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out of place. If it could be proved that as facts requiring no explanation; but I our bodily habitat had not been created in am not prepared to say that Kant's view is all its perfection from the first, but had unphilosophical when he says : Every been allowed to develop for ages before it change in a substance depends on its conbecame fit to hold a human soul, should nection with and reciprocal action of other we have any right to complain? Do we substances, and that reciprocal action cancomplain of the injustice or indignity of not be explained, except through a Divine our having individually to be born or to mind, as the common cause of both." die ? of our passing through the different At all events the conception that all these stages of embryonic life, of our being made modifications in the ascending scale of anof dust, that is, of exactly the same chem- imal life are the result of natural selection, ical materials from which the bodies of an- transcends the horizon of our understanding imals are built up ? Fact against fact, quite as much as the conception that the argument against argument, that is the whole creation was foreseen at once, and rule of scientific warfare, a warfare in that what seems to us the result of adapta. which to confess oneself convinced or tion through myriads of years, was seen vanquished by truth is often far more as a whole from beginning to end by the honorable than victory.
wisdom and power of a creative Self. But while protesting against these senti- Both views are transcendent, both belong mental outcries, we ought not to allow to the domain of faith ; but if it were posourselves to be intimidated by scientific sible to measure the wonders of this uniclamor. It seems to me a mere dogma- verse by degrees, I confess that, to my tic assertion* to say that it would be mind, the self-evolution of a cell which unscientific to consider the hand of a man contains within itself the power of becomor a monkey, the foot of a horse, the flip- ing a man, or the admission of a protoper of a seal, and the wing of a bat, as having plasm which in a given number of years been formed on the same ideal plan! would develop into a homunculus or a Even if their descent from a common Shakespeare—nay, the mere formation of progenitor, together with their adaptation a nucleus which would change the moneres to diversified conditions,' were proved by into an amaba, would far exceed in marirrefragable evidence, the conception of an vellousness all the speculations of Plato ideal plan would remain perfectly legiti- and the wonders of Genesis. The two mate. If this one member could be so extremes of scientific research and mythomodified as to become in course of time a logical speculation seem sometimes on the wing, a flipper, a hoof, or a hand, there is point of meeting ; and when I listen to nothing unscientific, nothing unphiloso- the language of the most advanced biolophical in the idea that it may from the gists, I almost imagine I am listening to one first have been intended for these later of the most ancient hymns of the Veda, purposes and higher developments. Not and that we shall soon have to say again : every member has become a hand; and “In the beginning there was the golden why? Three reasons only are admissi- egg.' ble; either because there was for the hand It is easy to understand that the Dara germ which, under all circumstances, winian school, having brought itself to would have developed into a hand, and look upon the divers forms of living into a hand only; or because there were animals as the result of gradual developoutward circumstances which would have ment, should have considered it an act of forced any member into the shape of a intellectual cowardice to stop short before hand; or lastly, because there was from the man. The gap between man and the beginning a correlation between that higher apes is so very small, whereas the particular member and the circumstances gap between the ape and the moneres to which it became adapted. I can under- is enormous. If, then, the latter could be stand the view of the evolutionist, who cleared, how could we hesitate about the looks upon an organ as so much proto- former? Few of those who have read plasm, which, according to circumstances, Darwin or Haeckel could fail to feel the might assume any conceivable form, and force of this appeal ; and so far from who treats all environing circumstances
* Zeller, Geschichte der Deutschen Philosophie, p. * Descent, vol. i. p. 32.
showing a want of courage, those who wonder that Mr. Darwin and other philoresist it require really all the force of sophers belonging to his school should not intellectual convictions to keep them from feel the difficulty of language as it was felt leaping with the rest. I cannot follow by Professor Schleicher, who, though a Mr. Darwin because I hold that this ques- Darwinian, was also one of our best stution is not to be decided in an anatomical dents of the Science of Language. But theatre only There is to my mind one those who know best what language is, and, difficulty which Mr. Darwin has not suffi- still more, what it presupposes, cannot, howciently appreciated, and which I certainly do ever Darwinian they may be on other points, not feel able to remove. There is between ignore the veto which, as yet, that science the whole animal kingdom on one side, enters against the last step in Darwin's phiand man, even in his lowest state, on the losophy. That philosophy would not be other, a barrier which no animal has ever vitiated by admitting an independent becrossed, and that barrier is—Language. ginning for man. For if Mr. Darwin admits, By no effort of the understanding, by no in opposition to the evolutionist pur et stretch of imagination, can I explain to simple, four or five progenitors for the whole myself how language could have grown of the animal kingdom, which are most out of anything which animals possess likely intended for the Radiata, Mollusca, even if we granted them millions of years Articulata, and Vertebrata, there would be for that purpose. If anything has a nothing radically wrong in admitting a fifth right to the name of specific difference, it is progenitor for man. As Mr. Darwin does language as we find it in man, and in man not admit this, but declares distinctly that only. Even if we removed the name of man has been developed from some lower specific difference from our philosophic animal, we may conclude that physiologically dictionaries, I should still hold that and anatomically there are no tenable argunothing deserves the name of man except ments against this view. But if Mr. Darwhat is able to speak. If Mr. Mill* win goes on to say * that in a series of forms maintains that a rational elephant could graduating insensibly from some ape-like not be called a man, all depends on what creature to man as he now exists, it would he means by rational. But it may certain- be impossible to fix on any definite point ly be said with equal, and even greater where the term 'man' ought to be truth, that a speaking elephant or an used, he has left the ground, peculiarly his elephantine speaker could never be called own, where few would venture to oppose an elephant.
