How do you think?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by horsebox, May 24, 2010.

  1. Lori_7 Go to church? I am the church! Registered Senior Member

    i think it would be harder for a deaf person than a mute person. but that's not really what you asked.
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  3. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Even though I am such a verbal type, I recently find myself sometimes wanting to respond with a cartoon, elsewhere I even did.

    Some emoticons come close:



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  5. thinking Banned Banned

    I think in pictures and physical dynamics

    reason and sometimes logic
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  7. horsebox Registered Senior Member

    "Sometimes" think in logic? I'm fairly sure anyone who isn't completely insane uses logic to think always. In dreams sometimes I use bizarre altered logic but its logic all the same. I use pictures combined with the other senses to reason and manipulate logic. I never use words though. I think people only think with words out of habit and I recommend everyone who does this practice thinking entirely without words because the thinking of someone who thinks in words can only be as complete as their vocabulary. Logic is like a programming language of the mind.
  8. baftan ******* Valued Senior Member

    I know it's out of your main topic, but "think in logic" is only one of the thinking regime that brain can follow: You must have heard expressions such as "emotional thinking", "emotional intelligence" or "distinguish thoughts from emotions". Some may suggest that we still think logically even if emotions play a role. My questions would be this: "Which logic?"

    Again, this issue is off topic if we are still talking about the hardware of thinking...
  9. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

    Perhaps. However, in both cases, I would imagine it fair toy say that, at the least, they both have access to ASL. IN that case then, how would one describe 'how' they think...?
  10. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

    Good points all around.

    Again, it falls yo the OP for clarification. Or, perhaps, for the purposes of this thread, we'll just leave it fast and loose... as it is...

    However, given such a wide berth herein, I would advise all who seek a more carefully structured discussion to head here to baftan's thread:

    Thinking and Philosophy

    Certainly within that scope, at the very least we would be able to identify mental processes that have been given a biological analysis, and from there, move on to those elements of "thinking" that we deem to be, as of yet, 'explained away'.

    Not to pretend that the 'hardware' component of thinking has been exhaustively explained, but at the very least, when compared to the 'software', much is well understood.
  11. horsebox Registered Senior Member

    Yeah I've heard all that. I don't understand it though. Emotions are things I feel in my abdomen, how anyone could mistake them for thoughts is beyond me. What I'm saying is everything is based on logic. If something makes you happy its only because your logic leads you to conclude that its something to be happy about. This isn't off topic at all in my opinion because I believe what many people call "feelings" is actually non verbal thought. We can use emotions to think in the same way we use sound. We can use pictures, smell, taste and tactile sensation too. I think the only reason you're disagreeing with me is the ambiguity of the word "logic". Logic underlies everything we think. Without logic it would be purely random and I don't mean thinking "that person made me angry, I must kill them" I mean thinking "that car smells green factor rabbit combination Romania". Without logic there is no predictable sequence of thought. I know what you mean though, what you're referring to if I'm not mistaken is the difference between thought being completely independant of emotions and thought being heavily influenced by emotions i.e. someone that will jump to conclusions as a direct result of the emotions they are feeling while thinking for example they think about something someone says to them and it makes them feel bad so they jump to the conclusion that that person is stupid because that conclusion makes them feel better about the situation. I didn't explain that very well but I'd say you know what I mean.

    The concept of philosophy brings forth an interesting picture in my mind. Like all abstract concepts its only at most 50% opaque, I see this big sea of objects of all different shapes and sizes but all the same colour. All blackish red and this represent a flow of thought.
    Last edited: May 27, 2010
  12. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member


    Its seemingly offtopic because you failed in being clear in your OP with respect to the nature of your concern. There's no mention of logic in your OP, or indeed, of any concern with respect to a particular focus on possible modalities of 'thinking'.

    That being said, then the question becomes (as baftan noted..): what logic?, and, perhaps even more importantly: are you claiming that 'logic' is innate?
  13. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    I think a lot of talk is hindsight explanation of those emotional reactions....or justification. Or an attempt to satisfy the disturbance in the emotions caused by someone's assertions.
  14. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    Glaucon, I took your reaction below as a counterargument. IOW if it wouldn't work for a mute, then it isn't this person's way of thinking either. But people do think differently. Many people do, for example, think in images, to varying degrees, though blind from birth people tend to claim they do not do this.

    Edit: Ah, I see you and Sarkus worked this out.
  15. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    So in what form is your reason and logic. Is the latter in words or other symbols? Do you hear the words or see them?
  16. horsebox Registered Senior Member

    Its real hard to word things like this out. All my OP was about was the use of the various sensory representation systems (vision, sound, taste, smell, touch) in forming, analyzing and connecting concepts. I'm well aware though that no matter which of these one is most inclined to use, logic underlies the use of them all in doing these things. Its real hard to explain but I'm sure of what I'm saying here. Even the so called emotional thinking is based on logic because without the logic there would be no predictable emotions to accompany the thoughts and vice versa.
  17. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

    Fair enough.

