2 min readMay 18, 2023


If I remember right, Stuart Chase goes into some detail about this in his 1938 book "The Tyranny of Words."

He mentions a soft version of this theory, which claims that someone's language influences their thinking. The hard version of the theory is the claim that someone's language entirely determines their thinking.

I'm not sure exactly where I stand on this, because thinking is a complex thing.

It's easy to see the influence of language in our thinking, but not necessarily so easy to gauge the limits of that influence. What if, for example, our thinking is entirely determined, restricted to, contained within our language, but that we can't recognise it because we introduce different imagery and symbols and no longer consider that to be "language"?

Or what if our language isn't evolved enough to adequately express and encapsulate the limits it places on our thinking?

Personally, I have an active interest in the many different "languages of thinking", and it's more to do with the ways our thinking expresses itself, what it directs us toward, what other functions it impacts (such as behaviour), etc.

So, I see "belief" as a certain language of thinking. The kinds of tendencies a belief-oriented language of thinking give rise to are very different in their function to a fact-based or science-based language of thinking.

Similarly, I see "tribalism" or "ideological" thinking as languages of thinking, very different from the languages of "unity" or that which transcends the ideological.

I don't know to what extent these languages, or language itself, influences or determines our thinking. What I do know is that it's in our nature to transcend our thinking, to not believe into it just because we can think it, and that insight and understanding, education, etc., go beyond and help to reshape what we think.

I hope you don't mind my tangent here. As I'm writing, I'm still exploring, once again in the context of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.

And if you're after something new (or, well, old) to read, I really do recommend Stuart Chase "The Tyranny of Words"

Thanks for sharing!




Believe and Disbelieve Nothing. Philosophy. Technology. Unity. A futurist living in the present / /