Language of thought

Can babies think before they can speak? What are they thinking?

How did humans start speaking? One idea is that humans already had a language of thought (LOT). Perhaps this ability was perfectly developed in our heads (like a snowflake) before we really tried to communicate using language. After all, babies can think even before they learn how to speak, can’t they?

The Language of Thought Hypothesis is that thinking takes place in a mental language. This mental language is probably basically the same for everyone; it suddenly appeared in perfect form in the brains of early humans. What do you think of that?

Do you think this is true? All humans have this perfectly formed LOT in their heads, and this LOT is basically the same for everyone. If it is true, how and why did human beings develop this thinking ability before other animals and before they could speak themselves? Or do animals also have the ability to think without words?

At some point, one human ancestor suddenly developed the ability to think in a language. She couldn’t speak yet, but she had a perfectly developed language of thought in her brain. What do you think of that? Can you think of any other possibilities?

If animals, including humans, can think without using everyday language, where did this ability come from? What is the purpose of it? Also, assuming it exists, what is this language of thought like? Does it have “grammar” and special “words”? What form would these words take?

Don’t bother me. I’m thinking.

Here are the slides.