All of the Other Ways of Knowing Are Controlled by Language.¡¨ What Does This Statement Mean and Do You Think It Is a Fair Representation of the Relationship Between Perception, Emotion, Reason and Language?

Topics: Emotion, Psychology, Mind Pages: 5 (1477 words) Published: November 26, 2006
Language is such a universal phenomenon in human society. Whenever we write or speak, we use it; whenever we make a promise or ask a question, we use it. In the statement ¡§All of the other ways of knowing are controlled by language¡¨, language is defined as ¡§words¡¨ and this ¡§control¡¨ can be defined as ¡§dominate¡¨. Then this saying seems not so fair to represent the relationship between the four ways of knowing. It is more sensible to say language gives some support or limit to our reason¡Aperception and emotion. It may influence them, but not only one way ¡V the four ways of knowing interact with each other.

The function of language is particularly relevant in reason. We should believe our application of reason is within our mind before we express it into words. Most natural science is called logic facts and we often use the name of theories to represent our reason instead of explaining the essence in details. For example, if your hand pushes against the edge of a desk, the desk pushes against your hand. Probably we will tell others this phenomenon is because ¡§Newton¡¦s third law of motion¡¨ but won¡¦t explain the content of this theory word by word. In this case, language has no meaning itself, but it is more like a symbol to represent reason. Another example is ¡§Chaos Theory¡¨. Ten years ago, Chaos is just a simple English word, but as Chaos theory become part of modern science, people easily associate the idea of ¡¥finding the order in random data¡¦ when they see the word ¡§Chaos¡¨. However, reason requires precision. Scientists use scientific language to give strict definition of a theory before they name it. Newton¡¦s third law of motion states: ¡§Whenever one object exerts a force on a second object, the second exerts an equal and opposite force on the first.¡¨ (Isaac Newton 1687) People must have the sense of reaction before this theory is built, but it needs a medium to become verbalized and communicated in order to evaluate its validity. Therefore, reason determines our choice of words and language is very powerful in reporting or expressing reason. In short, language can be dominated or given significance by reason rather than control reason.

Then, consider the relationship between language and perception. Perception is what we get to know through our direct senses. Words are limited, so we are unable to detail our perception exactly. For instance, it is difficult to tell the precise smell of the perfume CK One. Even if we try our best to describe our perception, it is always different from various associations.

Besides, different purposes also dominate our descriptive vocabulary. Some politicians make use of language in order to influence people¡¦s perception. In 2001, a Japanese history textbook provoked sharp controversy. ¡§South Korean historians have cited 25 passages or omissions in the textbook that distort the history of Japan's occupation of Korea from 1905 to 1945. Academics in China have highlighted eight passages or omissions that distort the Japanese seizure of Manchuria in 1931 and the invasion of China from 1937 to 1945.¡¨ (Conachy 2001) However, Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi, on May 8, told the media ¡§I know there are various opinions, but we cannot revise it¡¨. An Education Ministry official, Toru Funahashi stated on May 17, ¡§Since we have strict screening, the approved textbooks do not contain mistakes¡¨.

This case shows clearly, different purpose and understanding affects the way in which the situation is construed. Perception dominates the way we 'see' the world. This textbook will affect the view of Japanese students regarding the role of Japanese militarism in Asia in the first half of the 20th century. However, as knowledge grows, so does perception. Students will understand the history can be different from various political backgrounds. Hence, they will be able to choose rational contents to believe and have their own interpretation of the history. In conclusion,...

References: „« Isaac Newton and Andrew Motte (Translator), 1999 ¡¥Newton¡¦s third law of motion¡¦ The principia, University of California Press.
„« James Conachy ¡¥Japanese history textbook provokes sharp controversy¡¦ 7/7/2001 .
„« Martin Luther King, 28/3/1963 ¡¥I have a dream¡¦, delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.
. (10/4/2004)
„« Cashdan and Elizabeth Grugeon, 1972 Language in education The Open University Press.
„« Carissa, J. Wells ¡¥The perception of Dominance in Nonverbal Behavior¡¦ 4/22/2003 . (10/4/2004)
„« Gentner, D. and Ratsman, M. J. 1991, Language and social influences London: Cambridge University Press.
„« G. Lee Bowie, Meredith W. Michaels and Robert C. Solomon, 1998 ¡¥Does language make me think the way I do?¡¦ in Twenty Questions¡Xand introduction to philosophy 4th Edi, Harcourt College Publishers pp. 271-319
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