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More thinking about thinking

As I remarked elsewhere, a lot of my own thinking might be described as ‘subvocalisation’, i.e. speaking without voicing the actual words. Even as I am typing this, I am constructing the sentences ‘in my head’ – though I would not say that I hear them: this is not someone else’s voice, it is mine, and though I do hear my own voice when I speak, I am stopping short of speaking here (though since I do occasionally break into actual speech, it is evidently the same process). 832 more words

Philosophy

A penny for them...

‘What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?
I never know what you are thinking.’
– Eliot, The Waste Land

‘He’s the sort that you never know what he’s thinking’ defines a recognisable character but carries a curious implication. 3,524 more words

Philosophy

Stone-sucking, or what matters

If you read this page aloud it will strike you that there is nothing in your speech corresponding to the white spaces on the page that separate the words. 1,607 more words

Philosophy

Heart-thought

When I was young and studying philosophy at Edinburgh University I remember becoming excited about the figurative use of prepositions; they seemed to crop up everywhere, openly and in disguise as Latin prefixes, in uses that clearly were not literal. 2,775 more words

Philosophy

'These great concurrences of things'

One of the main ideas I pursue here is that the invention of writing has radically altered the way we think, not immediately, but eventually, through its impact on speech, which it transforms from one mode of expression among many into our main instrument of thought, which we call Language, in which the spoken form is dominated by the written and meaning is no longer seen as embedded in human activity but rather as a property of words, which appear to have an independent, objective existence. 2,172 more words

Philosophy

In the beginning was the word... or was it?

Reflecting on the origin of words leads us into interesting territory. I do not mean the origin of particular words, though that can be interesting too; I mean the notion of words as units, as building blocks into which sentences can be divided. 2,241 more words

Philosophy