Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

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attofishpi
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by attofishpi » Tue Oct 11, 2016 7:08 pm

thedoc wrote:Just to add to the confusion, it should be noted that the form of a language will influence how an individual thinks. It was once noted that if you look at the structure of French and German, it's easy to see why the 2 countries have been at war for so long. The same holds true for English and some oriental languages, and the attitudes of the people. In this light the question is also what are people thinking, as it is influenced by language?
Insidious Albion - as the Europeans considered the seafaring nation of Britain.

As for the language spread..English is the default language of the world.
http://www.antimoon.com/forum/2004/5712.htm

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Beauty » Tue Oct 11, 2016 10:35 pm

I'm equally fluent in both Hindi and English. Hindi is my mother tongue and English is adopted - second language. I feel the same in both languages. Where it is said that with a language we adopt that culture too, it is true. My point is that we are of our own good, bad etcetera. A certain language does not mean a certain mentality, for if that was the case, then in a specific language/culture we would see either good people or bad but not a mixture. As to whether it is possible to think without language, I don't think so. I think word is first and thinking/thought is afterwards.

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TSBU
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by TSBU » Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:38 am

Beauty wrote:I'm equally fluent in both Hindi and English. Hindi is my mother tongue and English is adopted - second language. I feel the same in both languages. Where it is said that with a language we adopt that culture too, it is true. My point is that we are of our own good, bad etcetera. A certain language does not mean a certain mentality, for if that was the case, then in a specific language/culture we would see either good people or bad but not a mixture. As to whether it is possible to think without language, I don't think so. I think word is first and thinking/thought is afterwards.
There is a Spanish book, a funny one, someone makes a machine to learn languages, because in Spain there are lots of nationalism and all that shit, and then they tried the machine, when people from some countries learn Spanish, they die with a smile in their face XD.

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:20 am

Beauty wrote:I'm equally fluent in both Hindi and English. Hindi is my mother tongue and English is adopted - second language. I feel the same in both languages. Where it is said that with a language we adopt that culture too, it is true. My point is that we are of our own good, bad etcetera. A certain language does not mean a certain mentality, for if that was the case, then in a specific language/culture we would see either good people or bad but not a mixture. As to whether it is possible to think without language, I don't think so. I think word is first and thinking/thought is afterwards.
Thinking has to precede langauge, as we'd never be able to learn lanaguage.

This puzzle cannot be solved without thought, yet crows do not a a langauge that reflects the solution.
As a craftsman myself, I think all the time without reference to language. I sculpt with my mind, concepts and virtual movements, actions and shapes that I need to language to conceive and my only be very clumsily described with words.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:23 am

Do you think what this chimps is doing can be achieved without thinking?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aekUZ3PYKNU
How is chimp language necessary for this task?

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:25 am

Finally take a look at any pre-talking human baby and tell me it can't think.

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Greta
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Greta » Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:45 am

Hobbes' Choice wrote:Finally take a look at any pre-talking human baby and tell me it can't think.
It also has language, albeit limited. Like dogs, they understand a lot more than they can express (at least what we can pick up of their subtle communications, anyway).

My first thought on seeing the topic was music. Then again, music is a language in itself, as is mathematics. They are as much communications as English or Hindi.

My first memory was pre-lingual. I was sitting in a pram by the front door, mindlessly scribbling circles on the wall with a pen. I was enjoying the feel of the pen bumping along the rendering, but also a little frustrated by them. I was unaware that I was doing anything wrong until Mum walked in from the kitchen. At that point the memory ends with a sense of tempest, aggressive energy. I expect that Mum, who was a bit of a firecracker, was reacting to the ruined paintwork :)

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Wed Oct 12, 2016 12:30 pm

Greta wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:Finally take a look at any pre-talking human baby and tell me it can't think.
It also has language, albeit limited. Like dogs, they understand a lot more than they can express (at least what we can pick up of their subtle communications, anyway).

You have to stretch langauge to its definitive limits, But even then you cannot explain all its thinking in terms of langauge.
Babies are born with prelinguistic thought.


My first thought on seeing the topic was music. Then again, music is a language in itself, as is mathematics. They are as much communications as English or Hindi.

My first memory was pre-lingual. I was sitting in a pram by the front door, mindlessly scribbling circles on the wall with a pen. I was enjoying the feel of the pen bumping along the rendering, but also a little frustrated by them. I was unaware that I was doing anything wrong until Mum walked in from the kitchen. At that point the memory ends with a sense of tempest, aggressive energy. I expect that Mum, who was a bit of a firecracker, was reacting to the ruined paintwork :)
My earliest memory is being in a car and hearing/feeling the bumps as the car ran over the American highway.
This was before 18 mnths old, as Uk highways are different. Whilst I need language to share that memory I do not need it to recall it.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Greta » Wed Oct 12, 2016 1:11 pm

Hobbes' Choice wrote:Babies are born with prelinguistic thought.
Not sure there's much going on mentally at birth. It's a "She didn't smile, she has wind" kind of situation. I only hear fairly recently that there's somewhat of a revolution in brain structure at around three months.

