Publication details [#5710]

Henley, Tracy B. 1992. Language, thought, and behavior: Reflections at the invitation of Shanon. Bakhtiniana: Revista de Estudos do Discurso 7 (1) : 35–39. 5 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language


In recent years professor Shanon has provided a host of thought-provoking articles on various matters of "mind" (Shanon, 1988, 1989, 1990a, 1990b, 1990c). One, appearing in this journal (Shanon, 1990), concerned what could be learned from the "knot in the handkerchief." Shanon extends an invitation within that article for others to think with him about the relationship among language, thought, and behavior, and I would like to take the opportunity to briefly do so. Shanon (1990b) astutely teases out the similarity between the case of tying a knot in a handkerchief as a reminder and the relationship between a word and the mental concept taken to represent that word. Making passing reference to Wittgenstein, Gibson (and followers), Vygotsky, and a wide array of other brave theorists with interests that range from artificial intelligence through cognitive linguistics into phenomenology (e.g., Dreyfus, Lakoff and Johnson, Merleau-Ponty), Shanon all too quickly rushes us through this fascinating insight (and a careful review of those theorists who most likely would be sympathetic to it) to his conclusion. (Tracy Henley)