Ian Rolls – Unit 2 Post 2

Option 2

            What I found really interesting during Thursday’s lecture was the presentations about how certain words from languages have no translational counterpart from other languages. My dad used to live in Germany for a long time, and sometimes he will be talking to us and will say: “there is the perfect word in German for this, but I don’t know how to explain it in English.” It’s as if language is a paradigm for knowledge production, and different languages do not have words to describe ideas/concepts because under that linguistic paradigm there is no consideration for that. Also, that is why in different countries with different cultures and languages, there are different types of knowledge produced. Chinese medicine, for example is specific to Chinese language and culture and no other language has the vocabulary and understanding to describe the significance of those practices. It is a possible explanation for why the European philosopher (whose name I cannot remember) thought that all of the knowledge produced ever in the Middle East is only as valuable as one bookshelf of European books. Although Arabic nations were producing incredibly significant academic work for the time, the European philosopher could not understand it from his conceptual paradigm.

Option 3

            Remember professor Quillen’s lecture on how history is produced in Unit one? She talked about how all of history is like a hurricane in that there is so much going on that we could never possibly understand the world just by looking at it. History gets filtered through specific narratives which is how history is presented in the way we know it. Things get lost because narratives and experiences are left out and only certain ones are passed down. I think that the reason certain narratives exist to create history is because of the paradigms that are normally accepted during any given time. Only narratives that adhere to what Kuhn would consider “normal science” would be passed down because those were the stories that were valuable under specific time-frame’s paradigms. Anomalies in the time-frame that did not cause a shift in the paradigm are hidden while the only anomalies that we know about are the ones that actually caused a paradigm shift.

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