TOK Task #4 – Vagueness & Ambiguity of Language

The vagueness and ambiguity of language always limits the production of knowledge.

In pursuit of knowledge, subjectivity and objectivity must come into play. However, what they both have in common is that both perspectives can be vague and ambiguous.

This claim states that vagueness and ambiguity of language always limits the production of knowledge. The term ‘production’ is vague in itself – by production, does one mean to generate knowledge? To convey and distribute knowledge? To interpret knowledge? The statement can be interpreted in many different ways and is still correct.

Being vague or ambiguous with language does not always limit the production of knowledge. For example, it is not necessarily limiting being vague or ambiguous with language in arts. Being vague or ambiguous in the arts allow the audience to let the art influence them in individual ways, which can be argued to be the point of art. A piece of artwork with two stripes painted on it would be considered ambiguous but it could impact people in different ways and produce different opinions and interpretations of it. These productions of knowledge are still valid regardless of the fact that they differ from each other because the art itself was created to be interpreted with influence from every individual’s mind.

On the other hand, being vague or ambiguous with language could limit the production of knowledge as well, for example in the natural sciences. If someone writes the methodology for a lab report with vague terms, the results produced using that method would be invalid because there could have been an error in the execution of the experiment as the method wasn’t clear enough. This could severely impact what humans know to this day and whether something is scientifically possible or not and cause a misinformation spread with humans.

There are limits to being vague and ambiguous as there are advantages to being vague and ambiguous. In the end, both are valid when it comes to the production of knowledge dependent on what the topic is. If the subject is more subjective, then being vague and ambiguous could work in its favor. If the subject is more objective, then being vague and ambiguous could be more harmful and limiting.

 

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