Relationship of Language to the Thinking Process | JAMA Psychiatry | JAMA Network
Do thoughts influence language or does language influence thought? to artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology and philosophy of language, the debate The relationship between human language and thought has mainly been studied. THE interrelationship of thought and language is an extremely complex problem. Hiskey, M.C.: A Study of the Intelligence of Deaf and Hearing Children, Amer. Regarding the role of language for development and the relationship .. of thinking - and it starts before one's birth (exactly the way music intelligence is formed).
Examples are not limited to non-native speakers of English who tend to behave in a more informal manner when using English, given the familiarity implied by the equally formal and informal pronoun you. Values are determined, among others, by language.
Some speakers of the two languages argue that learning the other language has made them change their perspective upon the world, making them, for instance, more emphatic or more self-assertive. Thus, the interaction between language and thought rings particularly relevant in the current multicultural and multilinguistic environment we live in. How language shapes thought in Scientific American, 2 Remembrances of times east; Absolute spatial representations of time in an Australian aboriginal community in Psychological Science 21 11 University of Chicago Press.
Love in a Second Language. A connectionist perspective on development. I once saw a cartoon showing two hippopotami basking in a swamp, and one was saying to the other: But on the other hand, if a hippopotamus could say that it was thinking any thought, it could probably think the thought that it was Tuesday. What varieties of thought require language? What varieties of thought if any are possible without language?
These might be viewed as purely philosophical questions, to be investigated by a systematic logical analysis of the necessary and sufficient conditions for the occurrence of various thoughts in various minds.
Relationship of Language to the Thinking Process
And in principle such an investigation might work, but in practice it is hopeless. Any such philosophical analysis must be guided at the outset by reflections about what the "obvious" constraining facts about thought and language are, and these initial intuitions turn out to be treacherous. We watch a chimpanzee, with her soulful face, her inquisitive eyes and deft fingers, and we very definitely get a sense of the mind within, but the more we watch, the more our picture of her mind swims before our eyes.
In some ways she is so human, so insightful, but we soon learn to our dismay or relief, depending on our hopes that in other ways, she is so dense, so uncomprehending, so unreachably cut off from our human world. How could a chimp who so obviously understands A fail to understand B?
It sometimes seems flat impossible--as impossible as a person who can do multiplication and division but can't count to ten. But is that really impossible? What about idiot savants who can play the piano but not read music, or children with Williams Syndrome Infantile Hypercalcemia or IHC who can carry on hyperfluent, apparently precocious conversations but are so profoundly retarded they cannot clothe themselves?
Philosophical analysis by itself cannot penetrate this thicket of perplexities. While philosophers who define their terms carefully might succeed in proving logically that--let's say--mathematical thoughts are impossible without mathematical language, such a proof might be consigned to irrelevance by the surprising discovery that mathematical intelligence does not depend on being able to have mathematical thoughts so defined! Consider a few simple questions about chimpanzees: And if they couldn't invent these novel activities on their own, could they be trained by human beings to do these things?
Suppose you imagine something novel--I hereby invite you to imagine a man climbing up a rope with a plastic dustbin over his head. An easy mental task for you. Could a chimpanzee do the same thing in her mind's eye?LANGUAGE and THOUGHT
I chose the elements--man, rope, climbing, dustbin, head--as familiar objects in the perceptual and behavioral world of a laboratory chimp, but I wonder whether a chimp could put them together in this novel way--even by accident, as it were. You were provoked to perform your mental act by my verbal suggestion, and probably you often perform similar mental acts on your own in response to verbal suggestions you give yourself--not out loud, but definitely in words.
Could it be otherwise?
Could a chimpanzee get itself to perform such a mental act without the help of verbal suggestion? Endnote 1 I wonder. The answers are not impossible to acquire, but not easy either; controlled experiments could yield the answers, which would shed light on the role of language in turning brains into minds like ours.
