« НазадПродовжити »
its reference to psychical as well as physical processes. It tends to give rise to a persuasion that psychical acts, which our own minds show us to be different in nature, are themselves fundamentally similar, because there may be a similarity in the physical processes which accompany both.
Mr. Romanes makes * the great distinction between recepts and concepts to consist in the former being "received," while, he tells us, the latter "require to be conceived." But in forming recepts as well as concepts, we need to be active agents as well as passive recipients. In both cases the psychical entity energizes and evolves something new, according to the nature of the entity which acts. A merely sensitive psychical entity, or Soul, † can (it is admitted on all hands) evolve recepts as a consequence of receiving due sensuous stimuli. A rational Soul can (it is admitted on all hands) also evolve concepts as a consequence of receiving due intellectual stimuli. It evolves in either case active, psychical states, which existed potentially before stimulation, but, of course, not actually. So much must be universally admitted. We, of course, further contend that a merely sensitive psychical entity, such as the soul, or principle of individuation of an amaba, an ant, or an ape, cannot by any stimulation be made to evolve an intellectual product.
Mr. Romanes proceeds to ask, ş “To what level of
'ideation' can recepts attain without the aid of concepts ? ... How far can mind travel without the aid of language ?” He then applies himself to answer this question by relating various anecdotes of animals.
In considering the value of such relations, we should ever remember to what very curious lengths instinct may go in insects, and how numerous and complex are the responsive actions which may take place even in ourselves in the absence of consciousness.* We should recollect how we every now and then have experienced a sort of “malaise," which has been relieved by finding something which was missing from its place, although we were not conscious of the cause of the malaise (the absence of the object) till the shock experienced on our having automatically found it, has called our attention to the matter. We ourselves have frequently experienced this when one of the many objects we habitually carry in our pockets has been unconsciously transferred from one to another. We can, as every one knows, do many things automatically and without consciousness, which we often perform with full consciousness. This fact makes it probable that similar actions may take place in animals, and another fact is also very significant: this is the notorious circumstance that persons deprived of one of their senses often have their remaining senses made more acute. It is also commonly affirmed that some savages, who have little intellectual activity, have much keener powers of seeing, hearing, and, perhaps, even smelling, than we have. How much greater, more acute, more complex, and more far-reaching, then, may
* See “ On Truth,” pp. 183–200.
not be the sensitive powers of creatures whose whole being is entirely given up to sensitivity, without its being interfered with by any intellectual activity! It should surely cause us little wonder if we found them doing many things altogether beyond our power under such conditions to effect. That thirsty dogs should run into hollows,* that an elephant should blow on the ground beyond an object it wished to drive towards him, that a bear should similarly draw near a piece of floating bread by pawing the water, or that dogs, "accustomed to tidal rivers or to swimming in the sea,” should feel and automatically allow for currents, need occasion no surprise whatever. Such actions are surely just such as we might confidently anticipate would take place under the given circumstances.
Mr, Darwin is quoted † as having written about a bitch of his, which, on hearing the words, “ Hi, hi, where is it ? ” rushed and looked about, even up into trees, He is also quoted as having asked, “Now, do not these actions clearly show that she had in her mind a general idea that some animal is to be discovered and hunted ? " To this we reply, No doubt the hearing of such words uttered, as we are told, “in an eager voice,” excited the dog's emotions, and raised phantasmata (images) in its consentience—awoke reminiscences of before-experienced groups of smells, sounds, colours, and motions, and relations of various kinds between them but this is very different from a “general idea." In other words, imaginary recepts were aroused in the dog, but not percepts, and, therefore, no such thing as a mental * p. 51.
† p. 52.
conception. Mr. Romanes quotes from Mr. Belt an anecdote concerning ants in South America which learnt to tunnel under the rails of a tramway. But such facts need surprise no one who remembers some of the more wonderful actions of ordinary insects nearer home. No doubt these burrowing ants were well-accustomed to make tunnels, and had instinctively made them again and again on the occurrence of other obstacles to surface progression. To say, as Mr. Romanes says, “ Clearly, the insects must have appreciated the nature" of the obstacles, “and correctly reasoned out the only way by which they could be avoided,” is not a little absurd. If they could really appreciate a “nature," and truly “reason out” a way to avoid injuries, we should quickly have such plainly and distressingly inconvenient evidence of their rationality, that there would be no need to go so far as to South America to find an instance of it.
With respect to the fear which wolves have of traps and their detection of man by the sense of smell, the following remark is cited* from Leroy : “In this case the wolf can only have an abstract idea of danger—the precise nature of the trap laid for him being unknown.” That the wolf has a fear of man, no one can doubt, and it is highly probable that his sense of smell would lead him to abstain from taking a bait. This would be enough to account for the fact cited, without crediting the animal with “an abstract idea of danger,” to credit it with which is to credit it with an intellect such as man has. Mr. Romanes also tells us that Leroy "well
* p. 53.
observes, ‘Animals, like ourselves, are forced to make abstractions. A dog which has lost its master, runs towards a group of men, by virtue of a general abstract idea, which represents to him the qualities possessed in common with these men by his master.” But the dog runs towards the men because the sense-impressions it has received from them raise pleasurable feelings of anticipation and of the completion of a sensuous harmony unconsciously craved.* There is no more need for an act of abstraction in this case than there is in the case of a stag which “doubles” on its own footsteps, and sometimes practises before retiring to rest “the artifices which he would have employed to throw out the dogs, if he were pursued by them.” Such actions are clearly “instinctive proceedings.” Mr. Romanes adds,t “It is remarkable enough that an animal should seek to confuse its trail by such devices, even when it knows that the hounds are actually in pursuit; but it is still more so when the devices are resorted to in order to confuse imaginary hounds which may possibly be on the scent." The fact would be curious indeed if, as the words quoted seem intended to imply, the stag consciously employed such devices as a consequence of thinking that hounds might be on its scent, and formed an intention to deceive them accordingly. There is not, however, the slightest need to adopt so absurd a notion. The action is sufficiently accounted for by instinct. It is done instinctively, as a dog instinctively turns round and
* For further detail as to instances of precisely the same kind, see “ On Truth," p. 350.