Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Emojis, Expressive Interjections, and Epistemology, All In One Convenient Blog Post!!!!!!!!!!

Side note:

For this post, “subject” will be used to define anything that can be understood e.g. an idea, a person, an object, etc. Please don’t take it as a dehumanizing word, because it isn’t intended to be. It’s just the most convenient word I could think of.

Do you ever just have a feeling about someone or something; like some indescribable knowledge of how that person or thing is, even if you may not know every fact there is to know about said person or thing? The ability to understand without ever receiving a comprehensive list of facts and information about the subject is a phenomenon that occurs all the time in the human mind, and it is a phenomenon that I find utterly fascinating.

I, myself, have friends and family members who I understand to varying degrees, or rather, I have come to an understanding about them. I think that phrasing fits better, since the understanding I have may not be the “Ultimate Understanding” of said person. I am tempted to cite Kant in saying that only one person, in being themself, is able to have an Ultimate Understanding or know the Truth about who they are, but even that is untrue. There are two reasons why this is wrong.

For one, a person may understand themselves less than the people who know them.

Secondly, the fact that the mind and the brain rely on different sections of themselves relaying information which is then interpreted by different sections of themselves refutes the possibility of any one section having a full understanding of the brain or mind.

Let’s assess these two points further, shall we?

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Epistemology Final- Alysha Gillis

Initially at the beginning of this unit I had absolutely no idea what knowledge was. I think it was such a difficult question because knowledge is essentially so many things put together and we just call this word of knowing stuff “Knowledge.” We say we “know” subjects by writing tests, only to forget the information five seconds after times up, we say we “know” people that we just met, and we claim to “know” how to do things we were taught just five minutes ago. My conclusion to this question that we were asked was Knowledge is language. This seems weird to connect the 2 topics together but essentially language is knowledge as a whole. It it almost impossible to begin to talk about knowledge without thinking about language, words and grammar. I really wanted to dig into this topic because I just finished my metaphysics project on “What are words” and I wanted to connect my projects because I think now I have much more background information on linguistics so I can look deeper into my topic.

Reading: The most impactful and informative reading I came across was from the Encyclopedia of Philosophy and this was about the language of knowledge. It talked about different philosophers and what they think a person who speaks with “knowledge” should know. It stated:

(a) That speakers of a language know the grammatical properties of individual expressions of their language;

(b) That speakers of a language know the particular grammatical rules of a natural language; and

(c) That speakers of a language know the principles of universal grammar.

These 3 concepts are important when we are speaking in terms of knowledge. Words are completely meaningless  without knowledge of what the strange lines put together in a seemingly random formation unless you have prior knowledge of what these sounds or lines are supposed to mean. We cannot begin to discuss knowledge without really understanding how to manipulate the language to assist us in making our points.

Discussion: Conversations I had with classmates really seemed to help me push myself to find connections between topics that don’t seem to go together. It helped me understand my topic more because I think it caused me to try to look at language in a different light. My discussion with Courtney and Erin helped me find the connection between measuring knowledge and language. There are endless ways of measuring a person’s knowledge and one of these ways is a test. On this test it is important to use the right language, grammar and words to allow you to achieve the highest success because if your language use is wrong and there are spelling mistakes everywhere, you will be considered less knowledgeable so you will get a much lower mark.

Phil’s Day Off: Since my last phil’s day off was pretty successful and my topic didn’t change much, I decided to do exactly the same thing. I headed to the Vancouver Art Gallery for the second time in a month. Although I did the same thing, I was actually looking for something much different. I was still listening to conversations but this time I was listening to the type of language they used. I found that if they used artsy language, I made the assumption that they were more knowledgable on this subject. If I concluded them knowledgeable, I ultered my opinions on the art that they were talking about. For example: i found a really ugly looking abstract picture, to me it was ugly forest green lines on a canvas, a couple behind me were walking around and suddenly the lady stopped and gasped at this miraculous piece of art she had just seen. It turned out she was looking at the ugly green lines. She admired outloud this perfectly constructed geometrical lines with immaculate shading and prescice angles. She went on about how amazing it was, and becuase of the language she was using to describe this art, I assumed she was knowledgeable, in doing this I realized I was thinking to myself “wow I actually might kind of like it now.” My opinion changed becuase of this random womans artsy language.

