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Thinking without language?

Oliver Sparrow ohgs at chatham.demon.co.uk
Mon Nov 22 04:39:53 EST 1999

julien colomb <julien.colomb at unifr.ch> wrote:

>an example, when you think "red" (not the term but the color), a proof is that
>if you can't perform it, you'll think red and I'll think "rouge" but if we
>think of the color we'll have the same idea.

Clearly, thinking with the pre-verbal bits of the brain must be pre-verbal,
and motor skills, smells and vision are not handled with words. I assume
that the question was about declarative thought, where a Spock-like chain
of reasoning is being followed. Evidence from FMR is, however, that even
categories of words - body parts, animals - use different substrata to
support the concept that is them parsed in declarative speech. It is also
very likely from the evidence that many rival structures fight for
processor dominance - that is, what you find yourself 'thinking' is
actually a collapse amongst a range of rival, perhaps related, patterns of
excitation. It feels like a Holmesian chain of deduction, but it is
actually much closer to the way an amoeba finds its way, with pseudo pods
tracking possibilities until one of these is clearly the favourite, when
the rest are quenched and the whole goes with the flow.


Oliver Sparrow

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