SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

 ON FUNCTION 141 It is a genuine and fundamental semantic impasse. These static statements are very harmful, and yet they cannot be abolished, for the present. There are even weighty reasons why, without the formulation and application of oo-valued semantics, it is not possible (1933) to abolish them. What can be done under such structural circumstances ? Give up hope, or endeavour to invent methods which cover the discrepancy in a satisfactory (1933) way? The analysis of the psycho-logics of the mathematical propositional function and A semantics gives us a most satisfactory structural solution, necessitating, among others, a four-dimensional theory of propositions. We see (1933) that we can make definite and static statements, and yet make them semantically harmless. Here we have an example of abolishing one of the old A tacitly-assumed 'infinities'. The old 'general' statements were supposed to be true for 'all time'; in quantitative language it would mean for 'infinite numbers of years'. When we use the date, we reject the fanciful tacit A 'infinity' of years of validity, and limit the validity of our statement by the date we affix to it. Any reader who becomes accustomed to the use of this structural device will see what a tremendous semantic difference it makes psycho-logically. But the above does not exhaust the question structurally. We have seen that when we speak about oo-valued processes, and stages of processes, we use variables in our statements, and so our statements are not propositions but propositional functions which are not true or false, but are ambiguous. But, by assigning single values to the variables, we make propositions, which might be true or false; and so investigation and agreement become possible, as we then have something definite to talk about. A fundamental structural issue arises in this connection; namely, that in doing this (assigning single values to the variables), our attitude has automatically changed to an extensional one. By using our statements with a date, we deal with definite issues, on record, which we can study, analyse, evaluate., and so we make our statements of an extensional character, with all cards on the table, so to say, at a given date. Under such extensional and limited conditions, our statements then become, eventually, propositions, and, therefore, true or false, depending on the amount of information the maker of the statements possesses. We see that this criterion, though difficult, is feasible, and makes agreement possible. A structural remark concerning the -system may not be amiss here. In the -system the 'universal' proposition (which is usually a propositional function) always implies existence. In A 'logic', when it is