SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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48
I. PRELIMINARIES
morphology of cultures. The word 'morphology' is used as implying the study of forms, and the term 'form' appears very frequently throughout the book.
The main contention of this work - and it is an entirely justified observation - is that the behaviour of the organisms called humans is such that, at different periods, they have produced definite aggregates of achievements, which we dissect and label 'science', 'mathematics', architecture', 'sculpture', 'music'., and that at any given period all these achievements are interconnected by a psycho-logical necessity. To this statement I would add: the structure of languages of a given period which affect the s.r should not be disregarded.
Spengler is a mathematician, an extremely well and generally informed mathematician at that, with a great vision. He surveys these aggregates as definite units and shows the necessary psycho-logical connections between all the achievements and the evolution of the notion of number. It does not matter whether all his connections are always beyond criticism. That some such connections do exist, seems beyond doubt. All human achievements have been accomplished in some definite period, and they have been accomplished at a definite period only because of the necessary psycho-logical attitude and s.r of that period.
With regard to the method followed in this work of Spengler, we must notice, first of all, that the attitude of the work is frankly anthropological, in the sense of General Anthropology; namely, as the natural history of man, not disregarding man's natural behaviour, such as building up sciences, mathematics, arts and institutions, and creating new environments, which again influence his development. Morphology means 'study of forms', which carries static implications. Taken from the dynamic point of view 1933, when we know that the dynamic unit, out of which the world and ourselves appear to be built, is found in the dynamic atom of 'action'; his 'form' becomes four-dimensional dynamic structure, the equivalent of 'function'; and then the whole outlook of Spengler becomes a structural enquiry into the world of man, including all his activities.
This 'form', or rudimentary structural point of view, or feeling, or inclination, or tendency, or s.r - call it what you choose - Spengler, the mathematician and historian, acquires from the deep study of mathematics considered as a form of human behaviour; which, in turn, is a part of his behaviour when he was planning and accomplishing his work, a natural expression of the strivings of his epoch, which is also our own. In my own work, I have attempted to formulate these vague strivings of our epoch in the form of a general semantic psychophysiological theory.