Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

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Sculptor
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Sculptor » Fri Apr 17, 2020 10:42 am

Averroes wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 4:12 am
Sculptor wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 10:18 pm
Averroes wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:15 pm


How do you know? Were you there when he died?
At his bedside.
Prove it.
I don't have to. I know it. I do not care for you to have that proof.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by RCSaunders » Fri Apr 17, 2020 5:53 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:37 pm
Hegel wrote:Is It Possible To Think Without Language?
Yes. I often think non-linguistically
Can you provide an example? I suspect what you call thinking is what others call day dreaming, imagining, and feeling.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by RCSaunders » Fri Apr 17, 2020 5:55 pm

Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:25 am
Finally take a look at any pre-talking human baby and tell me it can't think.
It can't think!

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by RCSaunders » Fri Apr 17, 2020 6:11 pm

Belinda wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:35 pm
I.m late to this discussion so I reply to the OP.

You cannot think conceptually without language(or some symbolic system), for to think conceptually is to think about something that is not available to immediate sensory perception.
I read through this whole thread and you are the only one who has any idea what thinking or language are.

The only correction I would make is that everything one thinks about is in terms of concepts, even those things which are available to immediate perception.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by NEW » Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:45 pm

my 2 cents here,
Is It Possible To Think Without Language?
yes
is the languages a thinking tool or a Communication tool?
It seems to be more a converter / translation tool, just like numbers with mathematics,

never the real deal, unfortunately, but more a rough converter in an attempt towards expression and/or communicate with others.

I often describe it with converting a .wav file to .mp3, with plenty of loss of info during that conversion, unfortunately ...

But on a good note; that's why the existence of other disciplines, for instance art, although I find the same trouble there at times, ...

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by gaffo » Sat May 09, 2020 2:29 am

NEW wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:45 pm
my 2 cents here,
Is It Possible To Think Without Language?
yes
is the languages a thinking tool or a Communication tool?
It seems to be more a converter / translation tool, just like numbers with mathematics,

never the real deal, unfortunately, but more a rough converter in an attempt towards expression and/or communicate with others.

I often describe it with converting a .wav file to .mp3, with plenty of loss of info during that conversion, unfortunately ...

But on a good note; that's why the existence of other disciplines, for instance art, although I find the same trouble there at times, ...
agreed, smart post.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by attofishpi » Mon May 11, 2020 2:20 am

RCSaunders wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 5:55 pm
Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:25 am
Finally take a look at any pre-talking human baby and tell me it can't think.
It can't think!
Hmm, I wonder what it is doing in there?

So what we are saying here RC - is that once words are 'input' to the child it gradually attaches those words to what it is experiencing of reality, and thus begins its development to think?

I often wonder how my dog 'thinks' - it's clearly very intelligent by way of comparison most other dogs, and it has an 'understanding' of some commands.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by AlexW » Mon May 11, 2020 5:55 am

Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Language is required to think conceptually.
To simply recall flashes/parts of a direct experience language is not required - I am not sure if these flashes/non-language based memories may be called thinking though...
If we define "thinking" as: "actively forming connected ideas/concepts" then language is required - no language, no concept, no idea.

Is the languages a thinking tool or a Communication tool?

It is a tool to label (and connect) patterns extracted from direct experience into language based, conceptual structures.
Of course it is a communication tool, but it is also more than just that. It is a tool to name (and as such: create) things, to structure and order things into ever large groups of more and more things (an object's attributes are also things) - it is the foundation of every belief, judgement, definition, limitation, separation and boundary.
But, and this is important: it only creates the idea/concept of such limitations and attributes. It cannot touch or change reality - this is why language can also be very misleading. It has the power to point at recognised patterns (so called "things"), it puts them into relation to other such patterns and thus creates separation where, in reality, none can actually be found.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by RCSaunders » Mon May 11, 2020 2:10 pm

attofishpi wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 2:20 am
RCSaunders wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 5:55 pm
Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:25 am
Finally take a look at any pre-talking human baby and tell me it can't think.
It can't think!
Hmm, I wonder what it is doing in there?

So what we are saying here RC - is that once words are 'input' to the child it gradually attaches those words to what it is experiencing of reality, and thus begins its development to think?

