Volume 14, 2000

Folk Psychology, Mental Concepts and the Ascription of Attitudes

Jay L. GarfieldOrcid-ID
Pages 85-101

Thought as Language
A Metaphor Too Far

Language has often served both as a metaphor for thought. It is highly plausible that language serves as an epistemic entre into thought and that language structures adult human thought to a considerable degree. The language metaphor is, however, uncritically extended as a literal model of thought. This paper criticizes this extension, arguing that thought is not literally implemented in language and distinguishing legitimate from illegitimate uses of language as a device for understanding thought.