McDougall claims that the processes of organic evolution have not been so tenably explained by other psychological theories as by the Hormic theory. This theory regards an experience as a unitary whole which cannot be separated into its component parts, though they may be distinguished.
It holds that there is ‘a primal urge to live’ in all species which goads them to be active all the time so that forces of dissolution may be successfully defeated. According to McDougall the Hormic theory informs us that the growing infants show us unmistakable signs as regards their mode of future development. It insists that ‘memory is for the sake of foresight, and foresight for the sake of action.’
The Hormic theory lays bare the errors of intellectualism. It does not concern itself with purely cognitive experience. It gives emphasis to the co native nature of all activity and tells us that cognitive power should be regarded only as the servant of action.
Here the educator should note that the subject-matter is for the pupil and that it should be taught only in its relation to the positive goal fixed by each individual pupil. In other words, it should not be taught for its own sake.
Thus McDougall regards his Hormic theory as fundamentally dynamic. “It is a psychology most applicable to the sciences and practical problems of human life, those of education, of hygiene, of therapy, of social activity, of religion, of mythology, of aesthetics, economics, of politics and the rest” (McDougall)
Philosophy finds a sound psychological basis in the Hormic theory. Philosophy concerns itself with values in relation to human nature. Philosophy needs to know the realities and potentialities of human nature so that it may advance a true scale of values.
McDougall claims that the Hormic psychological principles are of great use in this respect and philosophy can work harmoniously with them McDougall says that the Hormic psychology does not pretend to solve the great riddles of the universe. It satisfies itself by leaving it to the future. It forwards no cosmology.
It thinks that at present man is in the dark about many things and that he needs able guidance. It encourages our spirit of research in various fields.
The processes of development of human character have been very scientifically analyzed by the Hormic scheme of sentiments. Moreover, “this scheme may be profitably utilized for giving correct orientation to our outlook on problems in aesthetics, politics and cultural history.”