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Eric Dayton, Philosophy Faculty

Writing and Thought

Are being able to write and being able to think connected?

In our little writing clinic we have to...the student has to bring a writing sample first, first go, and part of it is, 'What did you mean when you said this? 'What did you mean when you said that?' 'Don't you see that this and that really don't go together?' 'So which one did you mean?' (So it's not so much teaching writing but teaching analytical skills.) I think they go together, because if you can't use language well, then you can't mean things precisely. Students have this horrible belief that, 'It's in here. I know it. I just can't say it.' But, you don't know anything you can't say, I mean in any effective way. You might have some kind of inner feeling about it, but if you can't express yourself, in a sense, it doesn't really matter whether you know it on the inside.