Instinct In Language Instinct

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Responding to the smile of a baby, jumping-up when startled by a sudden sound, or even pulling your hand away from a hot fire are all examples of instinctive behaviour; instinct does not involve thought but is an automatic, evolutionary response to external stimuli. Instinctive judgements by definition appear to be independent of experience or rational thought, and are more intuitive in nature. However, despite being related in terms of both not involving conscious thought, instinct and intuition are not the same. Intuition is based on subconscious thought; a pattern recognized by the brain based on, for instance, past experiences and is therefore seen as one of the fundamental ways of knowing. As a student of psychology, I like to make…show more content…
However, does language serve as a useful check on our instinctive judgements? The cognitive scientist and psychologist, Steven Pinker believes that language is in fact an instinct, that all thought is composed prior to its linguistic form. Therefore according to this theory language cannot be a check on instinct. In his book, The Language Instinct, he talks about how children learn language instinctively without the need for complex thought and analysis. In fact, it could be argued that ways of knowing such as the use of reason to understand grammar rules actually slows down the process of language learning. Perhaps that is why it takes longer to learn a language as one gets older; here ways of knowing rather than serving as a check on instinct can actually be a hindrance rather than a…show more content…
For instance, the gambler who goes with his instinct is known to have had disastrous results as well. In the natural sciences especially there is a great emphasis placed on knowledge based on rational and empirical evidence such as experiments, observations and factual data; even a hunch needs to be followed up and vetted for validity. Clearly going with ones instinctive judgement has led to some dramatic discoveries but not before the use of other ways of knowing to prove that first feeling. Here one can even see instinctive judgement hampering progress as often one is so busy trying to prove what they first felt, that they ignore the facts and the clues that other ways of knowing are showing them. In this case the judicious use of reason and sense perception for instance are a useful check on instinctive judgements. Although reason (and to a lesser extent intuition and imagination as well) as a way of knowing plays a far larger role in Mathematics, there has been found a surprising role for instinct as well. Scientists believe that the capacity to do mathematics is uniquely human and very recent skill; it has been around for only the last few millennia and not universal to all cultures. However, recent experiments show that our evolutionary endowed sense of approximation, that

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