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Does thought require language?
ver. 2

Charlie Ma


          The relationship between thought and language is no different than water and a container. Language is best defined as a method of expression. Like a cup, it determines how the thought is presented. A tall blue glass and an elegant glass bunch bowl both holds the same punch, only in a different way. Thought is a piece of knowledge, such as an emotion, idea, or body language. For example "blue" is meaningless. "Blue, green, yellow" would not change the perception of someone, even if they are new to colour. "The sky is blue, the grass is green, and the river is yellow" is knowledge. Knowledge is a collection of facts which help an intelligent being understand the concept of the subject of the collection. An expression contains two parts: the content, and the formatting. Formatting is the language, and content is the thought.

          In order for thought to be appreciated or understood, language must exist in a form which can express it in an understandable fashion. For example a common book written in English. To someone who understands English, the book represents a collection of thoughts. To someone who does not understand English, it is gibberish. This is analogous to wine in a wine glass. Someone who only knows how to drink from cups (with handles), cannot use the glass because it does not have a handle. He knows there is something in the wine glass, but is unable to taste it. Someone who knows how to use a wine glass will be able to taste the wine, and analogous to the reader, understand the ideas of the book.

          If language did not exist, then thought would not be able to be maintained. Through the analogy using deductions, we see that language is a prerequisite of thought. Since a jail cell keeps the prisoner in, and outsiders out, a container contains both what is inside inward, and outside outward, and thus is associated with everything. If all containers were abolished, then there would be nothing to contain the thought. All the water, wine, apple juice would fall to the floor. In that case, the floor and the building is containing the water. Since containers do not existed, the building, along with all its floors disappear. This argument is extended until there is nothing remaining except the emptiness and void of the universe. The universe is then the container, and thus it does not exist. If nothing is present, and everything is absolute void, then there would be no one to think. According to Descartes, to prove one's own existence is done by thought. This means that if he did not exist, he would not be able to think. If nothing existed, there would be no thoughts. If containers were abolished, then thoughts would be indirectly abolished. If containers existed, then thoughts would be allowed to exist, therefor thought is dependent upon language.

          Another way of looking at the problem is by localizing to the individual. Suppose a man who does not understand any artistic language (whether academic or not) visits an art show. A big blue dot to someone who understands the language will interpret it as a thought, or a collection of thoughts. To the man who does not understand, it is simply an object on a wall. The object is meaningless, and not knowledge. To that man, artistic knowledge and understanding of art does not exist. If that man did not understand any language, then to him nothing can be deciphered, and nothing is knowledge. As long as someone understands at some point in time, then what may be undecipherable to some is still knowledge. If no one ever knew any language, then the undecipherable 'things' cannot be thoughts since no one would have coded them in the first place. The 'things' are simple meaningless objects which harbor no knowledge or thought.

          People who do not have language (whether oral or written, visual or palpatory, conscious or sub-conscious, pathos or apathy) do not have thought. As long there one being who has language exists, (have existed, or will exist,) then thought would exist for him in that language (at the point in time.) If that being never have or will existed, and there is no language universally, then there is no thought universally. Thought exists where language exists. Without the language, there is no thought.

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