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October 1970

Problem Solving and Language

Author Affiliations

From the Institute for Psychosomatic and Psychiatric Research and Training, Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1970;23(4):337-342. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1970.01750040049007

HISTORICALLY, there seems to be a waxing and waning of interest in the relationship between thinking and verbal language. It seems that at one point or another philosophers, physiologists, linguists, anthropologists, psychiatrists, and Psychologists have all made an attempt to clarify their thinking about thinking. But the efforts to unravel the "thought-language" question have not always been very rewarding, leading some students of the problem to conclude that the area is logically or methodologically intractable, or both.

The current interest in the area of thinking is stimulated by the field of Psycholinguistics,1 by the constant search for appro Priate methods of investigating the Problem,2-4 and by the continued dissatisfaction with the notion that thinking can be reduced to language manipulation.2,5,6

The thought-language controversy is formed by two diverging theoretical approaches. One group of theorists maintains that in substance thinking is language manipulation.7-11 Each of these

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