## Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

What did you say? And what did you mean by it?

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creativesoul
Posts: 771
Joined: Sat May 21, 2011 4:16 am

### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

TimeSeeker wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:13 am
creativesoul wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:34 pm
Verification requires knowing what it would take for the claim to be true(knowing what the claim means).
And in the case where I don't know what the claim means because I don't understand your taxonomy the experiment provides me with the meaning.

Because testing/falsification criteria do exactly that - they draw distinctions. They classify things into two boxes.
The juxtaposition of a successful vs unsuccessful test is what allows me to infer where line is.

Well, whether or not the test is called "successful" or "unsuccessful" is determined by whether or not your expectations were met. There are any number of ways to get lucky despite the fact that the basis of your probability calculations is wrong.

The reason I said that verification requires knowing what it would take for the claim to be true(knowing what the claim means), is because verification looks at whether or not the prediction actually happens. If it does, then it corresponds(is true). Knowing what a claim means is knowing what it would take for that claim to be true.

creativesoul
Posts: 771
Joined: Sat May 21, 2011 4:16 am

### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

TimeSeeker wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:24 am
creativesoul wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:36 pm
You're conflating a true claim with truth. Truth is correspondence. Correspondence is what makes a claim true. A lack of correspondence is what makes a claim false.
What is the mechanism for verifying correspondence? It seems to me that in the absence of such mechanism you can't assert the truth of a true claim?
This is not difficult to understand. There is no mechanism, per se. Observation. Verification/falsification methods check empirical claims for truth(correspondence). It's simple. Don't make it harder than it has to be.

creativesoul
Posts: 771
Joined: Sat May 21, 2011 4:16 am

### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

TimeSeeker wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:06 am
Q.E.D There are two dogs in my garden. True or false?
I have no idea. That doesn't matter a bit. We cannot know everything. One ought know what sorts of things can be true/false and what makes them so...

TimeSeeker
Posts: 2866
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:42 am

### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 2:42 am
What is the mechanism for verifying correspondence? It seems to me that in the absence of such mechanism you can't assert the truth of a true claim?
This is not difficult to understand. There is no mechanism, per se. Observation. Verification/falsification methods check empirical claims for truth(correspondence). It's simple. Don't make it harder than it has to be.
creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 2:45 am
TimeSeeker wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:06 am
Q.E.D There are two dogs in my garden. True or false?
I have no idea. That doesn't matter a bit. We cannot know everything. One ought know what sorts of things can be true/false and what makes them so...
Don't over-simplify it to the point where it becomes a hypothetical completely disconnected from human experience.

If something matters to you AND you need/want to know it AND you have the means to observe it directly then you have 1st hand knowledge of it through direct experience.

Because you have 1st hand knowledge, then my 2nd hand report of reality is immaterial to you. There is no need for you to establish correspondence.

The only time it matters whether what I say corresponds to reality is when you DON'T have the means to obtain the desired knowledge 1st hand and so you rely on my report.

Thus if you don't have the means to obtain the knowledge 1st hand AND the thing I am reporting on matters to you AND you need/want to know if it is the case then by what mechanism do you establish correspondence? At that point we are no longer talking about truth - we are talking about trust. At that point the best you can hope for is heuristics to detect plausible errors/lies. But you can't establish correspondence!

Q.E.D The Germans are invading again!

It seems to me that your conception of "truth" is always an a posteriori assertion verified through correspondence and as far as I can tell it's no different to History (the subject).

Do you have any a priori conceptions of "truth"? Something that is useful as input to real-world decision-making? e.g some mechanism by which you can assert whether the Germans are, in fact, invading?

Because if it were true that the Germans are invading - I imagine you need to take some action? Evacuate your home perhaps?
Last edited by TimeSeeker on Tue Nov 20, 2018 9:35 am, edited 10 times in total.

TimeSeeker
Posts: 2866
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:42 am

### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 2:40 am
TimeSeeker wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:13 am
creativesoul wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:34 pm
Verification requires knowing what it would take for the claim to be true(knowing what the claim means).
And in the case where I don't know what the claim means because I don't understand your taxonomy the experiment provides me with the meaning.

