Tok on the Limits of Knowledge

Topics: Understanding, Knowledge, Language Pages: 3 (868 words) Published: December 8, 2011
“the vocabulary we have does more than communicate our knowledge; it shapes what we can know’. Evaluate this claim with reference to different areas of knowledge.”
At first glance this title seems to be ridiculous. Our vocabulary can have complete control over what we can know’. It seems unlikely that there is knowledge that cannot be obtained due to the limits of our vocabulary. However when you look at this in depth it seems to be true. What is vocabulary? Vocabulary are the words we use. Vocabulary has a connection to the word itself and what’s behind it. Say the word cow. The word “cow” is merely just a noise. But we automatically connect this word to the animal. Every word has this “magical touch” to it. Thinking about vocabulary this way we can begin to see that knowledge is shaped by vocabulary because the words we have have individual meanings behind them. Without any vocabulary to represent unfound knowledge is there no way for it to be discovered? Different areas of knowledge argue against this idea. Human sciences allow us to perceive and have different observations of vocabulary. If vocabulary can hold different meanings and perceptions to different people and cultures this could potentially allow knowledge to break past the barrier of language. Language also holds its own set of rules. These rules (Context, comprehension, grammar...) can alter the meanings of words to once again allow for different meanings.

Language seems to be solid and rule bound. But this is not the case, Language is creative and open-ended. One problem it is faced with is that what one person means when they say something may not be what another person understands when they hear it. This allows for millions of different interpretations. interpretation is very important to the understanding of knowledge. Knowledge runs hand in hand with language, If we fail to interpret On the basis, a general understood meaning allows us to maintain knowledge whereas these new meaning can...
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