Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

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

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creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:45 am

Not all thinking is through language concepts.

There are some thoughts that cannot be expressed through language concepts.

Let the reader be advised of the significant differences between the two claims above. I asserted the first. One can quickly peruse the last few pages and an astute reader will find that that first claim has been adequately argued for without subsequent due attention.

I stand by that claim.

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:17 am

There's a common sense simple approach as well...

When we talk about our own worldview, we are reporting upon our own thought and belief. When we talk about another's we are reporting upon theirs. So, it is quite clear that we think about our own thought and belief. There is a crucial distinction that has never been drawn and maintained in philosophy proper.

The distinction between thought and belief and thinking about thought and belief. The two are not one in the same thing.

Averroes
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Averroes » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:49 am

TimeSeeker wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:49 pm
Naturally, but given your agreement with all of the examples I have proposed it seems to me that there is no communication medium that you DON'T consider to be 'language'. And so any form of successful self-expression is 'language'. And so your claim is tautological?
Absolutely! However, on this matter, we are both independently making the same tautological statement! And this is the only thing to do on this, for if the sky is blue, the sky is blue!! For example, you yourself said:
TimeSeeker wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:01 am
Any medium that can enable human-to-human communication is language.
And to the latter quotation, I agreed with you. But notice that that statement is the same tautology! You will agree that if something is serving as a communication medium between two individuals, then necessarily it must be called language.

However, there is no problem in stating tautological propositions as they are always true. For example, all definitions are tautologies, and we all have to start with these in whatever field of study we might be in!
We start getting into serious problems when contradictory statements are upheld as true, for example statements such as: “not all thinking is through language concepts.”

_______________________
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?
What is a thought?

Kant wrote:
  • Thinking is cognition through concepts. Concepts, however, as predicates of possible judgments, are related to some representation of a still undetermined object. The concept of a body thus signifies something, e.g. metal, which can be cognized through that concept. It is therefore a concept only because other representations are contained under it by means of which it can be related to objects. It is therefore the predicate for a possible judgment, e.g., Every metal is a body. [Critique of Pure Reason, A69/B94]
Note: The emphasis in the quotation above is mine and not in the text.

Wittgenstein wrote:
  • A thought is a proposition with sense. [TLP 4]
    In a proposition a thought finds an expression that can be perceived by the senses. [TLP 3.1]
    A propositional sign, applied and thought out, is a thought. [TLP 3.5]

Essentially, both Kant and Wittgenstein were saying the same thing as quoted above even though they were speaking from different logical frameworks separated by about a century. Wittgenstein was speaking from the Fregean-Russellian logical framework and Kant was speaking from the Aristotelian logical framework. There are important differences between these logical frameworks. The Frege system is more powerful than the Aristotelian system. Modern logic is the logic developed by Frege and Russell. However, despite their differences, non of these logical frameworks made a thought a non-thought!

Anyway, so the above quotations can be taken as expressing the definition of the word/concept “thought”, which means that necessarily they (i.e. those quotations) are tautological propositions as they are definitions. Therefore, the definition of a thought is that it is a judgment (Kant) or a proposition (Wittgenstein). Now if you say that you have thoughts that cannot be expressed in language then it is a contradiction/oxymoron! The concept of a thought that cannot be expressed in a proposition has the same value/content as the concept of a married bachelor!

