dan b;116240 wrote:
Can you really think without words? I've been studying this since I was 14 years old and still don't think we can. Oh we see, experience and realize things but real indept thought and reasoning isn't done without language going on in our minds.
Its very interesting philosophical question. With the handicap of not knowing neuro science, psychiatry, psychology or any detailed biological sciences, i would still hazard the following guesses.
Thought is an empty vessel in its initial stage. It is a mechanism to receive impulses or sense data (perhaps in electrical form). Let us take the example of ones mother. The image of ones mothers face, her smell, her sound, etc get impressed on the babies mind. The data which goes into memory is thought. This does not require any langauge.
Lets us suppose a baby is born dumb & deaf, and blind. However, the baby would be able to recognise his mother, not just by her fragrance but an in-built mechanism which i cannot describe in language, or for convenience lets call it the sixth sense. Certainly, the baby may be confused if many other female's are present in the same room, but eventually s/he would be able to sort it out.
It would thus mean that the baby does think, so as to be able to discriminate. The thought process happens without any dependence on language. But an ability to 'think' i scertainly there.
Language like the english word....'mother' is later impressed upon him or her after much tutoring. The sound 'ma', i suppose, is a natural physiologically emanation from the mouth to attract the attention of the Familiar ONE who has the food source in the form of the nipple.
That the 'familiar One' responds to the word 'ma' or in repetition 'ma-ma' is perhaps the first word, made out of two consonants, which the baby deduces as something worthwhile, apart from the sounds of his/her crying.
Logic, a tool of cognition, to which humans appears to succumb more, helps the baby memorise. Memory thus stores all the sounds and images, and fragrances, in a data-sensory form.
For this instance, as we discuss language, it is important to note, that the sound, which is shaped in a certain form, like ma-ma or da-da, is in regards to a relation or association which, the sound represents, only to be realised later in the suckling stage. The sound becomes the symbol of an image or a series of image or a relationship or association. This mechanism is applicable to all animals. Okay atleast all mammals, i guess.
For example, ma-ma may represent or symbolise 'food', or 'warmth', 'beauty' 'sensual feeling'. i dont know, but it should represent something, isn't it?
Today, meaning a child who has grown up, memory is filled with more sounds and images. The sounds are mostly in language concepts. The elephant, the dog, the owl etc and all those animals to whom humans atribute some form of intelligence do think in their own 'language'.
So yes, thinking is processing of images, sounds, and other sensory data. Words, as particular sounds conveying specific meanings, does play an important role in modern human adults.
I am sorry for sounding so amateurish.