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does language shape the way we think ? Options
prolixitysquared
Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 8:30:42 PM
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Today on a program called Here & Now from NPR, an interview involving language shaping our thinking played during mid-day. Here is a link to the sound file--

http://www.hereandnow.org/stand-alone-player/?fileUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bu.edu%2Fwbur%2Fstorage%2F2009%2F07%2Fhereandnow_0701_4.mp3&fileTitle=Does%20Language%20Shape%20the%20Way%20We%20Think?

The discussion was quite interesting and seemed to be extremely relevant to this forum, so I figured to share it here for anyone who wants to check it out.

And I'd love to hear feedback about it once users hear the interview.
early_apex
Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 9:00:37 PM
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proli,

Very interesting. Thanks for posting this. I have long believed there are cultural differences around the world in the way people think, reflected by their language. The gender issue with nouns is always a struggle for English-speakers trying to learn German or Spanish, but I never thought about how that affected perception.

In this country, I have noticed that the word accident is no longer used to refer to traffic collisions. I assumed that this reflected an idea that the accident was ultimately avoidable, and as such, not really an accident. Now I learn that this is a reflection of our litigious culture, the influence of which no one can deny.
prolixitysquared
Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 9:31:02 PM
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early_apex wrote:
proli,

Very interesting. Thanks for posting this. I have long believed there are cultural differences around the world in the way people think, reflected by their language. The gender issue with nouns is always a struggle for English-speakers trying to learn German or Spanish, but I never thought about how that affected perception.

In this country, I have noticed that the word accident is no longer used to refer to traffic collisions. I assumed that this reflected an idea that the accident was ultimately avoidable, and as such, not really an accident. Now I learn that this is a reflection of our litigious culture, the influence of which no one can deny.


I definitely started having gender associations with certain words once I learned French.

For example, in French, 'the sea' is 'la mer,' which is feminine. I automatically think of the ocean as female in a way. I don't know if this is how I reacted since I learned the word, but I definitely see it more effeminately now.

I'm glad you were one to appreciate the link !
Winston Smith
Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 11:03:13 PM
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accidental means it was not intentional, not that it was unavoidable. Here in Australia they avoid using the word accident to describe a car crash. It is called an 'incident'. when they arrest someone they say that the person is 'assisting the Police in an investigation. Cheney could have said that the inmates in Gulag Guantanamo were "assisting" the authorities, also.
In Spanish 'ses' it is both 'el mar' o 'la mar'. I'd rather have it 'el mar' .
nachochip
Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 11:19:31 PM
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I remember being surprised when I found that cars, ships, airplanes etc. are "feminine" in english; also in french. In spanish, we think of them as "male."
Some time ago, I read that eskimos have a lot of words to describe what whe would only call "snow". Of course language shapes the way we think! Psychologists have always known this and they struggle to create tests that are culture independent, "abstract", to measure intelligence and personality. I don't want to go in depth about my beliefs on these tests Dancing
prolixitysquared
Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 11:22:31 PM
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nachochip wrote:
I remember being surprised when I found that cars, ships, airplanes etc. are "feminine" in english; also in french. In spanish, we think of them as "male."
Some time ago, I read that eskimos have a lot of words to describe what whe would only call "snow". Of course language shapes the way we think! Psychologists have always known this and they struggle to create tests that are culture independent, "abstract", to measure intelligence and personality. I don't want to go in depth about my beliefs on these tests Dancing


Did you ever find anything out about the many words for 'snow' the Eskimos have ? I heard about that years ago too. That'd be neat to learn if it were easily translatable.
Todd C. Williams
Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 11:54:43 PM