I often wonder how my dog 'thinks' - it's clearly very intelligent by way of comparison most other dogs, and it has an 'understanding' of some commands.
When speaking colloquially we often refer to just anything that goes on in our consciousess as, "thinking." Nostalgia, feelings, day-dreams, imagination are all called thinking, but when discussing the nature of thinking as it relates to knowledge in epistemology, that loose sort of meaning is probably a mistake. The following is from one of my articles on epistemology:
The word knowledge is used to identify many different concepts, such as developed skills and abilities (he knows how to drive, she knows how to type, he knows how to play the piano), things one has experienced (I know what cinnamon tastes like) or is acquainted with (he knows where the library is) or even for things animals can do (Rex knows his way home).

Knowledge, in epistemology, refers only to the kind of knowledge possible to human beings, knowledge held by means of language. Language is a system of symbols called words which stand for concepts.

Knowing a language is not just being able to respond to a few sounds, signs, or symbols. Knowing a language means capable of forming, speaking, writing and understanding complete sentences. Knowing a language means being able to think, read, write, ask questions, and understand verbal explanations in that language.

The primary purpose of language is to gain and hold knowledge and to use that language to think, and make choices. A secondary derivative purpose of language is communication.
That description of knowledge is the foundation of the epistemological view that thinking requires language. Knowledge is all there is to think about and all there is to think with.

No doubt your dog can respond to certain signs (your commands for example), and learn (it's called conditioning) and make decisions, but not on the basis of reason. Until your dog can explain to you why it made a choice it made, your dog cannot think.
Last edited by RCSaunders on Tue May 12, 2020 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by attofishpi » Tue May 12, 2020 5:23 am

Thanks, always keen to learn. :D

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Belinda » Tue May 12, 2020 8:33 am

RCSaunders wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 2:10 pm
attofishpi wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 2:20 am
RCSaunders wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 5:55 pm

It can't think!
Hmm, I wonder what it is doing in there?

So what we are saying here RC - is that once words are 'input' to the child it gradually attaches those words to what it is experiencing of reality, and thus begins its development to think?

I often wonder how my dog 'thinks' - it's clearly very intelligent by way of comparison most other dogs, and it has an 'understanding' of some commands.
When speaking colloquially we often refer to just anything that goes on in our consciousess as, "thinking." Nostalia, feelings, day-dreams, imagination are all called thinking, but when discussing the nature of thinking as it relates to knowledge in epistemology, that loose sort of meaning is probably a mistake. The following is from one of my articles on epistemology:
The word knowledge is used to identify many different concepts, such as developed skills and abilities (he knows how to drive, she knows how to type, he knows how to play the piano), things one has experienced (I know what cinnamon tastes like) or is acquainted with (he knows where the library is) or even for things animals can do (Rex knows his way home).

Knowledge, in epistemology, refers only to the kind of knowledge possible to human beings, knowledge held by means of language. Language is a system of symbols called words which stand for concepts.

Knowing a language is not just being able to respond to a few sounds, signs, or symbols. Knowing a language means capable of forming, speaking, writing and understanding complete sentences. Knowing a language means being able to think, read, write, ask questions, and understand verbal explanations in that language.

The primary purpose of language is to gain and hold knowledge and to use that language to think, and make choices. A secondary derivative purpose of language is communication.
That description of knowledge is the foundation of the epistemological view the thinking requires language. Knowledge is all there is to think about and all there is to think with.

No doubt your dog can respond to certain signs (your commands for example), and learn (it's called conditioning) an make decisions, but not on the basis of reason. Until your dog can explain to you why it made a choice it made, your dog cannot think.
I agree with most of this from RC Saunders but RC Saunders might think about clearing his language of the concept of purpose, as in "The primary purpose of language is to gain and hold knowledge and to use that language to think, and make choices. A secondary derivative purpose of language is communication".

Final cause is not respectable sort of cause as it unjustifiably presupposes the existence of causal agency .

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by RCSaunders » Tue May 12, 2020 4:49 pm

Belinda wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 8:33 am
I agree with most of this from RC Saunders but RC Saunders might think about clearing his language of the concept of purpose, as in "The primary purpose of language is to gain and hold knowledge and to use that language to think, and make choices. A secondary derivative purpose of language is communication".

Final cause is not respectable sort of cause as it unjustifiably presupposes the existence of causal agency.
I did not mean, "purpose," in a teleological sense, only in a utilitarian sense, like the purpose of a hammer (to pound things) or a saw (to cut things). Language is, after all, a human invented, "tool," so the agent determining its purpose is a human being.

I quite agree with your point, however. If you think my language can be misconstrued to imply some causal agent or mystic purpose for language, you are quite right. Would, "The primary function of language is to gain and hold knowledge and to use that language to think, and make choices," be better?

