Ways of knowing are how an individual uses to gain knowledge. There are four different types of ways of knowing sense perception, emotion, reason and language. In my opinion, language as a way of knowing is one of the many important ways of knowing because it goes beyond communication. Without language as a way of knowing, individuals wouldn’t have been able to share their knowledge nor communicate with each other.
Therefore it would be impossible to gain knowledge because it’s the language that we use as the primary tool in school to understand the teacher and gain knowledge. In definition, I think language can be said to be any form of communication. If the message sent by the sender is successfully received and understood by the receiver, the form of communication they used can be said to be a type of language. Examples of language can also be sign language, math, which is said to be the universal language, and even one’s body language because other individuals will understand what they are feeling by someone’s body language.
For example, one day, I saw my friend shaking her leg while sitting down; this made me realize that she was nervous about something. She didn’t tell me she was nervous, but her body language made me realize that. All those are forms of communication because using those types of languages; messages can indeed be successfully sent and received by individuals. Furthermore, areas of knowledge are the areas in which individuals can gain knowledge. Types of areas of knowledge are ethics, history, mathematics, natural science, human science and the arts.
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In this essay, I will be examining whether language plays a role of equal importance in different areas of knowledge such as natural science, the arts and history. The three areas of knowledge I have chosen are three completely different areas of knowledge. However, the similarity is that they all need language. They heavily depend on language for knowledge about the area of knowledge to be passed down to new generations as history. If language didn’t exist, knowledge about these areas of knowledge would not have been passed down to new generations, so the new generations would not have any sort of knowledge about them.
Well, these areas of knowledge wouldn’t even exist without language. For instance, natural science heavily depends on the language. It’s essential in this area of knowledge because language is how scientists use it to pass down their discoveries or research from one scientist to another. For example, it was because of language how Mendeleyev was able to invent a periodic table which is used by all chemists and taught in schools all over the world, and even the grand discoveries such as the discovery of gravity have been able to be passed down to new generations even after the discoverer’s death because of the existence of language.
The arts also depend on language for excellent work done by artists to be passed down from one generation to another. For example, music has its own set of special notes which is used to play the instrument; this can also be considered as a language. These notes are written on paper and passed down to generations. These collections of notes on paper have made it possible for different musicians worldwide to play a musical piece. Without language, great pieces of work will never be passed down to generations for other individuals to see. Finally, language is also critical when it comes to history.
Events that occurred in the past would be lost and forgotten if the language didn’t exist. For example, if no one documented World War II, we wouldn’t know how it started or anything about it. Language is the only way history can be passed down to generations. When people involved in the event die, the event will eventually be forgotten if knowledge and information about the event are not noted down in a diary. Therefore, individuals from the new generation would not have been able to understand and analyze the event or even know the event even occurred in the first place.
However, another aspect I’m going to look at of language is how it’s being used in these different areas of knowledge to analyze it plays equal roles in these areas of knowledge. For example, in natural science, language is used to share ideas, knowledge, discoveries, research from one scientist to another. For example, when Newton discovered gravity, we wouldn’t have known anything about it without language. Because of language, he was able to share his discoveries with other scientists, or else scientists from all over the world still might be trying to discover why when an object is dropped, it always falls to the ground.
Another way language is used in natural science is that it’s used to make sure the discoveries of different scientists are passed on to generations even after the scientist’s death. Language is needed to write down the discoveries in a diary so that the younger generations can gain their knowledge. In history, language is used to make sure individuals from the new generations know of the events in the past. Without any written documents about the events which have occurred, there will be no sources left behind for the new generations to analyze and understand the event or even realize the event happened.
The existence of language had caused historians to have sources left behind, such as autobiographies of different people who had taken part in the event or was alive when the event took place. So they can analyze and understand the events. In the arts, language lets the other generations understand and share the artist’s feelings, as the arts are a way of expressing one’s feelings. It is used to remember and bring back the feeling to the receiver which the artist once felt. Therefore, language is not only used to pass down the great works of arts, poems, songs and the manuscripts of the songs but also to share and understand one’s feelings.
By looking at the poems and songs, individuals from the new generation can understand how the artist or musicians felt when they drew or wrote it. Without language, people would not have been able to express their feelings. But, on the other hand, language isn’t all that perfect; it has its problems even though language helps people to express their ideas and knowledge to other people and pass down their discoveries and research to other generations.
In natural science, the problem with language is that even though scientists document their research and discoveries, the other scientists in the new generations have to have the same understanding of the scientific words used to fully understand the research or discovery. Sometimes, the scientific words used to document the discovery may change to another meaning, or it may no longer be used in that context as generations pass. For example, the word “wrought,” means done, made or created, was used ages ago. Nowadays, no one uses the word or even knows what it means. In history, the problem with language is that again, if the source was written in a historic language that doesn’t exist anymore.
Then the historians in the new generation would have difficulty understanding the source and might even misunderstand it. Another problem is that the source might be biased such as propaganda, deforming the truth of what actually happened. Furthermore, different historians can interpret the source differently as different people reason differently. The understanding of the source one historian has will be different from another historian. In the arts, the problem with language which should be considered is that there are so many words in the English language which has double meanings and there are two different words that mean the same.
The point being, since the arts are a way of expressing their feelings, poems and songs with these ambiguous words can mislead the receiver. For example, if a poem or a song contained the word “bangs” which could either mean small explosions or a lock of hair in the forehead. If the song or poem was about hair, this ambiguous word can mislead the receiver into thinking the song or poem is about small explosions.
In conclusion, we can see that language is quite important in all three areas of knowledge. However, when analyzing if language plays roles of equal importance in these areas of knowledge we also have to consider that it’s impossible to quantify whether language plays equal roles and we also have to look at how the language is being used in these areas of knowledge. I conclude, that language does play an important role in the three areas of knowledge but if we analyze closely we can see that what language is being used for is different from the three areas of knowledge.