyzes the emotions. The intellect loses its glamour and this is because the emotions come onto the scene. Without them, human beings would not be capable of action and action is that which make us what we really are. Actions are the way we assert ourselves in the world and become part of it. What Lyall seems to think is that the intellect has the capability to reflect upon any possible situation but without action it would not be different from what we would call today a powerful computer. Without action, human beings would live as if surrounded by a glass bubble. But actions themselves originate in the will and emotion is that which “provides us with the initial impetuous to action” (Armour/Trott 1981, 76). Lyall claims that “emotion is a higher state than pure intellect” (Lyall 1855, 284). This is a serious affirmation and it has implications in his theory of moral nature. Prima facie, it looks as if he is going in the same direction as Hume on this point. “Hume and those who follow him treat emotions as essentially feelings (‘affects’ or ‘impressions’) with thoughts incidentally attached”(Neu 1977, 1). For Lyall,”[the] moral element comes from the region of duty, and may mingle with our emotions, but the emotions themselves are distinguishable from that element, and are capable of separate consideration” (Ibid., 285). By saying that emotions are capable of separate consideration Lyall seems to reach conclusions very close to those of Hume. He says that the mind can recognize without a shade of doubt a distinction between rightness and wrongness. It does that with the same ease as it does when it has to distinguish between, say, two categories, or two numbers. But things get complicated when the question why? arises. “Can we explain why it is right, or why it is wrong - give any reasons for pronouncing it so? Now, it would seem that no account or explanation of this can be given, but that we perceive at once the quality of rightness or wrongness apart from any such explanation”(Ibid., 487). Does Lyall’s account of morality not sound like Hume’s? After all, Hume is giving significant credit to emotions too. In his Treatise of Human Nature(1967) he argues that the role of reason in moral decisions is very limited and that moral approval is only a feeling in the mind of the person that makes a moral judgment. “Actions, he says, may be laudable or blamable, but they cannot be reasonable or unreasonable” (Hume 1967, 458). There are several arguments which Hume brings forth to sustain his position. The first one is that reason involves only judgments about reality, but when one examines the content of a moral action, one does not have to deal with a fact. The only thing that is there is just a feeling. Moreover, moral pronouncements are closer to our way of experiencing aesthetic pronouncements, which are also feelings, and they are nowhere close to rational judgments. One could think that moral pronouncements develop in a similar manner to logical and mathematical reasoning. But Hume argues that while in the disciplines of logic and mathematics we begin with known facts and discover a new, unknown fact, in the discipline of ethics, all the relevant facts must be known from the beginning. Besides, according to Hume, moral actions are done with the sole purpose of happiness and, insofar as happiness is the goal, reason has to step aside. “Morality, therefore, is more properly felt than judged of; though this feeling or sentiment is commonly so soft and gentle that we are apt to confound it with an idea, according to our common custom of taking all things for the same, which have any near resemblance to each other” (Ibid., 470). The foregoing is a summary of what Hume has to say on this subject. But it does not exactly fit Lyall’s framework. Towards the end of the second chapter of his work, where he is talking about emotions, Lyall notes that:
Man is not only a mere being, he is a moral being; has not only a place in creation, but has a part to perform in creation: he not only lives, and thinks, and feels - he wills - and not only wills, but wills according to a law of right and wrong. And this law is not arbitrary, it is eternal; it is not imposed, it is a part of his very nature. It belongs to every moral being, enters into the essence of a moral constitution. It is the law of duty, the law of right and wrong, a law of eternal and abstract propriety.(Lyall 1855, 468)
This time, it seems that Lyall moves a long way apart from Hume. But, let us not forget Lyall’s manner of presentation: he states a position even though, in this case, he does not say clearly that this particular position is Hume’s, and then, he qualifies it. But he does not stop there: he qualifies it again. With this new qualification, Lyall is “talking” with Kant and his ideas about moral duty which arises out of the reverence for law. He goes further in analyzing the meaning of the word “reverence” and how it is connected with the concept of “duty” and that of “law”. For Kant, an action performed out of duty “has to be done irrespective of all appetite whatsoever”. Virtue is deprived of any trace of feeling and it is entirely subjected to the law. But, according to Lyall:
what I apprehend to be my law, I recognize to be so with reverence, which word denotes merely the consciousness of the immediate, unconditional, and unreserved subordination of my will to the law. The immediate determination of the will by the law, and the consciousness of it, is called reverence, and is regarded not as the cause but as the effect of the law upon the person. (Ibid., 509)
