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"Words are more treacherous and powerful than we think." Evaluate to what extent words affect - negatively or positively - different Areas of Knowledge.

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"Words are more treacherous and powerful than we think." Evaluate to what extent words affect - negatively or positively - different Areas of Knowledge Presented to Stephen Byron Theory of Knowledge Duyen Hau Nguyen 0230696 Vanier College The Power of Language Language is an integral part of our everyday life. As knowers, we depend on it to think and communicate. It is through language that thoughts and knowledge are exchanged and conveyed. In the modern society, language is used so frequently that we rarely realize how powerful and treacherous it can be. Sartre's statement praises this important point, suggesting that words may be more deceptive and powerful than we think. Are our thought processes directly linked to language? Is it possible that words and symbols can alter the way we think or even what we know? Language can in fact have the ability to do all those things, but to what extend does it affect the different Areas of Knowledge? To start with and in the most basic terms, language is a means of communication which conveys meaning through words and symbols. As well, thought is defined as the product of conceiving mentally, determining something by reasoning or imagining. ...read more.


This may well lead to the idea that language imposes limits on our possibilities of knowing the world. Scientists do aspire to overcome those limits. And this is how language may change over time as new theories may contradict old ones. This is also true for facts in history or in other Areas of Knowledge. Furthermore, since all the labels within any language have a role in the way human beings think and process experiences; one could control what a person can or cannot understand by limiting their knowledge of language. For example, if a person only knows the words tree and green, he will only use those two words to describe a painting representing a tree. That person doesn't have the potential to describe the painting through its other aspects. He is then limited to what he can understand because his knowledge of language is limited. Intentional use of the limits of language occurs in politics and in any modern wars. For instance, factual reports by the military may contain words that the general public does not understand. This lack of understanding of the real meanings to these words leads the population to be ignorant of the situation. ...read more.


This shows how language can sustain relationships of authority and how one can use it to influence logic, justice and value judgments. Ambiguity is also commonly used by politicians or lawyers. By transferring thoughts that are open to more than one understanding, politicians can make promises that can be interpreted so differently that they don't have to be fulfilled at all. Similarly, the use of negative or positive connotations which are attached to words can turn a neutral statement into negative or positive. Because we can be extremely influenced by the usage of labels, the control of language can directly control values and mentalities of a whole generation or community. Thus, with all things considered, as the title implies, language is a lot more powerful and treacherous than we think. Because it has a direct control of our thoughts, in all areas, language has the power to explain or convince, clarify or mislead. It can affect one's opinions negatively or positively. After all, human kind's quest for knowledge is limited by our language and its ability to control our knowledge. By understanding the power of language, we can learn how to use it more effectively and we can reduce its influence on our thoughts. As Voltaire would say, "Error flies from mouth to mouth, from pen to pen, and to destroy it takes ages. ...read more.

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