INTRODUCTION TO THE SECOND EDITION lxv
isms, and not by extensional facts, which make us conscious of under-definition.
To make this fundamental difficulty clearer I will use a rather trivial illustration. The dictionaries define 'house' as a 'building for human habitation or occupation', etc. Let us imagine that we buy a house; this buying is an extensional activity, usually with some consequences. If we orient ourselves by intension we are really buying a definition, although we may even inspect the house, which may appear desirable, etc. Then suppose we move into the house with our furniture and the whole house collapses because termites have destroyed all the wood, leaving only a shell, perhaps satisfying to the eye. Does the verbal definition of the house correspond to the extensional facts? Of course not. It becomes obvious then that by intension the term 'house' was over-defined, or over-limited, while by extension, or actual facts, it was hopelessly under-defined, as many important characteristics were left out. In no dictionary definition of a 'house' is the possibility of termites mentioned.
'Philosophers', etc., and 'philosophizing' laymen, if they ever will be able to face facts and verbal paradoxes, will have a merry time arguing back and forth about the above human and neuro-linguistic situation because they know nothing about psychiatry and empirical data of general semantics. Without serious neuro-linguistic study, including the 'philosophical treatises' of 'mentally' ill in hospitals, they will not be able to understand why, by intension or belief in verbal definitions, most terms are hopelessly over-defined, while by extension they are hopelessly under-defined. Their analysis of intensional 'over-definitions' will be extensional by necessity, and they will have great difficulties in realizing the very important fact that we deal for the most part only withdefined terms.
I must stress again that this difficulty is not inherent in our language as such, but depends exclusively on our attitude toward the use of language.
The ignorance of 'philosophers', etc., about neuro-semantic and neuro-linguistic issues is not only appalling, but positively harmful to sanity, civilization and culture. To justify their own existence in civilization they should have investigated such problems professionally long ago, and incorporated them in their work. Even the present world tragedies are one of the results of their intensional delusional «0«ro-semantic and fi#«ro-linguistic detachment. Present day totalitarianisms were built by the dumping on the human nervous systems of such terms as 'communism/ 'bolshevism,' etc., which induced corresponding fearful signal