Thinking in words

  • #1
The Grimmus
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When we think we think using words for the most part maybe with an imgae or two for color but mostly we think in words. How dose one go about thinking without a language like an infiante or another anmial. is problem solving inhibted ?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
noahfor
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I believe that feelings that represent things and ideas interact in a way much like those things and ideas interact, and that these feelings are the true language of the mind, and so we can understand how things react without words. Have you ever understood something without words? It's like that. I believe feelings can go even farther into thought than words can, and are more easily managed. Furthermore, I think that all words have feelings attatched to them and that is how we are able to think with words.
 
  • #3
Another God
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Without words, yes we would think in terms of feelings, mental pictures, sounds etc. We think in words mostly now because they are the most convenient abstract medium to use. Since words are generally just a shorthand way or representing some previous experience, its easier to think the word, than it is to think the experience.

AS such, out brain can throw words around willy nilly.
 
  • #4
Mentat
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It would probably interest you, The Grimmus, to know that Daniel Dennett's theory of consciousness doesn't allow for a fully developed consciousness, separate from one that contains some form of "language". It is the primitive languages that helped the human mind evolve many of it's current conscious abilities.
 
  • #5
Phobos
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Originally posted by Another God
Since words are generally just a shorthand way or representing some previous experience, its easier to think the word, than it is to think the experience.

I seem to recall recently hearing about an autistic(?) woman who claims to think in pictures rather than words. She claimed she had to replay scenes (past experiences) in her head when figuring out how to deal with new situations.

Not sure how much credibility that claim has (I can't quite imagine how that would work).

As for animals, let's not forget instinct (hard-wired responses to external stimuli). The degree to which instinct vs. volition plays in each species (including human) behavior is an interesting subject...which I know little about. :smile:
 
  • #6
This is a good question. For many years scientists had wondered why it was that the Neanderthal who was physically stronger and had a larger brain than the Homo Erectus was the species of the two that became extinct. Eventually, they came to the conclusion that it was due to the fact that the Neanderthal did not have the ability to verbalize that the Homo Erectus did. Essentially, they believe that the lack of ability to talk limited the level of absract thought that the Neanderthal was able to attain; thus, giving the Homo Erectus the evolutionary advantage for dominating that eco-system.

However, I recently watched a show on the Discovery Channel in which a current theory says that the Neanderthal inter-breeded with he Homo Erectus and eventually faded out through. Many archeologists are suggesting that Europeans are actually part Neanderthal. However, this is a very touchy issue. It is not benefical for the development of our society to focus on the genetic differences between different ethnic groups. So, try not to think about these last statements too much.

eNtRopY
 
  • #7
Another God
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Originally posted by eNtRopY
However, this is a very touchy issue. It is not benefical for the development of our society to focus on the genetic differences between different ethnic groups. So, try not to think about these last statements too much.
That really annoys me. I very much dislike it when emotional crap, and personal issues within society get in the way of meaningful research. I don't care if society has issues with discussing ethnic groupings, if we are trying to understand something objective through science, then let it happen...let science enquire, let us find the answer, and let the answer be true. If europeans are half neanderthal, so what? Does it really change anything?

grrrr at the stupidity of people.
 
  • #8
selfAdjoint
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Another God, I couldn't agree with you more.

Here's an article on the hapmap, which looks like being the new battleground on these issues: http://www.gnxp.com/MT2/archives/000789.html
 
  • #9
radagast
484
1
Originally posted by The Grimmus
When we think we think using words for the most part maybe with an imgae or two for color but mostly we think in words. How dose one go about thinking without a language like an infiante or another anmial. is problem solving inhibted ?

It is possible, using meditation and meditative techniques, to get into a state of consciousness where words are not part of your thoughts. It's a tenious state, lost easily.
 

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