Thursday, May 7, 2009

Why do we have language?

Going through this reading a second time, I feel that Gadamer is saying that language does preform thought, but that this in no way inhibits the possibility of all that can be thought (and maybe is even the source of our infinite possibility within language). It is almost impossible for us to think of a world were we don't think in language, but even then, we don't think solely in language. We all have had a pre-linguistic experience where we used gestures, facial expressions, and movement (?) before we ever began to speak in a language, and we continue to do so even with the presence of language. Furthermore, we are capable of having experiences which are not linguistic in nature (thought is not entirely linguistic, at least it doesn't need to be fundamentally speaking). We are capable of having linguistic experiences only because we are capable of experiencing the world in the first place.

Regardless, now that we have language it almost seems to make thought a bit too "easy" (because we tend to look for a word and fill it in when we need it). By using language (trying to manipulate it into something it isn't) in such a way we really begin to worry that language may already be the source of all our thoughts, in that we cannot think of anything beyond the use of language. Does language preform thought/Are we doomed to think what we were predetermined (by language) to already think? Gadamer however says that this concern is simply not an issue because language really doesn't limit us but in reality makes it a possibility in the first place for us to have any meaningful thought. I found this to pull from Heidegger in that the words can point, or hint, at something that isn't necessarily in the words being used. Sure language seems limited but it really isn't, language is possibility. "Listen to the logos and not to me". By listening to the logos we see that language cannot be forced into something it is not. This would limit it because then it wouldn't be language, but rather what we hope language becomes. Language does preform thought because it has to, it knows what is going to be said and all that can ever be said, and through this it allows us to speak infinitely about a subject because it opens up the avenues for conversation, and thought, to occur. We need language or else we are incapable of forming any thought beyond experience.

No comments:

Post a Comment