Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

loma-qu = heart or will-of-me,= I will.But why should “will-of-me” be considered incapable of plainly making known a voluntary assent? In our English tongue an emphatic assent may be given by an expression apparently much less close to the idea of volition. An English youth asking another whether he is willing to take part in some project would be sufficiently assured of the assent of the latter if he replied, “I believe you."

We do not doubt that the parts of speech of European grammarians are, “as far as external form is concerned,” inapplicable to the Polynesian languages. But the fact, however interesting, is not of the slightest importance to our contention. “I will eat the rice," may require to be rendered, “The-eating-of-me-therice = My eating will be of the rice.” Such expressions are as reasonable and logical as need be.

Recurring to his opponents' challenge * to “produce the brute which can furnish the blank form of a judgment'—the 'is' in A is B,” he observes, † “Now, I cannot, indeed, produce a brute that is able to supply such a form ; but I have done what is very much more to the purpose—I have produced many nations of still existing men, in multitudes that cannot be numbered, who are as incapable as any brute of supplying the blạnk form that is required. Where is the ‘is,' in ' Ageof-him Father-of-thee' = 'His-age-thy-father' = 'Thyfather-is-old'? Or, in still more primitive stages of human utterance, how shall we extract the blank form of predication from a 'sentence-word,' where there is not only an absence of any copula, but also an absence

* See “ Lessons from Nature,” pp. 226, 227. p. 312.

of any differentiation between the subject and the predicate ?” To this we can reply in the lately cited words, * “ If a given subject be ‘here,' 'there,'” etc., "we need no ghost to tell us that it is.” Here Mr. Romanes's whole contention shows the absurdity of Nominalism. “Is” the concept, is there plainly enough, though “is " the “spoke word " be absent.

He continues, “Of course all this futile argument on the part of my opponents, rests upon the analysis of the proposition as this was given by Aristotle.” To this we reply, it does not rest one bit on any such analysis, but on the perception of the thought underlying propositions, whether expressed in Greek, Dayak, Chinese, or Polynesian phraseology.

This answer Mr. Romanes anticipates as a possibility, # saying, that in order to meet it, he must refer to points which he considers were established by him in previous chapters, and which we have already, we think, sufficiently refuted.

He then refers to propositions made by children, anteriorly to what he deems the advent of self-consciousness, prior to the very condition which is required for any process of conceptual thought.But, as we have shown, consciousness is plainly present long before the period which Mr. Romanes arbitrarily assigns for its advent. Again, he says & that such propositions are “due to merely sensuous associations and the external logic of events”-a thing we utterly deny. “Will any opponent venture to affirm,” he asks, "that preconceptual ideation is indicative of judgment?” We reply, of

* From p. 312. † p. 320. P. 321. p. 323.

course it is, and we affirm that this is manifestly an utterly different thing from confounding recepts and concepts.

Again, he asks, will we affirm that “even in the earlier and hitherto undifferentiated sentence-word we have that faculty of predication on which is founded the distinction between man and brute"? and we reply most certainly we do. He next declares * that if we answer as we have just answered, “the following brief considerations will be sufficient to dislodge” us. "If,” he says, “the term 'predication' is extended from a conceptual proposition to a sentence-word, it thereby becomes deprived of that distinctive meaning upon which alone [as he supposes) the whole argument of my opponents is reared. For, when used by a young child (or primitive man), sentence-words require to be supplemented by gesture-signs in order to particularize their meaning, or to complete the 'predication.' But, where such is the case, there is no longer any psychological distinction between speaking and pointing : if this is called predication, then the predicative "category of language' has become identified with the indicative : man and brute are conceded to be 'brothers.'"

This is an entire mistake. The use or need of gesture does not make language a bit less truly conceptual and abstract. There is no psychological distinction between speaking and pointing, or we could have no expression of abstract ideas by pantomime as in ballets. Mr. Romanes, as an example in point, tells us † of an infant of his still unable to articulate a word, but who, having * p. 324.

† p. 324.

knocked his head, ran to his father. On being asked where he was hurt, “he immediately touched the part of his head in question.” “Now, will it be said,” he asks, " that in doing this the child was predicating the seat of injury?” We reply, most unquestionably it was. The predication was of a rudimentary kind; but our knowledge of the nature of children from their growth and development, makes us perfectly clear that it really was a predication. Then, says Mr. Romanes, there is no essential difference between men and brutes, for “the gesture-signs which are so abundantly employed by the lower animals would then also require to be regarded as predicatory, seeing that ... they differ in no respect from those of the speechless infant.” This assertion we hold to be untenable, for our knowledge of the growth and development of animals makes it clear that apparently significant movements * made by them (as when a cat has a bone fixed between its back teeth) are not really a predication. No gestures of brutes need be taken as being assertions about facts, since they are all otherwise explicable. Could they, once more, make gestures due to a real, conscious memory and intention similar to that of Mr. Romanes's child, they would soon make us quite certain of their power in this respect. If they could do it at all they would do it repeatedly and whenever they had need to make their meaning known to other conscious intelligences. Thus Mr. Romanes's opponents, in allowing the quality of predication not only to sentence-words, but to mere manual signs also, in no way thereby impair the full force of the essential

* See “On Truth,” p. 355.

[graphic]

distinction they assert. They can thus maintain as firmly as ever that intellectual language is "the Rubicon of Mind.” Between the mere language of feeling and the sensuous cognition of brutes, on the one hand, and intellectual language and perception on the other, there remains an essential distinction of kind—that is, of origin. Whether we look to the psychogenesis of the individual or to that of the race, we alike see the full force of the distinction, and recognize, in harmony therewith, the entire absence of any evidence of transition from the emotional sign-making power of the brute to the faculty of conceptual expression possessed by man.

Mr. Romanes passes next * (in Chapter XV.) to a consideration of what he calls “the passage of receptual denotation into conceptual denomination, as this is shown to have occurred in the prehistoric evolution of the race.” He means by this, the origin of words expressing concepts. He every now and again makes use of assertions which much too strongly affirm as true that of which he has got to prove the truth. Thus he speaks † of “what is undoubtedly the earliest phase of articulate sign-making,” as if he had witnessed primitive man at work, and this though (to show how uncertain even less disputable matters may be) he has himself told us | that while some authorities consider polysynthesis to be a survival of what was once the form of languages, yet, “on the other hand, it is with equal certainity affirmed that 'polysynthesis' is not a primitive feature, but an expansion of agglutination.” Again, speaking $ of the child's “ultimate germ of

* p 326. p. 327. p. 255. $ p. 327.

« НазадПродовжити »