Because testing/falsification criteria do exactly that - they draw distinctions. They classify things into two boxes.
The juxtaposition of a successful vs unsuccessful test is what allows me to infer where line is.

Well, whether or not the test is called "successful" or "unsuccessful" is determined by whether or not your expectations were met. There are any number of ways to get lucky despite the fact that the basis of your probability calculations is wrong.

The reason I said that verification requires knowing what it would take for the claim to be true(knowing what the claim means), is because verification looks at whether or not the prediction actually happens. If it does, then it corresponds(is true). Knowing what a claim means is knowing what it would take for that claim to be true.
Point missed.

By describing what you deem as "successful' (positive expectation/prediction) and "unsuccessful" (negative expectation/prediction) tests you are communicating your binary classification rule to me!

Whether I actually perform the test is moot.

By explaining your positive and negative expectations and juxtaposing the consequences of your prediction you are helping me infer your classification rule, you are helping me infer where you have drawn the line, you are helping me understand your taxonomy. You are helping me look where you are looking and see what you are seeing. Which helps me understand your meaning.

This is why verificationism matters. It's about effectively communicating/sharing experiences AND the taxonomies through which to interpret them.

Averroes
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:48 pm

### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

TimeSeeker wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:25 am
But, you aren't asking me to write an argument. You are asking me to write a counter-argument. To YOUR claim.
And so I am happy to do that just as soon as you present YOUR argument (set of propositions) in lambda calculus.
You are still arguing in English?! You so much wanted to abandon English and all natural languages so as to write in the so called “high level languages,” thus:
TimeSeeker wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:47 pm
English (and all natural languages) are broken - their Turing-completeness can't even be verified unless their grammar is formally defined. You don't get to insist on "proof" while also insisting that it be proven in a framework which lacks the grammar and semantics to express it. And since proofs are isomorphic to algorithms English is the wrong tool for logic!
And now you are being given multiple opportunities to write in those "high level languages" exclusively and you just stick with English?!! I have even challenged you twice to write exclusively in the so-called “high level language,” as per you own wishes and yet you keep sticking with English! What’s the matter, you cannot do without English now?! Go on now, write exclusively in a language which is not a natural language.
TimeSeeker wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:25 am
Ruby, Python, OCaml, Haskell, ML, Java, Kotlin, Scala, Rust, Go, C, C++, Perl or any other Turing-complete language. It's all the same to me
That’s good, so now it should not be a problem for you to write exclusively in any of these languages as from now. This is what you wanted, you have that opportunity now.
__________________________
TimeSeeker wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:25 am
But, you aren't asking me to write an argument. You are asking me to write a counter-argument. To YOUR claim.
And so I am happy to do that just as soon as you present YOUR argument (set of propositions) in lambda calculus.
Let us recall that you made a statement such that there are thoughts which cannot be expressed in language. That was YOUR claim. I quote:
TimeSeeker wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:49 pm
And yet is precisely the thoughts which I can't express THROUGH any medium are the ones which you require evidence for...
How might one convince you that such thoughts exist?
Moreover, you further claimed that you can prove your claim easily in intuitionistic logic thus:
TimeSeeker wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:50 pm
The only way I know how to prove a negative is to abandon Aristotelian logic and embrace constructive/intuitionistic logic.
I did not force you to make those claims such that there are thoughts which allegedly cannot be expressed in language and that you can prove it in intuitionistic logic! So now, go on and prove your claim in intuitionistic logic. Don't break down on me again on this, and don't try to run away from YOUR OWN claims! Or are you giving up again?!

____________________________
TimeSeeker wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:25 am
You don't need to do that compilers/interpreters do a fine job at it.
As soon as you drop English (or any natural language) for the “high level languages”, which you claimed you could and which you are being challenged to do, then compilers and interpreters will be relevant to the discussion. But for now, you are STILL using English! Write exclusively in the “high level languages” as from now; yet again I am challenging you.

