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TOK essay "role of language in areas of knowledge"

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Does language play roles of equal importance in different areas of knowledge? Areas of knowledge make different claims and communicate them to the public using language in various ways. Language certainly plays a role in all of the areas of knowledge, but whether it has always the same importance is questionable. It would be extensive to discuss all the areas, an evaluation of three would be more effective. Considering mathematics first it has to be established that it has a rather different language then the rest of the areas - it uses symbols which is a great distinction. Another area which is, in my opinion, a good example for consideration is history, where so much depends on the use of language. Lastly, the arts are an appealing area, because it contains both visual arts which one might say don't make any use of language, but then there is literature, which is the opposite. It only uses language. Before giving this question more thought, mathematics came to my mind as an area, where language doesn't play a significant role at all, but of course I was only thinking of language as the body of words and nothing else. But obviously it is much more than that. ...read more.


It is almost impossible for a report of any given incident or experience to be unbiased. This does lead to the distinctions between reliable and unreliable sources, but even two reliable sources can have completely different takes on one event. Looking at historical events of a conflict we find that there are "two sides to one story" - each side using a fully distinct vocabulary than the other. Considering the Crusades as an example, there is an obvious difference of opinion about the events that happened in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. The Europeans called it "a liberation", whereas the Muslims saw it as "an invasion". Sources originating form Europe try to convince whoever reads them of the European rightful course of action, using cleverly persuasive language, and the other side does naturally the same, defending their own truth. Language in historical texts can be very distinctive and swaying in gaining knowledge from them. But the knowledge does not come only (if at all) from being convinced by the sources, but by learning to consider and question the motives of their authors because of the language they use. The arts is one area of knowledge, but it contains two separate fields that are very different in ways - particularly when discussing the role of language. ...read more.


Some might see a whole new meaning in a poem whose themes were evaluated differently by a literary scholar. But that is the beauty of it. It is not like in history where the assumptions made from sources conclude our view of world history. The knowledge that we gain form literature and visual arts, the whole area of arts, is different form the others. Because it is knowledge about ourselves - how we understand the books we read or the paintings we see, and what that says about us. The language that the arts represent doesn't necessarily always communicate something to us but from us. Although it might not seem that way, all areas of knowledge are made up of an important component, language, which defines what they are. Even though it may not always be the language which uses words to express claims, but rather something else more characteristic of that area. Whether the roles of language are equally important in each, is hard to decide because of the variety of the languages, making it hard to compare them. But it can definitely be said, that in each of the areas discussed language does play an important role, and there is not one are which would be complete without it. Word count: 1 296 Natalia Tothova 3. IB A TOK ?? ?? ?? ?? - 1 - ...read more.

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