SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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182 IV. STRUCTURAL FACTORS IN A LANGUAGES
represent vicious and anti-social effects, into desirable characteristics, socially useful. Thus, a sadistic impulse may be sublimated into the socially useful vocation of the butcher, or, still further, into the skill and devotion to the service of their fellowmen, shown by many surgeons. We see that this mechanism is of tremendous importance, and responsible for what we call 'culture' and many other values. Our educational methods should understand this mechanism and apply this knowledge in the semantic training of youth. It is important to realize that this mechanism appears as the only semantic mechanism of correction which is in accord with the structure of the human nervous system, and so it seems workable. Various metaphysical preachings usually start by disorganizing the proper survival working of the human nervous system, and then we wonder that they fail, and that we cannot change 'human nature'. To deal with 'human nature', which is not something static and absolute, we need to approach it with more structural understanding and less prejudice. Then, and then only, can we eventually look for better semantic results.
The writer does not want the reader to conclude that, because in mathematics we have followed the survival order through extension, the mathematicians must, by necessity, be the sanest of the sane. Quite often this is not true, since many complexities exist which will be taken under analysis later.
Section E. Concluding remarks on order.
One thing remains fundamental; namely, that the problems of order and extension are of paramount structural importance for sanity and our lives. They should be worked out and applied to the semantic training of the young in elementary education,. This would certainly produce a new generation saner than we are, and one which would, perhaps, lead lives less troubled than our own, and so, perhaps, of better survival value.
To appreciate fully the immensity of the task of a more detailed analysis of the problems of 'extension' and 'intension', the reader is advised to read the Survey of Symbolic Logic, by Professor C. I. Lewis, University of California Press, 1918, in which Chapter V is devoted to an important attempt at a formulation of strict implication of both extensional and intensional character, which is the only organism-as-a-whole, non-el possibility. Lewis's theory of 'strict implication' introduces the notions of impossible propositions and so throws considerable light on the problem of non-sense, a light which is very seriously needed.