SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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60                       II. GENERAL ON STRUCTURE
structure, by the very nature of language, reflects in its own structure that of the world as assumed by those who evolved the language. In other words, we read unconsciously into the world the structure of the language we use. The guessing and ascribing of a fanciful, mostly primitive-assumed, structure to the world is precisely what 'philosophy' and 'metaphysics' do. The empirical search for world-structure and the building of new languages (theories), of necessary, or similar, structure, is, on the contrary, what science does. Any one who will reflect upon these structural peculiarities of language cannot miss the semantic point that the scientific method uses the only correct language-method. It develops in the natural order, while metaphysics of every description uses the reversed, and ultimately a pathological, order.
Since Einstein and the newer quantum mechanics, it has become increasingly evident that the only content of 'knowing' is of a structural character; and the present theory attempts a formulation of this fact in a generalized way. If we build a ^-system by the aid of new terms and of methods excluded by the /i-system, and stop some of our primitive habits of 'thought' and s.r, as, for instance, the confusion of order of abstractions, reverse the reversed order, and so introduce the natural order in our analysis, we shall then find that all human 'knowing' exhibits a structure similar to scientific knowledge, and appears as the 'knowing' of structure. But, in order to arrive at these results, we must depart completely from the older systems, and must abandon permanently the use of the 'is' of identity.
It would seem that the overwhelming importance for mankind of systems based on 'relations', 'order', 'structure'., depends on the fact that such terms allow of an exact and 'logical' treatment, as two relations of similar structure have all their logical characteristics in common. It becomes obvious that, as in the ^-system we could not deal in such terms, higher rationality and adjustment were impossible. It is not the human 'mind' and its 'finiteness' which is to be blamed, but a primitive language, with a structure foreign to this world, which has wrought havoc with our doctrines and institutions.
The use of the term 'structure' does not represent special difficulties when once we understand its origin and its meanings. The main difficulty is found in the old A habits of speech, which do not allow the use of structure, as, indeed, this notion has no place in a complete A subject-predicativism.
Let us repeat once more the two crucial negative premises as established firmly by all human experience: (1) Words are not the things