Cognitive Processing

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 217–243 | Cite as

Operational Noology as a new methodology for the study of thought and language: theoretical aspects and possible practical applications

  • Giulio Benedetti


In this article, the author presents a new methodology for the study of two fundamental components of consciousness, that is thought and language. The fundamental presupposition that forms the basis of this methodology is that thought is not simply a passive “reflection” of an external “reality”, but also (and especially) something active, i.e. that the fundamental components of thought are sequences of operations, amongst which the ones of attention play a key role. These sequences of elementary mental operations are called mental categories, and are the meanings of all the words that do not seem to indicate something physical (first of all, all the “grammatical” words, that is conjunctions, prepositions, articles, pronouns, fundamental verbs like “to be”, “to have” etc., the main adverbs, and, in the large number of languages that have a more or less rich morphology, all morphemes (the ones which indicate cases, in languages that have cases, the number and the gender of nouns and adjectives, moods and tenses of the verb etc.). The author proposes a list of these elementary mental operations and he shows how it is possible, basing ourselves on them, to identify the meanings of these words, which are indispensable for any linguistic expression. The author also mentions a possible short-term practical application of these theories, i.e. a device in order to improve the quality of machine translation. He also formulates the hypothesis that these theories could allow us to look in a new way at the problem of the (partial) artificial reproduction of the human activity of thought and language.


Mind Mental operations Consciousness Self-consciousness Attention Thought Language Italian Operational School Operational Noology Linguistics Psycholinguistics Neurolinguistics Semantics Grammar Philosophy Cognitive psychology Neurobiology Neuroscience Artificial intelligence 



I am grateful to Giorgio Marchetti for his assistance in formulating this article. The English has been kindly revised by Mr Nicholas White.


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Copyright information

© Marta Olivetti Belardinelli and Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PisaItaly

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