What are languages for?

Santi Tafarella writes:

I agree with the philosopher Richard Rorty that languages are tools.

And in the context to which these tools are applied, their value—including their truth value—can then be judged.

You fly airplanes with scientific language, and you fly romances with poetic language. You recite Dawkins to biology students, and Shakespeare to your girlfriend or boyfriend.

Both languages are vehicles for certain kinds of truths.

That is only part of the truth. Language is not just there for me to use it – what a sickening utilitarian reductionism! Do not treat Pragmatism as an idol!

Taken from another perspective, language is there to impress and awe us. It can be there to save us, warn us of danger. It uses us as much as we use it; our very thought and interaction with others is shaped by it. Language exists before we do!  Teleologies of language can be constructed as coming from various different directions and meeting multiple end points. Why presume that we are the controlling party when it comes to our relation to language?

What myopic, unsupportable foundational assumptions is the bigoted analystician (Rorty) unwilling to declare in regards to language? We must always ask this of analytic philosophers as they are such a dishonest and pretentious mob.

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One Response to “What are languages for?”

  1. Brian Barker Says:

    As the “International Year of Languages” comes to an end on 21st February, you may be interested in the contribution, made by the World Esperanto Association, to UNESCO’s campaign for the protection of endangered languages.

    The following declaration was made in favour of Esperanto, by UNESCO at its Paris HQ in December 2008. http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/ev.php-URL_ID=38420&URL_DO=DO_PRINTPAGE&URL_SECTION=201.html

    The commitment to the campaign to save endangered languages was made, by the World Esperanto Association at the United Nations’ Geneva HQ in September.
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=eR7vD9kChBA&feature=related or http://www.lernu.net

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