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 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.

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:36 pm

All statements, assuming sincerity in speech, are statements that the speaker believes to be true. Truth is presupposed in thought/belief statements. The presupposition of truth inherent to all statements is the result of drawing a correlation between what the statement is saying about the way things are, and the way things are. When the truth of the statement is not presupposed, it is not thought/believed by the speaker. No presupposition of truth, no statement of thought/belief.

All statements are meaningful. All meaning consists of something to become sign/symbol, something to become significant/symbolized, and a creature capable of drawing correlations, associations, and/or otherwise connecting the two. All language is predication. All predication consists of meaningful correlation. All statements of thought/belief consist of meaningful correlation. So, at the very least, all this must somehow inform our task of setting out and/or discovering non-linguistic thought/belief.

Non-linguistic thought/belief must consist of correlation, presuppose it's own truth, and be meaningful to the thinking/believing creature.

All thought/belief consists of correlations. Drawing a correlation between things is existentially dependent upon a plurality of things and a creature capable of doing so. If thought and belief can be said to be formed and/or otherwise held/had by non linguistic beasties, then the beast is drawing a correlation between 'objects' of physiological sensory perception and/or itself. The itself portion is critical to understanding the evolutionary process of thought/belief.

Written history shows that human knowledge accrues complexity and there is no good reason to believe that thought/belief are any different. Since all thought and belief consists of correlations, non linguistic rudimentary thought/belief must consist of correlations drawn between things that exist in their entirety prior to becoming a part of the creature's thought/belief.

Atla
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Atla » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:51 pm

creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:36 pm
All statements, assuming sincerity in speech, are statements that the speaker believes to be true. Truth is presupposed in thought/belief statements. The presupposition of truth inherent to all statements is the result of drawing a correlation between what the statement is saying about the way things are, and the way things are. When the truth of the statement is not presupposed, it is not thought/believed by the speaker. No presupposition of truth, no statement of thought/belief.
What about people who have no concept of truth / no concept of things being a certain way?

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:52 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.
It is worth noting here that there are innumerable human thought/belief that have social constructs as a part of the correlation. This is part of what makes our thought/belief different in complexity. All social constructs are linguistic. Thus, all such thought/belief involving them are existentially dependent upon language.

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:55 pm

Atla wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:51 pm
creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:36 pm
All statements, assuming sincerity in speech, are statements that the speaker believes to be true. Truth is presupposed in thought/belief statements. The presupposition of truth inherent to all statements is the result of drawing a correlation between what the statement is saying about the way things are, and the way things are. When the truth of the statement is not presupposed, it is not thought/believed by the speaker. No presupposition of truth, no statement of thought/belief.
What about people who have no concept of truth / no concept of things being a certain way?
The presupposition of truth(as correspondence) does not require a conception of "truth". Things are the way they are regardless of whether or not someone has a concept of things being a certain way.

So... I'm not following. What about them?

creativesoul
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:59 pm

creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:55 pm
Atla wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:51 pm
creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:36 pm
All statements, assuming sincerity in speech, are statements that the speaker believes to be true. Truth is presupposed in thought/belief statements. The presupposition of truth inherent to all statements is the result of drawing a correlation between what the statement is saying about the way things are, and the way things are. When the truth of the statement is not presupposed, it is not thought/believed by the speaker. No presupposition of truth, no statement of thought/belief.
What about people who have no concept of truth / no concept of things being a certain way?
The presupposition of truth(as correspondence) does not require a conception of "truth". Things are the way they are regardless of whether or not someone has a concept of things being a certain way.

So... I'm not following. What about them?
Such people wouldn't make belief statements. Beyond that... I'm not sure what you're getting at.

Atla
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Atla » Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:08 pm

creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:59 pm
creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:55 pm
Atla wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:51 pm

What about people who have no concept of truth / no concept of things being a certain way?
The presupposition of truth(as correspondence) does not require a conception of "truth". Things are the way they are regardless of whether or not someone has a concept of things being a certain way.