Conclusion: The manipulation of language is a deciding factor on how knowledgable people think you are . In using it properly, your limit to how much knowledge you have is endless. Knowledge cannot exist without language and language cannot exist without knowledge, it is a completely co-dependant relationship.



Phil’s Day Off- Alysha Gillis

My goal during this phils day off was to find out how language relates to how knowledgeable you are percieved as by others. I was struggling to figure out what to do because I couldn’t just go on with my weekend becuase nothing I was going to do was going to help me with my topic. I decided to do to exact same thing as I did last Phil’s day off because my topic again has to do with words and the use of language so I figured that this would be a good idea. So I went back downtown to the Vancouver art gallery. This time I went to a different part of the gallery and this time it was based on Picasso’s artwork and this kind of fit perfectly with my topic becuase it got people talking about their opinions of all of the artwork.

During my afternoon at the art gallery I was just walking around and looking at the different art and listening to what peoples opinions on the art and the difference between last time and this time was last phils day off I was trying to listen to how people’s opinions affected my view on the artwork but this time I was trying to see if I could tell how knowledgeable people were about the art.

I discovered that it was clear who was an artist and was the “smartest” and had the most information on the artwork and who was just there becuase the art was pretty or for something to do on the weekend. I was listening to the people who were actally artists and had a lot of knowledge about art and it was much more interesting listening to people who actually knew what they were talking about becuase I felt like I could really learn much more about the piece than if I was listening to someone who didn’t know much about art and just thought it was pretty. I learned that when I was listening to people who used proper language about the topic, it seemed to me that I assumed that they had more knowledge than the people who spoke with less artistic vocabulary.

I think that I still would like to learn more about how smart I think people are about things I have knowledge about  becuase I could have been biast because I don’t really know much about art. Maybe if I did know a ton about art, those people that I thought knew what they were talking about, could have been completely wrong but since I knew basically nothing, I couldn’t have known any better.

I think that this phils day off was equally as sucessful as last because in both, I ended up sucessfully achieving my goal that I set out to complete. I also think that I learned more about my topic and answered a few of my unanswered questions so I would consider this a sucessful phils day off.



Knowledge is language- Reading Post

In trying to figure out the original question What is knowledge? I really was struggling to figure out what to do with this becuase it was so open to so many different interpritations of what it could be. I knew that I wanted to connect this to my metaphysics question which was What Are Words? I couldn’t figure out how to connect knowledge to words so I simply stated that Knowledge is Language. I was really eager to find connections between the two topics or even if there was a connection becasue I think that these 2 ideals are so complex in their own ways that it would be really difficult to narrow them down to find the connections. We can all agree that when you are using language, it is used as reference to the knowledge that you know but how does our knowledge affect our language and words? My original idea at the beginning of this unit was Knowledge is language and as I was reading more and more posts and websites, it really started to solidify my concept. One of the more interesting articles I read was from the Encyclopedia of Philosophy and It was about the Language of Knowledge it states 3 sets of ideas that philosophers claim about an individual who speaks with knowledge must have/know:

(a) That speakers of a language know the grammatical properties of individual expressions of their language;

(b) That speakers of a language know the particular grammatical rules of a natural language; and

(c) That speakers of a language know the principles of universal grammar.

It basically states that a person who speaks with knowledgeable language must be aware of their grammar and knowing how to CORRECTLY use different grammatical expressions that differ from person to person, a person must know the rules of grammar in common/everyday language and finally, the speaker must know how to use universal grammar which is basically every concept and idea that you learn in english class. So this means in order to be considered “knowledgeable” language you first must know and understand what you are talking about. You also must be aware of how you are stringing together the way you are demonstrating this knowledge. You have to be able to connect with grammar, spelling, punctuation ect. To put together your opinion or thoughts on the subject you are knowledgable about. We must experience the world and explore different types of people and ideas in order to become intrigued or interested in our area of knowledge and this can affect how you are using your language because if the person who teaches you how to “correctly” use words and language doesn’t know how to use it, you would probably be considered less smart and sound like you don’t know what you are really talking about, even if you are completely right in your ways of thinking.

As I was reading numerous articles, of course the more I started to read, the more questions I began to have. I think that as with anything that interests you, you begin to find more and more interesting points and ideas from different people, the more you dig deeper into any given topic. My questions that I had after I continues reading were:  What relationship do speakers have to the system that regulates the language they speak? and also, What experiences are we missing in order to acquire understanding from words about a particular subject or concept?



