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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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90
II. GENERAL ON STRUCTURE
guage, and called it 'logic'; Euclid, who built the first nearly autonomous 'logical' system, which we call 'geometry'; and, finally, Newton, who rounded up these structural systems by formulating the foundations of macroscopic mechanics. These three systems happen to have one underlying structural metaphysics, in spite of the fact that Newton corrected some of the most glaring errors of Aristotle. Such first systems are never structurally satisfactory, and, in time, it was found that these systems contained unjustified structural assumptions which their followers tried to evade. It was natural that the innovators should meet with a strong resistance, as these old systems had become so elaborated as to impress the 'thoughtless' with their finality. So the revisions went very slowly and very shyly. In the case of Aristotle, revision was still more difficult because the current religious 'philosophies' of the Western world were inextricably bound up with the -system. The religious leaders took a strong stand, and as late as the seventeenth century threatened death to the critics of Aristotle.
Even today a revision of Aristotle is extremely difficult, for these three systems have a tremendous semantic hold upon us. Many semantic factors have contributed to this hold. First, they were established by men who were really very gifted. Second, they were not wise epigrams but were genuine systems with definite structure, and, as such, extremely difficult to replace. Obviously, it was not enough to pick some weak spot in one of these systems; the new system-builder would have to replace the old structure by an equally full-fledged structure, and this was a very laborious and difficult task. Third, these systems were strictly united by one structural metaphysics and s.r; they collaborated with each other, and gave each other assistance. Finally, the interdependence of these systems rested to a large degree on the structure of the primitive language, upon which Aristotle had legislated, and which was accepted by practically all Aryans, and so was inherently bound up with our daily habits of speech and s.r. Together, these four factors constituted a tremendous power, working against any attempts at revision.
We do not realize what tremendous power the structure of an habitual language has. It is not an exaggeration to say that it enslaves us through the mechanism of s.r and that the structure which a language exhibits, and impresses upon us unconsciously, is automatically projected upon the world around us. This semantic power is indeed so unbelievable that I do not know any one, even among well-trained scientists, who, after having admitted some argument as correct, does not the next minute deny or disregard (usually unconsciously) practically every word he