Discuss the Roles of Language and Reason in History

1695 WordsMay 15, 20137 Pages
TOK- Essay Question 9 “Discuss the roles of language and reasoning in history” 1451 words Nadia Lotze 000 865-015 Mr Skeoch History is the past written by the present. The very nature of this statement creates the predicament of historical knowledge. The historians of the present are under constant pressure of rapidly changing society; therefore what we discover from the past is dependent on our perceptions that are forever changing. History and historical explanations are deduced and manipulated by the two ways of knowing, language and reasoning. The role of language in history is very important, because history is written, presented and illustrated to people through language. Reasoning is also an important factor in history;…show more content…
This is demonstrated throughout history, the dictators of the past knew the importance of language and how propaganda could be used to influence others. An example of this is explored through the polemic novel ‘1984’ written by George Orwell, the novel is a political satire that illustrates that the use of language could be used politically to deceive and manipulate people, leading to a society in which the people unquestioningly obey those in authority and mindlessly accept all propaganda as reality. This suited the totalitarian regime of the 1948 Soviet Union lead by Stalin. It is quite apparent that language has a large influence in hindering historical knowledge; this is due to the fact that language has a flawed and vague nature. Language is highly mutable and words can change their connotations over short periods of time, it is also important to remember that words are replaced with new ones and that the meanings and understanding of those words also change the actions of the past. The experiment “Reconstruction of auto-mobile destruction” done by Loftus and Palmer is an example of the interaction between language and memory. Within their case study participants were shown a video of a car accident, they were then asked at what speed the cars hit, collided, bumped, scraped or crashed at? The answers from the participants varied depending on the type of verb used to ask the question. This clearly represented that the language used influenced the
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