I think it is very likely that every content that has so far passed through your mind and mine, as I have been presenting this talk, is strictly off limits to non-language-users, be they apes or dolphins, or even non-signing Deaf people. If this is true, it is a striking fact, so striking that it reverses the burden of proof in what otherwise would be a compelling argument: Spiders can't contemplate the concept of fishing, and birds--some of whom are excellent at fishing--aren't up to thinking about democracy.
What is inaccessible to the dog or the dolphin, may be readily grasped by the chimp, but the chimp in turn will be cognitively closed to some domains we human beings have no difficulty thinking about. Chomsky and company ask a rhetorical question: What makes us think we are different? Aren't there bound to be strict limits on what Homo sapiens may conceive? This presents itself as a biological, naturalistic argument, reminding us of our kinship with the other beasts, and warning us not to fall into the ancient trap of thinking "how like an angel" we human "souls," with our "infinite" minds are.
I think that on the contrary, it is a pseudo-biological argument, one that by ignoring the actual biological details, misdirects us away from the case that can be made for taking one species--our species--right off the scale of intelligence that ranks the pig above the lizard and the ant above the oyster.
Comparing our brains with bird brains or dolphin brains is almost beside the point, because our brains are in effect joined together into a single cognitive system that dwarfs all others. They are joined by one of the innovations that has invaded our brains and no others: I am not making the foolish claim that all our brains are knit together by language into one gigantic mind, thinking its transnational thoughts, but rather that each individual human brain, thanks to its communicative links, is the beneficiary of the cognitive labors of the others in a way that gives it unprecedented powers.
Naked animal brains are no match at all for the heavily armed and outfitted brains we carry in our heads. A purely philosophical approach to these issues is hopeless, I have claimed.
It must be supplemented--not replaced--with researches in a variety of disciplines ranging from cognitive psychology and neuroscience to evolutionary theory and paleo-anthropology.
What is the relationship between language and thought? | Elliot Murphy - kinenbicounter.info
I raised the question about whether chimps could learn to tend a fire because of its close--but treacherous! I will not attempt on this occasion to answer the big questions, but simply explain why answers to them will hinge on answers to the questions raised--and to some degree answered--in this literature.
In the terms of the Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkinsmy role today is to be a vector of memes, attempting to infect the minds in one niche--my home discipline of philosophy--with memes that are already flourishing in others.
At some point in prehistory, our ancestors tamed fire; the evidence strongly suggests that this happened hundreds of thousands of years--or even as much as a million years Donald, p.
On the relationship between language and thought – a brief insight into socio-linguistics
What, if not language, gave the first fire-taming hominids the cognitive power to master such a project? Or is fire-tending not such a big deal?
Perhaps the only reason we don't find chimps in the wild sitting around campfires is that their rainy habitats have never left enough tinder around to give fire a chance to be tamed. The neurobiologist William Calvin tells me that Sue Savage-Rumbaugh's pygmy chimps in Atlanta love to go on picnics in the woods, and enjoy staring into the campfire's flames, just as we do.
Need to know vs. This rhetorical question climbs another misleading ladder of abilities. It ignores the independently well-evidenced possibility that there are two profoundly different ways of building dams: The differences are not necessarily in the products, but in the control structures within the brains that create them. A child might study a weaverbird building its nest, and then replicate the nest herself, finding the right pieces of grass, and weaving them in the right order, creating, by the very same series of steps, an identical nest.
A film of the two building processes occurring side-by-side might overwhelm us with a sense that we were seeing the same phenomenon twice, but it would be a big mistake to impute to the bird the sort of thought processes we know or imagine to be going on in the child. There could be very little in common between the processes going on in the child's brain and the bird's brain.
The bird is apparently endowed with a collection of interlocking special-purpose minimalist subroutines, well-designed by evolution according to the notorious "Need to Know Principle" of espionage: Control systems designed under this principle can be astonishingly successful--witness the birds' nests, after all--whenever the environment has enough simplicity and regularity, and hence predictability, to favor predesign of the whole system.
