Some were exercised about the paper’s claim that the pictorial arts preceded language in our evolutionary history. How do we know that? Here’s how we know that: The pictorial is a first order representation. A picture of a deer can be understood to be a deer without further explication. But the word deerrepresents another category. It is a second order representation. It cannot be understood on its own. The naming of things is a wholly artificial construct. There is nothing in nature to suggest that a sound can be representative of an object. Before you leap to your computer to argue please reflect on this. It is what takes place at the well in The Miracle Worker. The word water is water and it is so solely because we say it is.
Cormac McCarthy, The Kekule’ Problem