Thus, for Lyall, the will is determined and subordinated to the law. The same position is supported by Kant and, after what happened with Lyall’s appropriation of Hume’s position, first explaining it and then qualifying it, one might think that this Kantian qualification will satisfy him. But this does not seem to be the case either! Kant too is wrong. Why? According to Armour and Trott:
Lyall admires the formal aspect of Kant’s moral theory. But this formal element is not, in his view, sufficient to account for morality. For we need to be impelled toward specific acts and outcomes. One can be determined to act coherently only if one is determined to act at all. And one must enjoy, amongst possible actions the choice already guaranteed by the open-textured ambiguity of the stimulus-response situation created by the nature of our emotions. Thus, a rule like Kant’s categorical imperative - ‘act only on a maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law’ - is not sufficient. The gap, in part, is filled by the original moral emotion which appears to us as a moral intuition. (1981, 77)
Lyall accuses Kant of not admitting love to be a part of reverence. His almost instinctive reaction is to think that in all reverence there must be a certain degree of love, otherwise the reverence would be “mere fear”. For Lyall,
it would seem to be necessary, in order to moral approbation being real, that there should be love as well as reverence for the law: it would be otherwise a distant reverence, not approval: there would be assent to the rightness of the law, not approbation. Distant reverence is at most a cold feeling, and it is not properly approbation till there is love. (Lyall 1855, 510)
Love is what Kant lacks in his account of morality. Lyall emphasizes greatly the concept of love. Love is the most essential emotion, love is that which connects us to the other, love is that which discovers a being for us. Love, next to sympathy, benevolence and gratitude, is one of the emotions which “terminate on being”. Love has as its object Being but Lyall does not spend time explaining what he means by using the word “Being”. It would seem that for Lyall Being expresses that which has a real existence. The world, for the Maritimes philosopher, is not a collection of sensations. It meets our gaze organized into things which stand apart, detached from their surroundings. Hence, there can be talk about love not only with regard to fellow humans but also love for Nature and everything that pertains to Nature. The only difference, Lyall thinks, is that the emotion of love increases proportionally with the purity of its object. Love of God is the absolute on the scale of which Lyall is thinking. “Moral and intellectual qualities give an immense increase to emotions”, he writes (Ibid., 410). Moreover, he claims that:
we know that inanimate objects even may awaken our love, a kind of attachment, and this may be distinguished from the delight or pleasure which they give us; the one is delight in the object, the other is delight produced by the object. The former, then, is just love; and to say that love is delight in an object, or in the contemplation of that object, is to describe the emotion by itself. (Ibid., 392)
Such are, on Lyall’s account, the implications that emotions have on morality. Now, we have seen that emotions (and more particularly the emotion of love) complete our “interaction” with what we call “the real” while the intellect could not go further than scientific understanding. Lyall sensed that there is something left out of the scientific account of reality and only the emotions could connect us with it. Pure reason has to work together with practical reason in order to give us the complete picture of reality. Why? Because practical reason, unlike pure reason refers to the very being of what exists in Nature, of another human or of God. As J.D. Rabb explains in his Silver Jubilee lecture:
The emotion of love is a source of knowledge. Nature herself ‘is animated, intelligent, full of sentiment’. This is the idealistic insight concealed from us by our narrow reliance on the intellect as our source of knowledge. Yet for Lyall the intellect is still important. It too is a source of knowledge. He devotes the first third of the book to it and to the characteristics of the material world it reveals. Unlike the Romantic poets or other ethical idealists, Lyall’s idealism neither ignores nor diminishes as unimportant the findings of science. (1990)
Yet, the intellect, being “divorced” from the phenomenal world, being unrelated to the objects of the physical world, cannot build a bridge between us and the other-than-us. This is the task of emotion. Emotion is “the atmosphere of mind; it is its vital breath” (Lyall 1855, 284). In Lyall’s picture of the human mind, the emotions, “initially, are directed to objects in the world and, by reason of their connection to the secondary objects which are states of mind, they provide the background for the intellect” (Armour/Trott 1981, 76). This is why emotions are a source of knowledge and this is why we are able to see nature as “animated” and “full of sentiment”. Lyall affirms that Nature, in a sense, resonates to our emotions and our emotions are in tune with Nature. In as much as we are sentient beings we resonate with Nature. The intellect does not have any means to reach the phenomenal reality with all its complexity. But, fortunately, we connect with Nature through our emotions and thus we are able to provide the intellect something with which to work, we are able to gain knowledge of reality and understand it.
