Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

establish an d priori probability of an exactly opposite kind.

Though it is not true that all races of men, or that most of them, are and still less have ever been, thus continuously progressive ; and though it is true that a certain enlargement of brain, and probably an increase in practical intelligence, have taken place in animals, yet the difference as to psychical advance between men and animals is vast. In no species of mere animal have we an approximation towards the evidence of advancesince that species existed as a species—which is comparable with the advance which some races of men have made.

Herein we find a difference which we cannot measure, and the probability which thence naturally arises is that there must be a difference of kind, and not of degree, between creatures whose capacities are so extraordinarily diverse.

Taking, then, these several à priori considerations together, they must, in our opinion, be fairly held to make out a very strong prima facie case in favour of the view that there has been a positive interruption of the developmental process in the course of psychological history, and that the mind of man can never have been evolved from the sensitive faculties of any brute. For these considerations show, not only that on analogical grounds such an interruption must be held to be in itself probable, but also that there are facts with respect to the human mind which are quite incompatible with the supposition of its having been slowly evolved ; seeing that no race in human history is known to have undergone the process in question, and that no individual mind does undergo it now.

In order to overturn so great a presumption as is thus created on à priori grounds, the biologist may fairly be called upon to supply some very powerful considerations of an d posteriori kind, tending to show that the general consent of civilized mankind * is wrong in denying to brute beasts those truly intellectual, volitional, and moral faculties which it is commonly supposed that they do not in fact possess.

In proceeding with his argument, Mr. Romanes remarks on the emotional resemblance between animals and man. This we have always not only admitted, but affirmed, as being a necessary consequence of the corporeal nature common to man and beast. Nevertheless, though the sensations and lower emotions of both are probably similar, it is not so with the higher emotions, which depend upon distinct intellectual and moral perceptions. Thus we are convinced that Mr. Romanes errs in attributing to animals † the emotion of the “ludicrous," since that emotion essentially depends on an intellectual perception ; though emotional excitement and facial contortions more or less like those of man, may be induced in some animals, especially in apes, by tickling. Such “ laughter,” however, is radically § different from a feeling of the ludicrous -always accompanied by some perception of incongruity.

* Some of the lower races of mankind think little of the distinction between themselves and the brute creation (see “On

Truth,” p. 497). The appreciation of man's exceptional dignity has grown with civilization. † See “ On Truth,” p. 221.

I p. 7. § See the Forum for July, 1887, p. 492.

Similarly with regard to the instincts which are concerned in nutrition, self-preservation, reproduction, and the rearing of progeny, Mr. Romanes says,* “No one has ventured to dispute that all these instincts are identical with those which we observe in the lower animals.” But, so far from wishing to dispute this identity, we have again and again affirmed it to be a necessary result of similarity of bodily organization. Reason, however, is one thing and instinct another,f a matter we shall have to deal with later on.

Soon, however, we come to a startling misstatement as to the cognitive powers. Mr. Romanes says, $ “Enormous as the difference undoubtedly is between these faculties in the two cases, the difference is conceded not to be one of kind ab initio.But with our utmost power of insistance we deny this, and affirm that man's nature is intellectual, and absolutely differs in kind from that of the highest brute, from the first moment of his existence.

Another noteworthy assertion occurs on the same page. Mr. Romanes says, “It belongs to the very essence of evolution, considered as a process, that when one order of existence passes on to higher grades of excellence, it does so upon the foundations already laid by the previous course of its progress.” This is equivalent to saying that it is of the essence of evolution that there is no such thing as a distinction of kind at all, so that to assert evolution is, for him, to assume as certain the very point which he has to prove.

* pp. 7,8.
+ See “On Truth,” pp. 175, 184, 358–365, 427, 515-518.

I We say “cognitive powers” to avoid any possibility of injustice to Mr. Romanes. He, indeed, speaks of “the faculties of the intellect,” but in a note (p. 8) declares that he does not use that term in a "question begging sense,” but only to avoid “coining a new term.” Without doing this, he might have availed himself of our term," sense perception,” or “sensuous cognition." § p. 9.

|! The italics are ours.

The true statement of the case should, we think, be very different, and we would express it as follows: When a higher order of existence succeeds to others of lower grades, it does so upon the foundation already laid by preceding existences of lower orders. Thus the vegetative nature of a plant manifests itself upon the foundation already laid by the preceding inorganic world, in the powers and properties of which it participates. The sensitive nature of an animal manifests itself upon the foundation already laid by the preceding inorganic and vegetative worlds, in the powers and properties of both of which it participates. Similarly the rational nature of man manifests itself upon the foundation already laid by the preceding inorganic, vegetative, and animal worlds, in the powers and properties of all three of which man, in turn, participates.

Moreover, although each distinction of kind is absolute, and must be due to a distinct origin, nevertheless the higher forms of each superior kind present us, in a way for which “natural selection ” will not account, with a sort of adumbration of the superior kind which has to follow it, and the advent of which it thus, as it were, predicts. Thus in crystals and such forms as dolomite and spathic iron, we have an adumbration of organic

forms; in the insectivorous plants (Drosera and Dionæa, and various others *) we have an adumbration of animal life ; in the relatively complex higher Protozoa we have structures (radically different in kind) which are an adumbration of the organs of the Metazoa ; in the Marsupials we meet with adumbrations of various orders of placental mammals. Again, amongst the latter, the lowly organized lemurs so prepare the way for the apes that they were classed in one order with them, and not even separated into a sub-order by themselves, till we ourselves so separated them.t However distinct, then, man may be, analogy would lead us to expect to find amongst animals, some which so far approach, and simulate in a lower order, human characteristics, as to constitute a foreshadowing, or adumbration, of man himself.

After quoting, # with seeming approval, a passage from a presidential address delivered by us (to the British Association, at Sheffield, in 1879), but objecting to a criticism on Professor Huxley therein contained,

* See “On Truth," p. 335. † See“ Proceedings of the Zoological Society for 1864," p. 635. I p. 10.

§ Speaking of the sensations of animals, Professor Huxley had said (“Critiques and Addresses,' p. 282), “What is the value of the evidence which leads one to believe that one's fellow-man feels ? The only evidence in this argument from analogy is the similarity of his structure and of his actions to one's own, and if that is good enough to prove that one's fellow-man feels, surely it is good enough to prove that an ape feels, etc. We (who assert as much as Professor Huxley can do that animals truly feel, had criticized this statement, saying, “Surely it is not by similarity of structure or actions, but by language that men are placed in communication with one another.” This criticism of ours Mr. Romanes

« НазадПродовжити »