Monday, July 10, 2006

Thoughts That Linger

Further reflections on inner speech (see here and here and here and here and here for earlier posts on inner speech):

Does it ever happen to you that you have a thought "in inner speech" as it were -- seemingly embodied by a sentence of English running silently through your head -- and the thought continues to linger after the inner speech has ceased? You've thought, maybe, "I shouldn't be spending so much time blogging" (not that you ever have that thought!) and for some moments after that sentence is done, you have no additional inner speech or imagery that you can discern, and yet the thought is kind of still with you?

I wore one of Hurlburt's beepers and took random samples of my daily experience (by being beeped at random intervals, then reflecting on what my experience was at the last undisturbed moment prior to the beep, as far as I could discern), and it seemed to me occasionally that I was caught in just such moments.

If this occurs, it undermines simplistic views of thought as transpiring in inner speech. The inner speech is gone, but the thought is not. In this way, it's a complement to my earlier post about interrupted inner speech, where the thought seems complete before the inner speech is.

It also raises the question of whether one could have such a "lingering thought" without the inner speech (or any other sort of imagery) preceding it at all....


Anibal Monasterio Astobiza said...

I don´t know why the topic of inner speech is not include in the "canon" of philosophical interests.
You are doing a good thing pressing on that.

My tantalizing qizz (and i´m sure yours as well) is what could be the philosophical difference between auditory verbal hallucinations, inner speech and spoken langauge if both normal healthy subjects and patients have inner speech preceding language with respect of its outward form? If inner speech is a preparatory clausule to spoken language what is the "inner speech" of inner speech or inner spech emerge spontaneously? We can talk of inner speech in the same manner than spoken language confering it a logic, semantics... or it fall prey of Wittgenstein´s private language obstacles? Luck with this philosophical arena to wander, is of huge importance.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Broad questions, indeed! There is surely much to explore in this relatively neglected corner of philosophy / phenomenology!

Genius said...

Yes I think I do have that effect and it seems logical that you it would happen...

I wonder if the lingering thought

1) has the form of a sentence in a very obscure manner OR if not then]

2) if it is an ancestor of a sentence - so it is a hint of how a person who can't speak might think OR

3) if it is a complex web of associations that in essence carry the information of the sentence but is more a result of the sentence than another system.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...
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Eric Schwitzgebel said...

That's a helpful list of options, Genius. So I wonder: How can they be separated out empirically, or introspectively?