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made which involve mathematical error, the assertion that mathematics are “alien to the scope” of a work on chemistry will neither save the credit of the chemist nor that of his statements. We will for the present abstain from any further criticism on this matter, after thus briefly calling attention to what appears to us to be a very noteworthy and significant evidence of some fundamental confusion of mind.
That section of the work which is mainly devoted to an examination of mental states is divided into a chapter (the second chapter) on “Ideas," one on "The Logic of Recepts," and one on “The Logic of Concepts."
In his second chapter,* Mr. Romanes applies himself to the task of describing various kinds of mental processes, and presenting them † in a tabular form. All these he calls “ideas," and by the very mode in which he uses this term he at once really lays the foundation of what we deem his subsequent errors—a foundation he amplifies by his unintentionally misleading treatment of the mental processes he so names.
He begins by quoting and accepting, as before said, certain declarations of Locke respecting the psychical processes of men and animals, thus at once assuming the very position which we, his selected opponents, deem to be the most profoundly mistaken one. For we regard Locke and Descartes as twin sophists, upon whose confused and misleading notions, as upon a foundation, subsequent writers have again and again tried in vain to rear a durable and consistent system of philosophy. * p. 20.
† p. 39.
But we make our appeal to the reason and common sense of our readers alone, and deliberately put aside all authorities of whatsoever kind.* We decline not only
* Mr. Romanes rather strangely asserts (p. 22) that “Realism was gradually vanquished by Nominalism.” The fact is that during the period of their struggles, Nominalism twice raised its head and was twice defeated, and at the time when, with the Renaissance, all scholastic disputes went out of fashion, moderate Realism had conquered all along the line. All the followers of Thomas Aquinas, and all the followers of his critic Scotus, were opposed to Nominalism, and they prevailed. In fact, Nominalism never got the upper hand, never had any standing, in the schools. Of course, with the neglect of Philosophy which accompanied the rise of Cartesianism, Nominalism (with almost every other exploded error) once more raised its head. This was not wonderful, seeing that its founder, Descartes, never understood, never even studied, the Aristotelian system, which, having gone out of fashion, was soon simply thrust aside and neglected by the Cartesians and by their contemporaries and followers here and on the continent, from Hobbes, Locke, Hume, etc., to Hegel, Spencer, and Cousin. Nominalism was argued down, and argued off the field. It never argued its way back, but simply reappeared, as a noxious weed may reappear in a field left uncultivated, or cultivated according to mistaken methods. Some of the arguments used against Nominalism were as follows : (1) Had not the intellect universal ideas, common nouns would be meaningless, whereas consciousness tells us we have a meaning in using them beyond denoting an individual or a collection of individuals, and more than a mere material sound ; for a common noun in an unknown foreign language has no meaning for us. (2) There is no sign which does not signify something; prius est esse quam significari; and unless we had in the mind something distinct from the individual, the collection, and the material sound, no such sign would ever have existed. We have no signs for the absolutely unknown-e.g., for classes of animals in the planet Mars-and mental perception must precede the use of signs, which would also be useless unless their connection with what they signify was understood. (3) The most ultra-Nominalists must admit that they possess the faculty of perceiving the general nature of certain entities-namely, of certain words. Were the human mind incapable of perceiving the universal, this would be impossible. But
to follow Locke, but to follow any one, whoever he
Mr. Romanes tells us that he passes
on to consider the only distinction which can be properly drawn between human and brute psychology. ... The distinction has been clearly enunciated, from Aristotle if we can perceive the general nature of certain words and classes of words, why not of other entities also? (4) We can perceive similitudes between certain objects, therefore we can perceive the universal, for every similitude perceived, reveals our power of perception of the same quality, or essential lineament, in distinct individuals, i.e. an universal. (5) The Nominalists admitted that we have collective ideas ; but collective ideas presuppose the perception of the universal, without which no “number” and no
aggregate of individuals " could be recognized as such. (6) Again, it was said, Nominalism destroys all certainty, for if nothing objective corresponded to our terms, we could know nothing but subjective modifications, and this would destroy the validity of the law of contradiction. If the term and idea“ being” represents nothing objective, the whole system of truth disappears. (7) It was also objected that Nominalism was fatal to all science, which necessarily treats of order and laws arising from certain common properties, or similar essential characteristics, perceived to exist in individuals. Science, even physical, is primarily concerned with what is abstract and universal, and has always to fall back upon it in the ultimate analysis ; but if the universal has no objective reality, science becomes a mere lusus mentis-a contemplation of a mental panorama of worthless, because truthless, figments. (8) Nominalists were also taxed with confusing the objects of cognition with the means of cognition ; objects being known directly through (by means of) our mental affections, and not mediately, as results of mental affections which are themselves primarily cognized-a position from which, of course, Idealism follows, such as that from Berkeley and Hume, through Kant and Fichte, to our last living representatives thereof. By such arguments the Schoolmen completely extinguished the Nominalists, who tried by endless quibbles to avoid being forced into that Idealistic Scepticism which reduces science to a knowledge of distinct, individual modifications in a state of chaotic disorder, since it affirms no real objective relations of interdependence, or of any other kind.
