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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 5, Issue 1, Pages 33-38

Thought and Language

D. Laplane

Clinique des Maladies du Système Nerveux, Hôpital de la Salpêtrière, 75651 Paris, Cedex 13, France

Copyright © 1992 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


From aphasics' self records, common experience, changes in signification of sentences according to a verbal or non-verbal context, animals and non speaking children performances, it seems possible to get some evidence that thought is distinct from language even though there is a permanent interaction between both in normal adult human beings. Some considerations on formalisation of language suggests that the more formalised it is, the less information it contains. If it is true, it is not reasonable to hope that a formalised language like that used by computers may be a model for thought. Finally, the lack of status of thought, as far as it is a subjective experience and the impossibility of giving it a definition as far as it exceeds language, make it clear that in spite of progress in scientific psychology, thought, per se, is not an object for science.