Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

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TimeSeeker
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by TimeSeeker » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:52 pm

creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:43 pm
That's a good point to make. It is indeed the ability to draw correlations that determines whether or not any particular candidate has the ability to form and/or have thought/belief. On my view, that line cannot be arbitrarily drawn because we're not the ones drawing it. Akin to the reasoning behind my arriving at drawing correlations as thought/belief is the reasoning behind determining what sorts of creatures have what it takes to draw correlations. Physiological sensory perception replete with the ability to draw spatiotemporal distinction between different things seems to be a necessary element.
This is easily formalisable though. 1 distinction = 1 bit of information.

And so it does not have to be a "living thing" which draws the correlations. Which is why I asked if a simple, mechanical sorting machine meets your criteria? Again. because I don't think there is anything magical about perception. It's a measurement apparatus.
Last edited by TimeSeeker on Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:53 pm

TimeSeeker wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:32 pm
creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:00 pm
You're conflating being in a causal relationship with having the ability to draw correlations.
No I am not.
Actually you were. When we say that quantum states correlate we're not talking about the quantum particles' ability to draw correlations. We're talking about the fact that the two are in a causal relationship or at least in some repeatable relation.
Last edited by creativesoul on Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:54 pm

Belinda wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:49 pm
creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:50 pm
Belinda wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:10 pm
Language is one of several symbolic media of communication. It's impossible to think as humans think without the ability to symbolise categories(frames, models, heuristics).
Yes, as humans we think in quite complex ways. However, if all of these ways include drawing correlations between different things, and drawing correlations between different things does not require language but still counts as a rudimentary form of thinking, then we arrive at an outline that serves as a continuum of complexity with the simplest kinds of thought on the one end and the most complex on the other.
Yes, I can see that it's a continuum.However it has been said that humans have evolved as they have, and differently from other animals, because unlike other animals,human culture affects genetics. Not, I stress, in a Lamarkian way but slowly like Darwinian evolution.
Well, I do work from a framework of methodological naturalism.

TimeSeeker
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by TimeSeeker » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:56 pm

creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:53 pm
No I am not.
Actually you were. When we say that quantum states correlate we're not talking about the quantum particles' ability to draw correlations. We're talking about the fact that the two are in a causal relationship.
[/quote]
It's debatable whether they are in a causal relationship. I am only happy to say that their states are correlated.

If you think there's a causal relationship there then you necessarily reject the speed of light (causality) as being constant.

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:57 pm

TimeSeeker wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:52 pm
creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:43 pm
That's a good point to make. It is indeed the ability to draw correlations that determines whether or not any particular candidate has the ability to form and/or have thought/belief. On my view, that line cannot be arbitrarily drawn because we're not the ones drawing it. Akin to the reasoning behind my arriving at drawing correlations as thought/belief is the reasoning behind determining what sorts of creatures have what it takes to draw correlations. Physiological sensory perception replete with the ability to draw spatiotemporal distinction between different things seems to be a necessary element.
This is easily formalisable though. 1 distinction = 1 bit of information.

And so it does not have to be a "living thing" which draws the correlations. Which is why I asked if a simple, mechanical sorting machine meets your criteria? Again. because I don't think there is anything magical about perception. It's a measurement apparatus.
I do not think that there is anything magical about physiological sensory perception either, but it is biological.

TimeSeeker
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by TimeSeeker » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:58 pm

In fact, I would go as far as to say that if you take a perspective of the "objective observer" who sees all then the whole universe is one. unity.
There is no individuation possible there. It's a complete system.

To break it down into "parts" IS to display subjective values.

TimeSeeker
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by TimeSeeker » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:59 pm

creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:57 pm
I do not think that there is anything magical about physiological sensory perception either, but it is biological.
Sure. Abiogenesis.

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:00 pm

TimeSeeker wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:56 pm
creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:53 pm
No I am not.
Actually you were. When we say that quantum states correlate we're not talking about the quantum particles' ability to draw correlations. We're talking about the fact that the two are in a causal relationship.
TimeSeeker wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:56 pm
It's debatable whether they are in a causal relationship. I am only happy to say that their states are correlated.

If you think there's a causal relationship there then you necessarily reject the speed of light (causality) as being constant.
Well I do not delve too far into QM for it is math beyond my comprehension. The interpretations, however, are philosophy. I do think that we've not rightly understood light itself...
Last edited by creativesoul on Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:02 pm

TimeSeeker wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:58 pm
In fact, I would go as far as to say that if you take a perspective of the "objective observer" who sees all then the whole universe is one. unity.
There is no individuation possible there. It's a complete system.

To break it down into "parts" IS to display subjective values.
I avoid the historical dichotomies which are inherently incapable of taking account of that which consist of both, and is thus... neither; the objective/subjective dichotomy being one of several...

