Why do we talk to ourselves?

Felicity Deamer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Human beings talk to themselves; sometimes out-loud, other times in inner speech. In this paper, I present a resolution to the following dilemma that arises from self-talk. If self-talk exists then either, (i) we know what we are going to say and self-talk serves no communicative purpose, and must serve some other purpose, or (ii) we don’t know what we are going to say, and self-talk does serve a communicative purpose, namely, it is an instance of us communicating with ourselves. Adopting (i) was the strategy taken by Bart Geurts, who claims that the primary purpose of self-talk is to entrain commitments, and is not (primarily) communicative. While accepting that self-talk can usefully play this role, I criticise the view that entraining commitments is self-talk’s fundamental role. I argue that adopting the view that we are self-blind, at least to a significant degree, means that we can accept that self-talk does play a communicative role.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425–433
Number of pages9
JournalReview of Philosophy and Psychology
Volume12
Early online date5 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Funding: FD was supported by the Wellcome Trust (WT108720).

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