All Of The Other Ways Of Knowing Are Controlled By Language

1847 words - 8 pages

I believe that the statement "All of the other Ways of Knowing are controlled by language" is only valid to some extent. First, we must examine the word "control" itself. The definition of "control" is to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command. This definition suggests one of two things. Firstly, it suggests that language has a dominating role in its relationship with the other Ways of Knowing: Reason, Emotion, and Perception and is in command of them. However, I believe that this is an extreme perspective that does not always show to be true. On the other hand, if a person sees the definition of "control" as impacting and determining one of the Ways of Knowing's outcome, I ...view middle of the document...

As stated earlier, if one needed language in order reason, then we would simply not be capable of learning language. However, this theory seems to suggest that we are born with some type of reasoning skill that, in turn, allows us to learn language. One example of this is the Case of Genie. Genie was a young girl who was chained to a potty chair starting from the young age of 20 months and was never exposed to any language until she was 12 years old. When she was discovered, many psychologists immediately began trying to teach Genie English. Results showed that she was still able to acquire the English language despite never being exposed to it. However, Genie was never able to obtain a vocabulary or IQ higher than an elementary child because her development came to a halt after four years. Therefore, this suggests that language does effect one's ability to reason because unlike any normal child that grows up with the language, Genie's inability to learn the English language fully did effect her ability to reason. Like the Case of Genie, Gergley's study of selective imitation does suggest that humans are able to reason without language. In this study, infants were put in one of two conditions. In one, the infants observed an adult, with his/her hands free, turn on a light with his/her forehead. In the other condition, the infants observed an adult, with his/her hands occupied, turn on a light with his/her forehead. The results showed that the infants in the first condition imitated the adults when turning on the same light but infants in the second condition did not replicate the adults. This was because they reasoned that the adults only used their forehead to turn on the light due to the fact that their hands were not available for use. This suggests that the infants logically inferred that using their hands was a more convenient way of turning on the. However, when their role model had their hands free, they reasoned that this was the proper way to turn on the light because the role model chose to do so. Despite not knowing language, these infants were capable of reasoning for themselves. This suggests that language does not control how well one can reason but may impact reasoning skills. Sapir Whorf's Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis suggests that different cultures interpret things differently because of the languages that they speak. One culture that was studied was the Piraha people of the Brazilian Amazon. This particular tribe lack numbers in their language in the way they are normally defined. Despite attempts to teach the Piraha people simple arithmetic, the Piraha people were unable to deduce the logic behind counting. Although some may argue that since they were nomadic hunter gatherers there was no need for an ability to count, this still suggests that because no apparent counting system was prevalent in their language, they were unable to understand the reasoning behind it. All of these examples seem to indicate that language...

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