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George John Romanes FRS (May 19, 1848–May 23, 1894) was a Canadian-born English naturalist and psychologist who laid the foundation of what he called comparative psychology, postulating a similarity of cognitive processes and mechanisms between humans and animals.
He was the youngest of Charles Darwin's academic friends, and his views on evolution are historically important. He invented the term neo-darwinism, which is still often used today to indicate an updated form of darwinism. Romanes' early death was a severe loss to the cause of evolutionary theory in Britain. Within six years Mendel's work was rediscovered, and a whole new agenda opened up for debate.
Romanes was born in Kingston, Ontario, the third son of George Romanes, a Scottish Presbyterian minister. When he was two years old, his parents returned to England, and he spent the rest of his life in England. Like many English naturalists, he nearly studied divinity, but instead opted to study medicine and physiology at Cambridge University. He graduated from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge with the degree of BA in 1870, and is commemorated there by a stained glass window in the chapel. It was at Cambridge that he came first to the attention of Charles Darwin; the two remained friends for life.
Romanes founded a series of free public lectures – still running to the present day – which are named the Romanes Lectures after him. He was a close friend of Thomas Henry Huxley, who gave the second Romanes lecture.
 Romanes on evolution
Romanes tackled the subject of evolution frequently. For the most part he supported darwinism and the role of natural selection. However, he perceived three problems with darwinian evolution:
- 1. The difference between natural species and domesticated varieties in respect of fertility. [this problem was pertinent to Darwin, who used the analogy of change in domesticated animals so frequently]
- 2. Structures which serve to distinguish allied species are often without any utilitarian significance. [taxonomists choose the most visible and least changeable features to identify a species, but there may be a host of other differences which though not useful to the taxonomist are signifiicant in survival terms]
- 3. The swamping influence upon an incipient species-split of free intercrossing. [Here we strike the problem which most perplexed Darwin, with his ideas of blending inheritance. It was solved by the rediscovery of Mendelian genetics, and later work showed that particulate inheritance could underlie continuous variation: see the evolutionary synthesis]
Romanes also made the acute point that Darwin had not actually shown how natural selection produced species, despite the title of the famous book! Obviously natural selection could be the 'machine' for producing adaptation, but what exactly was the mechanism for splitting species?
Romanes' own solution to this was called 'physiological selection'. His idea was that variation in reproductive ability caused mainly by the prevention of intercrossing with parental forms was the primary driving force in the production of new species. The majority view then and now was for geographical separation to be the primary force in species splitting (allopatry) and increased sterility of crosses between incipient species as secondary.
- The scientific evidences of organic evolution (1877; reprint 1882) ', available at Project Gutenberg.
- Candid examination of theism [pseudonymously published as Physicus] (1878) ', available at Project Gutenberg.
- Animal Intelligence (1881)
- Mental Evolution in Animals, with a posthumous essay on instinct by Charles Darwin (1883)
- Jelly-fish, star-fish and sea urchins, being a research on primitive nervous systems (1885)
- Physiological Selection: An Additional Suggestion on the Origin of Species (1886)
- Mental Evolution in Man (1888)
- Aristotle as a Naturalist (1891)
- Darwin, and after Darwin, 3 vols (1892-97) [a work of significance for historians of evolution theory]
- An examination of Weismannism (1893) [[[August Weismann]] was the leading evolutionary theoretician at the turn of the 19th century]
- Essays (1897)
- Thoughts on Religion (posthumous publication 1904) ', available at Project Gutenberg.
 External links
- Works by George Romanes at Project Gutenberg
- The life and letters of George John Romanes (1898) — Biography by his wife, Ethel Romanes. (page images)
ISBN:9781417952540 (Paper cover book)
Romanes, George John /Publisher:Kessinger Pub Co Published 2005/05
|哲 學家大衛休謨（David Hume）毫無疑問地認為動物是一種有意識、會思考的生物。他寫著：「和否認動物會思考的明顯事實同樣荒唐的是，費盡心力去為它辯護；對我而言，野獸跟人 一樣擁有思想和理性，沒有比這更明確的了。相關的種種爭議，顯然極其愚蠢和無知。」休謨認為「動物會思考」這事是毫無問題的，儘管這個普通常識性的看法相 當正確，但一大票思想家還是不願茍同。最有名的，就是笛卡兒（Descartes），他主張動物只是物質性的個體，依循著機械原理運作。 |
然而，對達爾文（Charles Darwin）和他的一位頗受人重視的同事喬治羅曼尼斯（George Romanes）而言，事實很明顯－－如果解剖和生理特徵在動物和人類之間呈現一種演化上的延續性（continuous）（見〈延續性〉），那麼，心靈 上的特徵，當然也一樣。這不但在「智力」（intelligence）上成立，在最具有道德意味的「情感」（emotion）和「感覺」 （feeling）這兩個心靈面向上也成立。如邊沁（Jeremy Bentham）所宣稱，因為這是一種能讓個體感受到「疼痛」（pain）、恐懼（fear）、焦慮、饑餓、口渴和愉悅（pleasure）等等感覺的能 力，所以，我們對動物所做的，對牠來說自然影響很大，因此，這就涉及道德層面了。達爾文在他的書《人與動物的情緒表達》中，對「動物感覺」（animal feeling），清楚地表達了他的立場；羅曼尼斯在他的書《動物智力及動物心靈之評估》中，對「動物思想」（animal thought）也有一番推測，並且批判了幾個有關「動物思想」的故事（軼聞）。
有一件事與此相關：人類的「心理學」做為一種科學，隨著行為主義（behaviorism）的興起，「心理」也不見了。行為主義當道，動物意識由「科學上 無法研究」，變成「科學上不存在」。否認動物具有意識的看法，隨著大量的侵入性動物實驗之問世，而得到進一步的支持；如果我們認為動物只是沒有意識的機 器，這類實驗當然就很容易進行，就像在笛卡兒的時代那樣。因為，動物只是會「叫」而已，不會痛。
有一點很重要的原因，讓我們回頭來討論「動物心靈」的立場，那就是道德（見〈動物的道德地位〉）。自六○年代起，社會越來越關心在科學研究、農業及毒物測 試等領域之對待動物方式；伴隨著這樣的道德關切，社會開始把焦點放在動物的疼痛、痛苦（suffering）、恐懼、寂寞、無聊（見〈動物所感受的無 聊〉）和焦慮等議題上，於是，這些道德關切，反過頭來逼使科學界去處理這些觀念。比如，聯邦法在1985年通過，強制研究者必須控制「動物的疼痛和折磨」 （animal pain and distress），科學家只好被動地把人們對動物的思想和感情等普通常識性的看法，引進科學裡。一些新的研究領域，比如認知性的動物行為學 （cognitive ethology）以及對靈長類動物的語言和動物欺騙（animal deception）等研究，把科學研究又拉回到達爾文式的動物心靈觀念，並且採用了普通常識性的看法。
By John P. Gluck，陳真譯