SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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AIMS, MEANS AND CONSEQUENCES                 11
tally' ill. Hence my security, often 'blasphemously cheerful', as one of my friends calls it.
This general denial of the 'is' of identity gives the main fundamental non-aristotelian premise, which necessitates a structural treatment. The status of negative premises is much more important and secure to start with than that of the positive 'is' of identity, found in the aristotelian system, but easily shown to be false to fact, and involving important delusional factors.
Any map or language, to be of maximum usefulness, should, in structure, be similar to the structure of the empirical world. Likewise, from the point of view of a theory of sanity, any system or language should, in structure, be similar to the structure of our nervous system. It is easily shown that the aristotelian system differs structurally from these minimal requirements, and that the non-aristotelian system is in accordance with them.
This fact turns out to be of psychophysiological importance. The above considerations, and others impossible to mention in this chapter, have suggested to me the form and structure of the whole work. I have spared no effort to make the presentation as connected, simple, and, particularly, as workable as I could. As I deal with structure, and similarity of structure, of languages and the empirical world, a definite selection of topics is immediately suggested. I must give enough structural data about languages in general, and enough structural data about the empirical world, and then select, or, if necessary, build, my terminology and system of similar structure.
The reader should not be afraid if some parts of the book look technical and mathematical. In reality, they are not so. Speaking of the language called mathematics, from a structural point of view, I have had to illustrate what was said, and the few symbols or diagrams are used only for that purpose. Many of the structural points are of genuine importance and interest to professional scientists, teachers, and others, who seldom, if ever, deal with such structural, linguistic, and semantic problems as are here analysed. The layman who will read the book diligently and repeatedly, without skipping any part of it, will get at least a feeling or vague notion that such problems do exist, which will produce a very important psycho-logical effect or release from the old animalistic unconditionality of responses, whether or not he feels that he has 'understood' them fully.
My earnest suggestion, backed by experience, to the reader is to read the book through several times, but not to dwell on points which are not clear to him. At each reading the issues will become clearer,