him, and he must expect to be met by I can bring myself to imagine with evolu- those who have studied man, not only as tionist philosophers that that most wonder- an ape-like creature, which he undoubtedly ful of organs, the eye, has been developed is, but also as an un-ape-like creature, posout of a pigmentary spot, and the ear out sessed of language, and of all that language of a particularly sore place in the skin ; that, implies. in fact, an animal without any organs of My objections to the words of Mr. Darsense may in time grow into an animal with win, which I have just quoted, are twofold: organs of sense. I say I can imagine it, first, as to form ; secondly, as to substance. and I should not feel justified in classing With regard to the form which Mr. Darsuch a theory as utterly inconceivable. win has given to his argument, it need But, taking all that is called animal on one hardly be pointed out that he takes for side, and man on the other, I must call it granted in the premiss what is to be estainconceivable that any known animal could blished in the conclusion. If there existed ever develop language. Professor Schlei- , a series graduating insensibly from some cher, though an enthusiastic admirer of Dar- ape-like creature to man, then, no doubt, win, observed once jokingly, but not with- the very fact that the graduation is insenout a deep meaning, · If a pig were ever sible would preclude the possibility of fixto say to me, “I am a pig,” it would ipso ing on any definite point where the animal facto cease to be a pig.' This shows how ends and man begins. This, however, strongly he felt that language was out of may be a mere slip of the pen, and might the reach of any animal, and the exclusive have been passed by unnoticed, if it were or specific property of man. I do not not that the same kind of argument occurs not unfrequently in the works of Mr. Dar- of this insensible graduation would eliminate, win and his followers. Whenever the dis not only the difference between ape and tance between two points in the chain of man, but likewise between black and white, creation seems too great, and there is no hot and cold, a high and a low note in chance of finding the missing links, we are music: in fact, it would do away with the told again and again that we have only to possibility of all exact and definite knowimagine a large number of intermediate ledge, by removing those wonderful lines beings, insensibly sloping up or sloping and laws of nature which change the Chaos down, in order to remove all difficulty. into a Kosmos, the Infinite into the Finite, Whenever I meet with this line of reason- and which enable us to count, to tell, and ing, I cannot help thinking of an argument to know. used by Hindu theologians in their en- There have always been philosophers who deavors to defend the possibility and the have an eye for the Infinite only, who truth of Divine revelation. Their oppo- see All in One, and One in All. One of nents say that between a Divine Being, the greatest sages of antiquity, nay, of the who they admit is in possession of the whole world, Herakleitos (460 B.C.), sumtruth, and human beings who are to re- med up the experience of his life in the ceive the truth, there is a gulf which no- famous words, πάντα χωρεί και ουδέν μένει, thing can bridge over; and they go on to “All is moving, and nothing is fixed,' or as say that, admitting that Divine truth, as we should say, “ All is growing, all is derevealed, was perfect in the Revealer, yet veloping, all is evolving. But this view the same Divine truth, as seen by human of the universe was met, it
* Logic, i. 38.
