Language as necessary for cognition


M: 2012-09-29 14:18:35
2012-09-29 14:18:35
Language is needed for 99% of ordinary cognition. If something floats through my mind I need to lay some language on it to keep it &/or remember it.
Ah, here I'm going to have to repeat your words back to you :
M 2012-09-29 10:14:16 [item 16221]
snip you have no evidence to back up that nobody else can limited by your opinion/belief - mostly belief.
 
Or rather, I have not yet seen it. 
One of the things I disagree with as currently being taught (by lots of computer departments and at least several philosophy departments) is that symbolic language is necessary (or so essential as to rule out other considerations) to thought, reasoning, and cognition.

That may be true, and many believe it so, but I don't yet accept it because of the evidence I have from my experience with animals.  I have two questions: 1) do animals use a symbolic language that is composed of something other than words, and 2) do they reason about cause and effect using symolic language of some sort or without it?

Most of what scientists believe about animals and cognition comes from the behaviorists.  I deeply doubt that most of those people actually lived with animals in a way that comes close to "knowing" them (as I think I understand your use of the word). 
Most of my experience is with dogs.  I challenge anyone who believes that dogs do not reason or "think" to spend a few years dedicatedly researching that question, living with them, studying them, and testing that hypothesis.
Anyway, I cannot say that you are wrong and that language is not required for 99% of our cognition.  But I believe we are taught that it is without enough investigation to support the conclusion.

Tags

  1. language
  2. knowledge
  3. understanding
  4. cognition

Comments


Mark de LA says
RE Language opinions: mine comes from experience in meditating.  After a while meditating I can still detect latent material going through my consciousness that I could or not assign words to. If I don't use my inner voice to bring it into my mind more clearly it passes & may never show up again. The same goes with my dreams at night. As far as symbolic language goes, I accept all kinds of stuff as language in the most general sense. I think it needs an "I" consciousness to be called language, otherwise it is just Pavlovian or operant conditioning, IMHO.


Lisa Cox says
M 2012-09-29 16:59:37 16225
RE Language opinions: mine comes from experience in meditating.  After a while meditating I can still detect latent material going through my consciousness that I could or not assign words to. If I don't use my inner voice to bring it into my mind more clearly it passes & may never show up again. The same goes with my dreams at night. As far as symbolic language goes, I accept all kinds of stuff as language in the most general sense. I think it needs an "I" consciousness to be called language, otherwise it is just Pavlovian or operant conditioning, IMHO.


I could see that we use language as our hooks to hang knowledge on, I just don't accept that it's necessary in all cases, but then you did start out with 99%, so maybe you don't either.
Yeah, it's the Pavlovian/behaviorist conditioning theory that I think is severely limited.  We've blown some of those theories in dog training circles, already.  I just challenge them to prove dogs have no concept of "I" vs. "other".  They could be wrong, I could be wrong, or there might be some 3rd state between the two you name.
Don't get me wrong, operant and classical conditioning were huge steps forward in theory development and really speeded up our process of effectively communicating with dogs.  But it's not the end of that research area. 

Mark de LA says
I have a 120 lb female rottweiler.

Lisa Cox says
M 2012-09-29 17:58:10 16225
I have a 120 lb female rottweiler.

Does she "think out loud"? 
I think my three 55-pounders added together passes your 120lbs in poundage, but probably can't come near your potenential for destruction.      I love Rotties and all big dogs, though.  Idiot breeders can ill afford to neglet temperament in the big dogs.

Mark de LA says
This is a morphing rottweiler.

Lisa Cox says
M 2012-09-29 18:48:42 16225

Did this one get too long? I left a laughing comment and I don't see it anymore.

Mark de LA says
Lisa Cox 2012-09-30 18:29:28 16225
M 2012-09-29 18:48:42 16225

Did this one get too long? I left a laughing comment and I don't see it anymore.
The can tell you more.  There is an outstanding related to deleting stuff in nested comments with copys of stuff or something like that.  I saw the comment, something like morphing into 2 other dogs, but I don't know where it is now.


Lisa Cox says
Well, at least you know I laughed! <shrug>

Lisa Cox says

Something's been niggling at my brain about the 99% of cognition needing language.  I don't even have to go into the "dogs can think" area because a much better example is neural nets.  The more psychologists and neurologists discover about the brain, the more they find that there are two levels of thinking: the neural nets and symbolic manipulation.  Some folks are really talented in one and some in the other.  Most of us use a little bit of both.

Not sure you'll think so, but that nails it for me.

I will admit, though, that neural nets are scary as heck to me.  I'm a control freak and the thought of nondeterministic brain firings determining my actions is anathema to me.  I have family members, though, who seem to be at the other end of the spectrum.


Mark de LA says
Lisa Cox 2012-09-30 22:06:17 16225

Something's been niggling at my brain about the 99% of cognition needing language.  I don't even have to go into the "dogs can think" area because a much better example is neural nets.  The more psychologists and neurologists discover about the brain, the more they find that there are two levels of thinking: the neural nets and symbolic manipulation.  Some folks are really talented in one and some in the other.  Most of us use a little bit of both.

Not sure you'll think so, but that nails it for me.

I will admit, though, that neural nets are scary as heck to me.  I'm a control freak and the thought of nondeterministic brain firings determining my actions is anathema to me.  I have family members, though, who seem to be at the other end of the spectrum.

Like I said way back there I am describing personal experience. When I have perception in the domain of the mind I have to put some language - some internal verbage - onto it in order to remember what it is or make it memorable otherwise it slips away. I have tried a couple of times to hold onto latent thoughts without language & return to it without language & it seems not to work, but it is fun to play with. Pre-verbal stuff, & I have tried pictures & symbols as well, is interesting cognitive material for investigation.
I treat my brain & mind as a sense organ for my Ego ( "I am" ) to get shit out of the Cosmos not a low priced meat computer.  It doesn't matter though which model I use the effects yield similar results.


Seth says
The missing piece of the puzzle is consciousness. Language is but one part of being. There is much more in consciousness than language, understanding, perception & more in language than just words & symbology. The Arts are overflowing with consciousnesses of a different kind than those where words reign queen or can be made of value.



Seth says
http://gigaom.com/2013/08/16/were-on-the-cusp-of-deep-learning-for-the-masses-you-can-thank-google-later/


Seth says

this is perhaps being touted as a break through.  i guess we will see.   even if it is a breakthrough it will still take quite some time to filter down into apps.  it is interesting how Google made it open source.  i take that as a good sign.  walls around data and tools is what works against this.

i suspect that the first place we would see it is in apps like Siri and what passes for her on Androids.

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