Theory of Knowledge IB Essay
Would you classify Mathematics, logic and music as languages?
Language is defined in Webster’s New World Dictionary as “a system of vocal sounds and combinations of such sounds to which meaning is attributed, used for the expression or communication of thoughts and feelings.” However, this definition is somewhat flawed. The term “language” encompasses a wide range of modes of communication. Communication is, of course, the principal purpose of language. However, although all language is a form of communication, not all communication is language. Take for example the manner in which animals communicate. Animal communication is highly restricted. It is limited to what is needed for survival. It directs, orders and possibly affirms and denies. It cannot express and describe, philosophize or explain. Animal communication is very simple and can not be understood when it is modified or varied. It has a structure that is similar to a mathematical formula, a formula containing no variables. Every element of the formula is defined, and omission of a single one would make the resulting message incomprehensible. True language can be used to express a wide variety of emotions and to describe an equally varied number of concepts. Language can only be used in this manner because it can be modified and varied and still be understood. Within the constraints of certain grammatical rules that govern mainly the type and order of word forms, human beings are able to reject convention and express themselves in original ways. Thus, human language can evolve and change without losing its meaning. Animal communication simply does not have this flexibility, so it simply cannot be considered a language.
SPEECH Is the vocalised sounds made by a human of their learned language, to communicate to others. LANGUAGE can be spoken, written or signed with hand communication skills. Each different language uses their own set of intricate rules which one must follow to make or read the appropriate sound and therefore for the words to make sense. The amount of sounds and letter/symbols will vary depending ...
Another facet of language is its undeniable application to everyday life. A language must be a necessary part if living. No human is capable of existing without language as a mode of expression and communication. Archeologists have found evidences of language used by ancient cultures going back several hundreds of years. Sign language is another example of the necessity for language. It is also proof that language does not necessarily need to a vocal form of communication. Sign language was developed because persons who are incapable of speech or hearing need to be able to communicate, and communicate with as much freedom of expression as those who are capable of spoken communication. Language forms an integral part of life in that it gives voice to our thoughts. Life and modes of living are constantly changing, but they can only change if we are capable of sharing our dreams and aspirations in such a way that we can collaborate to make them a reality. How are we to share these thoughts if we do not have a means of expression? Thankfully we do.
We use the term “language” in a rather constrained way to mean verbal modes of expression. But are these really the only modes of expression that can be termed as languages? We recognize language as a fundamental component of the study of the humanities. However, we do not typically identify the forms of expression present in other areas of knowledge as languages. Are we correct in assuming that other areas of knowledge with their unique forms of communication are not to be considered languages? Take for example three seemingly unrelated fields of study, mathematics, music, and logic.
Mathematics has indisputable applications to everyday life. The most obvious use of mathematics is in counting, which is something that we all do in some form or another. Most cultures have a set system of numbers, while others have simpler, more general numerical concepts (e.g., a couple, a few, many).
There are many different types of communication, such as verbal, graphical and technology. In this piece of work I am going to assess what they are used for and when they would be used effectively. I am going to give information on six different types of communication and examples of how, where and when they could be used best in a health and social care setting. 1. Verbal There are two types of ...
Numbers form the foundation on which the rest of mathematics is built. Mathematical expression is different from the sort of language that we are most familiar with in that only a relatively small part of the world’s population ever develops the ability to use it to its current maximum potential. It often requires a great deal of determination, dedication, and a little natural talent to develop a facility for mathematics. However, once the appropriate level of expertise has been achieved, mathematicians become “fluent” in mathematical expression. To determine whether or not this form of expression has earned the privilege of being considered a language, one must hold it up next to our definition of a language. First of all, can mathematical terms be used in unconventional ways and still be understood. Considering the fact that much of the development that occurs in the field of mathematics involves either the creation of new terms or the manipulation of those already defined in order to devise a new expression with practical applications, it is a given that within the boundaries of certain rules that govern mathematical expression, terms can be used in unconventional ways and still be understood. Mathematical expressions serve little purpose unless they have practical applications or can explain some phenomenon similar to the way in which the more familiar languages are only useful if the can be applied to our day to day experiences.
