Crítica, Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía, Volume 14, number 40, April 1982
Duas tribos e Muitos Círculos
Marcelo Dascal
Tel Aviv University


A relatively simple and rather crude framework is proposed here, as a starting point towards the comparison and assessment of the often quite disparate positions concerning the relationship between language and thought.

The framework consists in a series of imaginary expeditions throughout the set of possible worlds, in search for ‘prattlers’ (people who possess language but not thought) and ‘minders’ (people who possess thought but not language). The four possible results of a first expedition of this kind represent the four possible views concerning the conceptual dependence between language and thought. All of them are abundantly illustrated in the literature of the present as well as of the past.

It is shown that, by paying attention to the arguments adduced by the defenders of each of these views, it is possible to reach a better understanding of the degrees of centrality and of the logical structure of the different characteristics generally used in order to ‘define’ the concepts of thought and language.

Some further, more complex, imaginary expeditions, lead to a refinement of the original framework, thus allowing for a discussion of other questions pertaining to the relationship between language and thought, e.g., the question of the ‘direction of explanation’ obtaining between them.

In the course of the article, the views of Locke, Cordemoy, Sellars, Davidson, Searle Vygotsky and others are analised.


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