Grounding Cognition: The Role of Language in Thinking
In this paper, I investigate the relationship between natural language and thinking. In doing so, I review and evaluate the main views in this debate, argue that none of the available views is satisfactory and suggest an alternative one. In particular, I adopt a view according to which thinking operates by and large according to associationistic rules and argue that natural language plays a crucial role in thinking but not a constitutive one, as it is often argued in the literature. The suggested view seems to enjoy significant independent empirical support, mainly from work done with aphasic subjects. The major challenges that all associationistic views of thinking face are the problems of propositional thinking and compositionality of thought. I briefly suggest how these challenges could be met in the light of the suggested view of thought production.