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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/231

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THOUGHT AND LANGUAGE.

concepts, and sensations without percepts. He maintains that no perception occurs without a generalizing movement. "All percepts are conceptual." This being so, what becomes of the claim that brutes, with feeling and ability to perceive, do not form concepts? And if, as the author reluctantly does in one place, we concede that perception may exist with only "incipient concepts," what should prevent the development of the generalizing power in successive individuals to the degree that it is found in the highest intelligence?

The considerations adduced by Professor Müller on the question of the origin of species, and the descent of man, present nothing, therefore, for the "Darwinian" to answer, except the fact that man has articulate language, and brutes do not have it. This fact has been allowed its full weight in the great discussions upon the descent of man, of which our limits will not permit us to give even a résumé. It is sufficient to remark that whatever strength may lie in the argument from this circumstance, its force is not great enough to countervail the many converging proofs of the Darwinian hypothesis; and, further, we may safely reiterate with Darwin that "the faculty of articulate speech in itself does not offer any insuperable objection to the belief that man has been developed from some lower animal." Indeed, the wonder is that Professor Müller's own philosophy of mind should not have caused him to see that the difference between the mind of the brute and the mind of man is one of degree, not of kind. He lays great stress on the unity of mental action. The mind is one in all its exercises. There is no sensation without perception, and so forth, as already instanced. If, then, he can not doubt that a lower animal has some intelligence, the inference must be that the essential characters of the other mental exercises are in the animal's intelligence, at least in embryo. We may believe that Professor Müller is right in much of what he says as to the unity of cognitive exercises. Attention to an object presented, association and representation, are the primary mental processes, and each is necessary to the other. Given these, all the products of thought that we designate by such terms as concepts, inferences, fictions, memories, are readily explicable and their relations to each other made manifest. The chief difference between the mind of man and that of the brute lies in the complexity of association and representation. Man's inferences reach farther, and bis generalizations are higher, more complex, and more abstract. It is the same sort of difference which subsists between the intellectually cultivated man and the savage, though, of course, this difference is greater when we compare man with even the higher brutes. But in the latter the same processes are observable. They attend, they associate, they represent; they feel and they act; they have nervous systems; they have mental communication. I see no escape from the conclusion that they generalize, and I would not be at all surprised if it should some time happen that an ape be taught to use articulate language.