thet “ dada” to all bearded persons sug- From the recept we pass to the concept, gests not that it is carrying out any proc- which, according to our author, is in its ess of conscious generalization, but rather simplest form a named recept. The addithat it is failing to discriminate where tion of the name or sign is thus the differthere are striking and interesting features entiating character of the concept. We of similarity. It would seem as if an idea may have generic images, but no concepts only acquires a properly general function apart from names or other signs. after certain higher intellectual processes In order to understand how the concept have been carried out. These inay be is marked off from the recept we must roughly described as the active manipula- accordingly inquire into the psychological tion of percepts and images, by analytical conditions and concomitants of the naming resolution of these into their constituent process. And this our author does at features, and a due relating or ordering of some length. He gives us a full and dethese elements. Only in this way does it tailed account of names and of signs in appear possible to reach a rudimentary general, distinguishing different grades of form of a properly general notion ; that is sign-making from the merely indicative to say, an idea which is consciously appre- pointing or other gesture up to the behended as representing common features stowal of a general symbol with a conamong a number of distinct objects. Mere sciousness of its significance as connoting superposition of images may result in a certain cominon qualities. Into much of new typical image ; but the mind in which this it is not needful for us to follow Dr. such an image forms itself cannot know Romanes, but brief reference may be this to be generic or general till these made to one or two points of special improcesses which underlie active thought portance as bearing on the evolution of the have been carried out. Now we ourselves higher conceptual thought. One of the carry out these operations of resolving most curious features of Dr. Romanes' into clements and recombining these ele- theory of concepts and naming is the ments (analysis and synthesis) largely by proposition that the name is bestowed on the help of class-symbols or general the idea, and has for its psychological names, which come to be general symbols condition an act of introspection. He just because we make use of thein for the tells us that before we can bestow a name purpose of noting down and keeping dis- on a recept we must be able to set this retinct the results of our successive compari- cept before our mind as an object of our sons and analyses. And the really press- own thought. Or, to express the truth ing question for the evolutional psycholo- in the author's own words, self-consciousgist is : How does this manipulation of ness is the necessary presupposition of the mind's imagery get carried out where naming and so of conceptual thought. the serviceable instrument of language is Before I can name an idea I must reflect absent? That it does get carried out to on the idea as mine, and before I can some extent may be readily allowed. A judge in the logical sense, I must realize sagacious and well-bred collie, who com- The truth of the proposition as such, that bines with a judicious preference for his is presumably as truth for me, so that owner a certain mild complacency toward self-consciousness would seem to come in mankind at large (with some possible ex- necessarily at all stages of conceptual ceptions), may be rightly regarded as hav- thonght. ing attained to a rudimentary conscious- This doctrine seems by no means as ness of the distinction between the general clear and convincing as the author supand the particular, the “class'' and its poses. lle is, as he clearly tells us, conconstituent inembers. But how this has fiving himself to the psychological treatbeen attained Dr. Romanes' account of ment of his subject." This being so, it receptual ideation hardly helps us to un- may fairly be urged that in making an act derstand.

of subjective introspection an essential The recept or generic image is the first factor in the process of naming he is psyof the psychological stepping-stones lead- chologically wiong. is a child when ining across the unfordable Rubicon, and it venting a name for his toy-horse or doll is also the principal stepping stone. reflecting on his idea as his and naming Should this prove to be unstable the transit this idea ? Is he not rather thinking would certainly become exceedingly wholly about the object, and is not the doubtful.

name given to this external object and not

[ocr errors]



to the idea in the namer's mind at all ? * of understanding or that of using names, No doubt the completed process of logical to say that it is carrying oct in a rudimenreflection on

and propositions tary way at least these thought-processes. brings in the subjective element, that is How, it may be asked, does Dr. Romanes to

say the mind's consciousness of its deal with this point ? ideas and judgments as representations of The answer to this question will be the realities thought about. But this ref- found by turning to new distinctions or erence to self, this act of introspection, so stepping-stones” in the novement of far from being involved in every act of thought-evolution. Our author attaches conceptual thought, is directly excluded importance to the distinction between from it.

