## Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

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

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

AlexW wrote: Mon May 25, 2020 1:29 pm I am trying to describe infinity as an infinite recursion...
Infinity is an infinite thing of any kind.

All the same, infinity may be described as an infinite progression.
Skepdick
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### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

commonsense wrote: Sun May 31, 2020 1:07 pm Infinity is an infinite thing of any kind.

All the same, infinity may be described as an infinite progression.
The difference between these two perspectives lies in the concept of Kolmogorov complexity.

I can describe some infinities in closed form using recursion.
I can't describe any infinity in a closed form as an infinite progression.

Here is the shortest description of the integers I can think of:

Code: Select all

``````Integers = lambda x=0: Integers(x+1)
Integers()
``````
commonsense
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### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Skepdick wrote: Sun May 31, 2020 1:25 pm
commonsense wrote: Sun May 31, 2020 1:07 pm Infinity is an infinite thing of any kind.

All the same, infinity may be described as an infinite progression.
The difference between these two perspectives lies in the concept of Kolmogorov complexity.

I can describe some infinities in closed form using recursion.
I can't describe any infinity in a closed form as an infinite progression.
I didn’t realize that infinity is a closed entity.
Skepdick
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### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

commonsense wrote: Sun May 31, 2020 1:32 pm I didn’t realize that infinity is a closed entity.
Infinity isn't. The description of something infinite can be.

That's why we can talk about it.

The description is a compression scheme.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_compression
Skepdick
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### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

commonsense wrote: Sun May 31, 2020 1:32 pm I didn’t realize that infinity is a closed entity.
It should be kinda intuitive anyway.

The word "infinity" is finite - it's a closed form representation of infinity itself .

It must be a closed from or you wouldn't be able to transmit that idea to me. The transmission would take infinitely long.
commonsense
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### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Skepdick wrote: Sun May 31, 2020 1:39 pm
commonsense wrote: Sun May 31, 2020 1:32 pm I didn’t realize that infinity is a closed entity.
It should be kinda intuitive anyway.

The word "infinity" is finite - it's a closed form representation of infinity itself .

It must be a closed from or you wouldn't be able to transmit that idea to me. The transmission would take infinitely long.
I see. Thanks.
AlexW
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### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Skepdick wrote: Sun May 31, 2020 1:33 pm Infinity isn't. The description of something infinite can be.

That's why we can talk about it.

The description is a compression scheme.
Interesting way of looking at it...
Yes, I guess description is something like a "lossy compression" scheme, the only issue being that the compression (the description of infinity) lacks "trustworthy" input, it has no properly defined source of raw data (if it had, it would be infinite and thus not computable) besides the result from other processes of compression (interpretations) stemming from the compression of pattern matched ("randomly" extracted) parts of infinity - what we call: separate objects and things - rendering this compression the victim of a very "dodgy" set of input data.
Skepdick
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### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

AlexW wrote: Mon Jun 01, 2020 2:02 am Interesting way of looking at it...
Yes, I guess description is something like a "lossy compression" scheme, the only issue being that the compression (the description of infinity) lacks "trustworthy" input, it has no properly defined source of raw data (if it had, it would be infinite and thus not computable)
Your input could be infinite and trustworthy, it's your "computer" that has finite memory.

So you stop observing (terminate the data stream), you identify the pattern in the data and you rely on induction.

Time is infinite. You didn't have to sample all of it to induce it.
AlexW wrote: Mon Jun 01, 2020 2:02 am besides the result from other processes of compression (interpretations) stemming from the compression of pattern matched ("randomly" extracted) parts of infinity - what we call: separate objects and things - rendering this compression the victim of a very "dodgy" set of input data.
Which is why you need a mechanism to uncompress things and compare raw data (as much as lossy compression allows for that). The compression schemes (interpretations) are not always (if ever?) compatible.

Alas. The Universe is our data source and language is our compression scheme.
AlexW
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### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Skepdick wrote: Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:40 am So you stop observing (terminate the data stream), you identify the pattern in the data and you rely on induction.
Yes... thats how we identify all objects/things.
Skepdick wrote: Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:40 am The compression schemes (interpretations) are not always (if ever?) compatible.

Alas. The Universe is our data source and language is our compression scheme.
The compression schemes - language - are not even the biggest problem, its all the different meanings that our interpretations evoke/carry and, maybe to a lesser degree, the "algorithm" used for pattern matching/recognition, which is, as I see it, mostly based on the experimental science of the time and age (and to a much lesser degree on actual direct experience).
Skepdick
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### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

AlexW wrote: Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:07 am The compression schemes - language - are not even the biggest problem, its all the different meanings that our interpretations evoke/carry and, maybe to a lesser degree, the "algorithm" used for pattern matching/recognition, which is, as I see it, mostly based on the experimental science of the time and age (and to a much lesser degree on actual direct experience).
I don't see it that way.

Your language when interpreted by you should invoke exactly the meaning you intend and expect it to invoke. Because you understand your own compression/decompression scheme. In totality the meaning of your language is coherent to you.

But it is a lossy compression scheme, and so you have necessarily omitted something in your representation.

