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then there would be no essential difference between us, and Mr. Romanes's book, so far as we are concerned, need never have been written. We are, however, very thankful that it has been written, and we rejoice to note every point of agreement which it shows to exist between its author and ourselves. One such point concerns the present relation of thoughts to words, his remarks as to which seem to us to be very useful and very true.
He says,* “On reading a letter, for instance, we may instantaneously decide upon our answer, and yet have to pause before we are able to frame the propositions needed to express that answer. Or, while writing an essay, how often does one feel, so to speak, that a certain truth stands to be stated, although it is a truth which we cannot immediately put into words,” etc. † Mr. Romanes, however, makes a singular mistake in the use of the expression "verbum mentale.” He employs it as if it meant a mental utterance of words, instead of (as it does mean) the thought which accompanies whatever words, or other external signs, may be made use of.
Towards the end of this chapter he says, “On the whole, therefore, I conclude that, although language is a needful condition to the original construction of conceptional thought, when once the building has been completed, the scaffolding may be withdrawn, and yet leave the edifice as stable as before.” But why should he deem that language was thus prior and originally necessary? If thought can now exist
without it, why may it not have done so earlier ? Surely experience points to the origin of thought from a direction opposite to that indicated by Mr. Romanes. If, as he affirms, Friedrich Müller is right in affirming the plain truth,“ Sprechen ist nicht Denken, sondern es ist nur Ausdruck des Denkens," then Herr Geiger's dictum: “So ist denn überall die Sprache primar, der Begriff entsteht durch das Wort” must be a dictum not only untenable, but absurd, as we have already endeavoured * to show.
* See “On Truth," pp. 230-234. Mr. Romanes refers (in a note on p. 83) to a brief correspondence which took place between ourselves and Prof. Max Müller in this connection. Therefore we think it may as well be reproduced here. It was as follows :
[Nature, February 2, 1888.]
“Oxford, January 22. “You tell me that my book on the Science of Thought' is thoroughly revolutionary, and that I have all recognized authorities in philosophy against me. I doubt it. My book is, if you like, evolutionary, but not revolutionary ; I mean it is the natural outcome of that philosophical and historical study of language which began with Leibnitz, and which during our century has so widely spread and ramified as to overshadow nearly all sciences, not excepting what I call the science of thought.
"If you mean by revolutionary a violent breaking with the past, I hold, on the contrary, that a full appreciation of the true nature of language and a recognition of its inseparableness from thought will prove the best means of recovering that unbroken thread which binds our modern schools of thought most closely together with those of the Middle Ages and of Ancient Greece. It alone will help us to reconcile systems of philosophy hitherto supposed to be entirely antagonistic. If I am right-and I must confess that with regard to the fundamental principle of the identity of reason and language I share the common weakness of all philosophers, that I cannot doubt its truth-then what we call the history of philosophy will assume a totally new aspect. It will
Although Mr. Romanes thus (p. 81) contends against that identification of thought with language which Pro
reveal itself before our eyes as the natural growth of language, though at the same time as a constant struggle of old against new language--in fact, as a dialectic process in the true sense of the word.
“The very tenet that language is identical with thought-what is it but a correction of language, a repentance, a return of language upon itself ?
“We have two words, and therefore it requires with us a strong effort to perceive that behind these two words there is but one essence. To a Greek this effort would be comparatively easy, because his word logos continued to mean the undivided essence of language and thought. In our modern languages we shall find it difficult to coin a word that could take the place of logos. Neither discours in French, nor Rede in German, which meant originally the same as ratio, will help us. We shall have to be satisfied with such compounds as thought-word or word-thought. At least, I can think of no better expedient.
“You strongly object to my saying that there is no such thing as reason. But let us see whether we came honestly by that word. Because we reason—that is, because we reckon, because we add and subtract—therefore we say that we have reason; and thus it has happened that reason was raised into something which we have or possess, into a faculty, or power, or something, whatever it may be, that deserves to be written with a capital R. And yet we have only to look into the workshop of language in order to see that there is nothing substantial corresponding to this substantive, and that neither the heart nor the brain, neither the breath nor the spirit, of man discloses its original whereabouts. It may sound violent and revolutionary to you when I say that there is no such thing as reason ; and yet no philosopher, not even Kant, has ever in his definition of reason told us what it is really made of. But remember, I am far from saying that reason is a mere word. That expression, 'a mere word,' seems to me the most objectionable expression in the whole of our philosophical dictionary.
