Theory of Knowledge Name: Rigved Sawant Topic: ‘Role of language and reasoning in History.’ What is history? History, as anyone would know is the study of the human past.It can also mean the period of time after which writing was found.
It is a field of research which uses a chronological pattern to examine and analyze the sequence of events and it also very minutely determines the cause and effect of such events. Those who study or researches in history are called historians. For them to have clear knowledge of language to be used history is very important.
What I mean to say is that language has an exceptional place in history. Language was and still is a vital tool for better communication. It not only conveys thoughts, ideas, but forges friendship, cultural ties, etc. Throughout history many have reflected on the importance of language in history. For example, the scholar Benjamin Whorf has noted that language shapes thoughts and emotions, determining one’s perception of reality. Without proper use of language we cannot convey our thoughts effectively.
Language is very relevant to understand history. History is subjective based on who is telling it and language is the ‘teller’. For example, the history of slavery; from the slave master’s point of view slavery for him will be according to the language he uses to describe it. He would use a language which will describe chattel, property, free labor, political advantage. But for a slave, it would be the other way round. The language he would use would be of degradation, sorrow, pain humiliation, torture. Two different perspectives of the same event.
Look at the Holocaust, the language used by a Jew to describe the events during the world war 2 will be different from a language a German soldier of the third Reich would use. As time progressed some of the important languages in which also many of the ancient artifacts were written have diminished. People don’t understand the importance of such languages. For example, Sanskrit, it was or I would like to put it as it still is the most prominent language of all times. Many of the modern languages were evolved from this language alone.
Such artifacts are also tampered and their language could be misused. Historians have to take care of the language they use while making their claims. Reason or the faculty of reason is a mental ability found in human beings. We normally give reasons to things we claim. Reason is the means by which rational beings meaning human beings give explanation concerning cause and effect, true or false. It also explains or justifies some event or phenomenon. Through arguments and proper means of reasoning we can justify our thoughts. Reason can change our beliefs, traditions and attitude.
Same like in language we also have to reason correctly to support our claims. Reasoning is very important for historians. If proper reasoning is not provided by them no one would believe their works. When people have different perspectives the essence of the true reasons gets lost in the altering of the tale being told which is clouded by different perceptions. History has being significant in being biased throughout, from beginning of mankind. One cannot say that there was no reason for the events that had catastrophic effects that dehumanized our civilization.
History gets lost in translation as we may not know what actually happened. There have always been different versions to the same story but the fact remains the same; History has always been altered. For example, books published in India say that Akbar was a great king, whereas books published in Pakistan say that he wasn’t a great king. Holy books of India have also been tampered while being translated. Although history has been proven wrong many times it wouldn’t be possible to evolve into this era of technology without the prior knowledge of human civilization.