Philos. Rev.


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the transfer of operations first carried on between different persons, into the arena of the individual’s own consciousness. The discussion which at first took place by bringing ideas from different persons into contact, by introducing them into the forum of competition, and by subjecting them to critical comparison and selective decision, finally became a habit of the individual with himself. He became a miniature social assemblage, in which pros and cons were brought into play struggling for the mastery—for final conclusion. In some such way we conceive reflection to be born.3

And when written language is developed it is not only possible to examine the opinions and conclusions of others in their absence, but to preserve accumulated experiences over indefinite periods of time and transport them from one part of the world to another. It is in this connection that the Germans have pointed out the "time-binding" value of language—the quality of making the past as if it were the present.

This is the general meaning of language, and while different contents of language are present according to the experiences which they represent, the quality of language seems everywhere about the same, though the complexity of structure is altogether greater in some primitive languages than in our own.

3Dewey, J.n/an/an/an/an/a, "Some Stages of Logical Thought," , 9: 465–489.


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Chicago: "Philos. Rev.," Philos. Rev. in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed July 21, 2024,

MLA: . "Philos. Rev." Philos. Rev., Vol. 9, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 21 Jul. 2024.

Harvard: , 'Philos. Rev.' in Philos. Rev.. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 21 July 2024, from