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nothing in bringing about any change of the kind ; whereas, if intellect could be thus introduced at all, it might have made its subsequent progress at a relatively very rapid rate.
But we must let Mr. Romanes describe in his own words the stages by which he is disposed to think the progress of mental evolution from the brute to man most probably took place. His words are * :
“Starting from the highly intelligent and social species of anthropoid ape, as pictured by Darwin, we can imagine that this animal was accustomed to use its voice freely for the expression of its emotions, uttering of danger-signals, and singing. Possibly enough, also, it may have been sufficiently intelligent to use a few imitative sounds in the arbitrary way that Mr. Darwin suggests; and certainly sooner or later the receptual life of this social animal must have advanced far enough to have become comparable with that of an infant at about two years of age. That is to say, this animal, although not yet having begun to use articulate signs, must have advanced far enough in the conventional use of natural signs (or signs with a natural origin in tone and gesture, whether spontaneous only or intentionally imitative), to have admitted of a tolerably free exchange of receptual ideas, such as would be concerned in animal wants, and even, perhaps, in the simplest forms of co-operative action. Next, I think it probable that the advance of receptual intelligence which would have been occasioned by this advance in sign-making, would in turn have led to a further development of the latter
* p. 377.
the two thus acting and re-acting on one another, until the language of tone and gesture became gradually raised to the level of imperfect pantomime, as in children before they begin to use words. At this stage, however, or even before it, I think very probably vowel-sounds must have been employed in tone-language, if not also a few of the consonants. And I think this not only on account of the analogy furnished by an infant already alluded to, but also because in the case of a 'singing' animal, intelligent enough to be constantly using its voice for semiotic purposes, and therefore employing a variety of more or less conventional tones, including clicks, it seems almost necessary that some of the vowel sounds—and possibly also some of the consonantsshould have been brought into use. But, be this as it may, eventually the action and re-action of receptual intelligence and conventional sign-making must have ended in so far developing the former as to have admitted of the breaking up (or articulation) of vocal sounds, as the only direction in which any further improvement of vocal sign-making was possible. I think it not improbable that this important stage in the development of speech was greatly assisted by the already existing habit of articulating musical notes, supposing our progenitors to have resembled the gibbons or the chimpanzees in this respect. But long after this first rude beginning of articulate speech, the language of tone and gesture would have continued as much the most important machinery of communication : the halfhuman creature now before our imagination would probably have struck us as a wonderful adept at making significant sounds and movements, both as to number and variety ; but in all probability we should scarcely have been able to notice the already developing germ of articulation. Nor do I believe that, if we were able to strike in again upon the history tens of thousands of years later, we should find that pantomime had been superseded by speech. On the contrary, I believe we should find that, although considerable progress had been made in the former, so that the object then before us might appear deserving of being classed as Homo, we should also feel that he must needs still be distinguished by the addition alalus."
He then continues, * “Lastly, I believe that this most interesting creature probably lived for a considerably long time," etc., as just before quoted by us.
As to this passage, we have, of course, to protest against the idea of the imaginary ape uttering any "danger-signals,” still more against its using “ imitative sounds in the arbitrary way that Mr. Darwin suggests," and instead of allowing that “it must have advanced," sooner or later, so as “to have become comparable with an infant about two years of age,” we affirm it could never have done so, or attained to any “tolerably free exchange [!] of receptual ideas ”—which are not “ideas " at all. What, also, can be more misleading or unreasonable than to say, “Next, I think it probable that the advance of receptual intelligence which would have been occasioned by the advance in sign-making, would in turn have led to a further development of the latterthe two thus acting and reacting on one another”? But
* p. 379.
no irrational bodily movements could generate intellect, nor could mere consentience cause “a further development” of signs, since, as we have seen,* in order that a sign should even exist, true intelligence must be already present. We have here presented to us the interaction of merely sensuous faculties under the misleading terms, " receptual intelligence" and "signs,” with an implied supersensuous result. Thus is intellect again silently "slipped in,” and when once it has been so smuggled in unnoticed, it is, of course, easy enough to explain any subsequent progress by it. If once an ape in some mysterious way became (like a child) potentially a man, any one can see how human characteristics would thereafter become manifest in it. Only thus can we rationally say (as Mr. Romanes says) that the animals intelligence “must have advanced.”
As to Noiré's hypothesis, we think, with Mr. Romanes,f that it can at best be considered but a branch of the onomatopoetic theory ; but we think it most improbable that it contains any measure of truth, or that it was “one among many other ways in which, during many ages, many communities of vociferous though hitherto speechless men may have slowly evolved the act of making articulate signs.”
Mr. Romanes says that his hypothesis will probably be objected to on the ground that it amounts to a petitio principii—as, in fact, it does; and this, we hope, has been made sufficiently clear. He further observes: “The question has been raised expressly and exclusively on the faculty of conceptual speech, and it is conceded that * See above, pp. 65, 122, 128.
† p. 381.
of this faculty there can have been no earlier stage than that of articulation.” But, as we have pointed out again and again, the question does not concern conceptual speech, but mental conception; and it has been also expressly pointed out that mental conception by no means depends on the power of articulation, but may exist for a long time, or always, without it.
Mr. Romanes accuses his opponents of begging the question if they assume "that prior to the appearance of the earliest phase of articulation, it is impossible that any hitherto speechless animal should have been erect in attitude, intelligent enough to chip flints, or greatly in advance of other animals in the matter of making indicative (non-conceptual] gestures, and probably vocal tones.” But we assume nothing of the kind. It is possible, as we said in our first chapter, that so-called paläolithic man may not have been human at all. We have also no evidence as to the degree of development to which mere instinct can attain without being able to make one gesture indicative of the possession of a real idea of any kind. Mr. Romanes cites * an account of monkeys opening oysters with selected stones, which we can well credit. Nor would the shaping of a stone by an anthropoid ape greatly surprise us, any more than the skilful treatment of trees by the beavers which fell them.
As to Mr. Romanes's further observations concerning the possible or probable growth and development of articulation, as it is altogether beside our contention, nothing need now be added to what has already
* Note, p. 382.