So... I'm not following. What about them?
Such people wouldn't make belief statements. Beyond that... I'm not sure what you're getting at.
Well that's from the perspective of people who have a concept of truth / a concept of things being a certain way.

A person who lacks these will still make statements, maybe draw some correlations. But such a person will not understand what a presupposition of truth is, or what a belief is.

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 8:11 pm

Atla wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:08 pm
creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:59 pm
creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:55 pm


The presupposition of truth(as correspondence) does not require a conception of "truth". Things are the way they are regardless of whether or not someone has a concept of things being a certain way.

So... I'm not following. What about them?
Such people wouldn't make belief statements. Beyond that... I'm not sure what you're getting at.
Well that's from the perspective of people who have a concept of truth / a concept of things being a certain way.

A person who lacks these will still make statements, maybe draw some correlations. But such a person will not understand what a presupposition of truth is, or what a belief is.
Perhaps, but they will still form belief by virtue of drawing correlations. All correlation presupposes the existence of it's own content. Thus, they will still presuppose correspondence. They will still believe what they say.

Atla
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:27 am

Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Atla » Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:20 pm

creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:11 pm
Atla wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:08 pm
creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:59 pm


Such people wouldn't make belief statements. Beyond that... I'm not sure what you're getting at.
Well that's from the perspective of people who have a concept of truth / a concept of things being a certain way.

A person who lacks these will still make statements, maybe draw some correlations. But such a person will not understand what a presupposition of truth is, or what a belief is.
Perhaps, but they will still form belief by virtue of drawing correlations. All correlation presupposes the existence of it's own content. Thus, they will still presuppose correspondence. They will still believe what they say.
Well I've seen people with no concept of truth who neither believe nor disbelieve what they say; such a thing makes no sense to them. But it's certainly a minority.

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 8:27 pm

Atla wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:20 pm
creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:11 pm
Atla wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:08 pm

Well that's from the perspective of people who have a concept of truth / a concept of things being a certain way.

A person who lacks these will still make statements, maybe draw some correlations. But such a person will not understand what a presupposition of truth is, or what a belief is.
Perhaps, but they will still form belief by virtue of drawing correlations. All correlation presupposes the existence of it's own content. Thus, they will still presuppose correspondence. They will still believe what they say.
Well I've seen people with no concept of truth who neither believe nor disbelieve what they say; such a thing makes no sense to them. But it's certainly a minority.
Example?

Atla
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:27 am

Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Atla » Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:36 pm

creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:27 pm
Atla wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:20 pm
creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:11 pm


Perhaps, but they will still form belief by virtue of drawing correlations. All correlation presupposes the existence of it's own content. Thus, they will still presuppose correspondence. They will still believe what they say.
Well I've seen people with no concept of truth who neither believe nor disbelieve what they say; such a thing makes no sense to them. But it's certainly a minority.
Example?
I think this is fairly common among people with Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and psychopathy. Some of them strongly believe what they say though (in that moment, it's not about truth).

TimeSeeker
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by TimeSeeker » Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:40 pm

creativesoul wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:27 pm
Example?
Example: the notion of belief is non-empirical and so I have no idea what it really means beyond interpreting the question as "what do you think?".

The theory goes as follows: if beliefs influence your actions (e.g there's a causal relationship) then you ought to be able to infer people's beliefs from their actions. Principle of super-position.

And so - if there is any significant difference between a theist-belief and an atheist-non-belief there ought to be some testable/falsifiable difference in behaviour.

Got anything? I don't. It's just a game of labelling your metaphysical concepts differently.
There can be no difference anywhere that doesn't make a difference elsewhere—no difference in abstract truth that doesn't express itself in a difference in concrete fact and in conduct consequent upon that fact, imposed on somebody, somehow, somewhere and some-when.

--William James
Last edited by TimeSeeker on Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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