And to answer your question now: No one can convince me that a married bachelor or a thought that cannot be expressed in a proposition exists.
_______________________
TimeSeeker wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:49 pm
For example I can convey the NOTION of a psychedelic experience, but not the CONTENT of the experience itself. Is that sufficient?
So, I was challenging the proposition: “Not all thinking is through language concepts,” and I think that I have shown clearly from different perspectives that that was a contradictory statement. But here you are raising another interesting issue. The issue that you are now addressing can be put thus: Can we think about something without having had direct experience of it? The latter is the question it boils down to. For example, I myself have never taken psychedelic drugs and I also do not feel inclined in the future to take the “acid trip” as it is called in these circles. So, can I have thoughts of the psychedelic states of consciousness even though I have had no such experience? Interesting question, isn’t it?
I also have never seen a unicorn or a flying turtle or a living dinosaur. Is it possible for me to think about or entertain thoughts about unicorns, flying turtles and dinosaurs even if I have had no experience of them??
As far as I am concerned, thinking about/of something does not require that we have had direct experience of that thing. So, if we can think of something without having had direct experience of it, then we can understand a proposition about an experience which was not shared.
________________________
TimeSeeker wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:49 pm
Don't look to others. Look to yourself?
Under normal circumstances, this is a very good piece of advice that you are providing. And usually, this is what I do. I mind my own business. However, this is no longer possible when I am having to respond to people who have shown an interest in exchanging with me by initiating a conversation with me! Were I to continue minding my own business under such circumstances it would have been impolite to my peaceful and decent interlocutors! Don’t you agree?

________________________
TimeSeeker wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:49 pm
If you can't find some idea within yourself that you do not how to express in language, then I think it is fair to say that there is not a single, original idea in your head ;)
Indeed, I am saying that all my thoughts are expressible in propositions and in fact the latter is itself just a tautological proposition!

But let us analyze the quoted statement you made. Effectively, you were saying: if any thought (of mine or any other) is expressible in language then that thought is not original. So now I ask, what about the theory of relativity or the theory of gravitation or so many such other thoughts which were expressed very precisely in language, are they on account of being expressible not original as well?! Myself, I do not think like that.

Anyway, I have understood that comment of yours as a joke as you winked afterwards. If not then it is still quite funny! ;)
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TimeSeeker
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by TimeSeeker » Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:07 am

Averroes wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:49 am
However, there is no problem in stating tautological propositions as they are always true. For example, all definitions are tautologies, and we all have to start with these in whatever field of study we might be in!
Not sure where you study, but in my field (real-world problem solving) step 1 is conceptualising the problem. Step 2 is asking why it is a problem. And MAYBE step 3 is defining the problem. Definitions/language are not important until you start the collaborative process.

Definitions set the scene/context - nothing else.

There are all sorts of challenges to be overcome when bridging the is-ought gap...
Averroes wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:49 am
What is a thought?

Kant wrote:

Wittgenstein wrote:
You are getting hung up on metaphysics. Much like Kant and Wittgenstein. There are things that go on in my head which I cannot communicate to another human being. Nor do I want to.

If we absolutely must go to metaphysics - I am happy to use the patterns from computer science to give you a model of what goes on in my head.
Averroes wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:49 am
Essentially, both Kant and Wittgenstein were saying the same thing as quoted above even though they were speaking from different logical frameworks separated by about a century. Wittgenstein was speaking from the Fregean-Russellian logical framework and Kant was speaking from the Aristotelian logical framework. There are important differences between these logical frameworks. The Frege system is more powerful than the Aristotelian system. Modern logic is the logic developed by Frege and Russell. However, despite their differences, non of these logical frameworks made a thought a non-thought!
They were both trying to narrate metaphysics. I have no such need.

I am no friend of formalists like Frege and Russel either. I side with Brouwer and constructive logic. And if we have to go to formalism then I am reasonably happy with Type theory and Lambda calculus. For now.
Averroes wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:49 am
Can we think about something without having had direct experience of it?
Here is a simple example. Do you know how to count? Does the word/process of "counting" mean the same thing to both of us?
Apparently not: https://youtu.be/Cj4y0EUlU-Y
Averroes wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:49 am
But let us analyze the quoted statement you made. Effectively, you were saying: if any thought (of mine or any other) is expressible in language then that thought is not original. So now I ask, what about the theory of relativity or the theory of gravitation or so many such other thoughts which were expressed very precisely in language, are they on account of being expressible not original as well?! Myself, I do not think like that.
No. I didn't say that. You are abusing contraposition and the law of excluded middle (you Aristotelian you!). For what Einstein was able to communicate to us - imagine all the things that he wanted to but couldn't!

