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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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14
I. PRELIMINARIES
given in this book, which are non-aristotelian and non-elementalistic, as it is to abandon entirely the 'is' of identity and some of the elemental' istic primitive terms.
The reader should be warned from the beginning of a very fundamental semantic innovation; namely, of the discovery of the multiordin-ality of the most important terms we have. This leads to a conscious use of these terms in the multiordinal, extremely flexible, full-of-con-ditionality sense. Terms like 'yes', 'no', 'true', 'false', 'fact', 'reality', 'cause,' 'effect', 'agreement', 'disagreement", proposition', 'number', 'relation', 'order', 'structure', 'abstraction', 'characteristic', 'love', 'hate', 'doubt', etc., are such that if they can be applied to a statement they can also be applied to a statement about the first statement, and so, ultimately, to all statements, no matter what their order of abstraction is. Terms of such a character I call multiordinal terms. The main characteristic of these terms consists of the fact that on different levels of orders of abstractions they may have different meanings, with the result that they have no general meaning; for their meanings are determined solely by the given context, which establishes the different orders of abstractions. Psycho-logically, in the realization of the multiordinality of the most important terms, we have paved the way for the specifically human full conditionality of our semantic responses. This allows us great freedom in the handling of multiordinal terms and eliminates very serious psychological fixities and blockages, which analysis shows to be animalistic in their nature, and, consequently, pathological for man. Once the reader understands this multiordinal characteristic, this semantic freedom does not result in confusion.
Accidentally, our vocabulary is enormously enriched without becoming cumbersome, and is made very exact. Thus a 'yes' may have an indefinite number of meanings, depending on the context to which it is applied. Such a blank 'yes' represents, in reality, 'yes*', but this includes 'yesi', 'yes2', 'yess', etc., all of which are, or may be, different. All speculations about such terms in general - as, for instance, 'what a fact or reality is?' - are futile, and, in general, illegitimate, as the only correct answer is that 'the terms are multiordinal and devoid of meaning outside of a context'. This settles many knotty epistemological and semantic questions, and gives us a most powerful method for promoting human mutual freedom of expression, thus eliminating misunderstandings and blockages and ultimately leading to agreement.
I suspect that without the discovery of the multiordinality of terms the present work could not have been written, as I needed a more flexible language, a larger vocabulary, and yet I had to avoid confusion. With