* I. 235.
may be by antibeings, must be liable to all the accidents cipation, by the followers of Pythagoras. of human frailty and fallibility. The ortho- When Pythagoras was asked what was the dox Brahmans grow very angry at this, wisest of all things, he replied, “ Number, and, appealing to their sacred books, they and next to it, · He who gave names to all maintain that there was between the Divine things.' How should we translate this enigand the human a chain of intermediate be- matical saying? I believe, in modern ings, Rishis or seers, as they call them; philosophical language, it would run like that the first generation of these seers was, this: "True knowledge is impossible withsay, nine-tenths divine and one-tenth hu- out definite generalisation or concepts (that man; the second, eight-tenths divine and is, number), and without definite signs for two-tenths human; the third, seven-tenths these concepts (that is, language).' divine and three-tenths human; that each The Herakleitean view is now again in of these generations handed down revealed the ascendant. All is changing, all is detruth, till at last it reached the ninth genera- veloping, all is evolving. Ask any evolution, which was one-tenth divine and nine- tionist philosopher whether he can contenths human, and by them was preached ceive any two things so heterogeneous to ordinary mortals, being tentenths, or that, given a few millions of years and altogether human. In this way they feel plenty of environment, the one cannot deconvinced that the gulf between the Di- velop into the other, and I believe he will vine and the human is safely bridged over; say, No. I do not argue here against this and they might use the very words of Mr. line of thought; on the contrary, I believe Darwin, that in this series of forms gradu- that, in one sphere of mental aspirations, it ating insensibly from the Divine to the hu- has its legitimate place. What I protest man, it is impossible to fix on any definite against is this, that in the sphere of exact point where the term 'man' ought to be knowledge we should allow ourselves to used.
be deceived by inexact language. “InThis old fallacy of first imagining a con- sensible graduation' is self-contradictory. tinuous scale, and then pointing out Translated into English, it means graduaits indivisibility, affects more or less all tion without graduation, degrees without systems of philosophy which, wish to get degrees, or something which is at the rid of specific distinctions. That fallacy same time perceptible and imperceptible. lurks in the word Development,' which Millions of years will never render the is now so extensively used, but which re- distance between two points, however quires very careful testing before it should near to each other, imperceptible. If the be allowed to become a current coin in evolutionist philosopher asks for a few philosophical transactions. The admission millions of years, the specialist philosopher asks for eyes that will magnify a few mil- It is curious to observe how even Mr. lion times, and the Bank which supplies Darwin seems, in some places, fully prethe one will readily supply the other. pared to admit this. Thus he says in one Exact science has nothing to do with in- passage, * Articulate language is peculiar sensible graduation. It counts thousands to man.' In former days we could not of vibrations that make our imperfect ears have wished for a fuller admission, for pehear definite tones; it counts millions of vi- culiar then meant the same as special, brations that make our weak eyes see defi- something that constitutes a species, or nite colors. It counts, it tells, it names, and something which belongs to a person in then it knows; though it knows at the same exclusion of others. But in a philosophy time that beyond the thousands and beyond which looks upon all living beings as devethe millions of vibrations there is that which loped from four or five primordial cells, man can neither count, nor tell, nor name, there can, in strict logic, exist four or five nor know, the Unknown, the Unknowable really and truly peculiar characters only, -ay, the Divine.
and therefore it is clear that peculiar, when But if we return to Mr. Darwin's argu- used by Mr. Darwin, cannot mean what it ment, and simply leave out the word in- would have meant if employed by others. sensibly,' which begs the whole question, As if to soften the admission which he we shall then have to meet his statement, had made as to articulate language being that in a series of forms graduating from peculiar to man, Mr. Darwin continues : some ape-like creature to man as he now “But man uses, in common with the lower is, it would be impossible to fix on any animals, inarticulate cries to express his definite point where the term man’ought meaning, aided by gestures, and the moveto be used. This statement I meet by a sim- ments of the muscles of the face.' No ple negative. Even admitting, for argu- one would deny this. There are many ment's sake, the existence of a series of be- things besides, which man shares in comings intermediate between ape and man- mon with animals. In fact, the discovery a series which, as Mr. Darwin repeatedly that man is an animal was not made states, does not exist*—I maintain that yesterday, and no one seemed to be disthe point where the animal ends and man turbed by that discovery. Man, howbegins could be determined with absolute ever, was formerly called a “rational aniprecision, for it would be coincident with mal, and the question is, whether he posthe beginning of the Radical Period of sesses anything peculiar to himself, or language, with the first formation of a ge- whether he represents only the highest neral idea embodied in the only form in form of perfection to which an animal, unwhich we find them embodied, viz. in the der favorable circumstances, may attain. roots of our language.
Mr. Darwin dwells more fully on the same Mr. Darwin was, of course, not unpre- point, viz. on that kind of language which pared for that answer. He remembered man shares in common with animals, when the old pun of Hobbes, Homo animal ra- he says, “This holds good, especially with tionale, quia orationale (Man is a rational the more simple and vivid feelings, which animal, because he is an orational animal), are but little connected with our higher inand he makes every effort in order to elimi- telligence. Our cries of pain, fear, surprise, nate language as something unattainable by anger, together with their appropriate acthe animal, as something peculiar to man, tions, and the murmur of a mother to as a specific difference between man and her beloved child, are more expressive beast. In every book on Logic, language than any words.' is quoted as the specific difference between No doubt they are.