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When I learned a bit of Mandarin while living in Taiwan, it taught me more than the language. Some little examples. They have a word for “respect for one’s parents” that when people talked about it they always said, “but it’s more than that.” The number eight is lucky since it sounds like father (ba), Father’s Day is August 8 (ba-ba) and is much bigger then Mother’s Day. Four is unlucky since is sounds likes death (si). Many buildings do not have a floor numbered four.
The lack of “he” and “she,” yet a proper wife was supposed to follow the husband by five steps (this may have been local to the Haka sub-culture I was around) and the lack of past and present tense. This gave me insight into how people at work spoke English.
So, I would say yes. However, I would also say the reverse—the way people think shapes the language. Chicken and egg problem.
Basically, nothing in Mandarin and English are the same. The exception is mother and father, Ma and Ba (kind of a b-p sound), respectively. I really think these are similar solely due to the ability of an infant to make these noises as their first recognizable word as they look at their parents. Nothing is more common between cultures than the sounds of a baby. I think most cultures want their babies to recognize their parents… “He said Mom!” This is the easiest case of thought shaping the language.
TCW
khoind
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 12:25:29 AM
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Language certainly affects the way we think and feel. For instance, I feel more confident when using English to talk to my professor than when using Vietnamese since Vietnamese requires speakers to use various pronouns to show social respects whereas in English, it's basically just you and I. So it seems English is more democratic and Vietnamese is more hierarchical. Also, it is easier to express abstract concepts and links in the former and to describe personal feelings in the later, which reflects the fact that Vietnamese is more subjective than English.
Winston Smith
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 12:30:50 AM
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nachochip wrote:
I remember being surprised when I found that cars, ships, airplanes etc. are "feminine" in english; also in french. In spanish, we think of them as "male."
Some time ago, I read that eskimos have a lot of words to describe what whe would only call "snow". Of course language shapes the way we think! Psychologists have always known this and they struggle to create tests that are culture independent, "abstract", to measure intelligence and personality. I don't want to go in depth about my beliefs on these tests Dancing


not quite true, in Spanish we say 'la barca', 'la embarcacion', 'la camioneta'.

Intelligence tests measure problem solving and mathematical abilities, therefore they are not language dependant.
26letters
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 12:56:04 AM
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I think language shapes the way we think in ways that we are not even aware of. Even the way we dress affects the way we think. If we run our business from home and have to make phone calls, the way we are dressed can affect our demeanor. Somehow, making a phone call in our pajamas emits a different attitude than making the same phone call dressed in a suit and tie. (Sorry, I realize that was off-topic - but just a little bit.)

I remember the years of learning French, thinking, "How are you supposed to know whether that table is male or female?" (the table is female - is it because it's short and wide?)
Luftmarque
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 2:25:49 AM

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This time I listened to the piece first before jumping in. It was very persuasive I thought, and I especially liked the Aborigine's spatial scheme, hard-linked to their physical surroundings. This is part of the return of the Linguistic Relativity concept to Linguistics research.

While the Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis (another name for Linguistic Relativity) is back in favor, the "Eskimos have many words for snow" business has been discredited for some time now. Here's a description of how that particular "urban myth" got started and a funny satire of it, and here's an actual list of some Inuit words for snow.
Luftmarque
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 2:30:45 AM

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williamstdd wrote:
When I learned a bit of Mandarin while living in Taiwan, it taught me more than the language…and the lack of past and present tense.

That is not to say that one cannot express past, present, and future in Mandarin. It's just expressed in a way different from the way it's done in the Indo-European languages. Rather than inflect a verb to indicate tense, Chinese adds a modifying word. I think… is that correct williamstdd?
early_apex
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 8:31:21 AM
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Luftmarque wrote:

While the Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis (another name for Linguistic Relativity) is back in favor, the "Eskimos have many words for snow" business has been discredited for some time now. Here's a description of how that particular "urban myth" got started and a funny satire of it, and here's an actual list of some Inuit words for snow.


Thanks, Mark, for my first laugh-out-loud moment of the day. Do you suppose they really have that many words for depression in NY? If so, how would that word list compare to one from, say, LA?
early_apex
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 8:35:02 AM
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26letters wrote:
I think language shapes the way we think in ways that we are not even aware of. Even the way we dress affects the way we think. If we run our business from home and have to make phone calls, the way we are dressed can affect our demeanor. Somehow, making a phone call in our pajamas emits a different attitude than making the same phone call dressed in a suit and tie. (Sorry, I realize that was off-topic - but just a little bit.)

I learned to stand up during phone interviews to increase my energy, which helps. Yeah, I dress, too.

I remember the years of learning French, thinking, "How are you supposed to know whether that table is male or female?" (the table is female - is it because it's short and wide?)


Of course you recognize that table - she is your wife! Sorry, different thread.
Luftmarque
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 9:39:27 AM

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Luftmarque wrote:
While the Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis (another name for Linguistic Relativity) is back in favor, the "Eskimos have many words for snow" business has been discredited for some time now. Here's a description of how that particular "urban myth" got started and a funny satire of it, and here's an actual list of some Inuit words for snow.

early_apex wrote:
Thanks, Mark, for my first laugh-out-loud moment of the day. Do you suppose they really have that many words for depression in NY? If so, how would that word list compare to one from, say, LA?