And so what I am saying is that if everything that you want to say can be expressed - none of these ideas are yours.
Averroes wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:49 am
I also have never seen a unicorn or a flying turtle or a living dinosaur. Is it possible for me to think about or entertain thoughts about unicorns, flying turtles and dinosaurs even if I have had no experience of them??
The concepts of unicorns, dinosaurs as flying turtles are already in the common body of knowledge so you have acquired the word AND concept from society.

To demonstratee: try and Imagine a grobmunf. I saw one just 10 minutes ago.

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:13 pm

If and when one believes all thought/belief is through language concepts, then in order to avoid self-contradiction(incoherence) s/he must admit that prior to language there can be no such thing as thought/belief. Language concepts are existentially dependent upon language. If it is the case that all thinking is through language concepts then it would be impossible for thought/belief to exist without language.

However...

It takes quite a bit of justificatory groundwork to establish what we're looking to establish:Whether or not thought/belief is prior to language. This kind of endeavor requires being in the right frame of mind. The aim is to establish whether or not thought/belief can even be prior to language. Method matters most here. If some thought/belief is prior to language, then the above position is based upon a framework that is utterly inadequate for taking proper account of it.

If it is the case that some thought and belief exist in their entirety prior to language, then it must also be the case that non-linguistic thought/belief exist(s) independently of language concepts. Because that is the case, it makes no sense whatsoever to say that non linguistic belief must be through language(concepts). Non linguistic creatures have no language. If they have thought/belief without language, then it is either the case that there can indeed be thought/belief without language or it is the case that language concepts are prior to language. If the latter is true, then "language concept" is a misnomer... an unadulterated bit of meaningless nonsense.

So...

It may be best to begin by granting the archaic notions of "thought" and "belief" and see where that path ends up. We have to start somewhere. Let's look at each and every report/account/example/candidate of thought/belief that we have at our disposal and see what they all have in common. See if that approach helps us to figure out whether or not ir is even possible for thought/belief to be prior to language.

They all consist of propositions, statements, or some such other linguistic expression/utterance. They are each meaningful to the thinker/believer. They each presuppose truth(as correspondence) somewhere along the line. So, we're faced with the following considerations...


1.)If it is the case that i all thought/belief consists of propositions, and ii some thought/belief is prior to language, then it only follows that some propositions are prior to language.

2.)If it is the case that i no propositions are prior to language, and ii all thought/belief consists of propositions, then it only follows that no thought/belief is prior to language.


I argue that there are no propositions prior to language, and that(for coherency's sake) non linguistic thought/belief cannot consist of propositions, for propositions are existentially dependent upon language, and non-linguistic thought/belief(all thought/belief that is prior to language is non-linguistic) cannot be... lest we render our discovery process and the notion of non-linguistic thought/belief incoherent. For these reasons, neither of the above arguments are acceptable for they are quite simply incapable of taking proper account of thought/belief that is prior to language.

Anyone who follows either of those lines of reasoning is hamstrung by the conceptual scheme itself. The first leads one to say that propositions are prior to language, and the second leads one to say that no language-less creature thinks/believes anything at all. Witt was hamstrung by the first. He was the fly in the bottle.

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:14 am

There is still more work to be done, there is still more that can be gleaned from accepting the conventional archaic notion of "thought".

If all thought consists of propositions and all propositions consist of predication, then all thought consists of the same. If all thought consists of predication and all predication consists of drawing correlations between different things, then all thought consists of the same.

This, my friends, gets us 'beneath' language...

If all thought consists of correlations and some correlations are prior to language, then some thought is prior to language.

In addition, it is an adequate scaffolding... a framework that is... that is more than capable of explaining the evolution of thought, and it doesn't completely discount the historical notion. Rather, it situates it where it belongs in the evolutionary progression...
Last edited by creativesoul on Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:26 am

...if everything that you want to say can be expressed - none of these ideas are yours.
That's suspect...

It does not follow from the fact that one can express everything that they want to say, that they express nothing original. While we most certainly are thrown into a world that is already full of meaningful language, using a pre-existing language does not disable one from using language to talk about the same things just a bit differently.

