Tuesday, April 28, 2015

We love to categorize

I want to consider how language creates worlds, objects and relationships, which in no other sense exist. Language makes us think something is there when it isn’t. It deceives us.

The human race is always prone to give names to aspects of experience, and then to take for granted that whatever corresponds to those names exists. Give something a name (like intelligence, or perseverance, or wickedness), and many people will think that it exists, not as a kind of behavior that fits a certain description, but as the cause or underpinning of the behavior. Thus for example reading, which in general is easily identifiable behavior, has become transmuted into the reading process, which is assumed (by many) to actually exist within the human brain (which is also supposed to contain a writing process, a grammatical process, and a phonemic awareness process) .—Understanding Reading, pages 7–8

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