February 25, 2012
Y11 TOK FORMAL PAPER
It had been a common question and debate on how people think based on the things that they know. Many people believe that things that we know are based on the things that are established on us through our culture, environment and society. According to the prompt that "We see and understand things not as they are but as we are", this statement be a common ground of discussion in this paper. While this maybe a knowledge claim, a possible counter claim would be “the certainty of the different areas of knowledge affect our sense perception and language and this in turn makes us understand things differently” and for this paper, this will be the focus.
Language has a big effect on the things that we know because it affects the way that we think and the way that we communicate with people around us. It is our passage to gain deeper knowledge and understanding of the things that we know. it is arbitrary and this is governed by rules that are set upon by language experts; such rules include vocabulary and grammar. One of the special features that can be noted is that it is dynamic and changing. This is because of the borrowing of a word from other language to the original language.
Language also has different limitations. One limitation is that it is contextual. This is because when we go to other parts of the world, we may have the same knowledge on something but the way that we know things are different. This is mainly due to the culture that we live in and important factors are essential and involved in our lives. The degree or the strength of a word when translated from one language to the other also changes and thus, will give another meaning. The context of the word would also depend on a person’s cultural background. Different cultures will then lead to untranslatable words and these are one of the hard things in language. This will not pass the faithfulness and back translation criteria for a successful translation to occur. People also in a certain culture tend to be very wise and come up with idioms. These idioms are sometimes not translatable if the context is not familiar among the people where it is being translated. People might have a common understanding through the denotation meaning but when it comes to the connotation meaning things change and will put it in the context of the user. Language is also dictated by people and thus we do not know its real meaning. Language also does not put whether the person is angry or happy. It just contains the words and that’s how it is. The emotion given by the person is not transmitted when it is done on writing. People also take too much time to be creative and write metaphors or ironies. These figures of speech make language harder to understand and make it more biased towards the audience or the writer.
The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is something that can be tackled when it comes to the idea of language. It states that “we can only see and think only what our language allows us to see and think.” This is true to the extent that we acknowledge the fact that the idea or feeling is happening in that person. The person can freely express this and after he expresses it, the people around him can also relate and narrate or share to others how that person felt. Some people would have a counter claim that people don’t really need the word in that specific language in order for us to understand and people can feel it. This counter claim is also acceptable since it allows people to think of these things. People feel it and they can image things are happening to them. The limitation of this is that they don’t really know if they truly understand it since they don’t know a word for it and thus people cannot relate to that person.
On the other hand, sense perception also is another way of knowing that could help in this paper. Sense perception’s feature amongst the other is that it...
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