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Old 07-01-2002, 02:06 PM
Schnitte Schnitte is offline
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Old 07-01-2002, 02:17 PM
Stupendous man Stupendous man is offline
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Well crap, you put a bit of effort into a post, and it gets thrown off the cliffs of insanity...

Ok, well close this one down then.. I won't bother reposting..
Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little anger. None ever died from someone getting angry.. Well, nobody COOL ever did. And if God didn’t want us to kill our problems away, he wouldn’t have given us guns and things. Anyway, there’s an old saying that goes “Sticks and stones can break your bones.” It’s true y’know, so watch yourself!
Old 07-01-2002, 02:20 PM
KXL KXL is offline
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Sure you can. Symbolic Logic
Old 07-01-2002, 02:26 PM
Schnitte Schnitte is offline
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Sorry if you're bothered by my reply, Stupendous Man, but those subject-only threads don't really make clear what's it all about IMO.
Old 07-01-2002, 02:49 PM
Victory Candescence Victory Candescence is offline
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Dog hears can opener. Having previously had food soon after hearing that sound, dog imagines food. Thus, the dog has reasoning. So, dogs can reason. Dogs have no language.

Hence, one can reason without language.
Old 07-01-2002, 02:51 PM
Stupendous man Stupendous man is offline
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OH, not referring to your reply Schnitte.

I used to have a long, involved post, but when I submitted it, the subject was left and the message body is now gone forever.... I just don't feel like re-writing the original questions, since the post wasn't that terribly important anyway...
Old 07-01-2002, 03:59 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Sure you can. Symbolic Logic
...which is, itself, a language. A highly formalied, specialized language, to be sure, but definitely a language.

And Stupendous Man? You're not getting away that easily. The Teeming Millions aren't going to let a discussion like this one pass us by, even without minor little details like an OP
Old 07-01-2002, 05:50 PM
Stupendous man Stupendous man is offline
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Ok, well I can't quite recall everything I had written originally, but the basic gist of it was something along these lines:

When I think, I talk to myself in english (in my own mind.. not out loud or nothing...)
So I was wondering what the thought process would be like for someone if they had no concept of a language.. How do they "speak" to themselves to resolve problems, or form new ideas, with no language to use. For example, imageine a person growing up alone in an environment without the need at all for any kind of language, since there is noone to speak to.

I figured it was a combination of sensory inputs from various senses forming experiences that they refer back to, but maybe in a graphical scenario in their mind.. Like thinking of pictures, rather than words..

What then might happen if the person were blind, dead, mute, and had no sense of taste.. How might the power of thought work for such a person?
It's a bit abstract to think of. I have tried to think of something without using words in my mind, and find it extrordinarily difficult...
Old 07-01-2002, 07:21 PM
hazel-rah hazel-rah is offline
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People sometimes suffer strokes or other traumatic head injuries that destroy their linguistic ability either partially or completely, but tests given to them after the trauma indicates they're still capable of reasoning.

Not bulletproof, but if you want to posit that reason is something that is "built on" language, then you would expect reasoning ability to suffer or disappear when linguistic ability does. It doesn't.

Old 07-01-2002, 08:53 PM
Finagle Finagle is offline
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This is a very complex question, but I think the evidence is in favor of reasoning without language. Language is a pretty late development. There's good reason to believe that when you reason to yourself using language, you're really only getting the executive summary. And language is extremely fuzzy when it comes to problem solving -- anyone who has every taken a class in formal logic knows how hard it is to convert a natural language statement into a logical equivalent.

From a computer standpoint, there are algorithms that are decidedly non-linguistic in nature -- neural nets, statistical decision techniques such as Bayes theorem, and all the various flavors of linear programming, mixed integer programming, etc... The interesting thing about a lot of these techniques is that they're damnable hard to explain -- you get a solid result, but it's hard to explain the reasoning behind the result.
Old 07-01-2002, 09:11 PM
Jman Jman is offline
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Location: Columbus, OH
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I don't have a cite, but I have heard numerous times that people who grow up without contact with other humans will invent their own language to use for reasoning. See the movie Nell to see Hollywood's take on this.

Old 07-02-2002, 03:27 AM
bbeaty bbeaty is offline
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Location: Seattle WA USA
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If by "reasoning" you mean "logic", then I think some sort of language is required. But there are other kinds of reasoning besides constructing logic-chains.

I once was normal, but then I developed a habit of trying to become a visual thinker like I once was when I was four years old. This actually works after awhile. You can temporarily kill your "internal voice" which constantly babbles in your mind. But once it is silent, you discover that there are other things in your head besides pictures. They are not visual and not verbal. Maybe call them "pure thoughts" or just "concepts."

For example, you can say to yourself "first I need to do laundry, then later go shopping." But actually the pure concepts came first, and only in some later moments did you assign language to them. If you learn how to silence the habitual language, then thinking doesn't stop. Instead, the pure concepts still remain. You can think about first doing laundry and later going shopping, but think entirely in the form of concepts and time sequence (maybe with some pictures thrown in from your memory), and that isn't any kind of "language." Instead it's like the machine-code of your brain. It's probably the way that animals think, and is definitely the way that children think before age five or so. It's the original concepts behind the words, the "thoughts" which language evolved in order to communicate.

I think that we've spent so much time communicating with each other in verbal mode that we developed the habit of SPEAKING even to ourselves, and pretending that our inner English voice is our thoughts. I remember when this happened to me back when I was six or seven. I started silently talking to myself more and more, instead of just wordlessly thinking. I thought it was more "grown up," that people were supposed to do it that way.

Verbal thought has its drawbacks, since the creation of original intuitive ideas and crazy creativity has everything to do with spontaneously connected concepts, and nothing to do with language. Language comes later, when you want to relay the new concepts to someone else. But if you come to depend only on language, you'll be in danger of hobbling your own creativity. There's an effect where the "speaker" side of your personality starts taking credit for the inventions of the "non-verbal" side, and so the non-verbal side feels ripped off, and shuts up. Creativity grinds to a halt. Call it "writers block." Call it "needing to stroke your muse." It's the common form of multiple-personality-disorder that we're all stuck with.
(((((((((((((((((((((( ( (O) ) ))))))))))))))))))))))
BILL BEATY _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ billb, _ _ _ SCIENCE HOBBYIST
beaty, _ Seattle, WA USA


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