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The Roman Empire The Roman Empire / Римская империя The Roman Empire had a huge task in front of them while it was first starting out and while it was becoming a dominant dynasty in the early civilizations. The main problem that the book "Discovering the Global Past" points out is how the Roman Empire found itself growing a little too quickly. The Roman Empire started out very small...

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U.S. Financial System U.S. Financial System / Финансовая система США Corporations have the need to raise capital for a number of reasons. Smaller firms need capital to start up operations. Larger firms need capital to expand operations and to finance inventory. There are various ways in which a firm can raise capital through the financial system and numerous individuals and entities...

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Microburst Microburst / Микропорыв There are many safety factors that pilots have to take into consideration while completing a safe flight. Everything has to be taken into mind when planning a flight. From weight and balance to preflight inspections. One safety factor that is impossible to have control over is weather. There are many aspects of weather that can affect an aircraft,...

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Romanian Orphanages Romanian Orphanages / Румынские сироты Imagine a hospital that, at one time ran smoothly helping the public, now with the primary objection of taking care of the thousands of abandoned infants and children. This is the reality in Romania when Nicolae Ceausescu was in power. In 1966 he created an Anti-Abortion/Contraception law in order to raise the population and...

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Introducing Christian Ethics Introducing Christian Ethics / Введение в христианскую этику The book that I have chosen to do my book review on is Introducing Christian Ethics, written by Henlee H. Barnette. This book deals with many Christian ethical decisions based on biblical foundations that are applied to various major problems. Some of the major problems pertain to the self,...

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To what extent is language the most important way of knowing?

Топик на английском по теме: Philosophy / Философия

To what extent is language the most important way of knowing?

To what extent is language the most important way of knowing? / Язык — путь к знанию?

To answer this question, let us first define language and knowledge. Language is any system of formalized symbols, signs, sounds, gestures, or the like used or conceived as a means of communicating.1While knowledge is a justified true belief. In my opinion, language is an important way of knowing; however it is not the most important.

Language is not restricted to merely words, it encompasses actions as well. Without it, how can we communicate and thus obtain knowledge. We often acquire knowledge from books, teachings and actions. With that in mind, let us ask ourselves: What would we understand from these if there were no language in the world? Nothing. However, language is biased. Who is to say whether a person is a terrorist or freedom fighter, after all, the definitions of these two words are similar, but their connotations are different.
It may be argued that language is only one of the four ways of knowing, however, I would like to emphasize that language is the basis of emotion, reason and perception. People may say that we can infer happiness from a smile; and sadness from a frown, however, as mentioned earlier, isn’t the smile or frown an action, a language? Another example of language controlling emotion would be where we are able to derive sorrow from the phrase “I am sorry for your loss”.

On the other hand, emotions could have control over language. When we are angry, we would use certain different words as compared to when we are happy. This means that we emotions control the use of words, in contrast to the earlier view that we use words to express different emotions.
Language is used to perceive. For example, people are shown three pictures, one of a man about to kick a ball, one of the same man having just kicked a ball, and a third of a different man who is about to kick a ball. They are then asked which two of the three are the most similar. Indonesians generally choose the first two pictures, which have the same man in them, while English speakers are likely to identify the two pictures that show the ball about to be kicked—an emphasis on the chronological, rather than the spatial, relationship between the principal objects in the picture.2
However, in different languages the divides between, say, red and pink may be different, but this does not imply that people speaking different languages do not perceive the difference between a darker pink and a lighter pink. Through this, we can see that humans are capable to perceive the «objective world» overcoming the biases that language may impose.

The 19th century German Philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt claimed that language was directly connected to thinking.3 I agree with his claim. We are born with the gift of language. Even people without the five senses possess some form of language relative to their own existence. To be able to reason, we need to think, thus we need a medium in which to think, language provides this. For example, in mathematics, we use symbols to logic out the problem and deduce the result. These symbols are forms of language.

Conversely, language is biased, thus it may cloud reason. Through perception of language, we may have preference for one thing compared to another. For instance, a biased claim such as “Jimmy Carter is a bigot”4 is full of fallacies, such as the red herring fallacy and the appeal to emotions and novelty. These fallacies defy reason hence are not knowledge.

To conclude, I feel that language is a good attempt to link the ways of knowing together, however, it is not without its drawbacks, thus it as yet cannot be considered the most important way of knowing.



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