To begin with, many instincts mature gradually, and while they are immature an animal may act in a fumbling manner which is very difficult to distinguish from learning. James ("Psychology," ii, 407) maintains that children walk by instinct, and that the awkwardness of their first attempts is only due to the fact that the instinct has not yet ripened.
To take extreme cases, every animal at birth can take food by instinct, before it has had opportunity to learn; on the other hand, no one can ride a bicycle by instinct, though, after learning, the necessary movements become just as automatic as if they were instinctive.
The process of learning, which consists in the acquisition of habits, has been much studied in various animals.* For example: you put a hungry animal, say a cat, in a cage which has a door that can be opened by lifting a latch; outside the cage you put food.
244) formulates two "provisional laws of acquired behaviour or learning," as follows:
But the higher we rise in the evolutionary scale, broadly speaking, the greater becomes the power of learning, and the fewer are the occasions when pure instinct is exhibited unmodified in adult life.
Though conscious of the difficulty of learning
without a teacher, I set out with high hope, and a fixed purpose, at whatever cost of trou- ble, to learn how to read.
may be more truly said of the historian and biographer, than of any other species of writing; for all the arts and sciences (even criticism itself) require some little degree of learning and knowledge.
But though they should be so, they are not sufficient for our purpose, without a good share of learning; for which I could again cite the authority of Horace, and of many others, if any was necessary to prove that tools are of no service to a workman, when they are not sharpened by art, or when he wants rules to direct him in his work, or hath no matter to work upon.
Again, there is another sort of knowledge, beyond the power of learning to bestow, and this is to be had by conversation.
It will be soon enough to forget them when we have the learning and the genius which will enable us to attend to and appreciate them.
As the nobleman of cultivated taste surrounds himself with whatever conduces to his culture -- genius -- learning -- wit -- books -- paintings -- statuary -- music -- philosophical instruments, and the like; so let the village do -- not stop short at a pedagogue, a parson, a sexton, a parish library, and three selectmen, because our Pilgrim forefathers got through a cold winter once on a bleak rock with these.
During this long period these fables seem to have suffered an eclipse, to have disappeared and to have been forgotten; and it is at the commencement of the fourteenth century, when the Byzantine emperors were the great patrons of learning, and amidst the splendors of an Asiatic court, that we next find honors paid to the name and memory of Aesop.
combined with other events to promote the rapid restoration of learning in Italy; and with that recovery of learning the revival of an interest in the Fables of Aesop is closely identified.
10 It must be mentioned also that the learning of this age has left permanent traces of its influence on these fables, ll by causing the interpolation with them of some of those amusing stories which were so frequently introduced into the public discourses of the great preachers of those days, and of which specimens are yet to be found in the extant sermons of Jean Raulin, Meffreth, and Gabriel Barlette.
Their letters and disputations on this subject, enlivened on both sides with much wit and learning, will ever bear a conspicuous place in the literary history of the seventeenth century.