A Comparison of Thought and Language for TOK
Uploaded by DClover on Dec 1, 2004 | |
Language Is More Powerful Than We Think – A Comparison of Thought and Language
Today, more than ever, language is an integral part of our existence and survival. We depend on it to think and communicate on a day to day basis from person to person. In this age of cellular phones, fax machines and the internet, we use language so much that we usually take the power of language for granted. A man named Ludwig Wittgenstein once said , "If we spoke a different language, we would perceive a different world." First of all, are our thought processes directly linked to the words and symbols we call language? Is it possible that language can alter the way we think or even control what we know? And, can language reveal our own personal identity? Language can in fact have the ability to do all those things; it can change our values, our identity and even what we can and cannot know. Thus, this would lead to the conclusion that language is a lot more powerful than we think.
To analyze this concept, we must first know the definitions of language and thought. In the most basic terms, language is a means of communication by labelling our thoughts with words or symbols. In addition, our thoughts are defined as the power to think and imagine. Transferring thoughts would not only mean communicating to others, but also thinking within one's mind or dealing with an experience. From these meanings, we can now understand why language is needed for us to think, for without language, we cannot attach anything to our sense perceptions and experiences. Our power to think and imagine cannot exist if there are no labels to transfer it. When we see a small, long, narrow and wooden writing implement, we call it a pencil. Without any labels, we would not be able to differentiate between a pencil, a car and a ball, otherwise a pencil would be the same as a car and a car would be the same as a...