Colgate University Libraries


Igor Spacenko


In this paper, I explore the positive and negative implications of the power of language that stems from its role as a medium for both our perception and thought. My argument takes a form of a syllogism: because reality is defined by language and language is socially constructed, reality must be socially constructed. In order to support my argument, I draw on a variety of historical examples as well as ideas of notable thinkers whose works molded the western society, such as Plato, Darwin, Aristotle, W.E.B. Du Bois and Virginia Wolf. I show that language is both a product of the society as well as an agent that affects and defines it. While physical reality itself is independent of language, social reality is a construct, and as such, can be adjusted through discourse.