Natural language as a language of thought




Jerrett-Enns, J. Alden

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There is an important debate in the philosophy of mind about whether we think in natural language or a non-conscious innate mental language called mentalese. The latter view relegates natural language to a role as just a tool of communication, something that can offer no insight into the operation of the mind. The aim of my thesis is twofold. First. I wish to show that the arguments in favour of the mentalese hypothesis are wanting and that many of the phenomena that it is supposed to address can be adequately explained by what I will call the natural language as a language of thought hypothesis.' Second, I will argue that there is strong introspective evidence in support of the natural language as the language of thought hypothesis, at least enough to show that we conduct some of our thinking in natural language. The evidence for and the simplicity of the natural language as a language of thought hypothesis offer good reasons to further investigate the role of natural language in cognition, despite the arguments that Fodor provides to the contrary.



Languages, Cognition