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Thinking without language?

Alan Roth alan42 at mindspring.com
Fri Nov 19 14:33:35 EST 1999

Arthur T. Murray <uj797 at victoria.tc.ca> wrote in message
news:38336dcb.0 at news.victoria.tc.ca...
> Peter Wang, engp9577 at nus.edu.sg, wrote on 18 Nov 1999 09:16:12 +1100:
> > Dear all,
> > Do you think we should use language when we are thinking?
> > or we can use and can not use it too?
> Thinking is a flow of associations.  As we walk down the street,
> we may think absent-mindedly and entirely in images, pictures,
> smells, sounds, and such -- without recourse to language.
> However, when we do use language for thinking (and communicating),
> we gain access to abstract concepts that only language can manipulate,
> and we generate thoughts that can be communicated to other minds.
> A Picasso painting does not so much communicate as *cause* ideas.
It _is_ difficult to communicate a picture directly. It often has to be
de-composed into similar metaphors, that are already known, or linearized
into language. However, I don't agree that language is more abstract. And,
further, abstraction does not simplify communications, it makes them terse
and only for those who have the same symbolic definitions--there is no
magic bullet for communications if one is trying to reach all levels of
signficiance: spiritual, intellectual, and emotional. Pictures can do as
well as language--but until we can externalize them through some type of
machine, they will remain private.

> > Moreover, how about making decision? Does this also involves language?
> Decision-making involves ALL the knowledge available to the mind,
> whether linguistically associated or by non-verbal modalities.
> For a discussion of decision-making in "Mind.Forth AI Source Code,"
> please click-link on the "(volition)" module in the flow-chart at
> http://www.geocities.com/Athen/Agora/7256/mind-fpc.html archive.
> > In my oppinion, we can think and make decision without resorting to
> > language.
Most of the time. Language is often "justification" rather than cause.

> > Thanx.  [...]

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