Is great philosophy, by its nature, difficult and obscure?

A good question posed on the always-provocative site Aeon:

To some degree, all texts need interpretation. Working out what people mean isn’t simply a matter of decoding their words, but speculating about their mental states. The same words could express quite different thoughts, and the reader has to decide between the interpretations. But it doesn’t follow that all texts are equally hard to interpret. Some interpretations might be more psychologically plausible than others, and a writer can narrow the range of possible interpretations. Why should philosophy need more interpretation than other texts?

As we look ahead at some of our more challenging units – thinking specifically of Metaphysics and Epistemology – the article may help frame the difficulty of engaging these more opaque topics, not in as much as it makes the unclear clear, but hopefully for offering the rationale and some inspiration to dig deeper when the going gets tough:

…some great philosophy is creative in a way that is incompatible with clarity. It doesn’t seek to construct precise theories; rather, it reaches out to unmapped areas of thought, where we do not yet know what techniques to employ, what concepts to use, or even what questions to ask. It is more like artthan science, and it makes its own rules. It is not that such work is defective by being ambiguous; it is trying to do something that cannot be done clearly, and its aim is precisely to stimulate diverse interpretations.



Communicating Knowledge

The demonstration of knowledge is one of a complex nature. With over 1000 written languages, 6900 spoken
languages, 130 forms of sign languages, and the universal body language, communication has evidently become the
most commonly accepted means of demonstrating knowledge. From personal experience, I have come to the belief that non-verbal communication is a more universal means of communication than verbal communication. This ideology ties into the epistemological theory of propositional and competence knowledge. My concept of the communication of knowledge can be broken down into the following syllogism:

  • Premise 1: If non-verbal forms of communication, such as sign language and body language, are more universal ways of conveying the understanding of knowledge.
  • Premise 2: And if verbal communication is very limited in its range of communication and leads to the most amounts of confusion and misunderstanding.
  • Conclusion: Then non-verbal communication is cos a better means of demonstrating knowledge than verbal communication

Before delving in further to my understanding of knowledge, there are some terminology that needs to be defined in its regards to my syllogism.

  • Knowledge: Information gained through rationalism and empiricism.
  • Communication: The expression of knowledge to another being in a way that both people comprehend
  • Non-Verbal Communication: A form of communication that uses the body to convey knowledge, ways such as facial expressions, body language, and hand gestures, it is also more universally understood.
  • Verbal Communication: A form of communication that uses speech to relay information and is limited by language barriers.
  • Better: A more effective or efficient means to convey comprehendible information.
  • Universal: Being able to demonstrate knowledge to others regardless of their language or nationality.
  • Demonstrating: Relaying information to other individuals through actions or words.

Now, onto my first premise: If non-verbal forms of communication, such as sign language and body language, are more universal ways of conveying the understanding of knowledge. 55% of communication is demonstrated through non-verbal cues humans display either subconsciously or consciously. Generally, people world wide have the ability to demonstrate their opinions, feelings and knowledge of things through their body language. When you feel as if you’re under attack, naturally you would become tense and have defensive posture. Displaying knowledge through the human figure may seem strange, but we do it on a regular basis. When we agree, understand or know something, we tend to be more open with our body language. In opposition, when we don’t understand, think something is wrong or don’t agree with something, we tend to have closed body language. This is a concept that majority of people have the capacity to recognize.

My second premise: if verbal communication is very limited in its range of communication and leads to the most
amounts of confusion and misunderstanding, addresses the verbal aspects if communication. While there are some individuals who are great at speaking, they still use and manipulate their body language to convey a certain message. This can lead to misunderstandings and confusing quiet easily. Not to mention the one dimensional aspect of language that is created by having one mother tongue or in some cases, multiple. This barrier restricts the how widely a message can be spread.

How does all this relate to competence knowledge and propositional knowledge? Competence knowledge is explained in one of our class readings as knowledge that is understood through demonstration while propositional knowledge is explained as the processing of information, usually through words. This direction connects to my syllogism because non-verbal communication can also be interpreted as competence knowledge and verbal communication can be understood as propositional knowledge. So by following my syllogism, competence knowledge is a better means of knowledge than propositional.

