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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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20
I. PRELIMINARIES
tek (see Supplement III), A. F. Bentley1, and has been given a medical application by Henry Head2 in the study of different forms of Aphasias. 'Aphasia', from the Greek aphasia, 'speechlessness', is used to describe disorders in comprehension or expression of written and spoken language which result from lesions of the brain. Disturbances of the semantic reactions in connection with faulty education and ignorance must be considered in 1933 as sub-microscopic colloidal lesions.
Among the many subdivisions of the symbolic disturbance, we find semantic aphasia, to be described (after Head) as the want of recognition or the full significance or intention of words and phrases, combined with the loss of power of appreciating the 'ultimate or non-verbal meaning of words and phrases' to be investigated presently, and the failure to recognize the intention or goal of actions imposed upon the patient.
The problems of 'meaning' are very complex and too little investigated, but it seems that 'psychologists' and 'philosophers' are not entirely in sympathy with the attitude of the neurologists. It is necessary to show that in a-system, which involves a new theory of meanings based on non-el semantics, the neurological attitude toward 'meaning' is the only structurally correct and most useful one.
The explanation is quite simple. We start with the negative A premise that words are not the un-speakable objective level, such as the actual objects outside of our skin and our personal feelings inside our skin. It follows that the only link between the objective and the verbal world is exclusively structural, necessitating the conclusion that the only content of all 'knowledge' is structural. Now structure can be considered as a complex of relations, and ultimately as multi-dimensional order.
From this point of view, all language can be considered as names either for un-speakable entities on the objective level, be it things or feelings, or as names for relations. In fact, even objects, as such, could be considered as relations between the sub-microscopic events and the human nervous system. If we enquire what the last relations represent, we find that an object represents an abstraction of low order produced by our nervous system as the result of the sub-microscopic events acting as stimuli upon the nervous system. If the objects represent abstractions of some order, then, obviously, when we come to the enquiry as to language, we find that words are still higher abstractions from objects. Under such conditions, a theory of 'meaning' looms up naturally. If the objects, as well as words, represent abstractions of different order, an individual, A, cannot know what B abstracts, unless B tells him, and so the 'meaning' of a word must be given by a definition. This