• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

TOK: What are the effects of biased language and unsound reasoning on history?

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐What are the effects of biased language and unsound reasoning on history? Language and reason play a vital role in history. History is written and it is passed from one generation to the other through language. And to write history, a historian has to rely on his reason. Reasoning is closely connected with sense perception and language. In fact language is at the very core of reasoning. Language is a vast unmapped territory fascinating our intelligence and casting spells on our reason. According to Claude Levi Strauss, ?Language is a form of human reason?. This has its internal logic of which man knows nothing. History, as an area of knowledge, loses its meaning if it is aloof from the significant tools of knowledge-language and reason. As a Theory of Knowledge student, I will look forward to assessing this statement in the light of evidence and justifications. The essay will substantiate how language combined with reason can make history more reliable. My essay will also judge if language and reason may lead to misinterpretation of historical facts. What can be the effects of biased language and unsound reasoning on history? ...read more.


Reports from eyewitnesses play an important role in the development and propagation of beliefs but history is not an eyewitness account. Evidence can often be manufactured and ambiguous, and prejudices are common. For example, it is claimed by many historians that Alexander the great died of poisoning, while others argue that he died of a mysterious illness. Moreover, history is a written record of the past. It is illustrated through a language, which may itself be subject to prejudice, bias and discrimination. Language and opinions of the historians are not immune from cultural bias. The history of the Norman Conquest written by William of Malmesbury is far different from that of Anglo-Saxon chronicles. According to a school of philosophy, called rationalism, reason is the most significant resource to increase knowledge. Rationalism is the doctrine or theory that reason rather than experience is the foundation for certainty in knowledge. It is a tool that seems to give us certainty. It helps us discover important truths. Rationalists are suspicious of knowledge based on perception on the grounds that our senses can all too easily mislead us. ...read more.


If a historian, with a biased reason, and with inherent propensity to terrorism, comes to write the history of the ghastly attack, he will justify the assaults. Not only this he can narrate the incident in such a bombastic language that the loathsome culprit may appear as a hero. The other terrorists will come before us not as criminals but as martyrs. In my opinion a historian should keep his reason and language unbiased lest the historical account should deceive the common humanity. My conclusion is not that language and reason have no role in history. To the contrary they are the pillars to the foundation of history. History is an intellectual pursuit, an activity of the reasoning mind. What is true of an individual is also true of history. There is some kind of truth about the past and that a good historian can at least help us to get closer to the truth. Like other ways of knowing, Language and Reason is a double edged tool that helps us develop consistent beliefs about the world. But language and reason should be free from the venom of faith, bias, discrimination and prejudice, or ?Happy is the nation that has no history?. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge essays

  1. TOK History Essay

    Reason in history is mainly explored through why certain events occurred. However, along with perception, the real account of events and emotions experienced cannot be accounted for because even some primary sources can be subjective or biased as they could be written from someone's perspective and hence this brings an

  2. Discuss the roles of language and reason in history.

    'The Jewish Question', showed the sentiments of the German people in the years after WW21. This can be seen below: Statement Percentage of people who agree Hitler was right in his treatment of the Jews. 0% Hitler went too far in his treatment of the Jews, but something had to be done to keep them in bounds.

  1. Are the WOKS controlled by language?

    In short with have perfect knowledge of the possibilities of images. Note that what we have knowledge of is the form and scope of images. We know images are two-dimensional, and thus can be represented in a grid. And we know the range of colors the human eye can see.

  2. What power does language have

    from what he reads is how he is going to live and pray. One of the most controversial and modern day issues surrounds the status of women in Islam, and the many different perspectives in the Muslim World as to what role gender plays in a persons worth in terms of position, potential, status, and constitution.

  1. Discuss the roles of language and reason in history

    In addition, deductive and inductive reasoning can be doubted too. Using the previous example of Hitler, the conclusion that we derived about him may not be the truth after all.

  2. Astronomy Biography Giordano Bruno

    We have learned to accept it as something big. The thought of the Infinity of the Universe was one of the great stimulating ideas of the Renaissance. It was no longer a 15th Century God's backyard. And it suddenly became too vast to be ruled over by a 15th Century God.

  1. Man Is the animal that speaks, Understanding language is thus the key to understanding ...

    Problems with words arise when it comes to ambiguity and misinterpretation because of the ways we choose to use them. For example, language techniques such as sarcasm, metaphors, personification and puns mean that we can convey what we want in a more cryptic or riddled way, as most of these

  2. Discuss the Role of Language and Reason in History

    for the words, untranslatable words, or sometimes a language does not even have a word that another language contains (Lagemaat, 60). This creates a problem because historians around the world interpreting the same document have many different viewpoints and people usually get confused as to who is right and who is wrong.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work