Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

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Belinda
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Belinda »

AlexW wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:48 pm Belinda, I haven’t used the word absolute, have I?
But there is the reality of direct experience- this moment here, now, minus all conceptual interpretations - which is, to me, nothing else but reality (I don’t know of any other reality, do you?)
Indeed yes there is direct experience without concepts. If you look at the workings of the spinal reflex arc you can see a prime example of this with precise anatomical ramifications. The reflex arc explains exactly how and when the conceptualisation kicks in.

But a knee jerk and similar is not thinking
AlexW
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by AlexW »

I have no idea what you are talking about...
Anyway, doesn’t matter, I am sure you have a point, I just don’t seem to get it.
Belinda
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Belinda »

Alex, I believe you know how to look up a diagram and explanation of the reflex arc.
Belinda
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Belinda »

Alex, I believe you know how to look up a diagram and explanation of reflex arc. Maybe reflex actions would be a sort of gradual introduction into the anatomy and physiology of how an action can occur without cognition.
AlexW
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by AlexW »

Belinda wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:47 am Maybe reflex actions would be a sort of gradual introduction into the anatomy and physiology of how an action can occur without cognition.
Maybe they are, but when I was talking about direct experience I wasn’t referring to any kind of physical reflex to a stimulus.
I was simply referring to perception, not to thought about perception, but pure unadulterated sensual perception.
There is no „reflex action“ necessary to perceive, to directly experience reality... or are you proposing there is?
Belinda
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Belinda »

AlexW wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 1:17 pm
Belinda wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:47 am Maybe reflex actions would be a sort of gradual introduction into the anatomy and physiology of how an action can occur without cognition.
Maybe they are, but when I was talking about direct experience I wasn’t referring to any kind of physical reflex to a stimulus.
I was simply referring to perception, not to thought about perception, but pure unadulterated sensual perception.
There is no „reflex action“ necessary to perceive, to directly experience reality... or are you proposing there is?
No. I claim the anatomy and physiology of perception and conceptualisation is necessary and sufficient for explaining sensation and perception of sensation, and conceptualisation too. This thing has been done and dusted.

Your instrospection is good and well but there is also the perfectly adequate method of human biology.
AlexW
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by AlexW »

Belinda wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:27 pm I claim the anatomy and physiology of perception and conceptualisation is necessary and sufficient for explaining sensation and perception of sensation, and conceptualisation too. This thing has been done and dusted.
It might be sufficient to explain it, but this explanation will never capture the reality of it.

One can explain in great detail what the experience of "redness" is according to all different branches of science, but this still doesn't explain the direct experience, the reality of seeing (aka colour) itself.

Why there is an experience of "redness" has many conceptual answers - ranging from light of a specific wavelength hitting the eye and being processed accordingly and being transmitted to the brain etc etc... but why, or rather what, is experience at all? How is it structured? What is its relationship to conceptual thought and as such, to language? What is real and what is imagined? What is actually experienced and what is made up?

These are the questions we should (and do) discuss, and we should investigate them first and foremost on an experiential level, not on a conceptual level, not simply trusting in existing scientific explanations, but rather by observing and investigating what we actually experience here and now.
Belinda
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Belinda »

Alex, you are talking about qualia: the feel of something happening.

Is it possible each quale physically changes our neurons, and the physicality of that change is why we feel it?
AlexW
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by AlexW »

Sure, it’s possible...
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Sculptor
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Sculptor »

Belinda wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:20 am
AlexW wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:48 pm Belinda, I haven’t used the word absolute, have I?
But there is the reality of direct experience- this moment here, now, minus all conceptual interpretations - which is, to me, nothing else but reality (I don’t know of any other reality, do you?)
Indeed yes there is direct experience without concepts. If you look at the workings of the spinal reflex arc you can see a prime example of this with precise anatomical ramifications. The reflex arc explains exactly how and when the conceptualisation kicks in.

But a knee jerk and similar is not thinking
The reflex arc in no way involves "conceptualisation". I'm not sure how it could possibly have any relevance to thinking or language either. It's a purely mechanical response which seems to be a legacy trait. Maybe primate babies need to lift their legs to avoid injury whilst being carried by mother through the trees?
The sensory impulse travels to the spine, where a pre-configured motor impulse "jerks" the leg.
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Sculptor
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Sculptor »

Belinda wrote: Sun Jun 07, 2020 9:10 am Sculptor, I clearly remember walking along a quiet beach by myself having a philosophical argument in silent language with an imaginary interlocutor.This is one of the uses of thinking in words.

Another is when for instance I am trying to follow directions and I 'hear' the actual words of the instructions and try to apply them to what I do.

Poets commonly hear the words, rhythms, and assonances when they are composing and it would be impossible to enjoy poetry without being able to 'hear' poems. Typically a poet begins with the rhythm of the words she is assembling. Similarly when recalling to memory the sound of someone who is dead or otherwise absent the memory is clearer when the medium of communication is recalled.

