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position paper 1 - Brian Lubnow Fri 11:15-12:05 The...

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Brian Lubnow Fri. 11:15-12:05 The dependence of thought on language depends on how thinking is defined. Some consider thought to be anything that goes on in one’s head that evokes a reaction or emotion, like reflexes or instinct. However, what animals do is not thinking. What separates thought from instinct is intent. To be considered a thought in the way that I am using the term, the thinker must be actively coming up with ideas. Based on this definition of thinking, it is impossible to think without language. It is impossible to construct ideas and thoughts any more complex than instincts without the ability to use words. Specific words and language are what make thoughts possible. Pictures and symbols can be easily substituted in some situations, but to be able to combine those symbols, or to make judgments about the simple ideas, words are needed. This is true because simple symbols or any alternative to language is not specific enough to represent complex thoughts. However, if there were symbols or images that represented specific ideas, thoughts, or images, then that would be considered a language. The definition of language is a systematic means of communicating by the use of sounds or conventional symbols.
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