In sum, we have seen that Lyall rejects the kind of idealism which stems from Berkeley’s theory of ideas where the only thing that exists and that we are certain of is the mind. But this does not reflect well on Lyall. He could have criticized him by following either Hume and consequently, falling into skepticism, or Kant which he does not because he rejects part of Kant’s ideas also. How then can Lyall’s position be explained? The thing which might explain it is that Lyall became aware of the importance of Nature. His stay in Canada must have influenced him. He wants to say that, doubtless, Berkeley was wrong. Nature exists! Physical objects exist! This is what Lyall does: he finds out that the power of the intellect is limited but he does not desert the post. In order to have that piece of knowledge the mind needs but cannot get through the intellect, Lyall requests help from the emotions. Emotions can give us knowledge about the world. Love is the emotion which unveils Being. Certainly, this emphasis on love and emotion would sound very strange for Berkeley and it would be strange for Kant as well. Hume would not have expected this turning point. But it seems natural to Lyall. Therefore, if there is anything that is worthwhile in Lyall’s work it is his emphasis on the cognitive value of emotions which is an overlooked aspect of his philosophy because it was not fully interpreted. William Lyall’s philosophical work then is not just a “patchwork quilt” of foreign ideas, as Armour and Trott claim (Ibid., 79). It is original, moreover, original in a Canadian way. J.D. Rabb recognizes that “His work is a splendid example of what Armour and Trott have called the accommodationist use of reason, of philosophical federalism” (1990). By classifying Lyall as an eclectic and by not investigating thoroughly his attitude to emotion, Armour and Trott felt entitled to accord him only a minor role in the general picture of philosophy done in Canada. It is not my intention to say that Lyall put a distinctive mark on the philosophical pantheon of ideas. But he did, most certainly, realize that in order to do philosophy at least in that part of the world, one must have open not only a rational eye, but an emotional eye as well. The only thing lacking in Lyall, in the formulation and affirmation of his ideas, is confidence. The silent echo of a non-existent tradition springs through the chasms of the chapters of his work. He was an exile. He was supposed to feel at home, but he did not and he could not since his philosophical home was overseas in Scotland. Instead, he was in Canada trying to build his own shelter. He knew how to do it but he had to do it making use of what he was offered there. And that, as J.D. Rabb recognizes in his Jubilee lecture, was Nature:
In so far as Lyall’s idealism is concerned what is important, indeed crucial, is his claim, not merely that we can sympathize with nature, but rather that the emotion of sympathy can actually animate nature. Here he begins to sound more like a romantic poet than a rationalist philosopher: ‘There is something in the voice of a brook which stirs the innermost emotions of the soul, placid, steady, deep; in the sigh of the wind; in the dash of the ocean; in the sunshine and gloom; in calm and tempest: our mind feels in all, has an emotion corresponding to each. Such is the law, such is the power of sympathy. What power does it exert in uniting society! What a bond of connection! What an amalgamating principle! And through it nature itself is animated, intelligent, full of sentiment, and the inspirer of the finest, and the most delightful, sometimes the most exalted emotions’ (Lyall 1885, 461-462). (1990)
Not surprisingly, Lyall’s development of ideas takes place abruptly. There is not a smooth flow of philosophical thought. He tries to set new views, but he does that in as an yet un-explored territory. The school he comes from, the school of Scottish philosophy, enjoys the richness of a tradition which did not exist in Canada, but whose existence was felt necessary. A tradition cannot come into being by using borrowed elements but only by using its own resources. A tradition is necessary because without it nothing can be labeled as new. Novel ideas cannot be recognized as new if there are no other terms to which they can be compared. For Lyall, to use the traditional philosophical language and concepts of Western philosophy seems a seductive temptation. But they do not work any longer since the attitude toward the given of analysis has changed. This change explains the aura of eclecticism surrounding Lyall’s work. A certain philosophical tradition can only be reached when it gets to the point of finding a particular new form of communication. It finds its own identity when it develops a more free and efficient means of relating to the other traditions. It is only then that thought can follow its essential and natural questions.
