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speech which thought possesses. A sign of some kind is necessary because, since we each have both an
that that survives which is able to survive,—this would be a mere truism and a patent tautology,- or, if we take in the whole circumstances of Nature, the survival of the fittest implies some kind of inherent fitness and reasonableness. Prof. Mivart writes : 'What there is less reasonable and right in a Rhytina than in a Dugong, or in a Dinornis than in an Apteryx, would, I think, puzzle most of our zoologists to determine ; nor is it easy to see a triumph of reason in the extermination of the unique flora of St. Helena by the introduction of goats and rabbits. No doubt, it is not easy to see this. But need I remind Prof. Mivart that many things may be true, though it is not easy to see them? We often do what we think is reasonable and right, though we seem to see nothing but mischief to ourselves and others arising from our acts. Why do we do this? Because we believe in the ultimate triumph of reason and right, though it may take millions of years to prove that right is right. I have the same faith in Nature ; and, taking my stand on this scientific faith, I believe that natural selection must in the end prove rational selection, and that what has been vaguely called the survival of the fittest will have to be interpreted in the end as the triumph of reason, not as the inere play of chance.
“F. MAX MÜLLER. “ Oxford, February 21.”
[Nature, March 15, 1888.]
REASON AND LANGUAGE. “The kindness of Prof. Max Müller's reply I recognize with pleasure, but without surprise, since those who know him know him to be as remarkable for his courtesy as his great learning.
“In answer to his first question, I must say that I made a point of attending his Royal Institution lecture on the day his 'Science and Thought' was published, and was greatly disappointed that illness hindered my attending the others. But I immediately obtained his book, and applied myself to understand what seemed to me its essence, though I have not read it from cover to cover. Should I have to review it, of course I shall conscientiously peruse the whole of it.
“Before replying further, it may be well to restate my position as follows :
“Man is an intellectual being, able to apprehend certain things
intellect and a body forming one absolute unity (one embodied intelligence), some bodily activity must, as
directly and others indirectly. Normally, his conceptions clothe themselves in vocal sounds, and get so intimately connected therewith, that the 'word' becomes practically a single thing composed of a mental and an oral element. But these elements are not identical, and the verbum mentale is anterior and superior to the verbum oris which it should govern and direct. Abnormally, conceptions do not clothe themselves in oral expressions at all, but only in manual or other bodily signs, and this shows that concepts may be expressed (however imperfectly) in the language of gesture without speech. One consequence of these relations is that neither the utterance of sounds (articulate or inarticulate) nor bodily movements could have generated the intellect and reason of man, and Noiré's hypothesis falls to the ground. On the other hand, beings essentially intellectual, but as yet without language, would immediately clothe their nascent concepts in some forms of bodily expression by means of which they would quickly understand one another.
“As to the expressions 'reason' and 'reckoning,' I would observe that a study of an organism's embryonic development is a most valuable clue to its nature, and no doubt a similar utility attends historical investigations in Prof. Max Müller's science. Nevertheless, we cannot understand the nature of an animal or plant by a mere knowledge of an early stage of its existence ; an acquaintance with the outcome of its development is even more important. Similarly, I venture to presume, the ultimate meaning of a word is at least as much its true meaning as is some archaic signification which may have grown obsolete. The word 'spirit,' if it once meant only the breath, means more now-as we see from the Professor's first letter. Similarly, if reason,' in its Latin form, once only meant 'reckoning,' that is no reason' why it should only mean reckoning now. Here it would seem as if we had an instance of the verbum mentale having acted upon and modified the verbum oris. I cannot but regard the representation that affirmative and negative propositions are mere cases of addition and subtraction, as an incorrect and misleading representation, save when they refer to mathematical conceptions. I am compelled also to object to another of the Professor's assertions. He says, "There is a wide difference between our apprehending our own activity and apprehending that A is A. Apprehending our own
before said,* accompany our every thought; but that sign need not be now, nor need it ever have been, any form of speech.
activity is inevitable, apprehending that A is A is voluntary. It is true there is a great difference between these apprehensions, though they both agree in being instances of apprehensions which are not inferences, and as such I adduced them (Nature, February 16, p. 364). Nevertheless in my judgment the difference between them is not the difference which the Professor states. Both are alike voluntary, regarded as deliberate reflex cognitions, and both are alike inevitable, regarded as indeliberate, direct perceptions. The labourer inevitably perceives that his spade is what it is, though the nature of that perception remains unnoticed, just as he inevitably perceives his own continuous being when he in no way adverts to that fact.
