Discuss the Roles of Language and Reason in History

Topics: History, Critical thinking, Logic Pages: 4 (1393 words) Published: September 3, 2012
That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach. (Aldous Huxley) History, which is an area of knowledge, is different from other areas such as science and the arts, in that we cannot directly observe the past. It is in fact, not a study of the past, but rather a systematic, chronological account of the past. This is why knowers have to use the Ways of Knowing to analyze and to clarify the past and to find any influences on historians, such as biasness, ideology and perspective. History not only helps us to understand our past, but also to understand the present and even to predict our future. In order for historians to record down events, language is key, thus language plays an important role in creating history. Reasoning is also another key factor, as reason is required to make uniform and rational decisions, thus reasoning must have played an important role in history. Although these two Ways of Knowing are extremely vital, they too, have their limitations as to how they have influenced history and perhaps even changed it. Thus, using examples derived from our everyday lives and from the classroom, I will attempt to truly discuss and question the roles of language and reason in history.

Both language and history have played and are playing an important part in making history. Language has become a symbol of how we learn and derive knowledge in our classroom and in our lives. For example, we use our spoken language and language written in our history textbooks to understand what we are studying fully. We listen to teachers, note down what they are writing and even by watching documentaries on historical events. This shows us that language plays an important part in how we understand and study history. Furthermore, historical records are noted through language and passed on from generation to generation, we can say that to a certain extent, there would not be history if there were...
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