Depression requires a capacity for self-reflection that may be somewhat lacking in the lower West Coast.

Kinky Friedman wrote:
As a general rule of thumb, however, if you thought of New York as a Negro talking to himself and of California as a VCR with nothing to put in, you wouldn't be too far off the mark.
Todd C. Williams
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 11:03:55 AM

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Quote:
Luftmarque: Rather than inflect a verb to indicate tense, Chinese adds a modifying word. I think… is that correct williamstdd?


Yes, my best example is an attempt at direct translation of something I always stumbled on. Literally you say, "I go to store yesterday." Very efficient. Why do I need two things telling me that it was in the past? Somewhat similar was when a friend asked me "Do you know why we do not have knives, only chopstick?" Not knowing the answer, he replied pointing at his teeth "We have these." Good point.

khoind's response is more valuable since he or she is pointing out some intricacies I never got near. Very interesting observations. I watched people cringe, and, at times, was very politely corrected, when I did not use the right words of respect. After all, my main focus was talking to people in markets to buy food (read barter). Not to talk to CIOs and CEOs. They were offended, I am sure, but appreciative of a big nose trying his best at Mandarin.

TCW
early_apex
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 11:13:49 AM
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williamstdd wrote:
Quote:
Luftmarque: Rather than inflect a verb to indicate tense, Chinese adds a modifying word. I think… is that correct williamstdd?


Yes, my best example is an attempt at direct translation of something I always stumbled on. Literally you say, "I go to store yesterday." Very efficient. Why do I need two things telling me that it was in the past? Somewhat similar was when a friend asked me "Do you know why we do not have knives, only chopstick?" Not knowing the answer, he replied pointing at his teeth "We have these." Good point.

khoind's response is more valuable since he or she is pointing out some intricacies I never got near. Very interesting observations. I watched people cringe, and, at times, was very politely corrected, when I did not use the right words of respect. After all, my main focus was talking to people in markets to buy food (read barter). Not to talk to CIOs and CEOs. They were offended, I am sure, but appreciative of a big nose trying his best at Mandarin.

TCW


We had talked elsewhere about word meanings in Mandarin changing with tone of voice, and thus it is hard to interpret emotion. Perhaps careful application of terms of respect compensates for this somewhat.
Romany
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 12:44:38 PM
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Luftmarque - in another thread I was remarking on the fact that I penalise students for not writing s/he which you said you don't use or like. As Mandarin speakers will know there is no gendered equivalant for Chinese speakers - "ta" means he or she. For this reason one of the most comment difficulties encountered in speaking English is for Chinese speakers to remember there are two gendered pronouns in English. Insisting that people use the s/he construction is one way of reminding students of this.

I have always been against using the masculine form as the inclusive form but more especially so in China. At my University in Australia it was not allowed for reasons of political correctness which, in a Western context, has given rise to much (often heated) debate. But working now for a Government which is trying to adress the gender imbalance consequent upon the enforcement of the One Child Policy I find that language is one area in which reform can be implemented. Many Western women feel secure enough of their place and rights in society to consider PC insistance on non-gendered speech almost as an anachronism. But in a country where wife-beating - even in public - is considered a husbands right and younger women are struggling against traditionalism, the issue of gendered speech forms takes on a different aspect. I have spent most of my life in countries where women were treated as as second class citizens and it really DOES make a difference when, for example a little thing like picking up a book called "The History of MANkind" or being part of a student or teaching body that is referred to exclusively as masculine are daily enforcers of this mindset.
pjay
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 8:24:42 PM
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Luftmarque wrote:

Here's a description of how that particular "urban myth" got started


Thanks for the links clarifying the urban myth – and the Mendosa list will be a distraction next week when I am committed to attend a production of this universally panned play:


Fifty Words by Michael Weller

The show’s title comes from Jan’s suggestion that there should be 50 words for love, the way Eskimos have so many words for snow. The play weaves through emotional extremes, all grounded in Jan and Adam’s desire to connect and find meaning in their marriage and their lives.” - unknown reviewer

pjay
Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, July 3, 2009 9:11:51 AM

