172 IV. STRUCTURAL FACTORS IN
A LANGUAGESnot obtain two gallons (of the alcohol-water mixture), but slightly less. This last is a profound experimental fact, intimately connected with the structure of 'matter' and, therefore, of the world around us. The mathematician has nothing to do with the fact that his
additive definitions, important as they are, do not cover the facts of the world around us, which happens not to be additive in its more fundamental aspects.Also, the mathematical definition, one and one make two, is
not invalidated by such non-additive facts. The mathematician does not claim, but rather disclaims, content in its formulae. There is no mention of pennies or apples or gallons of alcohol,. It is simply a definite language of definitive structure for talking about anything which can be covered. If facts cannot be covered by given linguistic forms and methods, new forms, new structures, new methods are invented or created to cover the structure of facts in nature.The mathematician created such a different language long ago. He now calls his additive language 'linear', and the corresponding equations are of 'first degree'. He calls his non-additive language 'non-linear' and the equations are of 'higher degrees'. These latter equations happen to be much more difficult than the former and of complex structure, so that very often they can be solved only by approximation to linear equations. Now, without anybody's fault, the world around us does not happen to be an additive affair in its more fundamental structural aspects. Perhaps the most important and beneficial results of the new physical theories is that they point out this structural fact, and take it into consideration. The reader should recall the example about the man-made green leaf and the non-man-made green leaf, which differ in structure, and he will understand how our additive tendencies are the result of our primitive state of development and of this projection of our anthropomorphic point of view on the world. We reversed the natural order and imposed on the world the structure of our verbal forms, instead of the
natural order of patterning the structure of language after the structure of the world.This digression was especially necessary before approaching the problem of 'extension' and 'intension'. These have never been analysed from the point of view of structure and order, and whatever is known about them is taken for granted. It is true that we hear now and then casual remarks that mathematicians had a predilection for extension and 'philosophers' for intension, but these true remarks are not further analysed.
We usually forget that whenever a mathematician or a 'philosopher' produces a work, this involves his 'attitude', which represents an ex- |
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