TimeSeeker
Posts: 2866
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:42 am

### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Averroes wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:00 pm
TimeSeeker wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:25 am
But, you aren't asking me to write an argument. You are asking me to write a counter-argument. To YOUR claim.
And so I am happy to do that just as soon as you present YOUR argument (set of propositions) in lambda calculus.
You are still arguing in English?! You so much wanted to abandon English and all natural languages so as to write in the so called “high level languages,” thus:
TimeSeeker wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:47 pm
English (and all natural languages) are broken - their Turing-completeness can't even be verified unless their grammar is formally defined. You don't get to insist on "proof" while also insisting that it be proven in a framework which lacks the grammar and semantics to express it. And since proofs are isomorphic to algorithms English is the wrong tool for logic!
And now you are being given multiple opportunities to write in those "high level languages" exclusively and you just stick with English?!! I have even challenged you twice to write exclusively in the so-called “high level language,” as per you own wishes and yet you keep sticking with English! What’s the matter, you cannot do without English now?! Go on now, write exclusively in a language which is not a natural language.
TimeSeeker wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:25 am
Ruby, Python, OCaml, Haskell, ML, Java, Kotlin, Scala, Rust, Go, C, C++, Perl or any other Turing-complete language. It's all the same to me
That’s good, so now it should not be a problem for you to write exclusively in any of these languages as from now. This is what you wanted, you have that opportunity now.
__________________________
TimeSeeker wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:25 am
But, you aren't asking me to write an argument. You are asking me to write a counter-argument. To YOUR claim.
And so I am happy to do that just as soon as you present YOUR argument (set of propositions) in lambda calculus.
Let us recall that you made a statement such that there are thoughts which cannot be expressed in language. That was YOUR claim. I quote:
TimeSeeker wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:49 pm
And yet is precisely the thoughts which I can't express THROUGH any medium are the ones which you require evidence for...
How might one convince you that such thoughts exist?
Moreover, you further claimed that you can prove your claim easily in intuitionistic logic thus:
TimeSeeker wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:50 pm
The only way I know how to prove a negative is to abandon Aristotelian logic and embrace constructive/intuitionistic logic.
I did not force you to make those claims such that there are thoughts which allegedly cannot be expressed in language and that you can prove it in intuitionistic logic! So now, go on and prove your claim in intuitionistic logic. Don't break down on me again on this, and don't try to run away from YOUR OWN claims! Or are you giving up again?!

____________________________
TimeSeeker wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:25 am
You don't need to do that compilers/interpreters do a fine job at it.
As soon as you drop English (or any natural language) for the “high level languages”, which you claimed you could and which you are being challenged to do, then compilers and interpreters will be relevant to the discussion. But for now, you are STILL using English! Write exclusively in the “high level languages” as from now; yet again I am challenging you.
I challenged you to present your claim in a higher order logic clearly defining the objects "thought" and "language" and their respective properties

Since you have presented nothing that resembles an argument. I need not present a counter-argument.

In English or in constructive logic Hypotheses non fingo.

P.S Is this an argument or a conversation? You seem to think it's the former *shrug*

bahman
Posts: 3071
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2016 3:52 pm

### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Hegel wrote:
Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:17 am
Hi everyone ..

this is my first post in this beautiful Forum, and i think these days of the idea that begin with this question:

Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

for example that deaf people use visually way to think which use no language , and that leads another question:

is the languages a thinking tool or a Communication tool ?
No. Thinking is an expression of something which is happening in reality in term of something structured which is comprehensible for an agent. It is raining. Feeling bad.

Averroes
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:48 pm

### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

TimeSeeker wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:09 pm
Averroes wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:00 pm
(...)Write exclusively in the “high level languages” as from now; yet again I am challenging you.
I need not present a counter-argument.
Alright, so you declined the challenge. For the record, I gave you nearly two months to prove your claims as you had claimed possible. Time to move on now!