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There is a question lurking behind this question, or I should perhaps say, a lower level, or different aspect to this question. I am not familiar with formal linguist theories, or models of the function of language, however I have investigated, and wrestled with language as it relates to the nature and operation of consciousness.
I would submit that not only does language have a profound effect on the way we think, but it is responsible for our ability to be aware that we are thinking. In other words language, in the case of homo sapiens, is the constructor of consciousness.
Luftmarque
Posted: Friday, July 3, 2009 9:34:33 AM

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Romany wrote:
Luftmarque - in another thread I was remarking on the fact that I penalise students for not writing s/he which you said you don't use or like. As Mandarin speakers will know there is no gendered equivalent for Chinese speakers - "ta" means he or she. For this reason one of the most comment difficulties encountered in speaking English is for Chinese speakers to remember there are two gendered pronouns in English. Insisting that people use the s/he construction is one way of reminding students of this.

Thanks for the explication! Using s/he in your context makes sense. I always learn a couple of things a week on TFD.
Luftmarque
Posted: Friday, July 3, 2009 9:50:27 AM

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Epiphileon wrote:
There is a question lurking behind this question, or I should perhaps say, a lower level, or different aspect to this question. I am not familiar with formal linguist theories, or models of the function of language, however I have investigated, and wrestled with language as it relates to the nature and operation of consciousness.
I would submit that not only does language have a profound effect on the way we think, but it is responsible for our ability to be aware that we are thinking. In other words language, in the case of homo sapiens, is the constructor of consciousness.

Are you familiar with the Language of Thought Hypothesis of Jerry Fodor? This is the claim that some sort of language supports our higher mental life, including consciousness, though it is not the same as our public language. One of the objections to this is that it seems to require that non-verbal humans cannot think or be self-aware, which doesn't seem to tally with experience. I tend to agree with Wittgenstein that the idea of a private language is incoherent, that there can't be anything other than a public language. I'm pretty sure that I'm behind the times in that thinking though, and I'm definitely no expert on the subject. Of course theories of consciousness are still mostly unverifiable with the current tools.
Luftmarque
Posted: Friday, July 3, 2009 9:57:41 AM

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pjay wrote:
Thanks for the links clarifying the urban myth – and the Mendosa list will be a distraction next week when I am committed to attend a production of this universally panned play:

Fifty Words by Michael Weller

The show’s title comes from Jan’s suggestion that there should be 50 words for love, the way Eskimos have so many words for snow. The play weaves through emotional extremes, all grounded in Jan and Adam’s desire to connect and find meaning in their marriage and their lives.” - unknown reviewer

Hmmm, this makes me wonder whether Paul Simon had the Eskimo/snow myth in the back of his mind when he wrote Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover? And, do different cultures vary in their ways to "leave your lover?" (One way in the USA is to get your wife's permission to meet your lover in New York to break off the affair. If you later fly to South America to again break off the affair that's generally considered to be bad form. Even for a politician.)
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, July 4, 2009 6:59:38 AM

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[quote=nachochipPsychologists have always known this and they struggle to create tests that are culture independent, "abstract", to measure intelligence and personality. I don't want to go in depth about my beliefs on these tests Dancing [/quote]

Nacho, I can not help but be curious about your last sentence. I'm assuming (granted a dangerous thing), that you have a dim view of such "tests" I have a pretty blistering critique of the current uses, and misuses of them as well.
Psychometrics are easily abused, and there are many instruments out there not worth the paper they are printed on; however the good ones are invaluable tools for gaining insights into complex human behaviors and individual differences.
I would encourage you to refrain from coming to an opinion on these types of instruments, without looking well behind what the general public ever see's of them. Proper psychometricians reject the term IQ test as nonsense. Language can present some difficulty for some parts of a "congnitive ability assesment inventory", but many parts are language independent. Space relations, pattern recognition, and object completion, tasks work fine regardless of language. Personality inventories on the other hand are heavily language dependent, however if properly translated, and appropriately tested for validity and reliability, these are incredibly useful instruments. Hans Eysenck has even shown direct correlations between introversion/extroversion and latent levels of cortical arousal. There are massive amounts of data showing marked differences in learning styles directly linked to individual differences in personality. The failure of what masquerades as an educational system to take these differences into account is a large factor in the inefficiency of that system.
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, July 4, 2009 8:45:09 AM

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Luftmarque wrote:

Are you familiar with the Language of Thought Hypothesis of Jerry Fodor? This is the claim that some sort of language supports our higher mental life, including consciousness, though it is not the same as our public language. One of the objections to this is that it seems to require that non-verbal humans cannot think or be self-aware, which doesn't seem to tally with experience. I tend to agree with Wittgenstein that the idea of a private language is incoherent, that there can't be anything other than a public language. I'm pretty sure that I'm behind the times in that thinking though, and I'm definitely no expert on the subject. Of course theories of consciousness are still mostly unverifiable with the current tools.

