|Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein + comments by Maarten Maartensz|
I doubt very much this is a helpful way of speaking about thoughts or propositions. Let me first note a number of points incidental to the formulation, and then raise two more general objections.
I have a lot of mental imagery
that is not propositional, but is what I
would call thinking, and the same holds
for most people. Incidentally, the term 'proposition'
as used in English
Analytical Philosophy is very vague and ambiguous.
Mostly, its meaning varies
between that of 'statement' and 'idea'. Here I will
take it that W. means or tends to mean 'statement'
rather than 'idea'.
That many thoughts may be given a
linguistic expression, and then are stated by
propositions with a sense (or
meaning) is an interesting fact, but should not
induce people to confuse
with their linguistic
expressions. (The difference is intuitively
clear if you know more than one language.)
Also, it would be nice to allow for the possibility that other animals may be thinking, and without propositions to do it with.
This last remark is related to the more more general objections:
Of course there is thought without propositions, and even if the capacity to think were denied to orang utans, bonobos, chimps, rooks and foxes, still human babies do have to learn to speak, and presumably do think while learning to speak.
And as I started with saying, at least in
my case, and that of quite a few others, judged by
William James' Principles
of Psychology, there is rather a lot
more to thinking than verbal thinking, and
indeed verbal thinking would be much more
difficult to explain if we did not assume that it
represents non-verbal thinking, even if this is not
So... in  we are told something that is
misleading, since it suggests there are no thoughts
that are not linguisticn ('propositions'), somehow,
and unclear, for in fact 'thought', 'proposition' and 'sense' are all quite unclear.