Music has obvious applications to life and has been a vital aspect of many if not all cultures. Music and its rhythms are omnipresent not only on special occasions or during special ceremonies, but are a part of every day for many. Not many of us pass through a day of life without hearing a melody somewhere or just singing one to ourselves. Human beings a naturally drawn to music mainly because it is so expressive. If it has lyrics, a song may possess vocal qualities similar to spoken language, but it is not necessary that a piece of music have words or any human voice in order for it to be expressive. Musical instruments become an extension of the musician. To him or her, the instrument becomes an alternative mode of expression. This form of communication may lack words, but compensates for their absence by using dynamics, tempo, consonance, dissonance, melody, harmony, and pitch. The combination of these factors that constitutes a finished product is highly subject to interpretation, but so are the immortal words of a poet or novelist. Communication through music depends heavily on the tendency of human beings to display emotions in similar ways. For instance, most human beings are likely to associate anger with loudness and intensity, and happiness with quick, lively, up tempo beats. Verbal language is the same. Writers will use similar adjectives and imagery to convey the same emotions. Music is unique in that there are very few rules governing musical expression. The rules that exist for setting down musical creations on paper are extremely rigid and structured, but music has the freedom to exist entirely separately from musical notation. Thus, music is an exceptionally free mode of expression that can be understood by wide populations, whether they are familiar with musical knowledge or not. In addition, musical expression evolves like verbal languages because of its versatility.
"One man's vulgarity is another's lyric." Justice John M. Harlan, Cohen v. California (1971) It is probably no accident that freedom of speech is the first freedom mentioned in the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." The Constitution's ...
Logic is a form of expression that is also ever present in day to day life. However, we are often unaware of its presence as the use of logic is often fairly subconscious. Nearly every choice or decision we make is a conclusion drawn based on a logical argument. For example, here is a logical argument that one is not likely to be aware of, but one that anyone who has made a call from an American pay phone must have mentally processed at some time or other.
One phone call costs 25 cents;
One quarter is worth 25 cents;
I can pay for my phone call with one quarter.
This is indeed a very simple deduction. Several such deductions are made every moment of every day by all human beings. The conclusions drawn from a logical argument might be entirely fallacious, but as long as it follows from a valid argument, an individual may consider it to be true — given that the individual believes the premises are true. In this way logic is sort of a play on words. Logical arguments toy with language and can cause it to express something that is horribly untrue. Here is one ridiculous yet completely valid argument.
1. (Philosophy) the academic discipline concerned with making explicit the nature and significance of ordinary and scientific beliefs and investigating the intelligibility of concepts by means of rational argument concerning their presuppositions, implications, and interrelationships; in particular, the rational investigation of the nature and structure of reality (metaphysics), the resources and ...
Sam is a boy’s name
My daughter’s name is Sam
My daughter is a boy.
It is immediately obvious that this argument is completely false. Sam is the short form of both a girl’s name and a boy’s name. However, the argument, as presented, is valid because the conclusion follows from the two premises. Logic, thus, has the potential to be a highly deceptive use of language. It can be used in original in original ways and still be understood. However, it is heavily dependent on verbal language. Logic does not have its own set of terms or notation as math and science do; it simply manipulates those already in existence. Logic cannot stand independent of verbal language. It is a field of knowledge that is more a use of language than anything else.
Both Math and Music can be considered languages, because each can express a wide variety of concepts that can be understood even when expressed in novel ways. Each also has its own domain that can stand entirely independent of verbal language. Both math and music also have obvious significance to our everyday lives. Logic, though it can be used to express a wide variety of concepts and has applications to everyday life, cannot stand independent of verbal language. Thus, it can not be considered a true language.