SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION              xxxiii
and sanity became linked in a structurally non-aristotelian methodology, which became the foundation of a science of man.
We learned from anthropology that the degrees of socio-cultural developments of different civilizations depend on their capacity to produce higher and higher abstractions, which eventually culminate in a general consciousness of abstracting, the very key to further human evolution, and the thesis of this book. As Whitehead justly said, 'A civilisation which cannot burst through its current abstractions is doomed to sterility after a very limited period of progress.'
In mankind's cultural evolution its current abstractions became codified here and there into systems, for instance the aristotelian system, our main concern here. Such systematizations are important, for, as the Talmud says, 'Teaching without a system makes learning difficult.' In analysing the aristotelian codifications, I had to deal with the two-valued, 'either-or' type of orientations. I admit it baffled me for many years, that practically all humans, the lowest primitives not excluded, who never heard of Greek philosophers, have some sort of 'either-or' type of evaluations. Then I made the obvious 'discovery' that our relations to the world outside and inside our skins often happen to be, on the gross level, two-valued. For instance, we deal with day or night, land or water, etc. On the living level we have life or death, our heart beats or not, we breathe or suffocate, are hot or cold, etc. Similar relations occur on higher levels. Thus, we have induction or deduction, materialism or idealism, capitalism or communism, democrat or republican, etc. And so on endlessly on all levels.
In living, many issues are not so sharp, and therefore a system which posits the general sharpness of 'either-or', and so objectifies 'kind', is unduly limited; it must be revised and made more flexible in terms of 'degree'. This requires a physico-mathematical 'way of thinking', which a non-aristotelian system supplies.
Lately the words 'semantics' and 'semantic' have become widely used, and generally misused, even by important writers, thus leading to hopeless confusion. 'Semantics' is a name for an important branch of philology, as complex as life itself, couched in appropriate philological terms, and as such has no direct application to life problems. The 'signifies' of Lady Welby was closer to life, but gave no techniques for application, and so did not relate linguistic structures to the structures of non-verbal levels by which we actually live. In modern times, with their growing complexities, a theory of values, with extensional tech-
by exposing In the dramatic finale the prevailing outworn, unrevised, now pathological, doctrines to which unfortunately most of the politicians of the world still subscribe.