A tear is niore exman and all other beings. Thus we read pressive than a sigh, a sigh is more expresin Stuart Mill's Logic :f “The attribute of sive than a speech, and silence itself is being capable of understanding a language sometimes more eloquent than words. is a proprium of the species man, since, But all this is not language in the true without being connoted by the word, it sense of the word. follows from an attribute which the word Mr. Darwin himself feels, evidently, that does connote, viz. from the attribute of ra- he has not said all; he struggles manfully tionality.
with the difficulties before him; nay, he
Descent, i. p. 185.
+ Vol. i. p. 180.
reaily represents the case against himself preferring not to use it, or as tending to as strongly as possible. “It is not the show that living beings, to use the words mere power of articulation,' he continues, of Demokritos, speak naturally, and in the that distinguishes man from other ani- same manner in which they cough, sneeze, mals, for, as everyone knows, parrots can bellow, bark, or sigh. But Mr. Darwin talk; but it is his large power of connect- has never told us what he thinks on this ing definite sounds with definite ideas.' poinc. He refers to certain writers on the
Here, then, we might again imagine origin of language, who consider that the that Mr. Darwin admitted all we want, viz. first materials of language are either interthat some kind of language is peculiar to jections or imitations; but their writings man, and distinguishes man from other in no wise support the theory that animals animals; that, supposing man to be, up to also could, either out of their own barka certain point, no more than an animal, ings and bellowings, or out of the imitahe perceived that what made man to differ tive sounds of mocking-birds, have elabofrom all other animals was something no- rated anything like what we mean by lanwhere to be found except in man, nowhere guage, even among the lowest savages. indicated even in the whole series of living It may be in the recollection of some of beings, beginning with the Bathybius my hearers that, in my Lectures on the Haeckelii, and ending with the tailless ape. Science of Language, when speaking of But, no; there follows immediately after, Demokritos and some of his later followthe finishing sentence, extorted rather, it ers, I called his theory on the origin of seems to me, than naturally flowing from language the Bow-wow theory, because I his pen, “This obviously depends on the felt certain that, if this theory were only development of the mental faculties.' called by its right name, it would require
What can be the meaning of this sen- no further refutation. It might have tence? If it refers to the mental faculties seemed for a time, to judge from the proof man, then no doubt it may be said to tests that were raised against that name, be obvious. But if it is meant to
as if there had been in the nineteenth centhe mental faculties of the gorilla, then, tury scholars holding this Demokritean whether it be true or not, it is, at all events, theory in all its crudity. But it required so far from being obvious, that the very op- but very little mutual explanation before posite might be called so—I mean the fact these scholars perceived that there was that no development of mental faculties has between them and me but little difference, ever enabled one single animal to connect and that all which the followers of Bopp one single definite idea with one single de- insist on as a sine quâ non of scholarship finite word.
is the admission of roots, definite in their I confess that after reading again and form, from which to derive, according to again what Mr. Darwin has written on the strict phonetic laws, every word that adsubject of language, I cannot understand mits of etymological analysis, whether in how he could bring himself to sum up the English and Sanskrit, or in Arabic and subject as follows: We have seen that Hebrew, or in Mongolian and Finnish. the faculty of articulate speech in itself For philological purposes it matters little, does not offer any insuperable objection to as I said in 1866, what opinion we hold the belief that man has been developed on the origin of roots so long as we agree from some lower animal' (p. 62).
that, with the exception of a number of Now the fact is that not a single in- purely mimetic expressions, all words, stance has ever been adduced of any ani- such as we find them, whether in English mal trying or learning to speak, nor has or in Sanskrit, encumbered with prefixes it been explained by any scholar or phi- and suffixes, and mouldering away under losopher how that barrier of language, the action of phonetic decay, must, in the which divides man from all animals, might last instance, be traced back, by means of be effectually crossed. I do not mean
definite phonetic laws, to those definite to say that there are no arguments which primary forms which we are accustomed might be urged, either in favor* of ani- to call roots. These roots stand like barmals possessing the gift of language, but riers between the chaos and the kosmos
of human speech. Whoever admits the * See Wundt, Menschen- und Thierscele, vol. ii.
historical character of roots, whatever p. 265.
opinion he may hold on their origin, is