Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

came upon a representation of a sheep with lambs, she would point to the sheep and say, Mama-Ba, while to the lambs she would say, Ilda-Ba." Yet he ventures to affirm that in her case“ speech in the sense of formal predication ” had not begun. For our part, we consider this most distinctly shows true intelligence and predication. Essentially there is no difference between such an affirmation and the most abstruse mathematical statement ever written down by a senior wrangler. Prof. Preyer is quoted * as saying that it is “a very general error" to suppose “all children on first beginning to speak use substantives only, and later pass on to the use of adjectives.” Mr. Romanes's daughter “almost contemporaneously” acquired the use of a few proper verbs and prepositions. Yet he does not scruple to say (as we have seen) that in her case“ speech in the sense of formal predication” had not begun! Her earliest gestures were, of course, very simple, but by the time she had attained two and a half years, she had developed them into regular pantomime. “Coming into the house, after having bathed in the sea for the first time," she narrated her novel experience “by first pointing to the shore, then pretending to take off her clothes, to walk into the sea, and to dip: next, passing her hands up her body to her head, she signified that the water had reached as high as her hair, which she showed me was still wet. The whole story was told without the use of a single articulate sound." Mr. Romanes observes † that "in its earliest stages, and onwards through a considerable part of its history,” this * p. 219.

+ p. 221.

S

sign-making "is precisely identical with the corresponding phases of indicative sign-making in the lower animals”! As if similar external movements may not be due to very different internal causes, as in this case the diverse results of the outcome of gesture-development proves them to have been. A man, a monkey, and a toy automaton may take off the hat; but that material sign of salutation is fundamentally different in each case. Dogs beg for water, and pull dresses to open doors, and so far the movements of some young children, of course, do to a certain extent resemble them; but no one who will look into the eyes of such a child can well fail to note therein an expression of meaning and intelligence which not the keenest desires or emotions of a brute will impart to its organs of sight.* But even if this difference did not exist, the diverse outcome is enough to make known an original difference of nature.

Strongly, then, do we deny Mr. Romanes's assertion | that “so far as the earliest phase of language is concerned, no difference even of degree can be alleged between the infant and the animal.” It is wonderful how he misunderstands the system of his opponents. He asks, “Will it be suggested that my daughter had attained to self-consciousness . . . before she had attained to the faculty of speech, and therefore to the very condition to the naming of her ideas? If so, it would follow that there may be concepts without names,

* This has been repeatedly observed by me. My attention was first called to the fact by the late Dr. Noble, of Manchester, author of “Mind and Brain," Churchill. 7 p. 222.

I p. 223, note.

and thus the whole fortress of my opponents would crumble away." Why, of course, we say there can be concepts without names. We have always strenuously affirmed it, and its affirmation, instead of being destructive to our “fortress," is the very rock on which it is built. Mr. Romanes says * that if his opponents do not "commit argumentative suicide" they must concede that the speechless infant is “confined to the receptual sphere of ideation.” But instead of conceding this we have strenuously affirmed the very reverse.f

Having, then, so mistakenly assumed that self-consciousness must be reflex, and having attributed to the logical and conceptual gesture-language of children no more value than to the emotional manifestations of brutes, he says $: “The named recepts of a parrot cannot be held by my opponents to be true concepts, any more than the indicative gestures of an infant can be held by them to differ in kind from those of a dog."

Certainly, we are far indeed from regarding "the named recepts of a parrot” as concepts, but we none the less affirm that “the indicative gestures of an infant” are “ different in kind from those of a dog ”— just as “the indicative gestures" of the arms of a dog are different in kind from those of a telegraph post. External resemblance in action does not prove similarity of kind, if there is reason for thinking that the actions are respectively the result of influences which themselves are radically different in kind. The actions as external motions may be similar in appear

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

ance, but as regards their real nature they may be fundamentally contrasted.

Mr. Romanes goes on * to consider that stage in the life of a child which he regards as anterior to the formation of true mental concepts, though a stage superior to the highest of those which mere animals can attain to. “Let us,” he says, “ consider the case of a child about two years old, who is able to frame such a proposition as Dit ki (Sister is crying).” This he affirms to be no truly intellectual act, but merely the bringing into appositionof two recepts (perceptions of its senses) which it has experienced simultaneously

“The apposition in consciousness of these two recepts,” he tells us, “is effected for the child by what may be termed the logic of events: it is not effected by the child in the way of any intentional or selfconscious grouping of its ideas.”

Now, of course, Mr. Romanes does not here mean to deny that the child reflects on its mental act. Even adults very rarely do that. Such a denial, then, would be too absurdly superfluous. All he can mean to deny of the child, then, must be that direct, ordinary consciousness which attends all our everyday actions. Such a denial is, however, quite unwarranted. In saying Dit ki, the child gives expression (as we before said) to a true judgment. It is a judgment composed of two named concepts and an implied copula affirming through one concept, “ki,” the existence of an action performed by an object, to which the other concept, “ Dit,” relates.

* p. 227.

The absolute enunciation of the copula "is" cannot be needed if we can see that it is meant; for, as Mr. Romanes has so well said,* so that any one means, the mode of expressing that meaning is 'unimportant. In such childish sentences as that quoted, the copula is evidently present in intention, though it may not be uttered, and as Mr. Romanes further on truly observes, † the greatest of all distinctions in biology is "potentiality.” That is just it. It is the distinction between a nature which can and a nature which cannot form intellectual conceptions, which is the distinction between man and brute. But this latent power or “potentiality.” can only be made known by the outcome. It is this which gives us such abundant reason for regarding new-born infants and defectively organized persons as potentially rational, and which justifies our denying rationality to animals, since they never show us they possess it—while we cannot doubt but that if they did possess it they would soon convince us all of that fact. We thus avoid both horns of our author's dilemma. I

We conclude that the brute does not "judge,” because it does not give the evidence of judgment which a child who says “Dit ki” does give. The child who uses that expression not only makes a judgment, but the things it affirms exist in its mind beside the judg* p. 164

p. 233. # He says (p. 227), “I put to my opponents the following dilemma. Either you here have judgment, or else you have not. If you hold that this is judgment, you must also hold that animals judge. . . . If, on the other hand, you answer that here you have not judgment, I will ask you at what stage in the subsequent development of the child's intelligence you would consider judgment to arise ?"

« НазадПродовжити »