Fwd: Re: more Re: [unrev-II] Thinking about communicating

From: Jack Park (jackpark@thinkalong.com)
Date: Mon Aug 20 2001 - 06:41:30 PDT

Forwarded from an Unrev user who has problems with yahoo groups.

>From: "earth"
> >1. Steven Pinker, linguist and psychologist, now at MIT, doesn't think
> > much of the Whorfian hypothesis. Writes he in his 1994 book,
> >"The Language Instinct," that "there is no scientific
> >ebidence that languages dramatically shape their speakers' ways of
> thinking."
> >(p.58), which is called, I gather, linguistic determinism.
>Well, sure. Thats why its called the Whorf (/ sapir) hypothesis, not the
>Whorf Fact ;] Half my undergrad major was linguistics, for context.
>Its clear that Pinker is reacting against some of the muddled thinking
>that was constructed around an ill-conceived hypothesis in the 60's,
>70's and 80s..
>But 'scientific evidence' is difficult to gather on this topic since
>decisive experiments are extremely hard to devise.
>It seems intuitively obvious that language shapes behaviour,
>but proving that is another matter altogether.
>I, for one, am certain that in the softer-senses the whorf hypothesis
>is correct: that language (even diction) shapes behaviour. The
>distinction, however, between 'language' and 'idea' is non existant.
>The idea of a 'meme' can discussed in terms of chunks of language
>which spread around, translate, morph, degrade, die, etc.
>Meme's (Ideas) shape behaviour and it is quite obvious to me
>that the language used to describe Ideas are key to the behavioural
>shifts. A mantra I came up with in college, however, when studying
>all the various sciences, analytical fields of various flavors was:
>"Just because there's a word for it doesnt mean it exists."
>This was in reaction to the absurd proliferation of naming of
>hypotheses, 'syndromes', literary bits, scientific findings, etc.
>It was clear that having a word for various things, in itself,
>changed people's behaviours around things. Self identifying
>with various diseases is a reasonably good example. People are
>sometimes presented with a word which describes a syndrome
>or set of symptoms or disorder and can sometimes decide that
>it fits them and self identify. Through learning that niche-word, they
>will often change their behaviour.
>I've noticed this myself as I've developed a host of words for
>different types of insomnia :]
>But, again, building a set of definitions and logical structure and then going
>on to prove the whorf hypothesis is more work than I have time for at
> the moment :)
>happy august 2001,
>please do not post my email address on a public website, newsgroup,
>or similar bot-open location

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0.0 : Tue Aug 21 2001 - 18:58:49 PDT