“I must further protest against the assertion that the idea therefore' is present in the simplest acts of cognition '—that every perception of an object is an inference. This I regard as one of the fundamental errors which underlie all the madness of idealism. Akin thereto is the notion that a philosopher who desires to speak with the very strictest accuracy ought, instead of using the big 1,' to say, 'a succession of states of consciousness. To me it is certain that even one state of consciousness (to say nothing of a series') is no more immediately intued by us than is the substantial ego ; each being cognized only by a reflex act. What I intue is my 'self-action,' in which intuition, both the ego' and the 'states' are implicitly contained, and so can be explicitly recognized by reflection. I was myself long in bondage to these two errors, from which it cost me severe mental labour to escape by working my way through philosophical subjectivism. These questions I cannot here go any further into, and I only mention them in consequence of Prof. Max Müller's remarks. I will, however, in turn, refer him to my Nature and Thought,' as well as to a larger work which I trust may before long be published, and which, I venture to hope, he will do me the honour to look at.
“My object in calling attention to the fact that one word may have several meanings, and several words one meaning, was to show that there could not be 'identity' between thought and language. This point the Professor seems practically to concede,
Our author further observes * that when thoughts which have coexisted with words come to be thought
since he now only calls them'inseparable, and in one sense identical. I do not understand degrees of identity. No mere closeness of resemblance or connection can make two things absolutely identical. I did not, however, content myself with denying this identity' on account of polyonymy and homonymy ; I also referred to common experience (which shows us that men do not invent concepts for preformed words, but the reverse), and I appealed to certain facts of consciousness. To my assertions about consciousness the Professor replies : 'The object of all scientific inquiry is the general and not the individual.' But this is a quite inadequate reply, since our knowledge of general laws is based on our knowledge of individual facts, and if only one man could fly, that single fact would be enough to refute the assertion that flight is impossible to man.
“With respect to evolution, I never said that Prof. Max Müller misunderstood ' natural selection,' but only that he misrepresented it-of course unintentionally. It is of the essence of natural selection not to affirm teleology as formerly understood, although, of course, it can say nothing (for the whole of physical science can say nothing) about a primordial teleology at the foundation of the entire cosmos. I, in common with the Professor, look forward to "the ultimate triumph of reason and right,' but my confidence is not due to any "faith' I have in ‘Nature' or anything else. I profoundly distrust 'faith' as an ultimate basis for any judgment; I regard my conviction as a dictum of pure reason the certain and evident teaching of that science which underlies and gives validity to every other. I therefore agree with Prof. Max Müller in regarding it as a lesson which 'true philosophy teaches us.'
“ST, GEORGE MIVART.”
In the number of the Nineteenth Century for March, 1889, Prof. Max Müller has published an article, entitled, “ Can we think without Words?” Therein (p. 401, note 2) he in a truly wonderful manner concedes all that we demand-at least, he represents himself as having done so in a previous work. His words are : “When I speak of words I include other signs likewise, such as figures, for instance, or hieroglyphics, or Chinese or Accadian symbols. All I
of without words, “concepts become, as it were, degraded into recepts, but recepts of a degree of complexity of organization which would not have been possible but for their conceptional parentage.” Now, it is quite true that thoughts, as well as words, are very often made use of without our adverting to the full meaning we give them (and, indeed, the full implications of our thoughts are hardly ever noted), so that they are used as intellectual counters or symbols in reasoning. * Nevertheless, we are always conscious of what they are, and can direct our attention at will to their full intellectual significance. Thus they are widely different from “recepts,” and never become (what they never originally were) a mere bundle of feelings. We therefore deny in the strongest terms that a concept can ever be degraded into a recept.
Mr. Romanes once more very surprisingly declares † maintain is that thought cannot exist without signs, and that our most important signs are words.” Of course this is true, and this is what we have always maintained. But if it is true, then thought can exist without words. The Professor quotes from p. 58 of a work published by Longmans, entitled, “Three Introductory Lectures on the Science of Thought, delivered at the Royal Institution, London.” At p. 405 of the Nineteenth Century he asks, “What else can the elements of thought be, if not words, the embodiment of concepts?” But if “words " are “the embodiment of concepts," the concepts must exist before they are embodied. The “elements of thought," then, must be something else than words. The Professor cannot mean that people by merely uttering unmeaning articulate sounds, get thought into them.
* Our power of thus temporarily disregarding the significance of concepts is a great help to us in our intellectual progress, as an economy of labour. As to this, see “On Truth,” p. 363.
† pp. 83, 397. This is almost enough to make an opponent despair of enabling him to understand his (the said opponent's) position.