Thinking without language?

Matthew Montchalin mmontcha at OregonVOS.net
Tue Jan 18 20:46:30 EST 2000


On Wed, 19 Jan 2000, Leo Smith wrote:
|> I agree with you that language affects our mental development, but
|> that isn't the same as saying that it is necessary for thinking--even
|> logical thinking--to take place.  Animals clearly make deductions.
|> Just not as well as humans.
|
|Oh for goodness sake. It depends what you define thinking and lanuage
|to be. As far as I am concerned, my internal representation of these
|concepts to myself, for my purposes, says that thinking is the silent
|exercise of language.

And what about the intelligence of an octopus?  Does it 'speak silently'
when it figures out how to open up jars with screwtop lids, containing
food?

|By almost a matter of definition.

Yes, definitions are important.  But universally applying these
definitions requires more than just looking at how it relates to 
your own immediate goals.

|But I wouldn't expect anyone else to have precisely the same set of
|subtle attributes attached to those two words, so an almost infinite
|series of responses by different people is likely if you start asking
|questions like this.

That's the point of arriving at something that is universally meaningful.

|And it will reveal nothing about thinking, or language - merely how
|peoples internal representations of these concepts become externalised
|in yakking at each other.

Perhaps we should discount what you say before reading what you write?





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