Minimalist Approaches to Nonlinguistic Thought

Jose Luis Bermudez

in Thinking without Words

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195159691
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849598 | DOI:

Series: Philosophy of Mind Series

Minimalist Approaches to Nonlinguistic Thought

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This chapter considers a deflationary or minimalist construal of the nature of nonlinguistic thought that might be deployed to finesse the apparent need to attribute thoughts to creatures that are not language-users. The aim of the minimalist proposal is to show that thinking behavior in nonlinguistic creatures can be understood in nonpropositional and perceptual terms, rather than through the attribution of propositional attitudes such as beliefs and desires. In opposition to this the book suggest that there are important types of nonlinguistic thought that cannot be accommodated in the manner proposed by the minimalists. The requirements of psychological explanation often demand that we attribute to nonlinguistic creatures thoughts that are structured, represent the world in a highly determinate way, and reflect the particular mode of presentation under which the creature apprehends its environment.

Keywords: nonlinguistic creatures; developmental psychologists; natural world; hominids; primates

Chapter.  15765 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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