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Re: [ontolog-forum] Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

To: Rich Cooper <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2013 18:00:37 -0600
Message-id: <45D7A67B-BEFE-4CFE-96B7-40B2AC72B16A@xxxxxxx>

On Feb 23, 2013, at 3:39 PM, Rich Cooper wrote:    (01)

Simon Spero wrote: 
> the world is presented in a kaleidoscopic flux of impressions which has to be 
>organized by our minds—and this means largely by the linguistic systems in our 
>minds.    (02)

Does it mean that? I find this claim to be highly doubtful, myself. I have, at 
many times in my life, had to think and act while my mental linguistic system 
was not functioning at all, and found that my thinking was unimpaired by a 
temporary (epilepsy-induced) total aphasia. But in any case, this idea that 
thought somehow *is* language seems unlikely on a variety of grounds. I know I 
am not alone in being able to think many thoughts that I find it hard to utter 
in language - in some cases, impossible to do so. Why would this be true, if 
thought simply were language, or if it used the "linguistic system" in our 
minds? Again, I can often time-share thinking and language use, for example 
following a chain of thought while listening to spoken instructions or even 
holding a conversation. And, it is known that linguistic functionality is 
localized to comparatively small areas of the cortex (the left temporal and 
prefronal lobes), so if our minds *are* the linguistic system in our minds, 
what is the rest of this (biologically very expensive) neural tissue for?     (03)

Does Spero give any evidence for this very strong, and I think extremely 
implausible, claim that it is our mental linguistic system which provides the 
categories for thought?     (04)

Pat Hayes    (05)

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