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By Peter Carruthers

Can we imagine in normal language? Or is language just for verbal exchange? a lot fresh paintings in philosophy and cognitive technology assumes the latter. by contrast, Peter Carruthers argues that a lot of human unsleeping pondering is performed within the medium of ordinary language sentences. notwithstanding, this doesn't dedicate him to any kind of Whorfian linguistic relativism, and the view is constructed inside a framework that's commonly nativist and modularist. His examine may be crucial studying for all these drawn to the character and importance of common language, whether or not they come from philosophy, psychology or linguistics.

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Additional resources for Language, Thought and Consciousness: An Essay in Philosophical Psychology

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Perhaps we find one creature building and using a microscope, another building and making successive improvements to a motor car (petroleum is a naturally occurring substance on Mars), and so on. In the circumstances envisaged, it would surely be irresistible to suppose that the Martian creatures were engaging in conscious thinking. This is not to say that it would be easy, or indeed possible, to tell what they were thinking on any given occasion. But we would surely have the strongest possible grounds for saying that they must be thinking something, and something highly sophisticated.

One might, for example, mark the difference in terms of degree of conceptual sophistication. For it is surely true that the thoughts available to animals and pre-linguistic infants will be relatively simple ones - perhaps confined to perceptible aspects of the creature's immediate spatial and temporal environment. It might be possible to claim, then, that language is necessary for thoughts about remote times or places, about abstract objects, or more generally about objects that are imperceptible.

One way to develop the point would be to appeal to the common-sense belief that many non-linguistic animals - for example, most higher mammals - must be capable of thought, since they have beliefs and desires. Then, since they have thoughts but no language, it must be the case that thought is conceptually independent of language. Such an argument is unlikely to carry much conviction in the present context, however, since those who maintain that language is conceptually involved in thought will claim that common sense is deluded on this matter, and that our attribution of beliefs and desires to non-linguistic animals is mere anthropomorphism.

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