[SydPhil] History and Philosophy of Linguistics Reading group

Nick Riemer nick.riemer at sydney.edu.au
Mon Apr 28 11:18:24 AEST 2014

Reminder: History and Philosophy of Linguistics Reading group

Next meeting:

Tuesday, April 29, 5-6.30pm, Woolley S361.


Watson, J. B.  Is Thinking Merely the Action of Language Mechanisms? British Journal of Psychology 11 (1920): 87-104.

“Thinking is then largely a verbal process; occasionally expressive movements substitutable for word movements (gestures, attitudes, etc.) enter in as a part of the general stream of implicit activity. Thinking, in the narrow sense where learning is involved, is a trial-and-error process wholly similar to manual trial and error. Verbal manipulation along one line is checked and stopped and a new line is begun for exactly the same reasons that such processes are checked and begun in manual learning (so-called processes of control[6 <http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Watson/thinking.htm#f6> ]). The thinking adjustment is completed when the final word-grouping (sentence or judgment) or overt bodily reaction which comes as the end result of the process of thinking makes the initial stimulus to thinking inoperative or inert; that is, the final reaction, verbal or other, so changes the general state of the organism as a whole that the original stimulating factor can no longer affect the subject. A crude illustration which can properly be carried over to thought is to be found in the hungry hunter's eager search for game. He finds it, captures it, prepares and eats it, lights his pipe and lies down. The hares and quail may peek at him from every corner of the brush, but their driving power for the time is gone.”

Available online at http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Watson/thinking.htm.

Enquiries: nick.riemer at sydney.edu.au

All welcome!

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