more from Gilbert Harman

Single Idea 12591

[catalogued under 19. Language / F. Communication / 6. Interpreting Language / a. Translation]

Full Idea

If one cannot think in a language, one has not yet mastered it. A symbol system used only for communication, like Morse code, is not a language.

Gist of Idea

Mastery of a language requires thinking, and not just communication


Gilbert Harman ((Nonsolipsistic) Conceptual Role Semantics [1987], 12.1.2)

Book Reference

Harman,Gilbert: 'Reasoning Meaning and Mind' [OUP 1999], p.208

A Reaction

This invites the question of someone who has mastered thinking, but has no idea how to communicate. No doubt we might construct a machine with something like that ability. I think it might support Harman's claim.