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creatures in all minute degrees and shades of physical distinction between an anthropoid ape and man, might have existed for untold ages, such creatures approximating more and more by the increasing complexity of their actions, and perhaps by their articulate cries, to man who was yet “to be.” He is, further, perfectly free to hold that when at last the time came for the advent of the human animal, that animal, possessing an essentially rational nature, might nevertheless have long existed before the circumstances of his environment rendered it possible for him to display in act his potential rationality as set before us in Adam. His progeny, again, the men of long prehistoric times, may be deemed * to have dwelt in lands entirely uncultivated, with no weapons but sticks and unchipped stones, as unable to hunt as to till, and destitute of every kind of art. He also not only may, but should, further hold that speech was the spontaneous product of a being of the kindthat he evolved a language insignificant as to the number of its terms, it may be at the lowest grade possible for a creature who could think at all.
What more “ freedom of thought” in this direction can science possibly require ?
But although, in the interests of truth and fairness, we have thus drawn out what such a believer may consistently hold, we desire distinctly to state that we ourselves do not hold it. We attribute to early man
* That the reader may see this is no exaggeration, he is referred to a paper (first published in Le Muséon) by the Rev. Monseigneur de Harlez (Professor of Sanscrit at the University of Louvain), entitled, “La Civilisation de l'humanité Primitive” (Charles Peeters, Louvain, 1886).
higher powers and more developed faculties; but most assuredly we attribute such powers to him, not on the strength of, or as a concession to, any theological dogma, but simply because, in our poor judgment, the balance of argument seems to incline that way.
We do not, of course, for a moment wish dogmatically to affirm that early man was so conditioned; but we believe him to have been so—while we remain quite ready to reject that belief and accept the opposite view as soon as ever we meet with evidence which seems to us sufficient to justify our so doing.
Having made this preliminary statement and explanation of our own views and position, we will proceed, without further preface, to address ourselves to the examination of Mr. Romanes's psychological views.
MENTAL STATES AND PROCESSES.
THE whole attempt of Mr. Romanes to show that the intellect of man is but a development from the psychical power of brutes, reposes upon his mode of representing the various orders and degrees of cognition and intelligence, and this again rests upon his analysis and classification of mental states and processes. By dividing and subdividing these according to a certain system, by ignoring various more important distinctions which exist between some of them, and by exaggerating the significance of some minor differences, he is enabled to draw out what, to the unwary, may look like a transitional series of psychical states. On this account it is absolutely necessary that we should examine with great care the whole of the three chapters (his second, third and fourth chapters) which he devotes mainly to psychological analysis. In this section, however, he anticipates, to a certain extent, what has to follow in his section on language, * while in the latter he carries out further and more completely elucidates, his own psychological views. In our present chapter, therefore, we also cannot quite neglect the subject of language, nor, when we
* His chaps. v., vi., vii., viii., and ix.
come to treat of the latter, can we be altogether dispensed from reverting occasionally to questions about mental states and processes.
Although he does not treat of “self-consciousness” till he comes to his tenth chapter, yet in a summary which he gives of his first four chapters he speaks * of it as the faculty “whereby the mind is able, as it were, to stand apart from itself, to render one of its states objective to others, † and thus to contemplate its own ideas as such.” Now, we should very much like to know what are “the other states” which thus examine "the one,” and what is “the one” which has thus the power of passing the “ideas” in review ? Surely, at the beginning of a treatise on psychological analysis and classification, it is imperatively necessary to try and make the reader understand the fundamental facts and principles upon which his classification reposes, and how and why it is that what is represented as being such a passive abstraction as a mere "state,” should be credited with action and searching power of a “faculty."
Mr. Romanes expressly repudiates such questions on the ground that they are “ quite alien to the scope” of his work. We, on our part, think we have good ground to complain of such repudiation, seeing that Mr. Romanes expressly adopts a very distinct philosophical system. He could not give to the psychical states he describes even the appearance of a transitional character from "sense” to “intellect," but that he starts by assuming the system of Locke. To affirm that system, however, is to affirm that every group of faint, or revived, * p. 397.
† The italics are ours.
sensations is an “idea”; and since every brute * has such groups of feelings, the point in dispute is thereby at once assumed.
Mr. Romanes affirms, and professes to agree with his opponents in affirming, that the presence of “self-consciousness” is the line of demarcation between man and brute. We might fairly expect, then, that he should have some clear apprehension of that which he thus puts forward as so important. Yet he candidly avows † that it is a problem “which does not admit of solution.” Now, the one task which Mr. Romanes has undertaken, the one object of his whole book, is to show that the difference between a self-conscious being and one without self-consciousness is a difference not of kind, but of degree. Yet, instead of placing before us, as we think he should, his convictions as to consciousness, he postpones his consideration of that faculty till he comes to his tenth chapter,f and then declines to grapple with it, retreating, as we shall see, into a profession of Idealism. Yet Idealism is fatal to his position, which is essentially that of a materialist. We did not, of course, expect to find in Mr. Romanes's book a treatise on philosophy ; but we did expect to find a statement of principles, and one not inconsistent with the position he had taken up. Chemistry and mathematics are different sciences; but nevertheless, if in a chemical treatise statements are
* Mr. Romanes states (p. 395) that “nowadays no one questions” that such phenomena are “common to animals and to men.” We should like to know what philosopher ever questioned it, save some follower of Descartes ? By all the Scholastics it would not only have been unquestioned, but positively affirmed. † p. 194.
I See below, our chapter iv.