SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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INTRODUCTION
47
lhe present work must not be held responsible; the fault will lie in the disregard of fundamental conditions by the reader or the students.
From an educational point of view, these problems are particularly important. If teachers disregard the structural linguistic semantic issues, they disregard a most powerful and effective educational method. If they train in structurally and physiologically harmful A habits, after this mechanism has been disclosed, such teachers, to my understanding, do not honestly perform their very serious social obligations. Ignorance is no excuse when once we know that ignorance is the only possible excuse.
The present ^-system is far from perfect. Such a work as this has, of necessity, to be altered with the years, as the structure of the language used has to be continually adjusted to newly discovered empirical structural data. But the present enquiry at least shows that in the researches in the linguistic and structural semantic fields there are undreamed-of possibilities of tremendous power, and the circularity of human knowledge is made to work with an increasing acceleration in a constructive way toward the adulthood of man.
In Chapter I, I have given a tentative list of some results following from the present work. Among them we found a new and semantic definition of number and mathematics, to be explained in Chapter XVIII. This has very far-reaching consequences, because the existing definition of number is A, in terms of classes, and makes the importance of mathematics still more mysterious. With the discovery that the only content of knowledge is structural, understood as a complex of relations and multiordinal and multi-dimensional order, and that the structure of the nervous system is such that only in mathematics do we find a language of similar structure, the importance of mathematics, considered as a language, becomes of fundamental semantic significance for a theory of sanity. But to show that, and to be able to apply this fact in practice, we must clarify or rather eliminate the mystery which surrounds number and measurement. The semantic definition of number is given in terms of relations, and so number and measurement become the most potent factors for supplying us with information about structure, which we know already gives the only content of knowledge.
At this point, I feel it essential to refer to the unique and astonishing work of Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West. This work is a product of such unusual scholarship and breadth of vision that, in many instances, the details do not matter. Its method, its scope, and the complete novelty of its general point of view, combined with such tremendous erudition, are of main importance. The work is labeled by the author as a 'philosophy of history', or a morphology of history, or