Language and Critical Thinking A. Thesis

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In today's global society, such understanding has become vital to communicating effectively in both the social and business worlds.

Critical thinking and language can therefore not exist without each other. Critical thinking helps the participants in a conversation to understand the possible meanings in language, while language helps participants to gain clarity regarding these meanings.

Language serves both an empowering and limiting function in expressing thought. The expression "there are no words" denotes the limitations of language to express deep feelings on occasions where these occur. On the other hand, language is perhaps the most empowering force that human beings have at their disposal to express their thoughts.

When human beings are for example compared to the animal kingdom, the human language system takes the place of nonverbal clues such as gestures or hairs bristling. Human beings can share complex ideas and explain exactly the nature of their thoughts. In this, human beings are much more intellectual than animals, which are primarily physical in their expressions towards each other.

This is not however to say that human beings do not engage in nonverbal clues. Indeed, the complexity of these integrate with the use of language in order to make the system of expression even more complex. Human expression then has a further dimension added to it by means of language and words, even if the human race sometimes does find itself at a loss for words when emotion prevails.

Critical thinking plays an interesting and subtle role in persuasion. First, it may be beneficial to consider the nature of persuasion itself.
Persuasion is the effect of one person upon another, where the first imposes his or her thinking upon the other, with the other eventually submitting to this opinion as a result of the persuasive power of the words the person is using.

When the listener however applies critical thinking, it is not so easy for the speaker to persuade him or her. Politics and religion are two particular fields where the persuasive power of words can be investigated. More often than not, political and religious gatherings are primarily made up of persons who are already convinced of the message being delivered. Hence the speakers in these respective settings have a fertile field of willing listeners, and it is unnecessary to make a great persuasive effort.

On the other hand, when these same leaders face each other in debate, the critical faculties of each will determine the strength of their convictions. Critical thinking means that utterances are not taken at face value, but are rather considered carefully for their validity. The listener is then persuaded only upon his or her own terms, whereas the non-critical thinker tends to be persuaded much more easily. Perhaps the world would have been a better, or at least a more diverse, place were there more critical thinkers in it.

Bibliography

Harris, Robert (2001). Introduction to Critical Thinking. http://www.virtualsalt.com/think/introct.htm

Ruiz-Smith, Carlotta M. (2007). Role of Language and Language Diversity. http://www.socyberty.com/Languages/Critical-Thinking-and-Language-Essay-Part-I -- II.55272.....

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