SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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64
II. GENERAL ON STRUCTURE
only in a given context, or when the orders of abstractions are distinguished.
In the following enquiry an attempt to build a science of man, or a non-aristotelian system, or a theory of sanity, is made, and it will be necessary to introduce a few terms of new structure and to abide by them.
Let me be entirely frank about it: the main issues are found in the structure of language, and readers who are interested in this work will facilitate their task if they make themselves familiar with these new terms and use them habitually. This work will then appear simple, and often self-evident. For those other readers who insist on translating the new terms with new structural implications into their old habitual language, and choose to retain the old terms with old structural implications and old s.r., this work will not appear simple.
Examples illustrating what has just been said abound; here I shall mention only that the E geometries, the new revision of mathematics originated by Brouwer and Weyl, the Einstein theory, and the newer quantum mechanics., have similar main aims; namely, to produce non-el statements which are structurally closer to the empirical facts than the older theories, and to reject those unwarranted structural assumptions which vitiated the old theories. The reader should not be surprised to learn that these new theories are not a passing whim of scientists, but represent lasting advances in method. Whether these attempts at restatements are finally found to be valid or not, they remain steps in the right direction.
It is quite natural that with the advance of experimental science some generalizations should appear to be established from the facts at hand. Occasionally, such generalizations, when further analysed, are found to contain serious structural, epistemological and methodological implications and difficulties. In the present work one of these empirical generalizations becomes of unusual importance, so important, indeed, that Part III of this work is devoted to it. Here, however, it is only possible to mention it, and to show some rather unexpected consequences which it entails.
That generalization states: that any organism must be treated as-a-whole; in other words, that the organism is not an algebraic sum, a linear function of its elements, but always more than that. It is seemingly little realized, at present, that this simple and innocent-looking statement involves a full structural revision of our language, because that language, of great pre-scientific antiquity, is elementalistic, and so singularly inadequate to express non-elementalistic notions. Such a point