Perception and Language Essay

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Nathan Ghion
March 16, 2011
TOK homework
Perception and Language essay
“We see and understand things not as they are but as we are.” Discuss this claim in relation to these two ways of knowing: perception and language. Before analyzing why “we see and understand things not as they are but as we are” in relation to perception and language, we need to know the definitions of perception and language. Perception can be defined as the ability to use the five senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch to know something whereas language is a complex and dedicated form of intentional communication that is capable of infinite creativity which involves arbitrary signs and articulated sounds. Language is a way of knowing that would not exist if it wasn’t for perception because through language, we communicate our thoughts and these thoughts are based on our perception of the world. When we perceive something through one of our five senses, nerves relay a message to our brain and we then make sense of what we have just perceived. Therefore, language is merely a way of communicating our perceptions to others and through language; we gain knowledge by hearing or reading the perceptions of others. What we perceive is affected not only by what is there but also by who we are biologically, personally and culturally. Depending on our attitude toward something, we perceive it differently in that if we have a negative attitude towards something, we perceive it negatively. As an example, let’s examine how a deaf man, a blind man and a mute would perceive a dog. The blind man would be able to feel the dog with his hands and tell you the shape of the dog so he would know what the outline of the dog looked like but he wouldn’t be able to tell you details such as its color and its facial expression. The deaf man would be able to tell you everything there is to know about the dog except the sound it makes when barking and the mute guy would perceive everything about the dog but...
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