Logically, before we can communicate a thought we need to have that thought first. Ideally, anyway.
Hobbes' Choice wrote:My earliest memory is being in a car and hearing/feeling the bumps as the car ran over the American highway.
This was before 18 mnths old, as Uk highways are different. Whilst I need language to share that memory I do not need it to recall it.
Interesting. We were a similar age and in our first memories our attention was taken by irregularities - maybe in situations where we expected more regularity? Maybe the surprise made those moments memorable?

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Wed Oct 12, 2016 1:17 pm

Greta wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:Babies are born with prelinguistic thought.
Not sure there's much going on mentally at birth. It's a "She didn't smile, she has wind" kind of situation. I only hear fairly recently that there's somewhat of a revolution in brain structure at around three months.

Every baby knows already how to identify a fac, and to locate a nipple - its all up hill from there. But mental activity does not start at birth. The life of the growing foetus is full of exciting discoveries.


Logically, before we can communicate a thought we need to have that thought first. Ideally, anyway.
Indeed, we agree
Hobbes' Choice wrote:My earliest memory is being in a car and hearing/feeling the bumps as the car ran over the American highway.
This was before 18 mnths old, as Uk highways are different. Whilst I need language to share that memory I do not need it to recall it.
Interesting. We were a similar age and in our first memories our attention was taken by irregularities - maybe in situations where we expected more regularity? Maybe the surprise made those moments memorable?

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Terrapin Station » Wed Oct 12, 2016 1:28 pm

Sometimes the "It's not possible to think without language" folks wind up claiming that everything, any sort of pattern-oriented thinking (as in a lot of musical thinking, for example), any sort of notions of vague abstractions, any sort of visual thinking, etc. are all languages, in which case they're simply telling us that we can't think without thinking.

It would be difficult to define just what a language is in that case, though, if we're going to say that it's anything other than a synonym for thought.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Beauty » Wed Oct 12, 2016 4:10 pm

It is not possible to think without language because we all think using a universal language first, and then give it a name like english, hindi etcetera. For example I observe fan going round an round and a french woman observes fan going round and round, no language has been invented yet say, so I write fan going round and round as abc, and the french woman writes it as xyz and we have two different languages from the universal language which was used for observation.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Wed Oct 12, 2016 4:41 pm

Beauty wrote:It is not possible to think without language because we all think using a universal language first, and then give it a name like english, hindi etcetera. For example I observe fan going round an round and a french woman observes fan going round and round, no language has been invented yet say, so I write fan going round and round as abc, and the french woman writes it as xyz and we have two different languages from the universal language which was used for observation.
This is just daft.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Greta » Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:20 am

I like to think of language from the POV of the receiver, rather than the sender. What got me thinking that way was considering dolphin communication via echolocation. A pod moves into a dark area and the lead animal sends a signal into the darkness whose echo will describe the shape and texture of the environment ahead - but not just to the scout, but to the whole pod. They would effectively be "seeing through another's eyes", or at least the closest dolphins would. The animals at the back would get a "noisier" version because the signal would degrade as it passed through more rippling water. The (much laboured over lol) point here is that, as with body language, so much can be communicated without intent.

This is certainly the "language" of primitive organisms. It's big and hurtling towards me rapidly. Message: danger. I wonder about "primitive" animal communications. I see the dog forensically sniffing stuff every day, seemingly usually dog urine. The act seems as pointless to me as my sitting in front of screens for hours must seem to her.

There is a ton of information in that urine - who the dog is, its sex and whether it's in heat, where it's been and its territorial claims, what it's eaten, its health, and its emotional state at the time of peeing. I call it "dog gossip", although some content might be akin to the local news, and there is no doubt much "dog porn" :shock: ("whroarr, that bitch is soooo in heat!"). Maybe smelling the urine of a huge, testosterone filled and angry local dog would be exciting like a horror story?

It's not wildly different to what we do. The difference is that humans can (sometimes) appreciate that dogs are engaged in complex behaviours that we don't neither the senses nor inclination to understand. To dogs, human screen watching would seem just a meaningless thing that incomprehensible humans tend to do do between walks, food and attention.

I find it interesting that, without a concomitant olfactory component, dogs consider screen content to be entirely irrelevant. Then we consider them to be stupid because they respond in simple ways to visual cues. You would think that the smartest animal would learn the modes of communication of simpler animals rather than expect the simpler animals to understand our complex symbols and babbling.

It's one of those "smart but lacking in commonsense" situations.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Dalek Prime » Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:01 pm

Regarding intelligence in general, I think we make the mistake of assuming a sliding scale amongst animals in general. Is a squirrel, or the dog chasing it' smarter? Is a tiger smarter than its prey? What distinguishes us humans, that puts us in the absolute dominant position on this earth? The ability to plan in the long term. Our awareness of the past, present and future. And language certainly helps in that planning.

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