The Role Of Language And Reason In History Philosophy

Essay add: 10-01-2017, 16:17   /   Views: 28

Language affects a lot of things in our lives, one of which is history. Language is an extremely powerful tool that is used to communicate thoughts, facts, and ideas, but it can also alter the facts. Language affects our thoughts, emotions, and the way we perceive things around us. Language differs from a group to another and thus history can be altered over generations. Different people reason in different ways, which can also have an effect on history.

Without both language and reason there wouldn't be much history. How would stories and facts be passed down to generations? However, this raises another argument. To what extent, is history valid if it relies on language and reason? The history we receive in textbooks today is not all that really happened, it is simply what people shows to remember and note down. Although history is biased and changes over the years from one place to another, without language there wouldn't be any history for us and we wouldn't know our past.

I wouldn't really agree with reason being part of history. Maybe to some extent, but when you come to think of it, everything in history isn't reasonable, but then again, is there something that is completely reasonable? War for example isn't reasonable, lives, money and time is wasted, and yet, history is full of wars, there is at least one war in every century of human life. Also the way history is recorded isn't reasonable either; it's a known saying that the victorious go down in history, of course the defeated are mentioned as "the ones that were defeated by the victorious" but nothing more.

Language, and how it is used in history limits the subject as well. Most often history is written down, in some cases it is told orally from one generation to another. This is the case of South Africa and, I believe, in Australia. The original inhabitants of South Africa didn't have a way of writing, so they told the stories about their past, their history to the next generation, sometime bits were forgotten, sometimes they were added. In some cases it was forgotten, like in Australia, where the aboriginal kids were taken away from their mothers and put in the hands of the Christian Church to be "civilized", maybe they became civilized according to white people standards, but they lost their whole culture. These Aboriginals are known under the name of the "Lost Generations" in Australia. Some of this can be seen in the American production of the movie Australia, with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.

I agree that both language and reason play important roles in history. As we have studied both language and reason are ways of knowing and i believe it was also the ways of knowing for our ancestors. This means that in history both language and reason were used. We also learnt that language does control our thought. For example there are some things you can say in one language that you cannot in another. This is an example of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. Language also affects our reason as all ways of knowing are interlinked. And as we have more recently learnt about reasoning, i believe it is clear that this also controls a large amount of our actions and thoughts. And because both language and reason are affecting us now, i am quite sure they had a major role to play in history.

As mentioned above I also agree that language and reason plays a big role in the history we know today. In most cases, it is the people in charge however who are able to manipulate language to communicate history, this becomes a mentioned, language can be ambiguous and especially in translations can have different meanings. This is just one example in how language can be manipulated to alter the understanding of history. With regards to reason, as we learned in class, there are several different kinds of reasoning, which is different in the western world than in say Africa. We are taught for example that the western civilizations came to Africa and aided the locals with education and development, however from their side it could be seen that the westerners invaded their land and forced their cultures upon them unwillingly. Their reasoning will be based on personal experiences, where as the westerners would explain that it was for a future investment, making it appropriate. In many cases the main issue with using reason to tell history is the Ad Ignorantium falicy which states that something is true because it is unable to be disproved, and this applies to history since we are unable to travel back in time to find out the whole truth in most cases.

I feel this title is incredibly ambiguous. It doesn't state clearly what they mean by history. Do they mean in the telling of history, or do they mean the role that language and reason had in the past? Because those are two completely different topics all together.

If we are talking about the impact it had on our past... well obviously massive. Without language, we would not have the tool that distinguishes us from other animals, the ability to tell stories. And without that, we wouldn't have things like debates or contracts that led to the wars that shape the world today. And reason is with us with every decision we make. And one cannot possibly state that there was no reasoning behind many of the decisions made in history

So I'm going out on a limb here and assuming that it is the role that these two elements had on the telling of History. To play the devil's advocate here, i don't think language and reason play much of a role in history at all. Well atleast not modern history. And when I say modern, i mean atleast after we learned how to read and write. Before that, History was told from person to person in the form of tales and stories. And sure, language has a giant role as a tool to get the message across, but that's it. And when i say that's it, i realize that i just did say it had a giant role. But what i mean is that it's not as big of a factor as most people seem to think it is.

What really shapes History are the winners. The people in charge. They get to have their stories told, they get to decide what goes to the public and what doesnt. Imagine if Germany had won the second world war. Our view of the holocaust would be much different wouldn't it? Maybe the general populace may not have even been told of their existance. And if we take a look at Stalin and his attempts to remove people from history (altering photos, deleting records of existance), we can see that the people up there have the power to feed us whatever they want. And that was back then, when there was no photoshop. Just imagine the technology they have in their hands today. And that is why there are countries that are so suspicious of others learning of their past, that they do anything to keep them quiet, going as far as to kill them.

As a more recent example, does anyone know of Andijon? I wouldnt be surprised if you didn't, partially because it is in Uzbekistan and to be honest i didn't know that was a country until my uncle started lving. Anyways, the Andijon massacres (sometime in 2006) have been described by the UN to be "possibly the greatest massacre since Tienanmen square". So why haven't you heard of it? Because the government of Uzbekistan are brilliant at keeping people out and censoring things. Even killed a journalist that fled to another country after writing an article criticizing them.

Can contemporary discourse presume a community of interest?   In order to answer this question, one is forced to first answer the question, can language be used to reveal anything new?   If the answer is yes, then how can it do this and how can we employ it to do this for us.   Also, one is forced to ask what is it exactly that we are looking for?   Once we've found it, how can we use it to improve our present condition?   Plato and Descartes both believe that language can indeed improve our conditions through it's revelation, and both give methods to attain new knowledge.   Although vastly differing, in that Descartes builds knowledge from the ground up, while Plato works from a distorted view, and seeks to clarify it, their philosophies mean the most, and have the highest practical purpose when they are employed together.   By basing a Socratic argument on Descartes' pre-established truths, one can attain undoubtable new knowledge.   This knowledge can, and will improve

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