I have come to make these conclusions through experiences such as interacting on a daily basis with a variety of people and through my own personal realizations. To me, there is no ‘right’ answer for what knowledge is. Knowledge is whatever we allow it to be. It’s intangible and carries from person to person. I think that the most common experience I have in regards to this is when two people witness the same event and both tell entirely different versions of it. Their body language will convey more about the emotional connection and understanding to the event rather than the words that come pouring from their mouths. At the end of the day, people struggle to communicate their true intentions through words, but non-verbal communication will always prevail.



Epistemology and Conlangs: Identifying differences in naturalistic unnaturalistic, and concrete-abstract and abstract-concrete languages


Note: Words that may be controversial or subjective are defined for this particular theory below; all of them are underlined within this proposition. Examples are given for the more complex concepts.

Hidden words in the definitions section: Object, Concept.

If differences can be identified between abstract and concrete languages, by creating a abstract and concrete languages, and these differences provide data that could be used to clarify the magnitude of assimilation and briskness of these languages, then this data could be used to create a scale on which languages could be placed between briskness and assimilation.



Concept: A concept is an intangible idea that cannot be perceived by the senses but is rather inside one’s body and mind. However these are often expressed through metaphors in organic languages; these metaphors vary between cultures.

Object: An object is a tangible thing that can be perceived by the senses, it is considered outside of one’s body and mind.

Abstract Language: A language which uses no metaphors and only requires the use of instructions to describe any particular object/concept.

e.g. A computer language does not tell another computer using the same language that one object in a certain situation is like a concept. Rather a computer language provides specific instructions that must be followed in order to produce said object/concept.

Concrete Language: A language which uses metaphors to describe concepts and objects.

e.g. English or any other organic language, usually uses metaphors to describe more complex concepts like guilt, love, fear, or embarrassment to others using the same language, rather than using instructions like a computer that would tell the other entity how to construct that object/concept. However, from what I know, no computer yet knows how to construct emotions.

Data: In this case, data is the differences between concrete and abstract languages which I have explained above.

Clarify: This word, as anyone reading this post would think, is very sketchy. What I mean here is that, with the data I aim to identify the differences between concrete and abstract languages, and by creating my own concrete and abstract languages, make more accurate assumptions about where those differences would be placed upon the briskness and assimilation scale. The following three terms will be defined below.

Briskness of A Language: The briskness of a language is the speed at which it can be communicated. This of course sacrifices the magnitude of assimilation which I will describe below.

Assimilation of Ideas: The assimilation of ideas can be described as the actual similarity of ideas that are communicated between two entities. When increasing this factor, briskness is sacrificed.

And Finally …

The Scale: A scale will be created with varying details that will be measured from 1-10, then based on which values are entered for each detail each language will be place in-between briskness and assimilation on a scale form 1-10.




Concrete Language:


Vowels:OO(oh)AA(ah) UU(oo)EyE(ey)EeI(ee)

Consonants: KK(k)ThTh(th)S1S(s)

Connector (there are no spaces): Ee(not used as a vowel, used as a connector.)




Ee The connector must be in-between each word. In addition each sentence starts with Sa Thé See which is  A modified by S1which makes Sa, then Ey modified by Th to make Thé, and finally Eemodified by S1which makes See. The meaning of the beginning phrase is, “the great energy created”. All sentences start with Sa Thé See and form chains, as Sa Thé See is always followed by a pronoun or object. This originates from the Gitaxian’s belief in the great energy. The chains can spiral, or travel in random directions, but can only be read one way. If read any other way, the sentence will be misinterpreted. Meaning that the paper can only be in one rotation in order to receive the correct information from the chain. The connectorEe is modified by S1 for past tense, K for present tense, and finally Th for future tense.

Any noun that is surrounded by a circle becomes plural.

Examples of Phrases:

“The great energy who created Su So Sey creates a circle”

Note: in english, there is a dangling participle, however in this language the subject performing creates is “Su So Sey.” The subject preforming created is the “great energy.”


How to pronounce:”Sa Tey See Soo So Sey Kee Key So Tey Kee Oo O”

If you want to create a language, I think Zompist will help.

Possible Errors:

As mentioned in the grammar section, the chain can only be understood correctly from one angle/rotation.

