Darwin-L Message Log 5:51 (January 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

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<5:51>From J_LIMBER@UNHH.UNH.EDU  Mon Jan 10 16:28:42 1994

Date: Mon, 10 Jan 1994 17:30:38 -0500 (EST)
Subject: seeking examples of "train of thought" metaphor
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

I'm looking for metaphoric uses (or criticisms) of the expression "train of
thought" in regard to human consciousness and language and would
appreciate any examples anyone might be aware of or come across.
 Below are some examples to give you an idea of what I'm looking

 Darwin--to take an example relevant to this list--used this phrase in his
discussion of the origin of language (1) and remarks on consciousness and
habit (2). Others using it include Reid (3) and Hobbes (4).  (Don't assume I
already know anything!  I've just begun thinking about this systematically
and any ideas, interpretations or leads would be appreciated.)
  John Limber, psychology, University of New Hampshire

(1)"As the voice was used more and more, the vocal organs would have been
strengthened and perfected through the principle of the inherited effects of
use...but the relation between the continued use of language and
development of the brain, has no doubt been far more important....we may
confidently believe that the continued use and advancement of this power
would have reacted on the mind itself, by enabling it and encouraging it to
carry on long trains of thought." (Origins, 1871)

(2) "The possibility of two quite separate trains going on in the mind as in
double consciousness may really explain what habit is... (M notebook)

(3)"Such trains of thought discover themselves in children about two years
of age...I think we may perceive a distinction between the faculties of
children two or three years of age and those of the most sagacious brutes."
(Reid, 1812/1969)

(4) ""By the Trayne of Thoughts I understand that succession of one thought
to another...to distinguish it from Discourse in Words." (Hobbes, 1651)

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