The network in question is stored in the human brain

Thought as word dynamics. I. General principles. (2)

It is undeniable that speech acts are produced from within a talking subject, as they are uttered through the mouth. This however does not necessarily imply that the network mentioned in Speech acts are generated as the outcome of a dynamics operating on a network, along with its data, is stored within the talking subject. It can however be reasonably inferred that such is indeed the case, essentially for lack of a viable alternative hypothesis.

Suppose for a moment that the network were located elsewhere than within talking subjects, meaning that the substrate to speech acts would lie outside their bodies, whether broadcasting its information or constituting a repository accessed by talking subjects. There should then be circumstances when communication breaks down or is at least impaired because of some physical obstacle interfering with it. Nothing of the sort is observed with speech performance: individuals swimming at the very bottom of the ocean, walking on the moon or prisoners of a lead-coated concrete bunker don’t show any reduction in their capacity for speech.

Quite interestingly, it is a distinctive feature of some mentally disturbed individuals that they postulate the existence of such an outside source for speech acts and claim that their words or their inner speech is being interfered with by an obtrusive sender (*).

Once admitted that the network is indeed located within the talking subject, its likely container has been shown beyond any reasonable doubt to be the brain. Indeed lesions to the brain, being accidental or clinically performed, as well as other types of interference, do impair speech performance in very general or specific ways. There is by now an abundant literature, that the likes of Broca or Wernicke initiated in the nineteenth century, showing what consequences in terms of aphasia or agnosia, i.e. impairments in speech performance, or thinking, of various natures, specific lesions of the brain induce or interfere with its functioning (the works of Oliver Saks in the 1980s: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat in particular, have popularized such accounts).

It is worthwhile noticing however that such observations, taken in isolation, are insufficient to invalidate the hypothesis of the externality of the network: it could be the case indeed that lesions simply hinder reception from an external source, or impair the brain’s capacity at tapping an outer repository. It is only once admitted as most plausible that the body of the talking subject holds the network (being the substrate for speech performance) that the brain shows to be its most probable location.

Beyond this deductive probability, is there any further plausibility that the brain contains the type of network discussed here? There is indeed: the brain is known to contain a particular network constituted of nerve cells or neurons. In the coming sections it will be my concern to check if the network in question and the one made of nerve cells can possibly be the same.

(*) I will show below (section 21) why it should be expected from a network the connectedness of which is broken that it assumes it cannot be itself the source of the speech performance it utters. With connectedness lost, the disconnected parts of the network have ceased to communicate, they generate speech independently: the emergence of speech acts from another part of the network is perceived as being from an external source by every one of the other parts.