If you’re really interested, here is the culture derivation:

Gitaxians, a race that loves circles and trigonometry:

The Gitaxians realized the potential of trigonometry and circles in architecture. Much like their architecture, their alphabet consists of circles and waves, completed with a line through each circle or wave depending on whether it is vowel or consonant. The Gitaxians shun those who use squares in their architecture, considering the square inferior to the circle. In fact, all their architecture is spherical or wavy, not even cylindrical, avoiding even a straight line up when building against gravity. The way their language is spoken works much the same way; there are always valleys followed by hills in tone. Due to their sophisticated architecture and strict banishment of the square, the Gitaxians are famed for their efficient vehicles and architecture, often using less material than square builders. However, the one weakness of Gitaxians, is the poisonous hydric acid, they believe that no planet can survive if there is a large percentage of it upon any planet. Contrary to the Gitaxians’ belief, earthlings survive on planet earth despite its massive content of H2O.

(I created this using STO‘s character creator; this is owned by STO and should not be distributed)

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 7.39.37 AM

A Gitaxian

Abstract Language:






K/K: Acts as on

Ee/Ee: Acts as off:

S1/S: Acts as indeterminate

With these three symbols several instructions can be formed based on: on, off and an indeterminate switch.


Similar to binary, however, when there is an indeterminate switch, the value is non-existent. Because the value does not exist, it therefore allows the code to create errors and continue. If there is an error, all values associated with the error whether on or off are switched to indeterminate and no longer read during the compiling process. This allows the program to continue working despite errors, however it also means that the code could easily malfunction. This makes the code more adaptable, but far more difficult to fix.

Examples of Operations:

EeKKKEeEeKCompiles to produce: 114

EeKKKKKKKKKKKProduces an error: therefore replace all values with S1, the rest of the code will still produce 114.

Possible Errors:

The indeterminate switch easily causes the program to malfunction without the user knowing of the malfunction. However, occasionally malfunctions lead to break throughs and allow the program to continue working despite the errors.


Results and Scale:

To a computer a series of switches still produce something no matter how many characters are used. Additionally, a computer can read billions of on and off switches in mere seconds as if child’s play. For us however, it takes years; the computer uses the on and off switches as instructions to preform certain operations, therefore constructing a concept/object. When we read a language or speak it; this clearly takes far less time then reading on and off switches. We also receive information at a greater speed, however, it often sacrifices the details of certain concepts or objects. You could argue that we do not need to know all the details, however, if ideas were communicated at this speed and with this precision, we would probably share more of the same ideas. However, doing so often sacrifices diversity in ideas, as if ideas were communicated the same way over and over again less creativity would be sparked. That is why I added the indeterminate switch, in order to see if errors would spark any creativity; theoretically it could lead to break-throughs.


This is the scale I derived based on the concrete language I created which was based on a spontaneously created culture; I also based it on the abstract language which was based off of the concrete language. Enough bases, now to the details, I placed Binary closer to assimilation, as the code will have more similarities as it is transferred in comparison to Gitaxian Binary. However, note that Gitaxian Binary is far more brisk than Binary as all errors are ignored and switched to indeterminate. Gitaxian and English are a different story, Gitaxian is far less brisk than english, do to the chains and few consonants in comparison to English. However, English is far more brisk, due to its ability to be read quickly, larger variety of consents, and greater vocabulary (I cannot create nearly as many words in less than an hour!). Briskness seems to be closely related to the number of sounds in the languages phonology. Comparing Gitaxian to English reveals that Gitaxian is far more difficult to speak due to its less diverse set of sounds, while English is communicated quickly. However, I am not a native speaker of Gitaxian and this could be why my reading speed is so greatly reduced. Comparing Binary and Gitaxian Binary again, the number of states in which a variable can be greatly affects a language briskness and assimilation. E.g. due to Gitaxian Binary’s three states it is far faster than Binary, however Binary has greater assimilation due to its fewer variable states. Additionally, because English can be read from multiple angles it has a greater briskness, but its assimilation is lesser as now the idea may be interpreted incorrectly. Briskness is increased because, now the page now longer has to be oriented at a certain angle, however there still is an optimal angle at which English can be read.