    You don't know this to be true.

    You're right. None of this kind of conceptual schematization is easy. Thus, the importance of precision in our language.

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  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    As the Head Linguist around here I have encountered this discussion before, often with the same incredulous amazement on both sides. No one can imagine that anyone else thinks in a different manner than his own.

    Based on my own (rather limited) observations, I am inclined to believe that the majority of people think in words. This is why I insist that knowing more than one language is vital to being a good thinker. If you think in words, then your thoughts are obviously guided by the language you speak. If you have two languages, you can reality-test your thoughts with the other language. Imagine how differently Chinese speakers think, with no tense, number or gender in their language. Or the Japanese, whose syntax is topic-description rather than subject-verb-object; no wonder they come up with all those Zen riddles! Or the Hopi, who do not regard time itself the same way we do.

    Nonetheless, I have no reason to believe that majority is an overwhelming majority. I assume that sculptors, painters and carpenters think in visual images. Even plumbers and electricians, although for them there's probably a strong vector of logic in addition to image. How about athletes?

    I'm a musician. (It's not my career but I play seriously and sometimes I manage to get paid for it.) When I think about music, I think in music. No words except the lyrics, if its a song with lyrics. When I think about playing my instrument (bass guitar), I think about the muscles in my hands and the placement of my fingers. No words. Frankly if somebody asked me to put those thoughts into words I wouldn't be able to do it. I don't know the names for all of those little bones and muscles, and since I have little formal musical training I don't even really know all the musical terminology that would apply to the situation.

    But I am not a visual person. Just ask my wife. She will assure you that if I were struck blind it would take me three days to notice. It's very hard for me to visualize anything. So when my thoughts are not about music, which unfortunately is much of the time because there are so many other important things in my life to take care of, they are exclusively in words.

    However, I do often find myself thinking in more than one language. I'm not sure that I'm actually reality-testing my English-language thoughts by translating them into Spanish, Chinese or Esperanto (none of which I speak as well as English), but I find it somewhat relaxing to "loosen up the English muscles" and use a different set.
    I would start by remembering that the earth's crust is five to forty miles deep, below which lies a mantle of molten rock, surrounding an outer core of liquid iron and nickel, with an inner core of solid iron and nickel. I would think about the kinds of tools that can penetrate each of those forms of matter, and since there really aren't any once we get below the crust I'd start inventing one by using what I can learn about thermodynamics and the properties of various materials. Throughout this I would be running geometric figures through my head, which I suppose you can count as "visual," but they are almost as abstract as words so I don't think I've done much to damage my reputation as a non-visual guy. After all, thinking in geometric figures is not much different from a deaf person thinking in sign language. (Which I'm surprised nobody mentioned! I have no idea if they even do that.)
    No, I think you're being unfair. Far too many people have told me that they don't think primarily in words. As I said, I'm of the (nearly unsubstantiated) opinion that they are a minority, but they do exist. We are not all the same!
    We've made great strides teaching (sign) language to gorillas and chimpanzees. African Grey parrots use words in such a complicated way that it just can't be called "mimicry." Just because they haven't gotten around to inventing language doesn't mean they can't learn it. Many of the key technologies upon which civilization is based were invented only once and then learned by everybody else, from the domestication of horses to the alphabet. I see no good reason to assume that an animal who never invented language couldn't learn it and catch up with us pretty fast.

    And BTW, dogs love. Pack-social animals like dogs, lions, horses, gorillas and elephants (not herd-social species like cattle and wildebeest or solitary species like tigers and orangutans) have to have some very complex instincts in order to maintain an efficient pack structure. I'd be very surprised if you told me that when you fall in love your first awareness of it comes in words! For me it really does manifest itself in the region of my heart. Dogs know who they love and who loves them.

    In fact, it's lately been looking very likely that dolphins have at least a rudimentary language. We know that they have individual names for themselves, and very likely a sort of national anthem or war cry that identifies the pod.
    You really have absolutely no credible evidence to support that assertion, do you? It's just based on introspection and reasoning, which are better than nothing but that's about it. You need to talk to a few more artists.
    Helen Keller was not only deaf and mute (we don't say "dumb" any more so please try to avoid using that insult, the lyrics to the Who's "Pinball Wizard" notwithstanding) but also blind. Nonetheless she learned to communicate in a special touch-sign language that her teacher invented. She learned to read in Braille, and eventually to talk. There are film records of her speeches. Quite astounding and inspiring. There seems to be no limit to what humans can accomplish with enough motivation and support.

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