« НазадПродовжити »
shows itself in our fellow-men, and we note its increasingly clear manifestation in infancy. We can, indeed, make rational, and (we are convinced) perfectly valid, inferences as to its origin, just as our own mind can reveal to us its nature; but its origin is entirely removed from that field of observation which is furnished to us by a study of the physical and psychical powers of merely animal life.
REASON AND THE INFANT.
In his eleventh chapter Mr. Romanes applies himself directly to the task of endeavouring to show how intellect is developed in the infant, from a state in which that faculty is non-existent. This he calls “the transition in the individual.” We have already had to consider briefly and by anticipation, some statements made and anecdotes given by our author in support of his view; but here we have to consider its full and complete enunciation. From our position, as stated in our introductory chapter,* it follows that we have no difficulty in understanding the fact which is patent to every one ; namely, that intellect becomes gradually manifest, in what seems at first but a mass of living, sentient matter—the newborn infant. We, of course, affirm that it is thus evolved, simply because it was potentially there from the first. Mr. Romanes would probably reply that he also regards it as potentially present in the infant, adding that it is potentially present in the brute also. He might possibly make a further distinction, and say that intellect is so potentially present in the child that but little is wanted to make it active and manifest, but that
See above, p. 8.
it could only be developed into active manifestation in the remote descendants of any existing brute—descendants which should be submitted to a series of influences and conditions more or less similar to those which evolved it in the earliest intellectual ancestors of man. This would be the old scholastic distinction between in potentia ad actum and in potentia ad esse. Our position is that intellect is really in esse in the infant, though it is but in potentia ad actum, while in the brute we deny that there are grounds for asserting it to be potentially present in either sense of the term "in potentia.” We would not venture dogmatically to affirm that God cannot have given to brutes a truly intellectual nature ; but there is no evidence that they do possess it-even the highest of them in their adult condition. All evidence, as far as it goes, is also against the possibility of such a thing having been brought about even by Omnipotence, since it would seem to involve an objective contradiction.*
Mr. Romanes's view is a very different one. He says at the outset † of this chapter, “Is it conceivable that the human mind can have arisen by way of a natural genesis from the minds of the higher quadrumana? I maintain that the material now before us is sufficient to show, not only that this is conceivable, but inevitable.”
It would be enough, then, to refute Mr. Romanes, to show, not that his conclusions are false, but merely that they are not necessary ones—that the facts are
susceptible of another interpretation. We hope to do more than this.
Mr. Romanes begins his task by reiterating what no one dreams of denying, namely, that we share with animals our lower mental powers, and that differences between various conditions of the human intellect are but differences of degree. "The only question, then, that obtains is," he tells us, “as to the relation between the highest recept of a brute and the lowest concept of a man.”
He then proceeds to recall to his reader's recollection his preceding exaggeration about the counting crow and the ape which discovered the "mechanical principle” of the screw,* statements which we have already criticized. These “intelligent" animals he compares with the picture his imagination draws of palæolithic man, who, he tells us, I for "untold thou
Mr. Romanes says (p. 214), "Even here there is nothing to show that the monkey ever thought about the principle as a principle; indeed, we may rest well assured that he cannot possibly have done so, seeing that he was not in possession of the intellectual instruments-and, therefore, of the antecedent conditions-requisite for the purpose. All that the monkey did was to perceive receptually certain analogies : but he did not conceive them, or constitute them objects of thought as analogies. He was, therefore, unable to predicate the discovery he had made, or to set before his own mind as knowledge the knowledge which he had gained.” We quote this passage in our desire to do full justice to Mr. Romanes; but when we recollect that he denies conceptual power to any being which cannot speak of itself in the first person, his admission as to the limited powers of the monkey becomes valueless. Moreover, at p. 60, he has said (referring to this very same ape) that the “ logic of recepts” is “able to reach generic ideas of principles, as well as of objects, qualities, and actions." + See above, pp. 79, 86.
I p. 214.
sands of years made no advance upon the chipping of Aints." We would by no means be understood as denying the truth of this assertion,* but we regard it as one made somewhat too hastily. We have not yet met with evidence sufficiently decisive as to so prolonged a residence of palæolithic man in one region, nor do we see why palæolithic and neolithic man may not have existed simultaneously in different regions, just as “ bronze” men and “iron” men, or even “ bronze” men and “gunpowder” men did, ages afterwards.
After some pleasantry concerning our supposed “slovenly error” (elsewhere called “inexcusable ") about "the simplest element of thought,” † and after recapitulating assertions about animal language, Mr. Romanes proceeds to address himself to what he declares is, in his apprehension, “the central core of the question,” and to give additional instances of what he calls “receptual and preconceptual ideation” on the part of infants. He tells us $ a daughter of his, aged eighteen months, gave the proper baby names to sheep, cows, pigs, etc., whether seen in unfamiliar picture-books, or on wallpapers or chair-covers in strange houses. In doing this we consider her to have made deliberate conscious affirmations concerning things whereof she had formed true concepts. Somewhat later, having called first her brother and then other children “Ilda," “ whenever she
* See above, p. 33.
† The assertion that “an explicit judgment " was “the simplest element of thought” would have been much worse than “slovenly," had it ever been made. We have already explained ourselves upon this point. See above, p. 175, and below, p. 242.
I p. 218. See also above, p. 206.