INTELLECT, EMOTIONS AND IMAGINATION
Now, after providing an outline of Lyall’s work, the next thing I will do is examine more closely his ideas about the cognitive value of emotions and about their connection with the intellect in the imaginative state. Thus, understanding Lyall’s classification of emotions, as well as understanding how emotions work, how they build the bridge between reality and the emotional being, will constitute my focus throughout the concluding section of this chapter. The fact that Lyall uses metaphors throughout his exposition will be emphasized in what follows because it is my contention that Lyall’s understanding of emotions and metaphors as being connected and how they merge together in the imaginative state of mind are of central importance in comprehending his philosophy. For Lyall, the intellect is “but a part of his [man’s] compound being, and not [even] the most important part”. Lyall talks about the mind as having two dimensions. He draws on the Cartesian conception that the mind’s essence is thinking but he brings into discussion the Lockean view that thinking is the “action of the soul” and not its proper essence. This compels him to adopt a more balanced position with regard to this issue. “Thinking and feeling, however, are the two states of mind in which, if it exists in a state of consciousness at all, it must exist” (Lyall 1855, 289). They are distinct and they do not interact in the sense that one of them cannot be the master of the other. One’s thought can provoke one to have an emotion and, as well, an emotion is “the great prompter and enkindler of thought” (Ibid., 290). This means that both thinking and having emotions share the same honours, in as much as one is not the master of the other. Thoughts and emotions are bound together. The mind, as long as it is self-conscious, is also emotional. “Some one emotion or other, it may be said, is occupying or filling the mind every moment of its conscious existence” (Ibid., 290). It seems that Lyall is situated, once again, on conciliatory ground. He does not side with Plato and thus consider the intellect and the emotion as opposite with one, the intellect, being the master of the other; or with Hume where the emotion becomes the master and reason its slave. But this should not be a surprise, since we have seen that his work is a “splendid example of the accommodationist use of reason”. Lyall’s definition of emotion is drawn from analogy. An emotion is a movement of the mind, consequent upon some moving cause. Regarding the emotion as a movement of the mind is an artifice based on the analogy of the mind with the body: “there is some analogy between motion of the body, or of any material substance, and this phenomenon of the mind, as there is an analogy between an act of the body and the acts of the will or the intellect” (Ibid., 286). Thus, in defining emotion as a movement of the mind, Lyall makes use of the metaphor, bringing together two remote terms (“emotion” and “movement”) to try to give a description of “emotion”. But he is quick to draw attention to the fact that emotion cannot be an “act” of mind because the only “active power” (again, another metaphor) of the mind is the will. This “movement” of the mind, Lyall recognizes, is something different than an act of the mind:
By an act of will, or an impulse from some foreign body, our limbs, or our whole bodies, are put in motion; and in the same way, by an act of will, or the impulse of other bodies, bodies other and foreign to ourselves are put in motion. There is impulse and motion. Now, in the phenomena of emotion, there is something like impulse, and the emotion of the mind is the consequence. An emotion is thus, more properly, any feeling of the mind suddenly inspired or produced; it is the feeling either in its first and sudden excitement, or the same feeling considered in relation to that first or sudden impulse or excitement. We call it a feeling, or, perhaps, an affection of the mind when it is not considered with relation to this impulse or excitement, but regarded in its continuous existence or exercise. Thus, love or admiration when awakened by any object, is an emotion; when continuous, it is an affection. (Ibid., 286)
Here Lyall draws a distinction between feeling (or affection) and emotion. The difference between the two is rooted in the difference between abruptness and continuous flow. When the state of an emotional person is precipitously altered by the object of emotion we are dealing with an emotion. When the altered state persists, then we are dealing with feelings. Moreover, an affect has a connotation of passivity. One is affected or being acted upon rather than acting. The common use of language corroborated with Lyall’s proneness to continuously qualify his findings, compels him to disregard this distinction. He asserts that, when using the term “emotion” we also extend it to feelings because originally it regards the sudden rise of emotion.But this, by no means, should narrow the usage of the word. Thus, the emotions “take over” feelings and Lyall considers himself justified in writing that “the emotions are just the feelings”(Ibid., 287). Now is this new “qualification”, this new achievement a legitimate one? On the one hand, it makes sense if one takes into account Lyall’s desire to “stay in the domain of common sense”. But on the other hand, it diminishes the clarity of his exposition. Lyall is guilty of leaving things unexplained and considering that nuances are not relevant. As observed by Armour and Trott: “One would suppose that his system could, in this respect, be tidied” (1981, 74). If Lyall were concerned with the use of ordinary language and the fact that the term “emotion” got to the point where it can be used interchangeably with the term “feeling”, he would have discovered that this term denotes different things in different contexts. Feeling words are not always employed in the same way, as one can see in examples like “I feel that this is the right way” and “I feel pain” or “I feel bad”. Moreover, there is another set of problems that arise when emotion is defined on the basis of an analogy with the “motion” of the body which implies that we have, more or less, an analogy with the phenomenon of sensation. This means that Lyall gives an account of emotions in terms of sense perception which does not hold very well for various reasons: in the first place, sense perception implies the existence of an organ of perception. But this is not true with regard to emotions. There is no organ for sensing the emotions. A question like “What organ do you use when you feel sad?” is nonsense. Also, the objects and state of affairs in sense perception exist independently of them being perceived. Can that be said about emotions? Can one have an emotion without knowing that one has that emotion? Can one also have an emotion without knowing which one it is, or genuinely mistaken about it? Perhaps we can as it happens when we are angry without knowing it. We seem quite readily deceived, self-deceived, and also willing and able to deceive others about it. However, Lyall does not show any interest in attacking this problem. Moreover, sense perception involves perception of the intrinsic, non-relational properties of the objects perceived. Is that true about emotions? Warren Shibles in his book on Emotion (1974) distinguishes emotions from feelings on the following basis:
Because emotions involve cognition they can be shared, whereas, feelings cannot be shared. Sympathy involves having similar feelings or understanding another’s feelings. Feelings do not have objects as emotions do. ‘I enjoy golf’ and ‘I enjoy a feeling’, but ‘pain’ in ‘I feel pain’ is not an object of the feeling but the feeling itself. One can enjoy a feeling but it is a category mistake to say he feels an enjoyment. If emotion were a feeling then it would seem that physical irritations and pains would have to be regarded as emotions. They are not. (1974, 143)
Thus, feelings and emotions are different. Shibles pointed out that feelings may be part of what we mean by emotion. “They may precede, coexist with or follow cognition” (Ibid., 141). But this does not imply that there is a relation of identity between feelings and emotions. Of course, one can reply to this that William James has built his theory of emotions on the supposition that emotions are feelings. For James, emotions are nothing but internal bodily sensations, that is, “the feelings or subjective sensible aspects of physiological occurrences caused by perceptions” (Lyons 1980, 14). However, unlike James, Lyall sketches a distinction between feeling and emotion and then abandons it, leaving it undeveloped. Defining emotion by making use of the analogy with the “motion” of the body, Lyall does not raise the kind of questions asked above and thus, he fails to investigate a very rich area which would otherwise cast a brighter light on the issue he wants to analyze. But even if he does not make the distinction very clear, he does not fall into the fallacy of ambiguity, reasoning now about emotions and then about feelings. However, Lyall does distinguish between emotion and passion and between emotion and desire. Lyall describes emotion by comparing it to passion: “Emotion is generic. Passion is specific […] Passion is but a stronger emotion […] The desires are distinct states of mind. They may be accompanied with emotions, but they are not emotions” (Lyall 1855, 287). It seems that emotions are, as he said, quite generic. If any “movement of the mind” can be translated into emotion then we are under its spell for the majority of time. Indeed, if “the first essential condition of emotion would seem to be one of calm and placid enjoyment” and if this “might be taken as the first essential state of emotion” then “the balance of all the emotions would seem to require or necessitate a calm and settled state” (Ibid., 291). Anything disturbing this balance, this settled state, is an emotion but, in as much as emotion is “the movement of the mind consequent upon some moving cause” it means that there must be an impulse which acts like a cause. The cause or the impulse is represented by the feeling which, as we saw above, is the “first and sudden excitement of the mind”. This excitement of the mind occurs in the presence of the object of the emotion. What then constitutes the object of the emotion? For Lyall, emotions have two sorts of objects. There are direct and indirect objects. Thus, on one hand, when one loves somebody, when one is depressed about something, etc. we are dealing with direct objects. On the other hand, when the state of mind which “the emotion produces or the outcomes of the actions stimulated by the emotions” (Armour/Trott 1981, 75) are involved, we are dealing with indirect objects, Armour and Trott explain. Examples of emotions awakened by a direct object are: delight, wonder, surprise and astonishment, admiration and adoration. Delight, for example, is produced by “every object that can minister to our enjoyment, that can give us happiness, that affords us pleasure” (Lyall 1855, 348). Wonder, is “that emotion which is awakened on the contemplation of something great, or by what is extraordinary, and out of the usual course of experience or observation” (Ibid., 358). A meteor in the sky, or “some phenomenon upon earth, which has never been seen before”, or something that does not fit our ordinary, day to day occurrences, induces us to experience the emotion of wonder. Melancholy, sorrow, joy etc. are emotions which do not occur as a result of the interaction with a direct object. Rather, these emotions rest on one’s self awareness. Thus, in Lyall’s account of emotion it is the case that:
We live in events and we are connected with objects […] The events and circumstances that transpire daily, or that are ever arising, produce joy or sorrow, or excite fretfulness and impatience, or are lit up with the calm and the sunshine of cheerfulness, or again are steeped in the sombre shades of melancholy. The daily history of every individual is made up of these events, these circumstances and they awaken such and such emotions in the breast; and thus the tissue of life consists of those events without, and these emotions within. (Ibid., 346-347)
Sorrow, for example, arises out of our thoughts about death. “Death”, writes Lyall making use of metaphorical constructions, “is the grim tyrant that shakes his sceptre over every individual of our race, and that will claim all for his dominion or his prey. We must bow our heads in death, and the tribute of sorrow we have paid to others may be rendered to us” (Ibid., 340). There are, however, two exceptions to the rule of emotions not occurring as a result of interaction with a direct object. The first one - if “cheerfulness is the harmony of all emotions” (Ibid., 303), as Lyall writes, then this implies that cheerfulness does not exactly have an object. It is, as it was said earlier, the condition of all emotions, their balance. It is not that, when being cheerful, one lacks emotion. For Lyall, the mind, at all times, is informed by one emotion or another. In the cheerful state, all the emotions are active but they are active in such a way that they counteract each other so they make possible a balance. Lyall writes that:
In the equilibrium of the atmosphere, all the elements seem to be at rest, and yet, they are all in harmonious action. When a balance is in equilibrium, neither of the sides seem to be in action; and yet it is because both are in action equally that the equilibrium is produced, or there is a rest on the point of equilibrium. So is it with emotions. None may be said to be in action, and yet all may be said to be in action, or capable of action, and only await the call for them at the proper time, or in their proper place. (Ibid., 303)
Thus, cheerfulness, being the harmony of all emotions actually lacks a specific object. The second exception is represented by the emotion of love. “A thing loved”, Armour and Trott explain, “is loved for its own sake. Since its ultimate sustaining object must be something which can be loved for its own sake and not for the sake of an indirect object, love, combined with intellectual understanding, must lead on to the only thing actually capable of sustaining love for its own sake. That, in Lyall’s view, is being itself” (1981, 75). Since he views love as the most powerful emotion, Lyall dedicates numerous pages to it where he talks about different kinds of love: maternal love, filial love, love for country, erotic love, etc., about different degrees of it, and about love in its absoluteness. He starts in an Augustinian vein writing, more or less, that at the beginning there was love. “Love may be contemplated as an absolute emotion existing even apart from an object to exercise it or call it forth. It is a state conceivable prior to the existence of any being to call it forth. God was love in this absolute sense” (Lyall 1855, 405). Everything that exists is an object of God’s love. Every human being, everything that is endowed with life, as well as every tree and every stone, every grass leaf, came to being as an exercise of God’s love. Love is that which binds us all together. “We feel that we can regard with a kind of affection even inanimate objects; that our love, the absolute emotion, rests upon them” (Ibid., 406), Lyall writes. This means that love, by itself has an intrinsic value. Through love, in Lyall’s account, we are capable of rising above the limitations of immediate objects as such and see them as participating in Being. What does this mean? Armour and Trott explain:
we have then a link between thought and feeling. For only what is wholly unlimited can justify, finally, absolute allegiance. Suppose X loves Y. If X really does so, he does so unconditionally and without reservation. But, as he reflects on his situation, the limitations of Y must, in the end, become clear to him. As limitations, they suggest that they are occasions on which he should not give his unconditional allegiance to Y, but this conflicts with his love. In the end, he can only justify the combination of the two kinds of awareness if there is an ultimate being which is inherently valuable and without limitation in itself and within which there is a special and unique place to be occupied by Y. In that case, the limitations of Y are simply part of what makes it possible for Y to occupy that place in being. But that is only comprehensible in the case that being itself does measure up to the conditions. (Ibid., 80)
Therefore, that which gives rise to love does not have much to do with particular beings but with Being itself. By realizing that we love something which is worthy of absolute value we establish a connection between our emotional side and our intellectual side. By claiming that “love is the necessary condition of a perfect moral nature” (Ibid., 405), Lyall connects the realm of emotions and the realm of morality. Our awareness of love is an incentive for us to respond to our moral emotions. But this awareness is an act of the intellect. By itself the intellect would not be able to reach Being and it does not have the power to interact with the world. Through the emotion of love we have the possibility of conceiving that Being is intrinsically valuable and, in a more general way, through our emotions we are able to bridge the gap between the intellect and the world. For Lyall, a human being who lacks the capacity of having emotions is not fully human. “The ‘Stoic of the woods - the man without a tear’, - ‘impassive, fearing but the shame of fear’ was yet capable of the strongest emotion - was roused to indignation - was fired with revenge - was touched with tenderness - was moved to sympathy - though he could conceal all under an appearance of indifference, or restrain all within the bounds of comparative equanimity” (Ibid., 282). Being able to experience emotions is part of oneself and being conscious is another part. One cannot exist without the other. One’s “mind warms under the sun that enlightens, kindles with emotion, and bursts into all the fruitfulness of moral and spiritual vegetation” (Ibid., 283). Now, what is the link between intellect and emotion? The answer, Lyall thinks, lies in that faculty of mind that he calls imagination. Lyall’s chapter on imagination is the last one in the first part of Intellect, the Emotions and the Moral Nature and it connects it with the second part, the one on emotions. Thus, in order to understand how it is that the intellect and the emotions are in close connection and how they interact, we have to understand what imagination is, because this faculty of mind, in Lyall’s view is the meeting place of that which links us, as human beings who possess both the capacity to think and feel, with the phenomenal world and makes it possible for us to understand it. Following a Cartesian account, Lyall seems to believe that the intellect has knowledge of itself and through the emotions, has knowledge of the world, is connected with it, but only in imagination can it perceive of the human being as a whole in the world. We will insist on this issue in the next chapter. But in the meantime, let us see what imagination is and how it works. Lyall talks about imagination after all other faculties of the mind have been looked at: conception, abstraction, judgment and reasoning. They all are faculties of the mind but, unlike imagination, they lack the peculiar state of mind which is the imaginative state. The ideas of the mind, where imagination is concerned, “are seen under or accompanied by a state, which gives to them all their peculiarity; so that we have not merely ideas, but ideas of the imagination” (Ibid., 270). Imagination is capable of bringing us into an emotional state because it filters reality in the sense that it makes us resonate with