Good morning Luftmarque, I'm reading information on LOTH it is an interesting notion. I will definitely get back to you on it. My first take is that it sounds like claptrap,(thanks Prolixity)but I'm being a good boy and reserving a formal opinion until I've read the rest of the link, and perhaps checked a few others.
I would like to recommend a book to you, that I think you would enjoy immensely. "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" by Julian Jaynes. Jaynes theory seems highly plausible even if at the same time highly radical. There is much more than the origin theory in this work though, for as he asserts at the beginning of the book, to reasonably address the question three questions must be asked.
What is it?
Where did it come from?
Why is it?
The first third of the book is dedicated to the first question, and is absolutely a first rate exercise of mentality.
I think you will also find interesting his discussion on language and that part of the evidence for a recent origin of consciousness is the reltaive youth of personal pronouns.

"Of course theories of consciousness are still mostly unverifiable with the current tools.
Perhaps this is true as it stands; however, I am curious if you are aware that there is currently a well founded theory for the underlying physiological basis for consciousness. Finally there is a refutation to the argument of consciousness being impossible on the basis of brain activity, due to signal latency prohibiting the "real time" experience of experience; as well as the argument that there is insufficient signal capacity for an infinite regression of recognition thought to be necessary for consciousness as brain activity. This work "The Mindful Brain" is by Mountcastle and Edelman, and is composed of two scientific papers by two of the leading neuroscientists of our time. A thorough read of this book would require advanced training in neuroscience, however; I feel that anyone with a basic knowledge of brain function could get far enough through Mountcastles paper to be utterly amazed, for the rest of their lives by what he discovered about the organization of neuronal structure responsible for higher brain function. Edelman's paper was largely beyond me, and I admit to taking on authority his conclusions.
What I'm trying to say Luftmarque is while I agree that we have no way to verify the operational nature of consciousness, we have most likely discovered the physiological nature. (I hope that makes sense)

Anyway before I take root on a soapbox, I thought I'd pass on this link that I used while looking for an e-copy of Mountcastles paper. If your ever looking for very current info on a number of pretty esoteric areas
Konrad Lorenz Institute, Theory Lab
Luftmarque
Posted: Saturday, July 4, 2009 10:45:22 AM

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Epiphileon wrote:

Good morning Luftmarque, I'm reading information on LOTH it is an interesting notion. I will definitely get back to you on it. My first take is that it sounds like claptrap,(thanks Prolixity)but I'm being a good boy and reserving a formal opinion until I've read the rest of the link, and perhaps checked a few others.
I would like to recommend a book to you, that I think you would enjoy immensely. "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" by Julian Jaynes. Jaynes theory seems highly plausible even if at the same time highly radical. There is much more than the origin theory in this work though, for as he asserts at the beginning of the book, to reasonably address the question three questions must be asked.
What is it?
Where did it come from?
Why is it?
The first third of the book is dedicated to the first question, and is absolutely a first rate exercise of mentality. I think you will also find interesting his discussion on language and that part of the evidence for a recent origin of consciousness is the reltaive youth of personal pronouns.

One of the things that my ex-wife & I first had in common was having read Jaynes. I don't know what happened to my copy of the book. It is certainly a highly radical and individual take on things, isn't it? And refreshing to call into question things assumed to be universal and constant.

Epiphileon wrote:
"Of course theories of consciousness are still mostly unverifiable with the current tools.
Perhaps this is true as it stands; however, I am curious if you are aware that there is currently a well founded theory for the underlying physiological basis for consciousness. Finally there is a refutation to the argument of consciousness being impossible on the basis of brain activity, due to signal latency prohibiting the "real time" experience of experience; as well as the argument that there is insufficient signal capacity for an infinite regression of recognition thought to be necessary for consciousness as brain activity. This work "The Mindful Brain" is by Mountcastle and Edelman, and is composed of two scientific papers by two of the leading neuroscientists of our time. A thorough read of this book would require advanced training in neuroscience, however; I feel that anyone with a basic knowledge of brain function could get far enough through Mountcastle's paper to be utterly amazed, for the rest of their lives by what he discovered about the organization of neuronal structure responsible for higher brain function. Edelman's paper was largely beyond me, and I admit to taking on authority his conclusions.
What I'm trying to say Luftmarque is while I agree that we have no way to verify the operational nature of consciousness, we have most likely discovered the physiological nature. (I hope that makes sense)