Summary of what data I have acquired from the experiment:

  • More states for a variable in a abstract language results in greater briskness but lesser assimilation
  • More consonants for a phonology in a concrete language results in greater briskness, no affect on assimilation
  • More orientations from which a language can be read results in lesser assimilation and greater briskness




Lala Land: A Theory on Epistemology


Knowledge is shaped by language

Before I delve too deeply into this proposition, I’ll define some things first.


  • The statement is true
  • You believe the statement is true
  • Your belief is based on a true statement
  • There is justification in your belief

Despite the fact that this is taken directly from one of the packages we received, I think that it can work for what I’m discussing today. I may change parts of this definition later in this post, but I’m alright with this for now.



This was a bit harder, if only because there is no true set parameters for a language. Or at least, if there are, then they could be expanded based on what we consider a language.

Morse code, for example, could be considered a language of it’s own. Binary, too. I personally would say that it does not constitute a language, if only because it does not grow and change as a language does today; yet that same thought cannot apply to dead language such as Latin. Building even more on that, what of ASL and other sign languages?

To incorporate all of these thoughts, I will go with the definition that:


So, going back to my premise:

Knowledge is shaped by language

I think that in many ways we are unable to have knowledge without language. While we can still experience the world without being able to name specifics within it, language is inherently a system of communication, no matter which one you are “speaking”. Because of this, language gives us the ability to convey our thoughts on the world around us, to give names to the trees and the sky and our mothers. There have been people who have lived without language, yet as they discuss in this podcast (skip to 54:30), such a life is impossible to conceive of , especially considering the way that Ildefonso’s friends communicate.

To not have words or language is incomprehensible, yet Jill Bolte-Taylor’s TED talk on her “stroke of insight” elaborates on her stroke which caused her so-called brain chatter to cease for several months.

(warning for an actual human brain, which is a bit disturbing)

Because of both Bolte-Taylor and Ildefonso’s experiences, I believe that I can say that it is impossible to make connections and truly comprehend the world without language. Mentalfloss discusses this very topic in a short article which also referenced the birth of a language in Nicaragua, which, independent of teaching from anyone outside of the student’s deaf community, became it’s own conventional language, just as ASL is a language. As well, the article written by Greg Downey, which heavily references the story of Ildefonso, discusses how language becomes ingrained within us after we have learned it, becoming such a deep part of us that it is impossible to forget once we have learned it.

Photo taken from Zack Godshall’s website of Ildefonso and SUsan Schaller

Indeed, languages grow as we grow, and at the same time, languages cause us to grow while we learn them. Going from having no language at all to having a complex one that was created by and for you creates a world in which your growth and the language’s is in tandem. Though perhaps this isn’t just confined to sign languages—after all, we did just name ‘vape’ as this year’s “Word of the Year”. If that isn’t growth, I don’t know what is.

Photo taken from Imperial Tobacco EU Twitter acct

So, because of all of this, I believe that I can say that the following premise is true:

  • Language is necessary to comprehend the world

Building on that last point, in our class we’ve mostly agreed on the idea that to prove you’ve learned something, you must be able to teach it to others. To teach something to other people you need language, or at the very least, a means of transferring what you know to the other person. There’s a branch of philosophy that has to do with the philosophy of language, especially relating to language and thought. This relates to the idea that if someone does not have the words to convey and idea, then they cannot have that idea or comprehend the subject. If you’ve read 1984, this is Newspeak.

Photo taken from paranoidmandroid.co.uk

This is also reflected in the world today, with cultures that do not have names for numbers or colours. On the other hand, as with Parker’s post about untranslatable words, perhaps other cultures see our language as plodding and slow as compared to their own. Within Chinese dialects and French, they have different terms for specific family relations; the Chinese dialects have specific words for father’s mother and mother’s mother (mama and popo, in Cantonese respectively) and in French the gender-specific cousins vs. cousines shows whether you are indicating a female or male relative.

Photo taken from Ella Frances Sanders’ blog

So what does that mean?

On the surface, it means that the amount of information within your language is directly related to how much you can comprehend of the world, therefore how much you know. This leads me to my next point, which is that:

  • Without the proper words, you are unable to think and understand the world as a whole

So my syllogism is as follows:

  • Language is necessary to comprehend the world
  • Without the proper language, you are not fully able to think and understand the world as a whole

So if knowledge is a collection of facts that you have gathered as you grow, and language is inherently tied to your knowledge and thinking process,  then:

Therefore: Knowledge is shaped by language



Midterm: Knowledge and Language

Proposition: Knowledge cannot be effectively shared only through spoken language.

