HUMA paper - Isaac 1 Katherine Isaac Language the Human...

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Isaac 1 Katherine Isaac Ms. A. Giannakidou October 17, 2007 Flaws of Linguistic Determinism The theory of linguistic determinism is unjustifiable in the sense that one’s thoughts are not fully determined by his or her language. However, it is plausible to claim that one’s language influences the way in which one thinks. By saying that language influences the process of thinking, I am asserting that language governs the way in which one thinks. One’s language alone in no way strictly determines thought itself. What arises from such a statement is the question of whether or not there can be thought in the absence of language. Using the term “thought” is rather ambiguous because there are numerous definitions for the word “thought.” The American Heritage College Dictionary , in one of its definitions for the term, delineates thought as “a product of thinking,” and it defines “to think” as “to visualize; imagine.” Certainly, without language one can accomplish the latter. Additionally, without language one retains the ability to recall past and present and, within normal expectations, to predict the future. The individual only lacks the means to express verbally what he or she experiences. The absence of verbal description does not doom one to fail at understanding what he or she experiences at any point in time. In his article, “An American Indian Model of the Universe,” Benjamin Lee Whorf
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course HUMA 17000 taught by Professor Giannakidou during the Winter '07 term at UChicago.

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HUMA paper - Isaac 1 Katherine Isaac Language the Human...

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