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Thinking without language?

kenneth Collins kpaulc at earthlink.net
Wed Nov 24 23:44:43 EST 1999

mithomps at indiana.edu wrote:

> "Peter T. Daniels" wrote:
> > Larisa Migachyov wrote:
> >
> > > Well, I don't think that the notes enter into that; by then, the notes and
> > > finger motions become close to automatic.  There are some verbal thoughts
> > > of the "Oh no! I can't believe I missed that note!" variety - but in order
> > > to play well, one has to feel the emotion that one is playing, and let the
> > > music flow through one's mind.  I can't explain the kind of thinking
> > > involved - but it is definitely thinking, and definitely wordless.  (and
> > > not on the note level).
> >
> > Speaking of which, both piano-playing (anything-playing, probably) and
> > really good typing involve finger movements that are much faster than
> > can be accounted for by the speed of neural messages traveling all the
> > way from the brain to the fingers. No verbal thought there!
> Or, for that matter, the rapid movements of the muscles in the vocal tract itself
> during speech.  (I'm sure you were working up to that.)  That means that speech is
> organized neurologically / cognitively in broad terms like other highly complex
> ordered ensembles of muscular movements that have to be gotten by training, and so
> even thinking for speech can be said on one level not to be "verbal thought."  Thus,
> your conscious mind plays a supervisory role, as it were, triggering when necessary
> muscular systems via lower level cognitive structures (lower level, of course, in
> being closer in processing terms to the triggering of nerves to the muscles).  Of
> course, with speech you have much more intermediate processing (syntactic, lexical,
> morphological, and phonetic).  You might just turn into a stratificationalist yet!

I Apologze, but your analysis is incorrect.

there is no 'on/off switch' in the stuff that underpins 'thought'.

'thought' is 'just' what nervous systems do.

there are neural 'configuration' mechanisms that 'gate' stuff to 'consciousness', and to
and from various relatively-'discrete' input/output 'subsystems' (of which the
'language' subsystem is just one), but there's nothing that happens within nervous
systems that can be distinguished from anything else that happens in nervous systems
with respect to 'thinking'.

'thinking' is what nervous systems do, and it's everywhere-the 'same' throughout the
entire extent of a given nervous system, all reducing to a single dynamic, 'TD

to see such, one must come to terms with the Neuroanatomy.

most of the 'parameters' that folks've been discussing in this thread gain their
significance only at the body/environment interface. that is, 'language' only becomes
'language' in the energy-dynamics that exit the body. internally, it's all 'just' TD

cheers, ken (K. P. Collins)

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