downwards, but I may best render it in the words of Locke :'It may be doubted, whether beasts compound and enlarge their ideas that way to any degree; this, I think, I may be positive in, that the power of abstracting is not at all in them.'”
Mr. Romanes, by this quotation, introduces to the mind of his reader the suggestion that beasts have "ideas," and that “our ideas” are things similar to the “ideas” of brutes, only compounded and enlarged.* And this suggestion is quietly introduced, as if it was a simple, uncontested matter, instead of being a doctrine which his opponents regard as a fatal and radical error.
We define an idea as “a similitude of any object or action, generated in and by the intellect," and distinguish it fundamentally from a sense-perception, which we define as “the phantasm of an object or action generated in and by the imagination.”
The passage quoted contains, further, the following statement as to brutes : “If they have any ideas at all, and are not bare machines (as some would have them), we cannot deny them to have some reason. It seems evident to me, that they do some of them in certain instances reason, as that they have sense; but it is only in particular ideas, just as they received them from their senses. They are the best of them tied up within those
* We do not, of course, object to the term “idea " being used in so broad a sense as to include both intellectual and sense perceptions, if a distinction is carefully drawn between the term as used in a wide and in a strict sense. Such a distinction, carefully maintained, would obviate the confusion to which we object. But that confusion is part of the very system of Mr. Romanes, and hence his mode of using the term.
narrow bounds, and have not (as I think) the faculty to enlarge them by any kind of abstraction.” Here again we have a passage which, if allowed to pass unchallenged, would provide all the materials most essential to construct such a temple of error as Mr. Romanes has, in our opinion, reared. We affirm that no brute gives evidence that it possesses any “idea,” any power of "abstraction," or any faculty of “reasoning ;” as also that our “ideas” are not formed by the compounding or enlargement of anything which we have in common with the brutes. None the less, we not only most freely allow, but we positively affirm, that brutes possess complex groups of associated sensations and emotions ; * that, in their way, they can apprehend not only indi. vidual creatures, but kinds of creatures, and, by their feelings and resulting actions, can draw what may be called “practical inferences.” That by this we mean something very different from what Mr. Romanes means, is shown by our utterly different positions as regards the relations of the human intellect.
Our own meaning we will do our best, as we proceed, to make perfectly clear. Mr. Romanes begins by observing,t “Psychologists are agreed that what they
* This is, indeed, all that Mr. Herbert Spencer would allow to man. His “Psychology," upon which his whole philosophy reposes (as he himself declares), is one continued endeavour to resolve our higher faculties into our lower by ignoring intellect altogether. Mr. Romanes is, we believe, a devout and faithful disciple of Mr. Herbert Spencer, and it is, of course, easy enough to derive man's highest faculties from his lower, if by the former be understood (as Mr. H. Spencer understands) nothing but certain groups of his lower faculties.
7 p. 22.