SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

Home | About | Philosphy | Contact | Search




lvi           INTRODUCTION TO THE SECOND EDITION
It is not generally recognized what havoc the discovery of a single new, important, structural factor may play with our generalizations. In science and ordinary life we are coming across such new factors quite often, and we have to change our equations or generalizations, and so our standards of evaluation, if we do not want to build up delusional situations for ourselves.
As an example I can suggest here the work of Professor W. Bur-ridge,* who in his physiological investigations introduced the new unavoidable factor of the electro-colloidal structure of life. In this case it does not matter whether the particular colloidal theory suggested by Burridge is correct or not. The fact that he introduced an important new structural factor leads to entirely different interpretations, generalizations, etc., although the first order empirical facts remain. Such an introduction requires a complete revision of the generalizations of biology, physiology, neurology, etc., and therefore even medicine and psychiatry. Incidentally, psychosomatic results become at least intelligible.
Other examples may be given, such as the work of Professor William F. Petersen,** who introduced the new factor of weather into medicine; or of Freud, who introduced the 'unconscious', etc.; or of Lorentz, Einstein and others, who introduced the finite velocity of light into the new-tonian system, etc., etc. As is well known, the introduction of these new factors revolutionized constructively the older theories.
The scientific requirements of a new theory are very exacting. A new theory must account for the known facts and predict new facts following the new generalizations, which in turn depend upon the new factors or structural assumptions introduced. The predicted new facts must then be verified empirically.
In general semantics we introduce a number of new unavoidable structural factors; among others, our neuro-semantic (neuro-evaluational) and neuro-linguistic environments as environment. Such introductions also require a radical revision of what we know, and have wide applications in daily life, as well as in sciences, including the foundation of mathematics (see chapters XIV, XV, XVIII, and XIX) and physics (see chapter XVII). These new factors should particularly interest parents, educators, medical men, psychiatrists, and other specialists.
The introduction of new factors may at first produce seeming diffi-
* Dean of the Medical Faculty and Principal of King George's Medical College, Lucknow, India.
** Professor of Pathology, University of Illinois, College of Medicine.