The system's very design in effect makes a prediction--a wager, in fact--that the environment will be the way it must be for the system to work. When the complexity of encountered environments rises, however, and unpredictability becomes a more severe problem, a different design principle kicks in: Fortunately, we don't have to inspect brain processes directly to get evidence of the degree to which one design principle or the other is operating in a particular organism--although in due course it will be wonderful to get confirmation from neuroscience.
In the meantime, we can conduct experiments that reveal the hidden dissimilarities by showing how bird and child respond to abnormal obstacles and opportunities along the way.
My favorite example of such an experiment with beavers is Wilsson It turns out that beavers hate the sound of running water and will cast about frantically for something--anything--that will bring relief; Wilsson played recordings of running water from loudspeakers, and the beavers responded by plastering the loudspeakers with mud. So there is a watershed in the terrain of evolutionary design space; when a control problem lies athwart it, it could be a matter of chance which direction evolution propelled the successful descendants.
Perhaps, then, there are two ways of tending fires--roughly, the beaver-dam way, and our way. If so, it is a good thing for us that our ancestors didn't hit upon the beaver-dam way, for if they had, the woods might today be full of apes sitting around campfires, but we would not be here to marvel at them. The Tower of Generate-and-Test I want to propose a framework in which we can place the various design options for brains, to see where their power comes from.
It is an outrageously oversimplified structure, but idealization is the price one should often be willing to pay for synoptic insight. I will call it the Tower of Generate-and-Test. Endnote 2 In the beginning there was Darwinian evolution of species by natural selection.
A variety of candidate organisms were blindly generated by more or less arbitrary processes of recombination and mutation of genes. These organisms were field tested, and only the best designs survived. This is the ground floor of the tower. Let us call its inhabitants Darwinian creatures. No language morphologically marks Existence in the way it may do for Tense and Animacy, and so King Lear is mad is as acceptable as William Hague is mad, while the apparent existential paradox in Sherlock Holmes is English and does not exist becomes simply another residue of syntactic computation if syntax does not distinguish between fact and fiction, we should not expect phonology to do so either.
Formal ontological notions like part-whole relations the bane of classical metaphysics are likely syntactic notions, for instance Hinzen The mass- count distinction provides a similar cognitive lens through which the mind can interpret virtually anything as a bounded item or a boundariless medium Pinker Correspondingly, Pietroski and his colleagues have found intriguing evidence that conceptualising a random display of objects on a screen as a substance e.
Following the no-tampering condition, EM would create a new set of syntactic objects while leaving both intact: Within biolinguistics, this and other principles of efficient computation are natural laws affecting the operations and derivations of FL. Hence memory constraints influence syntactic computations in a similar way that prosodic needs often force a non-optimal syntactic structure Jackendoff But this CKS, however, permits only two ways of representing numerosities: Clausal entailments, like VPs containing NPs, may well follow in a related manner.
This would in turn adhere to the above principle of CP, with physical law being afforded the same causal and foundational significance as syntactic computations in the biolinguistic study of thought-systems. There is only the mind, with its various aspects: Primates appear to have got conceptual atoms, while songbirds got rhythm from FoxP2, but only humans got both.
The Nature of Grammatical Indeterminacy. Two doctrines on the history of evolutionary biology. Biology and Philosophy Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times. Edited by Douglas den Uyl. All you Need is Merge: Biology, Computation, and Language from the Bottom Up. The Nature of Merge: Consequences for Language, Mind, and Biology.
Of Minds and Language: How Language Shapes Thought. Language, Thought and Reality after Chomsky. Jean Bricmont and Julie Franck. Problems of Knowledge and Freedom.
New Horizons in the Study of Language and Mind. Three Factors in Language Design. Linguistic Inquiry 36 1. Foundational Issues in Linguistic Theory: Essays in Honor of Jean-Roger Vergnaud. The Science of Language: