Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation

Jeremy Bentham

Chapter 6, Footnote #11
External appearances, relability of

The quantity of the sort of pain, which is called grief, is indeed hardly to be measured by any external indications. It is neither to be measured for instance, by the quantity of the tears, nor by the number of moments spent in crying. Indications rather less equivocal may, perhaps, be afforded by the pulse. A man has not the motions of his heart at command as he has those of the muscles of his face. But the particular significancy of these indications is still very uncertain. All they can express is, that the man is affected; they cannot express in what manner, nor from what cause. To an affection resulting in reality from such or such a cause, he may give an artificial colouring, and attribute it to such or such another cause. To an affection directed in reality to such or such a person as its object, he may give an artificial bias, and represent it as if directed to such or such another object. Tears of rage he may attribute to contrition. The concern he feels at the thoughts of a punishment that awaits him, he may impute to a sympathetic concern for the mischief produced by his offense.

A very tolerable judgment, however, may commonly be formed by a discerning mind, upon laying all the external indications exhibited by a man together, and at the same time comparing them with his actions.

A remarkable instance of the power of the will, over the external indications of sensibility, is to be found in Tacitus's story of the Roman soldier, who raised a mutiny in the camp, pretending to have lost a brother by the lawless cruelty of the General. The truth was, he never had had a brother.

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Ipml, Chapter 6 Of Circumstances Influencing Sensibility