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by RCSaunders » Tue May 12, 2020 4:58 pm

AlexW wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 5:55 am
Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Language is required to think conceptually.
To simply recall flashes/parts of a direct experience language is not required - I am not sure if these flashes/non-language based memories may be called thinking though...
If we define "thinking" as: "actively forming connected ideas/concepts" then language is required - no language, no concept, no idea.

Is the languages a thinking tool or a Communication tool?

It is a tool to label (and connect) patterns extracted from direct experience into language based, conceptual structures.
Of course it is a communication tool, but it is also more than just that. It is a tool to name (and as such: create) things, to structure and order things into ever large groups of more and more things (an object's attributes are also things) - it is the foundation of every belief, judgement, definition, limitation, separation and boundary.
But, and this is important: it only creates the idea/concept of such limitations and attributes. It cannot touch or change reality - this is why language can also be very misleading. It has the power to point at recognised patterns (so called "things"), it puts them into relation to other such patterns and thus creates separation where, in reality, none can actually be found.
Most of what you wrote seems correct, but I cannot imagine what this is even supposed to mean:
It [language] has the power to point at recognised patterns (so called "things"), it puts them into relation to other such patterns and thus creates separation where, in reality, none can actually be found.
Perhaps you could explain.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by AlexW » Wed May 13, 2020 12:34 am

RCSaunders wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 4:58 pm
I cannot imagine what this is even supposed to mean:
It [language] has the power to point at recognised patterns (so called "things"), it puts them into relation to other such patterns and thus creates separation where, in reality, none can actually be found.

Perhaps you could explain.
Ok, will try to explain in a different way:
If you look at the room, the scenery around you, you essentially see colours, they seem to be arranged in certain shapes, most if not all of these shapes you have learned to identify as objects. These objects have a name, certain attributes, they are in a certain relation to other objects in the visual field (e.g. a white cup of tea sits on a brown, timber desk).
The patterns that have been recognised are basically only color - not more and not less. The pattern itself has no name, no attributes, no information about its relative positioning compared to other objects - all these datums are added on via thought, via conceptual and, as such, language based thinking.
No conceptual thought means no named object, no attributes, no relativity, no boundaries, no separation.
"Reality" - the direct experience of seeing - contains not the slightest information about separation, all it contains are colours, and, just like on a cinema screen, a change from one color to another (which we later on identify as the border between separate objects) does not cut the screen, it doesn't actually separate one thing from all the other things - it is only our language based, relativistic interpretation that creates the illusion of separation (of reality being made up of a huge collection of separate things).

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by RCSaunders » Wed May 13, 2020 1:26 am

AlexW wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 12:34 am
RCSaunders wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 4:58 pm
I cannot imagine what this is even supposed to mean:
It [language] has the power to point at recognised patterns (so called "things"), it puts them into relation to other such patterns and thus creates separation where, in reality, none can actually be found.

Perhaps you could explain.
Ok, will try to explain in a different way:
If you look at the room, the scenery around you, you essentially see colours, they seem to be arranged in certain shapes, most if not all of these shapes you have learned to identify as objects. These objects have a name, certain attributes, they are in a certain relation to other objects in the visual field (e.g. a white cup of tea sits on a brown, timber desk).
The patterns that have been recognised are basically only color - not more and not less. The pattern itself has no name, no attributes, no information about its relative positioning compared to other objects - all these datums are added on via thought, via conceptual and, as such, language based thinking.
No conceptual thought means no named object, no attributes, no relativity, no boundaries, no separation.
"Reality" - the direct experience of seeing - contains not the slightest information about separation, all it contains are colours, and, just like on a cinema screen, a change from one color to another (which we later on identify as the border between separate objects) does not cut the screen, it doesn't actually separate one thing from all the other things - it is only our language based, relativistic interpretation that creates the illusion of separation (of reality being made up of a huge collection of separate things).
You said:
AlexW wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 12:34 am
you essentially see colours, ...
More than one?
AlexW wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 12:34 am
... they seem to be arranged in certain shapes ...
More than one?

How can there be more than one color or more than one shape if they have no attributes? How can you tell them apart, if every color is the same as every other color, or if every shape is the same as every other shape? If there were no boundaries or separation they would all be in the same place with no way to observe there is more than one color or shape.

You said, "If you look at the room, the scenery around you, you essentially see colours, they seem to be arranged in certain shapes," but if what you say about there being no attributes, relationships, or boundaries, etc. were true, you could not see colors or shapes. You would see nothing or only an undifferentiated grey, perhaps.

I hope you see the contradiction. The mistake is both ontological and epistemological.

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