Averroes
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:48 pm

### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

To all members of the forum who are interested:

A statement was made but the claimer found himself/herself incapable of backing it up even when challenged. It was claimed that there can be thoughts which cannot be expressed in language. Here is one of the statements:
TimeSeeker wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:49 pm
And yet is precisely the thoughts which I can't express THROUGH any medium are the ones which you require evidence for...
How might one convince you that such thoughts exist?
And further, it was claimed that the statement that there are “thoughts which cannot be expressed in language” can be proved in intuitionist logic thus:
TimeSeeker wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:50 pm
The only way I know how to prove a negative is to abandon Aristotelian logic and embrace constructive/intuitionistic logic.
My question to you all is as follows:

Can anyone here prove (or disprove) these claims either from classical logic or from intuitionist logic? One can use English or whatever formal or computer language that one wants to prove (or disprove) this claim.

I give you two months for that, but extensions will be given if required! In a nutshell, you have all your time, I am not in a hurry!

Belinda
Posts: 3169
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

It's not black and white matter. 'Language' might stand for any symbolic system, as I think you would agree as you previously listed digital languages. For instance Chinese script is pictorial sort of, and some art forms are particularly symbolist at some periods.

'Language ' might also include grunts and groans and other exclamations emitted by someone who might be alone at the time, so that those 'language' behaviours are not necessarily conceptual.

Concepts are invariably social concepts. So when conceptual language , which includes those digital languages as listed previously, is inevitably social behaviour. Conversely then, it's not possible to think without language in the sense of conceptual language.

Justintruth
Posts: 182
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2016 4:10 pm

### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Belinda wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:43 pm
It's not black and white matter. 'Language' might stand for any symbolic system, as I think you would agree as you previously listed digital languages. For instance Chinese script is pictorial sort of, and some art forms are particularly symbolist at some periods.

'Language ' might also include grunts and groans and other exclamations emitted by someone who might be alone at the time, so that those 'language' behaviours are not necessarily conceptual.

Concepts are invariably social concepts. So when conceptual language , which includes those digital languages as listed previously, is inevitably social behaviour. Conversely then, it's not possible to think without language in the sense of conceptual language.
I think you are right.

Take for example a line drawing of a cube. One looks at it and it seems that one or the other face is in the back. Then one might try to bring the other forward and suddenly it switches and the rear face is now forward. All that happens without language. When we say "think" do we include that?

In a sense it is impossible to think in a language for, as an example, the pure logic of statements is the same independent of the language presuming certain assumptions about translatability. So "the dog is red" and "El pero es rojo" are the same statements and the thinking about them can be done, in some sense must be done, independent of the language.

The issue is what are the processes, experiences, and meanings that we refer to when we use the term "thinking". It is possible to limit the term to what is done with language or to expand it. There are certainly mental experiences we have, for example imagination, which are not done in a language. Are they examples of thinking? It's not as you say, "black or white" or at least you can set the boundaries somewhat.

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

When you define any and all expression as "language" then it's impossible to think without it.

For even pain can be expressed with profanity.

Such is the nature of tautologies.

Belinda
Posts: 3169
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Justintruth wrote:
Take for example a line drawing of a cube. One looks at it and it seems that one or the other face is in the back. Then one might try to bring the other forward and suddenly it switches and the rear face is now forward. All that happens without language. When we say "think" do we include that?
The answer to your own question is the sentence itself. Logik has a two word phrase for that and I forget what the phrase is. Every phrase in your sentence quoted above is conceptual language. For instance the very words "forward" and "cube" name concepts. If you were sleep walking and performed those movements with the object you would not be thinking that's to say not using the part of your brain-mind which conceptualises.

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Belinda wrote:
Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:51 pm
Justintruth wrote:
Take for example a line drawing of a cube. One looks at it and it seems that one or the other face is in the back. Then one might try to bring the other forward and suddenly it switches and the rear face is now forward. All that happens without language. When we say "think" do we include that?
The answer to your own question is the sentence itself. Logik has a two word phrase for that and I forget what the phrase is. Every phrase in your sentence quoted above is conceptual language. For instance the very words "forward" and "cube" name concepts. If you were sleep walking and performed those movements with the object you would not be thinking that's to say not using the part of your brain-mind which conceptualises.