Segments in this Video

Beyond Words: Introduction (00:25)


Kings College London lecturer Hannah Dawson introduces the debate.

Hilary Lawson: the Pitch (06:20)

Lawson discusses Western philosophical attempts to explain how language describes the world. He encourages viewers to imagine reality as open and argues that realism is dangerous. Hear examples of sensory closure.

Emma Borg: the Pitch (03:50)

A realist, Borg believes in a world beyond language. She argues that language is a human construct and explains reality from multiple perspectives. Prediction, explanation, and unification prove some language is better at describing reality than others.

Daniel Everett: the Pitch (04:20)

Everett points out that many cultures do not attempt to explain the world beyond language. Language is a cultural decision to have certain formulas and symbols, and to express them in certain ways.

Theme One: Can Language Capture Reality? (07:25)

Lawson discusses challenges of finding alternatives to language; he does not use closures in a realist way. Borg agrees with cultural influences to language; vocabulary words are arbitrary but an objective reality exists.

Theme Two: Should Philosophy Look Beyond Language? (04:36)

Everett discusses the role of humans in reality and of culture in language. He argues that complete translation is impossible and language is a weak tool for interpreting the world. Lawson believes no good theory exists for an objective reality.

Theme Three: What are the Limits and Risks of Language? (10:38)

Everett argues that expressing bodily functions or emotions is impossible; language depends on culture. Borg says language is somewhat independent of cultural value. Lawson says there are many inexplicable things in nature; he and Borg debate whether realism is fanatical.

Theme Four: Alternatives to Language (06:01)

Borg agrees that art may provide access to ineffable content, but argues that some language better represents reality. Everett says we use cultural values to define success and goals. Lawson discusses lingual elements retaining openness in poetry.

Credits: Beyond Words (00:23)

Credits: Beyond Words

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Perhaps responsible for the success of the human species, the power of language is remarkable. Yet a description of love, or a storm at sea, is not the same as the experience. Might language not describe reality at all? Is meaning a human fantasy of unlimited power and risk, or does it tell us how it really is? The Panel Professor Emma Borg joins anthropologist and linguist Daniel Everett and Closure theorist Hilary Lawson to confornt the limits of language. Hannah Dawson hosts.

Length: 45 minutes

Item#: BVL145268

ISBN: 978-1-64347-139-6

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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