To What Extent Is Language the Most Important Way of Knowing?

Topics: Psychology, Logic, Language Pages: 2 (676 words) Published: September 14, 2008
To what extent is language the most important way of knowing? 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...
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