the phenomenal world. Through emotions we become attuned to aspects of reality which cannot be expressed using just the means offered by ordinary language. This is where imagination and metaphoric language come into play. Thus, due to our imaginative capacity, we are able to make sense out of verses like the ones Shakespeare wrote: “…come, seeling [sic] night,/Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day” (cited by Lyall, idem, 272). The eye is tender, the day pitiful and the night comes sealing them. These words which provoke our imagination cast a different light on the real, on what is. By putting together words like eye and tender, day and pitiful or sealing and night, one awakens certain emotions in oneself. Lyall asks how this happens, when he writes:
Whence the power of these conceptions? or what gives them to us? It is the analogy that is couched in them? But every imaginative conception does not convey or embody analogy. And even where it is analogy - as this unquestionably is the principal source or vehicle of imaginative conception - that is the explanation of the beauty of any thought, the question is, why analogy should be such a source of beauty or produce such effects? What is there in analogy to do this, and only in some analogies and not in all? Many analogies are scientific, and have no imaginative character. It is not the analogy that will explain the imagination, neither is it imagination that gives a character to the analogy, but a certain state which we call the imaginative state, and which seems to be inexplicable, allows of certain analogies being imaginative, while others are not. (Ibid., 273)
Lyall’s conclusion is that it is not the analogy that explains imagination but rather that imaginative state which, in itself, defies definition. The reason why it defies explanation is that it is partly intellectual and partly emotional. My opinion is that, inasmuch as it is intellectual, imagination implies seizing analogies or putting together disparate terms under one name. In as much as it is emotional, imagination connects us with Being, with “what is”. The intellectual part provides us with a theoretical frame, with a matrix, separate from reality which is filled up with the “flesh” of Being through the emotional part. As Lyall puts it in his own more careful language: “It is in the imaginative state that the mind is so active in perceiving analogies, ‘seeking concretes’, animating and personifying nature, and obtaining those figures of speech which have their element, or find their material, in resemblances and analogy” (Ibid., 274). This bit of text is one of the most important in Lyall’s work on the link between the intellect, the emotions and imagination. It is true, it is located toward the end of his discussion of imagination but it is the peak whose versants are constituted by the intellect and the emotions. In the imaginative state, we discover the mind being active and perceiving analogies. In the imaginative state we find that Nature appears as animated, emotional. In this state, we are under the spell of the emotions. This seems like magic. Now we must engage ourselves in the act of interpreting this text, and look for what each important concept means, how are they connected, how Lyall sees them intertwined. Most importantly, we must see how they will appear after employing the tools offered by a phenomenology of emotions complemented with a hermeneutical approach to metaphor. The bridge between the intellectual and the emotional is, as we saw before, the imagination whose most important characteristic is the imaginative state. Being able to imagine, to put ourselves in that imaginative state is what defines us as human beings, as both emotional and intellectual beings. The mind seeking “new concretes” when perceiving analogies brings to mind what Aristotle said, that “to be at inventing metaphors is to have an eye for resemblances” (Ricoeur 1976, 54). The seeing of similarities, or analogies, as Lyall terms them, is the activity of the mind which, at its peak, creates metaphors. Thus, the active mind, in an imaginative state, which perceives analogies and personifies Nature, expressing it in a figure of speech is in fact the mind involved in the act of creating metaphors. Moreover, in the imaginative state, personified and animated Nature is connected to us through our emotions. Thus, we have the metaphor which is a creation of our intellect and thus separated from the phenomenal reality but through emotion we are able to understand it “as if” it refers to something real. Now that we have arrived at this point, I want to take this finding and introduce it into a new territory, whose coordinates are metaphor and emotion, this time though, viewed as they are regarded in modern philosophy. More specifically, by using Jean-Paul Sartre’s existential analysis of emotions and Paul Ricoeur’s theory of metaphor. I will make emotion and metaphor the foci of the next two chapters.