SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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From what has now been said, it is probably already obvious that if any one wants to work scientifically on problems of such enormous complexity that they have so far defied analysis, he would be helped enormously if he would train his s.r in the simplest forms of correct 'thinking'; that is, become acquainted with mathematical methods. The continued application of this relational method should finally throw some light on the greatest complexities, such as life and man. In contrast to enormous advances in all technical fields, our knowledge of 'human nature' has advanced very little beyond what primitives knew about themselves. We have tried to analyse the most baffling phenomena while disregarding structural peculiarities of languages and thus failing to provide sufficient fundamental training in new s.r. In practically all universities at present, the mathematical requirements, even for scientists, are extremely low, much lower, indeed, than is necessary for the progress of these scientists themselves. Only those who specialize in mathematics receive an advanced training, but, even with them, little attention is devoted to method and structure of languages as such. Until lately, mathematicians themselves were not without responsibility for this. They treated mathematics as some kind of 'eternal verity', and made a sort of religion out of it; forgetting, op not knowing, that these 'eternal verities' last only so long as the nervous systems of Smiths and Browns are not altered. Besides, many, even now, disclaim any possible connection between mathematics and human affairs. Some of them seem, indeed, in their religious zeal, to try to make their subjects as difficult, unattractive, and mysterious as possible, to overawe the student. Fortunately, a strong reaction against such an attitude is beginning to take place among the members of the younger mathematical generation. This is a very hopeful sign, as there is little doubt that, without the help of professional mathematicians who will understand the general importance of structure and mathematical methods, we shall not be able to solve our human problems in time to prevent quite serious break-downs, since these solutions ultimately depend on structural and semantic considerations.
The moment we abandon the older theological attitude toward mathematics, and summon the courage to consider it as a form of human behaviour and the expression of generalized s.r, some quite interesting problems loom up. Terms like 'logic' or 'psychology' are applied in many different senses, but, among others, they are used as labels for certain disciplines called sciences. 'Logic' is defined as the 'science of the laws of thought'. Obviously, then, to produce 'logic' we should have to study all forms of human behaviour connected directly with mentation ; we should have to study not only the mentations in the daily life of