Language Illuminate Our Understanding Of The Relation Between Knowledge Of Ourselves And Knowledge Of Others? Essay, Research Paper
To What Extent Does the Nature of Language Illuminate Our Understanding of the
Relation Between Knowledge of Ourselves and Knowledge of Others?
More than any other thing, the usage of linguistic communication sets humankind apart from the
balance of the carnal land. There is some argument as to where the existent
boundary between linguistic communication and communicating should be drawn, nevertheless at that place seems
to be no argument as to the nature of Language, which is to pass on, utilizing
abstract symbols, the workings of one head to one or more others with a
comparatively high grade of truth. It could possibly be said that we are all
capable of showing or stand foring our ideas in a mode that is merely
meaningful to ourselves. Wittgenstein says that? ..a wheel that can be turned
though nil else moves with it is non portion of the mechanism. ? 1 The thought of
a uniquely personal linguistic communication is non relevant here and so will non be discussed
Language is a system of symbols which represent ideas, perceptual experiences and a
battalion of other mental events. Although the significance of a given word or
look is by no agencies fixed, there is a sufficiently high grade of
consensus in most instances to guarantee that our ideas are to a great extent
catching. This essay will concentrate on two facets of linguistic communication. First
that it gives our ain ideas and those of others a certain grade of
portability and secondly that because it has a house ( though non stiff ) set of
regulations regulating the relationships between symbols it allows what would otherwise
be internal constructs that could non be generalised, to be made explicit,
examined in item and compared.
If we did non hold linguistic communication we would be able to surmise really small about other
worlds around us. Non-verbal communicating has evolved to instantaneously
communicate 1s & # 8217 ; emotional province, and by and large succeeds in this, nevertheless
although it can uncover what a individual may be experiencing at a peculiar clip, it
says nil about why those feelings are present and in any instance is most
dependable with strong emotions such as choler, fright, disgust & A ; c. The less intense
the emotion the more vaguely it is portrayed. If we are cognizant of the events
preceeding the show of emotion we may be able to impute a cause to it, but
as psychologists Jones and Nisbett ( 1972 ) showed, these ascriptions are rather
likely to be inaccurate due to the preference that worlds have for imputing
behavior to the temperament of the individual being observed. In add-on to all
of this, non-verbal communicating is limited to perceivers in the immediate country
at the clip of the behavior.
In contrast to this, linguistic communication allows us to group thoughts and perceptual experiences together
and compare them in order to make a high grade of consensus about their
significance. Wittgenstein says that? You learned the construct? hurting & # 8217 ; when you
learned linguistic communication. ? 2 The portability that linguistic communication imparts to ideas and
perceptual experiences allows us to compare our ain response to assorted experient stimulations
with anothers & # 8217 ; study of their response to a similar event which we may or may
non hold witnessed. Over clip it becomes possible to spot certain tendencies and
so, for illustration, the esthesis that we feel when we strike our pollexs with a
cock, the characteristic? trouble behavior? and such things as the torment that
people feel at the terminal of a romantic affair all become portion of the general
construct of hurting, even though they are all dissimilar in signifier ( this point will
be discussed later ) . By utilizing linguistic communication worlds can vicariously partake of
the experiences of another ( e.g. when one watches a drama or a movie or when one
listens to an history of a friends experience. ) In short, linguistic communication allows us
to do comparings between our ain idea procedures and those of others which
in bend enables us to deduce that the subjective experience of others is in many
instances similar to our ain.
An of import belongings of linguistic communication is that it has regulations regulating the
relationships between its & # 8217 ; component parts. Some of these regulations are more
stiff than others which gives the system con
siderable overall flexibleness. For
case, there is a great difference between stating & # 8220 ; You are non allowed to make
it. ? and? You are allowed non to make it. & # 8221 ;
This is a rough illustration but it makes the point that the significance of an vocalization
depends upon more than merely the words used. In add-on an vocalization may be
meaningful, and grammatically valid and still be nonsensical, For case the
sentence ; ? An Elephant is a fish in Wellingtons? The significance of the sentence
is absolutely clear and the regulations of grammar have hopefully been obeyed, but the
sentence itself is obviously untrue.
The analysis of sense and significance is carried out utilizing Logic, the survey of
statement and illation. Logical analysis of an vocalization can set up the
cogency, or non-validity of any averments that it makes. To utilize the oft-
quoted illustration ; ? All work forces are mortal and Socrates is a man. ? One may deduce from
these statements that Socrates is mortal, since there is no combination of
fortunes in which they could at the same time be true and Socrates immortal.
One major part that logic makes to the apprehension of the difference
between ourselves and others is that it can place premises that are
normally made when speech production of others. For case, to go on the hurting
illustration, If one sees a individual exhibiting trouble behaviour one is disposed to believe ; ?
That individual is in pain. ? but it is impossible for one to really cognize what
they are experiencing. To a greater or lesser grade one infers that the others & # 8217 ;
existent experience mirrors 1s & # 8217 ; own to the same grade that their behavior does.
In the same vena, if I see my best friend faux pas with a screwdriver for case,
and wound his manus, I could moderately state that I know him to be in hurting, given
that long experience has non shown any great difference between his apparent
response to hurt and my ain. However I could non do the same statement
about myself with any existent significance for the simple ground that my ain experience
of hurting transcends cognition. In my ain instance it makes every bit much, or every bit small
sense to state that I doubt that I am in hurting as it does to state that I know that I
Language therefore can be said to be something of a two-edged blade when
mentioning to an apprehension of the differences between cognition of the ego
and cognition of another. One the one manus the ability to inquire inquiries of the
type ; ? What do you intend by & # 8230 ; & # 8230 ; ? ? can let some penetration into the idea
procedures underlying the behavior of another. On the other manus an analysis of
the differences between what is really being said when a statement is made
mentioning to another and the same statement made mentioning to oneself, can demo
that finally 1s & # 8217 ; cognition of oneself and 1s & # 8217 ; cognition of others are two
basically different things. Knowledge of ego is based on priviliged
information that, in the absence of telepathic communicating, is merely available
to oneself. This does non intend to state that our cognition of ourselves is either
accurate or complete. Human existences are by and large extremely adept at self-
misrepresentation, nontheless a word, a sentence, a series of sentences can merely be an
estimate of the ideas behind them, similarly when words impact upon our
consciousness, they are capable to reading. The intent of linguistic communication is
to pass on but as Huxley says ; ? By its & # 8217 ; really nature every embodied spirit
is doomed to endure and bask in purdah. Sensations, feelings, penetrations,
illusions & # 8211 ; all these are private and, except through symbols and at 2nd manus,
incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but ne’er the
experiences themselves. From household to state every human group is a society of
island existences. ?
1 ) Wittgenstein. L. 1995. Philosophic Investigations. 271.
2 ) ibid. 384.
3 ) Huxley. A. 1954. The Doors of Perception. pp3-4.
Hume. D. 1985. A Treatise of human nature. Penguin.
Huxley. A. 1994. The Doors of Perception. Flamingo.
O & # 8217 ; Hear. A. 1985. What doctrine is. Penguin.
Putnam. H. 1975. Mind Language and Reality. Cambridge University Press.
Wittgenstein. L. 1995. Philosophic Investigations. Blackwell.