Science---or Myth?

Gary Blanchard (
Tue, 04 Jun 1996 13:01:56 -0700 wrote:
> Gary Blanchard writes the following about John Fisher's post:
> 1. What do you mean by 'language'?
> > 2. If something is 'pre-verbal,' by which one means
> > 'outside of / beyond language,' then how do we know of
> > its existence? How do we consider / view / think
> > about it? How does it presence itself to us?
> > 3. If something is, indeed, 'outside of language,' can
> > we humans even be aware of it? Example: A dog
> > whistle.
> I can't speak for John, but I'd like to address these questions. By
> language, I would (start with) sign activity, where signs are defined
> as arbitrary symbols used to communicate shared meaning. I would
> differentiate signs from other types of symbolic activity, like images,
> gestures, or from signals, like facial expressions.
> I also prefer the notion of non-verbal to preverbal. Imagistic
> activity can be non-verbal, as when I imagine my wife, the smell of
> coffee, or a Mozart sonata. Images are not necessarily linguistic,
> but they can be structured in part by signs, or at least by meaning.
> We know about images from our subjectivity of them; they are presented to
> us in the activity of construing something when it is not immediately
> before us.
> A dog whistle is not simply "outside of language" -- it is outside
> of the range of out sensory receptors. We can entertain all types of
> experiences that are outside of language! These would include the
> examples of images listed above, as well as emotional feelings, the
> feeling of being in the forest after a rain, coldness, etc.... Language
> is a vehicle of commuication, enculturation, as well as inner thought,
> etc. But it does not exhaust human functioning; to imply as much would
> be to offer a reductionism -- a different kind of reductionism, but
> a reductionism nevertheless.
> Mike Mascolo

Dear Mike-

Thanks for your message. I believe I understand what you are saying. I
am willing to engage about it, if you are interested.

My first question: What is your source for the claims you have made
above, about how the world is, and how it works?

What if what you are saying could be shown to be simply an aspect of
Naive Reality (no pejorative intended)? Naive Reality, or Objectivism,
is characterized by a speaker believing that what they think/feel they
see/know about reality is in fact actually so, and can be proved to be
so with evidence, i.e., scientifically. Wouldn't you want at least to be
aware of / look into / consider an alternative view?

By my questions I simply am seeking to launch such an inquiry. And the
same rules of evidence would apply to any claims I make as they do to the
claims of others. This is not about a dominance-submission game, or
wanting to be 'right.' This is about getting as clear an understanding as
we can of the way things actually are. To do anything less than that is
to operate on the basis of illusions / myth / religion / anti-science, it
seems to me.

Come back to me, okay?

Best, Gary