Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Language, Thought, Zachmann

Dave Megginson writes about the Zachmann Framework and points to an interesting critique by Graeme Simsion which raises the hind legs of an old hobby horse of mine. Namely, the extent to which language can influence thought.

Although 'linguistic determinism', as it is called, can be pushed too far very easily, it is a force to be reckoned with. Compared to others it is a week force, but non-zero. To my mind, its effects are too often ignored. (I'm reminded of a story told about a Richard Feynman lecture. Feynman says "gravity is a weak force". At the back of the auditorium, something heavy crashes to the floor with a bang. "weak, but not zero" continued Feynman.).

I wrote about the impact of language on thought from an XML perspective in How to model a bishop and from a programming language perspective in In praise of IT multilingualism.

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