higher and lower forms of the concept. This brings one to the next point. In Not only is there the generic image to naming things the mind is busily occupied, carry us on smoothly from image to connot with itself and its ideas, but with the cept, but within the limits of the concept

not-self,” the qualities and relations of itself there are higher and lower forms. the things perceived or represented. And Since, according to our author, a concept this suggests first of all that naming, prop- is any named idea, a proper understanding erly so called, only begins when things of these conceptual grades can only be obcome to be apprehended as such, that is tained by a glance at his scheme of names. to say, as wholes or unities. And here the There are, according to Dr. Romanes, question occurs whether an animal, say a four stadia in the evolution of the comdog that is just coming on to understand plete logical sign or general name. OF a name or two, as that of the baby of the these the first is (a) the indicative sign, house, can be said to have an organized that is a significant tone or gesture intenpercept precisely analogous to our own tionally expressive of a mental state, as percepts ? Dr. Romanes does not raise the characteristic tones by which animals the question, but in view of the light express their emotions. These are not thrown by modern psychology on the names at all,

names at all. Next to these in the order complexity of the process of perception, of evolution come (6) denotative signs. it might not have been redundant. But These, whether used by children or aniwaiving this point as possibly sinacking mals, e.g. talking birds, simply mark“ parof the frivolous, we have to ask whether ticular objects, qualities, and actions.' an animal at the stage of mental develop- They are learned by association, and are ment at which it appears to begin to un- not consciously employed as names. By derstand names, and even to make use of the use of such a sign the talking bird them, is capable of carrying out the proc- merely fixes a vocal mark to a particular esses that go along with, and in fact con- object, quality, or action : it does not exstitute, naming in its true and complete tend the sign to any other similar objects, sense. These processes have already been qualities, or actions of the same class; referred to in connection with the subject and therefore by its use of that sign does of general ideas. To name an object ap- not really connote anything of the particupears to mean to apprehend that object as lar object, quality, or action which it de

, à complex of qualities, to make mental notes. Next in order (c) follow connotaseparation of these, and so to relate it to tive signs which involve the “ classificatory other objects both by way of siunilarity attribution of qualities to objects." This (classification) and dissimilarity (individu- attribution of qualities may be effected ation). To use a name intelligently at all either by a receptual or a properly conwould seem to imply that these processes ceptual mode of ideation. For example, bave been carried out in a rough fashion a parrot had come to use a barking sound at least. This being so we must be pre- when a partienlar dog appeared on the pared when we endow an animal with the

This sign was afterward extended power of naming, whether under the form to other dogs, showing that there was a

certain recognition of the common quali* I believe that observers of children will ties or attributes of the dog. Similarly endorse the remark that children regard names when the writer's own child, among its as objective realities mysteriously bound up with the things, and in a manner necessary to

first words, used the term star for all them, A numeless object is, for a child, brightly shining objects.

Here again something incomplete-almost uncanny. there was perception of likeness, but no NEW SERIES. – VOL. LIV. No, 6.



setting the term before its mind as an ob- considerable way along the conceptual ject of thought. Lastly (d) we have the path, and is fairly within sight of our disdenominative sign, which means a connota- tinctions of thing and quality, individual tive sign consciously bestowed as such with and class. Why logical reflection on this a full conceptual appreciation of its office name as such should be needed to raise and purpose as a name.

such a performance to the dignity of a In this scheme Dr. Romanes evidently true conceptual act, one is at a loss to unrecognizes the point we are now dealing derstand. And indeed, the author himwith, viz.

viz. the implication of a true self appears to recognize all this in a dim thought-process in the proper use of a way at least, when he adds that the conname. He seems to be trying to dispense notative sign inay be the acccompaniment with this as long as possible, with the not only of receptual but of truly concepview of securing a number of intermediate tual ideation. At the same time this ad. stepping-stones. Can be be said to have dition may very well complete the reader's succeeded ? Does this hierarchy of signs perplexity, for it appears to render the with its parallel scale of ideation carry ns next stage of evolution, the derominative ap to logical thought? Is it even intelli- sign, unnecessary. gible ! Let us briefly examine it.