Novelty shows up throughout human history. Novel correlation(s)...

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:32 am

I was challenging the proposition: “Not all thinking is through language concepts,” and I think that I have shown clearly from different perspectives that that was a contradictory statement.
No such thing has been shown aside from the fact that we're working from different taxonomies, conceptual schemes, linguistic frameworks, or whatever else one may call the language one uses. It's odd to claim victory without ever engaging the opponent. Odd indeed.

A notion of "thought" that contradicts outdated historical notions is not necessarily contradictory in any other way. Contradicting convention is not grounds - in and of itself - for disapproval.

Each and every paradigm shift throughout human history began precisely in that way. By my lights, the notion I argue for and from completely exhausts the conventional notion... and then some.

TimeSeeker
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by TimeSeeker » Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:48 am

creativesoul wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:26 am
...if everything that you want to say can be expressed - none of these ideas are yours.
That's suspect...

It does not follow from the fact that one can express everything that they want to say, that they express nothing original. While we most certainly are thrown into a world that is already full of meaningful language, using a pre-existing language does not disable one from using language to talk about the same things just a bit differently.

Novelty shows up throughout human history. Novel correlation(s)...
Talking about the same thing just different is a CHOICE. You have CHOSEN to invent new language to talk about something you already had language for.

What I am talking about is wanting to say something and not having the language to say it.
Therefore not having the CHOICE to say it! Because you have to INVENT the language.

Then teach this new meaning to others.

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:05 am

TimeSeeker wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:48 am
creativesoul wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:26 am
...if everything that you want to say can be expressed - none of these ideas are yours.
That's suspect...

It does not follow from the fact that one can express everything that they want to say, that they express nothing original. While we most certainly are thrown into a world that is already full of meaningful language, using a pre-existing language does not disable one from using language to talk about the same things just a bit differently.

Novelty shows up throughout human history. Novel correlation(s)...
Talking about the same thing just different is a CHOICE. You have CHOSEN to invent new language to talk about something you already had language for.

What I am talking about is wanting to say something and not having the language to say it.
Therefore not having the CHOICE to say it! Because you have to INVENT the language.

Then teach this new meaning to others.
This looks remarkably confusing...

Inventing language allows expression. Therefore, it is not true that if everything that you want to say can be expressed - none of these ideas are yours.

TimeSeeker
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by TimeSeeker » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:23 am

creativesoul wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:05 am
Inventing language allows expression.
No it doesn't. You have absolutely no idea what I mean when I say "Lets go looking for grobmunf".

Or when I say "Ughen bughen splaft".

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:26 am

TimeSeeker wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:23 am
creativesoul wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:05 am
Inventing language allows expression.
No it doesn't. You have absolutely no idea what I mean when I say "Lets go looking for grobmunf".

Or when I say "Ughen bughen splaft".
Are you saying that neither of those utterances are expressions of your thought/belief?

TimeSeeker
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by TimeSeeker » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:26 am

creativesoul wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:26 am
Are you saying that neither of those utterances are expressions of your thought/belief?
Are they? How do I tell? How do you tell?

Does it fit your criteria for "meaningful language" if only one person knows the meaning?
Last edited by TimeSeeker on Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:29 am

TimeSeeker wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:26 am
creativesoul wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:26 am
Are you saying that neither of those utterances are expressions of your thought/belief?
Are they? How do I tell? How do you tell?
Stop with the bullshit gamesmanship...

Either you invented the language to say what you wanted to say, or what you've just put into quotation marks was nothing but gibberish. Gibberish is not language.

TimeSeeker
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by TimeSeeker » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:29 am

creativesoul wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:29 am
TimeSeeker wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:26 am
creativesoul wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:26 am
Are you saying that neither of those utterances are expressions of your thought/belief?
Are they? How do I tell? How do you tell?
Stop with the bullshit gamesmanship...

Either you invented the language to say what you wanted to say, or what you've just put into quotation marks was nothing but gibberish. Gibberish is not language.
Does it fit your criteria for "meaningful language" if only one person knows the meaning?

What is language?

Did you understand what I mean?

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