As humans, we are constantly sharing and gaining knowledge through communicating with others. The question is if the knowledge we are communicating is the same knowledge gained by another. Is communication ever fully effective? By definition, effectiveness is decided by successfully producing a desired or intended result. I would argue that no type of communication is ever fully interpreted correctly.

Can we fully communicate without a universal language?

Can we fully communicate without a universal language?

A main form of communication is through spoken word. Languages vary all over the world, with roughly 6500 spoken in the world today. Mandarin Chinese is the most popular language in the world, spoken by about 1.21 billion people. This is one of the main flaws in communication. There is not one universal language that all humans use to speak with one another. Translations between languages are never 100% accurate, already altering the meaning of the shared knowledge.

Again as humans, we are all unique individuals with different experiences, personalitities, opinions, and values. Anything that we observe, hear, or feel is different when compared to another human. Therefore, when interpreting knowledge, it will not be exactly the same as the knowledge outputted to us.

Some may argue that there is a universal language between humans, but not through spoken word.

What emotions do these facial expressions portray?

What emotions do these facial expressions portray?

All humans smile, laugh, and cry, despite where they live in the world. Our facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language definitely aid in communication, but cannot be solely relied on for sharing knowledge. This can also be interpreted incorrectly, and some people cannot comprehend this universal language. Some humans suffer from social-emotional agnosia, which is the inability to interpret facial expressions, body language and voice intonation. This disorder usually effects people with autisim or schizophrenia, and limits social interaction.

To conclude,


  • If many languages are spoken all over the world and can never be translated 100% correctly,
  • And humans are all unique indivuduals that interpret knowledge in their own way,
  • And the universal language of facial expressions cannot be comprehended by everyone,
  • Then knowledge cannot be effectively shared only through spoken language


English Sucks.

Iktsaruarpok (Inuit)
The frustration of waiting for someone to show up.
Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan)
The meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start..
Shadenfreude (German)
Enjoyment obtained by the misery of others.
Wabi-Sabi (Japanese)
Accepting the natural cycle of growth and decay.
Ichi-go Ichi-e (Japanese)
One time, one meeting. Never again. Once in a lifetime. (Music, People, Photos)
Fernweh (German)
Feeling homesick for a place you have never been to.

Waldeinsamkeit (German)
The feeling of being alone in the woods.
Aware (Japanese)
The bitter-sweetness of a brief and fading moment of transcendent beauty.
Shemomedjamo (Georgian)
When your meal is so good you don’t stop eating, even thought you’re full. “I accidentally ate the whole thing.”
Backpfeifengesicht (German)
A face badly in need of a fist.
Pelinti (Buli, Ghana)
To move hot food around in your mouth.
Bakku-shan (Japanese)

A girl who is beautiful, but only from behind.
Shlimalz (Yiddish)
Someone who is chronically unlucky.
Komorebi (Japanese)
When sunlight shine through the trees in lines.
Gigil (Filipino)
The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is irresistibly cute.slide_348793_3717805_free
Ya’arburnee (Arabic)
To hope that you die before that person you deeply love, because you cannot bear to live without them.
Boketto (Japanese)
The act of gazing into the distance without thinking anything.
Cavoli Riscaldati (Italian)
The result of attempting to revive an unworkable relationship. “Reheated Cabbage”
Bilita Mpash (Bantu)
An amazing dream. Not just a “good” dream; the opposite of a nightmare.
Litost (Czech)
The emotion of a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.
Yugen (Japanese)
An awareness of the universe that triggers feelings too deep and mysterious for words.
Treppenwitz (German) – Esprit de L’escalier (French)
A clever remark or comeback that comes to mind when it is too late to utter it (after the argument is over).
Weltschmerz (German)
A state of mental depression caused by comparison to the state of things, even if that state is fantasized. The grass is greener on the other side.
Torschlusspanik (German)
The fear that time is running out or important opportunities are slipping away.
Erklarungsnot (German)
Having to quickly explain yourself.
Vergangenheitsbewaeltigung (German)
The struggle to come to terms with the past. The past cannot be changed.
Handschuhschneebalwerfer (German)
A coward willing to criticize from a safe distance. “A person who wears gloves to throw snowballs.”