Altogether the author's account of signTo begin with, it staggers one not a accompanied ideation is not quite satislittle to find that long before the “clas- factory. To begin with, one misses an sificatory attribution of qualities” is possi- adequate psychological treatment of signs ble, the animal somehow manages to in general, their nature and function in mark particular qualities,” whatever our mental processes, such as M. Taine these inay mean. How, one asks, can a has given us in the beginning of his work sign be appended to a quality without be- “On Intelligence." Then our author coming a connotative sign," that is, has left us very much in the dark as to attributing a quality to a thing? But let what it is that ihe sign does for the intelus pass to the really important point, viz. lective process, when it begins to be used. the alleged power of the animal, e.g. the On the one hand, since we are told that talking bird, to extend a sign to different the mere addition of a name transforms members of a class, and so to attribute the generic image into a concept,” we common qualities resemblances to naturally expect the function of the sign these, while it is nnable to form a con- to be a large and important one. On the cept in the full sense. This extension, other hand, we gather that signs can be we are told, takes place in the case of the used at the level of receptual ideation, sign-using bird by receptual ideation. where, consequently, true conceptual And here the critic may as well confess thought is wholly excluded. himself fairly beaten. On the one hand, This confusion seems to have its main Dr. Romanes tells us that such a named source in the curious theory that while an recept is a concept (lower concept), and idea may be general, it cannot become a moreover that the sign employed is a con- true concept till it is introspectively renotative sign ; on the other hand he hast- garded as our idea ; and its counterpart, ens to assure us that it is not a name, and that while a sign may be a true sign and therefore presumably not a concept, in even subserve the attribution of qualities the rigorous or perfect sense, since the to objects, it cannot grow into the full sign is not consciously employed as a sign. stature of a name till it is reflected on as Here we seem to have a stepping-stone a name. By this doctrine, Dr. Romanes which it is impossible to define, a sort of seems unwittingly to have substituted i he tertium quid between the image and the logical for the psychological definition of concept which is at once neither and both. the concept, and so to have put the latter Surely if a sound is used for the purpose higher up in the evolutional scale than it of marking resemblances and attributing ought to be. To this, it must be added qualities, it is a genuine name, and the that the author appears to have been overinental process underlying it is a germ of anxious, with the view of making the true conceptual thought. To say that the transit smooth, to multiply distinctions, parrot attributes qualities, and attributes Such intermediate forms as Dr. Romanes them in a" classificatory” way too, seems here attempts to interpolate in the process indeed to mean that the bird has got a of intellectual development cannot in


truth do away with the broad distinctions sensation effects a qualitative addition to which psychologists are in the habit of the infant's mental life, there is the more drawing. Thus the recept only appears important fact that the first image of the to connect the image and the concept just absent mother or nurse introduces a new because it tries to be both at the same sphere of mental activity. The child that time. So the lower stadium of the sign dreams and imagines is already a different only gives an appearance of bridging over being from the infant that merely touches the interval between signless ideation and and sees. Similarly it may be said that sign-aided thought, just because it aims the first conscious process of breaking up at once at being something less than a its sense-presentations, the first distinct true sign, and this true sign itself. apprehension of relations, is epoch-making

If our criticisms are just, Dr. Romanes just because it marks the on-coming of a cannot be said to have succeeded in his new mode of mental activity, a qualitative main object, viz. the obliteration of all extension of its conscious life. qualitative difference between human and To say this, however, is not to say that animal intellection by the interposition of the process of development is wanting in psychological links which can be seen to continuity. For, first of all, these higher have the essential characters of both. forms of activity introduce themselves in And here one is naturally led to ask the most gradual way, and only slowly whether the author is after all on the right disentangle themselves from the lower track. For he is a master of his facts forms which constitute their matrix. and shows considerable power in the mar- Thus the image little by little lifts itself shalling of his arguments, and, as even a out of its chrysalis, the per- . hasty perusal of thie volume can show any. cept. Similarly, what we call thinking, body, he has bere concentrated his force with its conscious comparing and relating in a severe and sustained effort. Where of the products of sense perception, he has failed it is conjecturable that others einerges in the most gradual way out of may fail also.

And so it behooves us to. lower forms of psychosis. see whether he has approached the prob- But this is not all, or the main thing. lem in the right way, or, at least, in the While the higher and lower forms of intelonly possible way.

Jection undoubtedly exhibit qualitative The introduction of all this technical differences, it may be possible to transcend mechanism of receptual ideation, lower these differences by going deeper, and deconcepts, and the rest, has for its avowed tecting the veritable elements of the intelobject the avoidance of all introduction of lective process. This deeper analysis is qualitative change in the process of intel- emphatically the work of modern psylectual evolution. Dr. Romanes tells us chology, and, as every reader of Mr. Herplainly at the outset that he is going to bert Spencer knows, is of vast assistance establish identity of kind between the ani- to the evolutionist in following the psymal and the human type of intellection. chical process from its rudest conceivable And, no doubt, if it were possible to do form in the lower grades of animal life up this in the way here attempted, that is to to the highest achievements of human say by interposing transitional founs which thought. The luminous idea that all invirtually efface all qualitative unlikeness, telligence is at bottom a combination of it would be a great advantage to the evo- two elementary processes, differentiation lutionist. But it may be said that it is and integration, seems to lift one at once not the only way of satisfying the require- high above the perplexities with which ments of the evolution hypothesis. Dr. our author so laboriously deals. It enRomanes pertinently reinarks, in meeting ables us to say that animal intelligence, a priori objections to the derivation of just because it is intelligence, must be human from animal intellection, that in identical in substance with our own. The the life of the human individual we ac- qualitative differences between perception tually have a series of transitions from and conception, or, to take Dr. Romanes' animal to human psychosis. Now, a example, the logic of recepts” and the