“Reason is something-namely, language-not simply as we now hear it and use it, but as it has been slowly elaborated by man through all the ages of his existence on earth. Reason is the growth of centuries, it is the work of man, and at the same time an instrument brought to higher and higher perfection by the lead
fessor Max Müller rightly declares to be “the inevitable conclusion of Nominalism,” he, none the less, very
ing thinkers and speakers of the world. No reason without language-no language without reason. Try to reckon without numbers, whether spoken, written, or otherwise marked ; and if you succeed in that I shall admit that it is possible to reason or reckon without words, and that there is in us such a thing or such a power or faculty as reason, apart from words.
“You say I shall never live to see it admitted that man cannot reason without words. This does not discourage me. Through the whole of my life I have cared for truth, not for success. And truth is not our own. We may seek truth, serve truth, love truth ; but truth takes care of herself, and she inspires her true lovers with the same feeling of perfect trust. Those who cannot believe in themselves, unless they are believed in by others, have never known what truth is. Those who have found truth know best how little it is their work, and how small the merit which they can claim for themselves. They were blind before, and now they can see. That is all.
“But even if I thought that truth depended on majorities, I believe I might boldly say that the majority of philosophers of all ages and countries is really on my side (see 'Science of Thought,' pp. 31 et seq.), though few only have asserted the identity of reason and language without some timorous reserve, still fewer have seen all the consequences that flow from it.
“Some people seem to resent it almost as a personal insult that what we call our divine reason should be no more than human language, and that the whole of this human language should have been derived from no more than 800 roots, which can be reduced to about 120 concepts. But if I had wished to startle my readers I could easily have shown that out of these 800 roots one-half could really have been dispensed with, and has been dispensed with in modern languages (see ‘Science of Thought,' p. 417), while among the 120 concepts not a few are clearly secondary, and owe their place in my list (ib. p. 619) merely to the fact that in Sanskrit they cannot be reduced to any more primitive concept. To dance, for instance, cannot be called a primitive concept; perhaps not even to hunger, to thirst, to cook, to roast, etc. Only it so happens that in Sanskrit, to which my statistical remarks were restricted, we cannot go behind such roots as NÆRT, KSHUDH, TARSH, PAK, etc. It is in that limited sense only that such roots and such
strangely says (p. 84), “Since the time when the ancient Greeks applied the same word to denote the faculty of
concepts can be called primitive. The number of really primitive concepts would be so alarmingly small that for the present it seemed wiser to say nothing about it. But so far from being ashamed of our modest beginnings, we ought really to glory rather in having raised our small patrimony to the immense wealth now hoarded in our dictionaries.
“When we once know what our small original patrimony consisted in, the question how we came in possession of it may seem of less importance. Yet it is well to remember that the theory of the origin of roots and concepts, as propounded by Noiré, differs, not in degree, but toto cælo from the old attempts to derive roots from interjections and imitations of natural sounds. That a certain number of words in every language has been derived from interjections and imitations no one has ever denied. But such words are not conceptual words, and they become possible only after language had become possible that is, after man had realized his power of forming concepts. No one who has not himself grappled with that problem can appreciate the complete change that has come over it by the recognition of the fact that roots are the phonetic expressions of the consciousness of our own acts. Nothing but this, our consciousness of our own repeated acts, could possibly have given us our first concepts. Nothing else answers the necessary requirements of a concept, that it should be the consciousness of something manifold, yet necessarily realized as one. After the genesis of the first concept, everything else becomes intelligible. The results of our acts become the first objects of our conceptual thought; and with conceptual thought, language, which is nothing if not conceptual, begins. Roots are afterwards localized, and made the signs of our objects by means of local exponents, whether suffixes, prefixes, or infixes. What has been scraped and shaped again and again becomes as it were 'shape-her',' i.e. a shaft; what has been dug and hollowed out by repeated blows becomes 'dig-her',' i.e. a hole. And from the concept of a hole dug, or of an empty cave, there is an uninterrupted progress to the most abstract concepts, such as empty space, or even nothing. No doubt, when we hear the sound of cuckoo, we may by one jump arrive at the word 'cuckoo.' This may be called a word, but it is not a conceptual word, and we deal with conceptual words only. Before we can get at a