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been said. But we may as well, perhaps, once more note the absurd importance attached to the use of the first person in speech, as to which Mr. Romanes says,* “Now, this point I consider one of prime importance. For," he adds, “it furnishes us with direct evidence of the fact that, long after mankind had begun to speak, and even long after they had gained considerable proficiency in the art of articulate language, the speakers still continued to refer to themselves in that same kind of objective phraseology as is employed by a child before the dawn of self-consciousness. . . . The outward and visible sign of this inward and spiritual grace is given in the subjective use of pronominal words.” All this we once more utterly deny. A man, pointing to himself, may, by that alone, as truly say “I” mentally, as if he uttered that vocable in every known language which possesses such a term.
“But if these things,” he argues,f "admit of no question in the case of an individual human mind if in the case of the growing child the rise of selfconsciousness is demonstrably the condition to that of conceptual thought,-by what feat of logic can it be possible to insinuate that in the growing psychology of the race there may have been conceptual thought before there was any true self-consciousness?" By what illogical feat, indeed, can such an absurdity as unconscious conception be made to seem possible ? Mr. Romanes's argument is valid but vain, because consciousness exists in the child unable even to speak at all, and therefore may well have existed in tribes of men (if such
* p. 388. † Ibid.
there are, or ever were) with no way of speaking of themselves save in modes which correspond with our use of the third person. We do not deny that what is valid for the child is valid for the race, though the parallel between “the race ” and “a child ” is by no means exact. Mr. Romanes, however, affirms the resemblance, and since in the child the origin of self-consciousness is not“ marked by the change from objective to subjective phraseology,” neither need it be so in the race.
This penultimate chapter, though it is interesting as a record of speculative imaginings, and as indicating conspicuously the fallacies which traverse Mr. Romanes's work from cover to cover, is in itself valueless, since (as we have seen) its author, with commendable candour, has declared * that he attaches “no argumentative importance to any of these hypotheses."
The last chapter of Mr. Romanes's work, being merely a summary and brief restatement of what has gone before, does not, we think, need any detailed criticism from us. Therein he speaks † of a great weight of "authority" on his side. Did we so appeal, we, in our turn, might boast that we have supporting us a consensus of the deepest and acutest intellects which the world has ever seen. But, as we said at the outset, we rest our case on no "authority,” but on reason only; and, with a simple appeal from Mr. Romanes, to that reason which he has so inadequately appreciated, we leave the arguments we have advanced to the calm and unprejudiced judgment of our readers. * p. 361.
† p. 395.
In the foregoing chapters we have set forth and estimated, to the best of our ability, the arguments of what may be deemed the crowning effort of that school which would deduce all the faculties of the human intellect from the powers of the lower animals. The author of the book we have criticized is a man in many ways exceptionally gifted. Earnest, versatile, active, and industrious, and able to devote as much time as he pleases to the prosecution of what is evidently a labour of love, we think it unlikely that he can be succeeded by any one better qualified personally for the task he has undertaken. When we further call to mind the fact that he has had the advantage of intimacy with the late Mr. Charles Darwin, and with the still surviving Mr. Herbert Spencer, and that he also enjoys the friendship and sympathy of most of the leading members of the party of whose opinions he is the exponent, we deem it extremely improbable that any one could come forth from a more favourable environment than that from which he issues, as a champion specially trained and carefully armed, to do effective battle against the asserters of the essential intellectuality of man.
For eighteen years we have looked in vain for a Darwinian ready and willing to address himself seriously to the arguments which seemed to us to demonstrate the impossibility of the evolution of intellect from sense. During the last half-dozen years or so we have, however, been more hopeful, for we thought we had some reason to believe that Mr. Romanes was industriously preparing himself to undertake that task. But what, after all, is the result of this long preparation, these arduous studies, the counsel and advice of predecessors and contemporary sympathizers? Do we meet in this book, in spite of the pains and labour which have been lavished upon it, with one really new argument in defence of the cause it would sustain ?
We must confess to no small feeling of disappointment at finding we had no real novelty, no freshly discovered difficulty to contend with, but had mainly to occupy ourselves with the explanation of misunderstandings and the unravelling of curiously entangled conceptions. The real contention of the author is an old and familiar one, and may be thus briefly put : “The infant shows no intellectual nature, therefore it has none. Savages are intellectually inferior to us in varying degrees, therefore their ancestors had no intellect at all." The argument in favour of these assertions really reposes almost exclusively on a supposed à priori probability derived from that view of evolution which Mr. Romanes (following Mr. Darwin, Professor Haeckel, etc.) favours, But the author, as we have seen, seeks to sustain these two fundamental propositions by statements and representations which we have successively combated in the preceding pages. Such are (1) his representation that a child which can talk, but which does not speak of itself as “I,” cannot be self-conscious ; (2) his statement that concepts are but sense-perceptions named ; (3) his representation of “percepts” as not being truly intellectual states at all; (4) his failure to distinguish between direct and reflex self-consciousness ; (5) his serious relation of incredible tales about animals; (6) his confused representation of sign-making, wherein, from neglect to define what is and should be meant by “a sign,” he is led to read into the so-called “signmaking” actions of animals, meanings which need not necessarily be attributed to them, and which other facts show us ought not to be attributed to them; and, lastly, (7) his curious statements about his opponents, which result from his inexplicable failure to comprehend their standpoint. This failure is so utter that, as we have seen, he actually takes for granted that his opponents are “Nominalists” – a mistake which, when we first met with it, seemed to us so impossible, that we thought we must ourselves have misunderstood the author we had undertaken to criticize.
Having most carefully considered every argument put forward by Mr. Romanes, and tried our best to weigh accurately every fact brought forward by him, we must confess ourselves more than ever confident of the truth of the judgment we have now so long maintained—the judgment that between the intellect of man and the highest psychical power of any and every brute there is an essential difference of kind, also involving, of course, a difference of origin.