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:19 pm

TimeSeeker wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:52 pm
creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:43 pm
That's a good point to make. It is indeed the ability to draw correlations that determines whether or not any particular candidate has the ability to form and/or have thought/belief. On my view, that line cannot be arbitrarily drawn because we're not the ones drawing it. Akin to the reasoning behind my arriving at drawing correlations as thought/belief is the reasoning behind determining what sorts of creatures have what it takes to draw correlations. Physiological sensory perception replete with the ability to draw spatiotemporal distinction between different things seems to be a necessary element.
This is easily formalisable though. 1 distinction = 1 bit of information.

And so it does not have to be a "living thing" which draws the correlations. Which is why I asked if a simple, mechanical sorting machine meets your criteria? Again. because I don't think there is anything magical about perception. It's a measurement apparatus.
I would reject the method. One thing that all uncontentious examples of thought/belief have in common is that they are formed/had by a biological creature.

TimeSeeker
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by TimeSeeker » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:21 pm

creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:19 pm
I would reject the method. One thing that all uncontentious examples of thought/belief have in common is that they are formed/had by a biological creature.
This sounds like special pleading. There is absolutely no reason to treat the mind as anything but a modular/mechanical system.

TimeSeeker
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by TimeSeeker » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:22 pm

creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:02 pm
I avoid the historical dichotomies which are inherently incapable of taking account of that which consist of both, and is thus... neither; the objective/subjective dichotomy being one of several...
I use the words like a systems engineer would. The distinction between open/closed systems and the distinction between observing a system from "outside" vs from the "inside".

It's a useful thinking tool. A vantage point for thought experiments. Beyond that I don't care about "objectivity".

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:43 pm

TimeSeeker wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:21 pm
creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:19 pm
I would reject the method. One thing that all uncontentious examples of thought/belief have in common is that they are formed/had by a biological creature.
This sounds like special pleading.


I would be special pleading if some candidate or other met the criterion, but I refused to acknowledge that it was a case of thought/belief formation. That's not happening.



TimeSeeker wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:21 pm
...There is absolutely no reason to treat the mind as anything but a modular/mechanical system.
I avoid "mind" talk... ambiguous notions that conflate all sorts of different things...

The criterion for thought/belief isn't one that I created/invented and/or arbitrarily determined. It is one that I've discovered by virtue of observation and careful consideration of uncontentious known examples of thought/belief. The methodology is crucial. I've already explained it several times over throughout this thread.

There is no reason to posit any elemental constituent that is not a common denominator to all known examples of thought/belief.

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:45 pm

TimeSeeker wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:22 pm
creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:02 pm
I avoid the historical dichotomies which are inherently incapable of taking account of that which consist of both, and is thus... neither; the objective/subjective dichotomy being one of several...
I use the words like a systems engineer would. The distinction between open/closed systems and the distinction between observing a system from "outside" vs from the "inside".

It's a useful thinking tool. A vantage point for thought experiments. Beyond that I don't care about "objectivity".
Internal/external is yet another train wreck of phlosophy that is inherently incapable of taking account of that which consists in/of both and is thus... neither.

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

Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:09 pm

An earlier discussion between Terrapin and myself showed some problems with ambiguity in the OP question. It amounts to multiple meanings regarding what counts as being "without language". One can easily say that they think about all sorts of stuff, and because they never speak these thoughts out loud that they are thinking without language. That seems reasonable enough. However, it misses the point entirely. Being without language is not equivalent to thinking to one's self. Being without language is a state of existential affairs. Being without language is existing without language. Existing independently of language.

Can thought be what it is without language? Can this or that thought exist if it were the case that there was no language... ever?

These sorts of questions are not about whether one can think without speaking, they're about whether or not the thoughts themselves are existentially dependent upon language. Is the content of thought existentially dependent upon language? The question, by my lights, is about existential dependency, and elemental constituency.

What approach is best to answer these sorts of questions? Here's one...

If there is such a thing as non-linguistic thought/belief... if it is actually the case that animals without language can think and believe stuff, then it would not just be possible to think without language, it would be the case that some thought and belief were not existentially dependent upon language. If non-linguistic beasties think and believe then not all thought and belief consists of language. How do we determine, with the utmost possible certainty, that non-linguistic beasties can think?

Our understanding of what counts as thought/belief must be capable of comparing non-linguistic thought/belief with linguistic thought/belief. Otherwise, without comparing/contrasting the two, by what standard of measure are we claiming that the one is not the other?

So, it boils down to our first looking at what counts as linguistic thought/belief.

All language consists of predication. All predication consists of correlations. Not all correlation is predication. All thought/belief is meaningful to the thinking/believing creature. All meaning is attributed. All attribution of meaning is existentially dependent upon something to become sign/symbol, something to become significant/symbolized, and a creature capable of drawing correlation between them. All meaningful correlation is thought/belief formation. Some meaningful correlation is not existentially dependent upon predication.

Here we have strong ground to claim some thought/belief is not existentially dependent upon language. All thought/belief are what they are as a result of consisting of the same basic elemental constituents. The differences between 'kinds' of thought/belief are precisely the differences in the content of correlation.

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