If we make different choices about what to omit and what to preserve - there's already a source of entropy. Your language will encode different things to mine.

One direct example: I recognise Mathematics as a language, some people don't. So we obviously represent "languages" differently.
But, of course, all of that is deeply rooted in my conceptual framework of what a "language recognizer" is.
AlexW
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### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Skepdick wrote: Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:23 am Your language when interpreted by you should invoke exactly the meaning you intend and expect it to invoke. Because you understand your own compression/decompression scheme. In totality the meaning of your language is coherent to you.
Well, yes, but language is not only a tool for compressing reality into a lossy, relativistic description, it is foremost a tool for inter-personal communication - this is where things start falling apart as the meaning invoked within the receiver is pretty much always different to the one that arises within your own conceptual framework.
This of course leads to all sorts of misunderstandings (and sometimes even to war?)...
Skepdick wrote: Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:23 am One direct example: I recognise Mathematics as a language
Me too.
Skepdick
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### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

AlexW wrote: Tue Jun 02, 2020 1:07 am Well, yes, but language is not only a tool for compressing reality into a lossy, relativistic description, it is foremost a tool for inter-personal communication - this is where things start falling apart as the meaning invoked within the receiver is pretty much always different to the one that arises within your own conceptual framework.
This of course leads to all sorts of misunderstandings (and sometimes even to war?)...
To tackle the thread topic directly - humans cannot think without language.

To take away your words is to take away your thoughts, memories and experiences - your entire identity.
Sadly, that's usually what effective communication requires - giving up some of you so you can learn about some of me.
Navigating ambiguity - taking and yielding control.

It requires mutual trust and it is an absolutely cooperative affair - if it's not cooperative, it's not communication.

It's part of my (metaphorical) DNA to believe that the root of all misunderstandings is miscommunication, and it's also part of my toolbox to reconcile discordant views. I know how language/communication works and I am not afraid of giving up my identity/ego - it helps me easily adopt other perspectives and translate between different mental languages.

I sure "lost myself" and I didn't mind - that thought terrifies most people.

If you watch most interactions on this forum - it's all posturing/adversarial interaction. Even the language is about "attacking" and "defending" positions.

It's not communication. It's aggression under the pretence of intellectualism.
AlexW
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### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Yes, I fully agree with all that you just said.
Skepdick wrote: Tue Jun 02, 2020 1:30 am To take away your words is to take away your thoughts, memories and experiences - your entire identity.
Agree.
But even without language "you" still are... you don't evaporate into thin air (yes, the ego does, but not "you")
Skepdick wrote: Tue Jun 02, 2020 1:30 am I know how language/communication works and I am not afraid of giving up my identity/ego - it helps me translate between different mental languages.

That thought terrifies most people.
Yes, but I don't think they actually know that they are afraid of giving it up - they (their egos) are actually covering it with anger. An ego that is angry looks and feels strong, an ego that is afraid seems fragile and in danger to be harmed, even damaged beyond repair...
Skepdick wrote: Tue Jun 02, 2020 1:30 am If you watch most interactions on this forum - it's all posturing/adversarial interaction. Even the language is about "attacking" and "defending" positions.

It's not communication. It's aggression under the pretence of intellectualism.
True. I guess, the reason for this behaviour is the same - better angry and rude than open and fragile...

Now that we have pinpointed the problem... lets come up with a solution to 1) make this problem visible (I think visibility/seeing the issue, is the first step to any modification) and 2) ... lets wait and see if people actually are willing to look into 1)
Belinda
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### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

I'd take a simple everyday example of how language = symbolic system.
E.g. A typical and not unusual roadside sign.

"DANGER FALLING ROCKS" printed in red letters near a little line drawing of rocks tumbling down a cliff.

Symbols are 1.Use of red for danger contrasted with the white background.

2. The circular form of the signboard which signals this to be official road signage.

3. Absence of any actual falling rocks or cliff face as pictured so the symbols are significantly possible abstractions from previous experiences.

Symbols are abstracted from significantly possible predictions, and subjective memories, and depend on social reality as mediated by language. You will find poets, artists, and specialised academics in the leading outposts of social reality and they often frame it.

Signs like our road sign also depend on social reality, and signs include the first swallow of Spring, the rising breeze that heralds rain, wilting plants, animal hypothermia or raised blood pressure. Unlike our road sign (and invented mathematical symbols) none of these signs is deliberate. A deliberate sign like our road sign is properly called a signal. The mental components of signals, signs, and symbols all abstracted from people's mental furniture which is largely socially constructed.
Sculptor
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### Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Here's another aspect to this that I did not believe at first until to saw the interview.
Some people do not have an internal dialogue.!!

For myself I carry on without one most of the time, and then for some specific reason I have a word with myself. It seems others are not capable of doing this.
This looks like it might be advantageous when reading. I notice that I read much more quickly if I do not think out the words, and slower when I read "out loud" in my head. For really good books I tend to chose the slow "verbal" method to maximise enjoyment, but for information based texts tend to read un-verbally.

Anyhow take a look at the link and the video. I was surprised to learn this.

https://insidemymind.me/2020/01/28/toda ... 6JSSleWzA/