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Vocabulary Case

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In Will Buckingham's "I Think Therefore I Am: Rene Descartes," he explains Descartes' method of doubt. Descartes doubted himself saying that he couldn't be certain of anything, which led him to come to the conclusion that he is thinking about this, therefore he exists. In another text by Keith Walters and Michael Brody, "Language as Argument," the author's state that something as simple as word choice can make a very powerful argument. It can also create two very different sides to a subject. In Clyde Haberman's "In the Mideast this Year, Even Words Shoot to Kill," he demonstrates how words can take two completely different sides through the problem in the Mideast. In the last text "From Shakespeare to Wittgenstein: 'Darmok' and Cultural Literacy" by Paul A. Cantor, the author explains Wittgenstein's theory that if a lion were to talk than it probably wouldn't be able to understand us because it does not use the same senses as we do. Than he goes on to compare this point to a Star Trek episode where the people from a different planet speak in metaphors and they are hard to understand. All of these authors use simile, discourse, metaphysics, proposition, enigmatic, erudite, permeate, perspicacity, copious, epistemology, or diction to establish the point that words can have a very powerful impact. My goal is to defend these terms and illustrate how the authors apply them to their works.

In "I Think Therefore I Am: Rene Descartes" Buckingham's use of proposition assists him in explaining Descartes way of thinking. Descartes had an idea that what if an evil demon was telling him false things. Then he thought he couldn't be certain about anything which lead him to believe that he can't be wrong when he says he exists and that an evil demon couldn't make him believe he didn't exist. This made Descartes come to the proposition that "I am, I exist." Buckingham uses this statement that expresses a concept that can be true or false to show that Descartes wants the reader to understand once you realize you exist you know it is true. This statement can be debated whether it is true or not but Buckingham seems to believe it's a "direct intuition, not the conclusion of an argument." So in other words Buckingham thinks that Descartes is making a statement on something that's true not validating an argument. Also Buckingham's view of Descartes as an erudite thinker shows how he trusts Descartes as a credible author. Buckingham cites Descartes' works often in this passage and validates Descartes points while adding his own information. Buckingham obviously views Descartes as displaying a great knowledge or understanding. Buckingham also makes his work a bit enigmatic, for example when he says, "Each of us can think or say: 'I am, I exist,' and while we are thinking or saying it we cannot be wrong about it." This to me seems a bit mysterious. The reader may become a little confused and might need to take a minute to realize what he is trying to say.

In "Language as Argument" Walters and Brody's use of a simile helps the reader understand that people assume that language, "works like a window--a clear pane of glass--beyond which we see reality as it truly is." By comparing language to a "clear pane of glass" Walters and Brody are trying to show the reader that language simply explains reality, because it doesn't. The author's go on to explain that word choice can certainly make a powerful argument. Walter and Brody also explain that diction can be used to show particular views of reality and that the different diction we as humans use can change what people think and their views on things. One of the examples they make is if someone were to refer to a fetus as an "unborn child" than their thought process is that it is an actual human being. But other people might refer to it as just a "fetus" than they don't think it is actually alive. This difference in word choice can make a huge difference in people's views. In "In the Mideast this Year, Even Words Shoot to Kill," Haberman uses discourse to show how the difference in word choice, or the way people interpret the words can cause written or spoken debates. For example when Haberman says, "Palestinians interrogated by Israeli security agents say they have been subjected to 'torture.' Israel says it applies 'moderate physical pressure,' and only when it has to." This difference in words caused a long and violent debate. This shows how people's own interpretation of what happened in a situation can be shown



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