SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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we make our statements less cumbersome. Some of the statements may not be true about the founder of the school; yet they remain true about the school.
Aristotle (384-322 b.c.) was born in Stagira, Greece. He was the son of a physician and had marked predilection for natural history and a distinct dislike for mathematics. Plato, who is considered the 'father of mathematicians', was his teacher. Early in his career Aristotle reacted strongly against the mathematical philosophy of his teacher, and began to build up his own system, which had a strongly biological bias and character. Psycho-logically, Aristotle was a typical extrovert, who pro j ects all his internal processes on the outside world and objectifies them: so his reaction against Plato, the typical introvert, for whom 'reality' was all inside, was a natural and rather an inevitable consequence. The struggle between these two giants was typical of the two extreme tendencies which we find in practically all of us, as they represent two most diverse, and yet fundamental psycho-logical tendencies. In 1933 we know that either of these extremes in our make-up is undesirable and un-sound, in science as well as in life. In science, the extreme extroverts have introduced what might be called gross empiricism, which, as such, is a mere el fiction - practically a delusion. For no 'facts' are ever free from 'doctrines' : so whoever fancies he can free himself from 'doctrines', as expressed in the structure of the language he uses., simply cherishes a delusion, usually with strong affective components. The extreme introverts, on the other hand, originated what might be called the 'idealistic philosophies', which in their turn become el delusions. We should not overlook the fact that both these tendencies are el and structurally fallacious. Belief in the separate existence of el, and, therefore, fictitious, entities must be considered as a structurally un-sound s.r and accounts in a large degree for many bitter fights in science and life.
In asylums, these two tendencies are sometimes very obvious. The extreme extrovert is found mostly among the paranoiacs; the extreme introvert among cases of schizophrenia (dementia praecox). Between the two extremes we find all possible shades and degrees represented in daily life as well as in asylums. Both extreme tendencies involve harmful s.r, because both produce delusions of some elementalism which, as such, is always fictitious and impossible. 'Mentally' ill are often characterized by s.r involving this capacity for building for themselves fictitious worlds in which they can find refuge from actual life. If we, who live outside of asylums, act as if we lived in a fictitious world - that is to say, if we are consistent with our beliefs - we cannot adjust ourselves to actual conditions, and so fall into many avoidable semantic difficulties.