Anyway before I take root on a soapbox, I thought I'd pass on this link that I used while looking for an e-copy of Mountcastle's paper. If your ever looking for very current info on a number of pretty esoteric areas
Konrad Lorenz Institute, Theory Lab

That would be Gerald Edelman I believe? I did read a lot of him when I was particularly vexed by the question and a consciousness junkie. Also the Churchlands, Nagel, Owen Flanagan, Dennett, Searle, Calvin. Mountcastle is a new name to me, though, & I'll check him out.
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, July 4, 2009 12:17:38 PM

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Luftmarque wrote:

One of the things that my ex-wife & I first had in common was having read Jaynes. I don't know what happened to my copy of the book. It is certainly a highly radical and individual take on things, isn't it? And refreshing to call into question things assumed to be universal and constant.
In 25 years, your the first person I've met who had read that book.

[quote=Luftmarque]
That would be Gerald Edelman I believe? I did read a lot of him when I was particularly vexed by the question and a consciousness junkie. Also the Churchlands, Nagel, Owen Flanagan, Dennett, Searle, Calvin. Mountcastle is a new name to me, though, & I'll check him out.

Yes it is Gerald Edelman, I am truly amazed to have come across someone who was familiar with both these gentleman. It will be well worth, what might be considerable effort, to locate a copy of "Mindful Brain". I would suggest used bookstores near major universities. The only copies I've found on line are prohibitively expensive. Edelman's theory of consciousness depends on the fine neuro-cyto-architecture described by Mountcastle, and that structure as synopsized in the paragraph of his paper that begins, "The basic idea is as follows...", is to my mind, the most elegant, mind blowing phenomenon perceivable by the human mind. (hehehe, once within a mirror gazing).
Kat
Posted: Monday, July 6, 2009 8:34:19 PM
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Proli....

Thank you so much for that link!

member
Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2009 8:46:55 AM
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Prolixitysquared,
thanks for starting such an illuminating thread. I agree with the statement 'language reflects the way we think' as much as the statement 'language shapes the way we think'. Our surroundings have a strong effect on our language. As the surroundings change, our language evolves.
prolixitysquared
Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2009 3:53:16 PM
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Kat wrote:
Proli....

Thank you so much for that link!



You are quite welcome ! I love sharing valuable, educational information.
prolixitysquared
Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2009 3:54:43 PM
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Location: pennsylvania.
member wrote:
Prolixitysquared,
thanks for starting such an illuminating thread. I agree with the statement 'language reflects the way we think' as much as the statement 'language shapes the way we think'. Our surroundings have a strong effect on our language. As the surroundings change, our language evolves.


Same as I said to Kat. You are quite welcome ! I am always thrilled when people share resources in a widespread way-- resources that I absorb a lot from and am grateful to take in brain-wise. Glad to share the good stuff !
fred
Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2009 3:59:38 PM
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When I speak French, I feel angry and frustrated.
When I speak Spanish, I feel happy.
When I speak New Yorkese or Bostonish, I feel like my head is in a vise.
prolixitysquared
Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2009 4:06:45 PM
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Location: pennsylvania.
fred wrote:
When I speak French, I feel angry and frustrated.
When I speak Spanish, I feel happy.
When I speak New Yorkese or Bostonish, I feel like my head is in a vise.


I have an undying memory of an alarm clock screaming at me in French some morning several years ago. I still haven't figured out what that was about.
member
Posted: Wednesday, July 8, 2009 2:36:37 PM
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I dont think it would be too far out of context if i talk a little about my encounter with english. I think you have already gathered from my english that my native tongue is not english. The phrase 'walking down the street' troubled me for a considerably long period. Why are down and along synonymous in this case? Honestly, the above mentioned phrase always suggests to me a picture of an
member
Posted: Wednesday, July 8, 2009 3:31:15 PM
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Undulated path. Maybe the hilly undulated landform of england is the cause of down being acceptable as a substitute for along. The phrase 'staggering amount' suggests a picture of a man staggering under a huge load.
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