The difference between fantasy and hallucination is the fantasiser knows the fantasy for what it is whereas the hallucinator hears voices as external and autonomous.The latter condition has been traced to neurochemical imbalance.
Yes, I share all these aspects.
I'd love to hear from those that have no dialogue as I want to know what other differences they have.

On another note. Something I learned from QI, the BBC TV programme. If you cannot find something, say its name out loud, and you shall find it more easily. I was rather skeptical of this, but as I work in a messy studio where I am always having problems finding stuff, I've tried it several times. It has worked well far too many times to be co-incidental. Maybe vocalising provides extra access to an other part of the brain? Who knows but it does seem to work, revealing objects near to hand that I had previously overlooked.

On the subject of hallucinations, "chemical inbalance" is the stock phrase used by the psyche profession to "explain" various mental problems. The question remains, why. Since all mental activity correlates to neurochemicals, what initiates this "inbalance"? Are thoughts making the inbalance or the inbalance the thoughts.
Belinda
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Belinda »

Sculptor wrote: Wed Jun 10, 2020 11:07 am
Belinda wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:20 am
AlexW wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:48 pm Belinda, I haven’t used the word absolute, have I?
But there is the reality of direct experience- this moment here, now, minus all conceptual interpretations - which is, to me, nothing else but reality (I don’t know of any other reality, do you?)
Indeed yes there is direct experience without concepts. If you look at the workings of the spinal reflex arc you can see a prime example of this with precise anatomical ramifications. The reflex arc explains exactly how and when the conceptualisation kicks in.

But a knee jerk and similar is not thinking
The reflex arc in no way involves "conceptualisation". I'm not sure how it could possibly have any relevance to thinking or language either. It's a purely mechanical response which seems to be a legacy trait. Maybe primate babies need to lift their legs to avoid injury whilst being carried by mother through the trees?
The sensory impulse travels to the spine, where a pre-configured motor impulse "jerks" the leg.
Yes, but there is also neural connection to the cognitive part of the brain. When someone gets a knee jerk reaction, even if they were blind they would know their knee had jerked.I think.
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Sculptor
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Sculptor »

Belinda wrote: Wed Jun 10, 2020 4:06 pm
Sculptor wrote: Wed Jun 10, 2020 11:07 am
Belinda wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:20 am

Indeed yes there is direct experience without concepts. If you look at the workings of the spinal reflex arc you can see a prime example of this with precise anatomical ramifications. The reflex arc explains exactly how and when the conceptualisation kicks in.

But a knee jerk and similar is not thinking
The reflex arc in no way involves "conceptualisation". I'm not sure how it could possibly have any relevance to thinking or language either. It's a purely mechanical response which seems to be a legacy trait. Maybe primate babies need to lift their legs to avoid injury whilst being carried by mother through the trees?
The sensory impulse travels to the spine, where a pre-configured motor impulse "jerks" the leg.
Yes, but there is also neural connection to the cognitive part of the brain. When someone gets a knee jerk reaction, even if they were blind they would know their knee had jerked.I think.
True, but that happens after its all over. The knee jerks before you are aware.
Belinda
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Belinda »

Sculptor wrote: Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:49 pm
Belinda wrote: Wed Jun 10, 2020 4:06 pm
Sculptor wrote: Wed Jun 10, 2020 11:07 am

The reflex arc in no way involves "conceptualisation". I'm not sure how it could possibly have any relevance to thinking or language either. It's a purely mechanical response which seems to be a legacy trait. Maybe primate babies need to lift their legs to avoid injury whilst being carried by mother through the trees?
The sensory impulse travels to the spine, where a pre-configured motor impulse "jerks" the leg.
Yes, but there is also neural connection to the cognitive part of the brain. When someone gets a knee jerk reaction, even if they were blind they would know their knee had jerked.I think.
True, but that happens after its all over. The knee jerks before you are aware.


A little time passes between the effects on nerve endings or organs of special sense, and the cognitive brain. There is no possibility of thought of the event 's happening before the cognitive brain is involved. Even a simple reflexive response to physical pain or physical pleasure involves cognition although much less than does response to for instance doing a cryptic crossword or painting a picture. Have some modern artists explored the limits of cognition?

I cannot say to what extent cognition is symbolic .My guess is the more reactive the thinking the less symbolic it is. For instance some people believe it's impossible for themselves or anyone else to control their thoughts in order to choose what to think about.
seeds
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by seeds »

Belinda wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:27 pm No. I claim the anatomy and physiology of perception and conceptualisation is necessary and sufficient for explaining sensation and perception of sensation, and conceptualisation too. This thing has been done and dusted.
What is the “anatomy and physiology” of perception and conceptualization?

And how has it been “done and dusted”?
_______
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