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Thinking without language?

Bloxy's Bloxy's at hotmail.com
Wed Nov 24 05:18:57 EST 1999

In article <FLon8o.ML8 at turnbull.org>, john at turnbull.org (John Turnbull) wrote:
>In article <7f7lj98m42.fsf at faith.csis.hku.hk>,
>Lee Sau Dan 李守敦 <sdlee at faith.csis.hku.hk> wrote:
>>>>>>> "John" == John Turnbull <john at turnbull.org> writes:
>>    John> Have you ever hummed a tune without realizing it?  
>>I can hum a tune in my mind.
>That wasn't really the question.  I would imagine most people can play
>music in their mind.
>>    John> what am I doing?  why am I doing it?  is there a better way?
>>    John> all without words?  Maybe so, but it seems to me a lot
>>    John> better to use words.
>>Yes,  except  for the  "why"  question.   Answering  a "why"  question
>>requires reasoning,  and reasoning  often needs verbal  thinking.  But
>>answering "what" and  existence questions, I can do  it without words.

You are in shit of the lowest grade up to your ears
with this kind of "reasoning".

------------------------- end of input -----------------------

>>Even  when   answering  "why"  questions,   I  can  sometimes   do  it
>>language-lessly.  So, that's again  without words.  (When I don't need
>>to speak  out the  answers, why  do I have  to render  the ideas  in a
>Maybe I am being too restrictive when I say thinking, and mean
>reasoning.  You still haven't given an idea where you think the line is
>between thinking and non-thinking response.  I think the reason words
>seem so important is that ideas can be expressed in words, and the words
>are inherently invoked.  Just as if the word "apple" is thought about
>you will recall the taste, or the feel, or the image of an apple, if you
>think about the idea of an apple the word is known as easily as the
>other features.
>>    John> OK, so you draw pictures with no words.  
>>I often  avoid words in the  pictures.  When I need  to represent some
>>ideas (esp. abstract ones) with  words, I usually use the first letter
>>(in case  of English)  to represent the  whole idea.  So,  that serves
>>only as  a symbol (somehow arbitrary)  or mark to remind  me that that
>>particular letter stands for that particular idea.
>>    John> My diagrams tend to
>>    John> be more of arrangements of words on the page.  Words are so
>>    John> much more efficient than wasting all that time with images.
>>When  I do  geometry or  solve geometric  problems, I  would  draw the
>>figures  wordlessly.   Yes, I  would  *label*  some features  (points,
>>edges,  angles) with letters,  but they  are only  labels.  If  I have
>>enough pens of different colours, I  could do the labeling by means of
>>colours  instead of letters.   That doesn't  prevent me  from thinking
>>about the geometric problems.
>It's been a *long* time since I've done any geometry, and I'd probably
>need to draw diagrams, but it would be in response to thoughts in words.

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