Language : Does It Influence The Way We Perceive The World?

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Our Language: Does it Influence the Way We Perceive the World? Amanda S. Primm Missouri State University Fall 2014 Our Language: Does it Influence the Way We Perceive the World? Introduction It has been argued that the greatest restriction to our mind and our perception of the world is our language, both public and private. The theory of linguistic relativity is controversial, and the relationship between language and behavior has been refuted by countless scholars and linguists. The contentious man behind the theory is Benjamin Lee Whorf, a man of unconventional ideas, known primarily for his connection to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis essentially states that our language determines…show more content…
The question is this: does our limited vocabulary hinder the way that we perceive the world? If so, what are the factors? Is it education, or age? Is it cultural? In general, individuals who are less educated appear to see the world in far more simplistic terms than educated individuals. The world can be oppressive, primarily due to socioeconomic status and level, or more specifically, lack, of education. For an individual of little or no education, pleasure can be derived from a variety of sources, generally of a less refined nature, but for an educated person, more enriching and culturally complex experiences may be sought out, such as attending the symphony or art openings. Educated persons may perceive the world in a less myopic way, looking more toward the future with an open mind, abandoning intolerant and prejudiced ideas, appreciating a variety of cultures and ideas and beliefs. Speaking philosophically and from the Utilitarianism standpoint of Jeremy Bentham, all of our pleasures, or lack thereof are equal, and no pleasure counts more than any other. The gin that a girl selling flowers outside of an opera house is no less worthy than the pleasure that the opera attendees receive (Cabrillo.edu). Value is then defined by the pleasure that the individual experiences. However, in his book Utilitarianism (1906), John Stuart Mill stated, “It is better to be a human dissatisfied that a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a
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