, “ glance at the intellectual development of logic of concepts, which obstinately perthe individual shows us that distinct quali- sist so long as we look at the process ab tative differences are introduced. Not to extra, now appear as mere results of differspeak of the obvious fact that every new ent degrees of complexity, of unlike modes of combination of the ultimate elements; the disturbing noise, viz. the shooting just as to the physiologist the manifold bags of apples on to a floor (pp. 59, 60). variety of color resolves itself into differ- No doubt there is a danger in straightway ent modes of combination of two or three endowing animals with mental qualities elementary sentient processes,

identical with our own, when their actions When once this fundamental identity resemble ours. There may, of course, be of all intellective processes is clearly ap- two psychological explanations of the prehended, the question where exactly in same action. We cannot, however, esthe evolutionist's tree the twig of thought cape our limitations, and, if we are to deal proper, or better, perhaps, of conscious with animal ways at all, we are bound to generalization, branches off, sinks to its interpret them in terms of our own mental proper place as a question of quite second- processes. ary importance. At the same time we The hesitation of the evolutionist to at. may agree with Dr. Romanes that the tribute rudimentary thought to animals, point has its real historical or genealogical in which Dr. Romanes evidently shares, interest, and that he has not done amiss is no doubt due to the firinly established to devote a volume to its discussion. assumption that we generalize by help of

The question turns mainly on the point language. To the nominalist more espehow much the animal can do by means of cially it savors of rank heresy to hint that pure imagining and the aid of associa- animals apparently destitute of signs may tion. Our author clearly recognizes that be capable of generalizing their percepthis will carry animals some way, and may tions and reaching a dim consciousness of give to their mental operations the ap- the distinction between the universal and pearance of a true generalizing process. the particular. But he has not fixed the limits of this pic- But is the nominalist's assumption that torial or suggestive inference with the pre- language is the indispensable instrument cision one looks for, partly, no doubt, be- of thought above challenge? A considercause his whole view of the generic image able part of Dr. Romanes' volume deals as somehow involving a generalizing proc

with the relations of thought to language. ess tended to obscure from him the real He gives us a fairly good summary of the point. One might safely, perhaps, hazard results of research into the origin of lanThe assertion that the diving bird can get guage. It cannot be said that these throw on very well without anything like a gen- much light on the question. Perhaps it eral idea of water, a pure (generic) image is unreasonable to expect that they should. being all that seems vecessary.

'On the Our author contends with some skill as other hand, one is dispused, on the evi- against Professor Max Müller that the dence of the facts adduced by our author, earliest traces of human language suggest to put the beginnings of the true general- a highly pictorial and non-conceptual izing process pretty low down. It cer- inode of ideation. And in his ingenious tainly seems to be involved in the mental hypothetical account of the genealogy of life of the ants, as elicited by Sir John man as the articulate reasoner our author Lubbock's experiments, and described by inclines to the idea that, so far from lanDr. Romanes (p. 94 and following). guage making the thinker, the endowment And since these particular actions plainly of language bas to be engrafted on a bigh imply the use of signs, and apparently quality of intelligence, and even then to rigns capable of indicating such abstract undergo considerable development before ideas as those of quantity, there seems no it becomes a mechanism for conceptual reason why we should hesitate to call ants thought. thinkers in the sense of being able to form The whole subject is still a dark and general notions. The same applies to the perplexing one, and we must refrain from mechanical inventions of the spider, de- dogmatizing. It inay, however, be conscribed by Mr. Larkin (p. 62). Similarly, tended that the evidence on the whole it is difficult to deny the rudiment of supports the view that the generalizing “conceptual thought to a fox who can process is up to a certain and not very reason on the matter of traps in the way bigh point independent of language. described by Leroy (p. 56), or to a dog That is to say, an aniinal unassisted by that was cured of his dread of imagined any system of general signs may make a thunder by being shown the true cause of start along the path of comparing its ob

« VorigeDoorgaan »