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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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'1NF1NITEKSIMAIL 'CAUSE AND EFFECT'           217
'logic' of a structure not similar to the structure of the world, and the general oo-valued notion of causality. This last notion is the psychological foundation of all explanations leading toward oo-valued determinism, and is an exclusive test for structure; and so of extreme semantic importance.
Besides the analysis from the point of view of the impossible 'infinitesimal', the term 'cause-effect' represents a two-term relation, and, as such, is a primitive generalization never to be found in this world, as all events are serially related in a most complex way, independent of our way of speaking about them. If we expand our two-term relation 'cause-effect' into a series, we pass from the inferential level to the descriptive level, and so can apply a behaviouristic, functional, actional language of order. In such series, we could only use the language of 'cause' and 'effect' if we could select neighbouring factors, a selection which is often impossible. Also, if we pass from macroscopic to microscopic or sub-microscopic levels, we could use such language, but then the terms would have different meanings, supplied by the theory of probability.
The semantic side of this problem is of importance, because, in the old el way, it was neglected. General speculations about such m.o terms as 'cause' and 'effect' are useless. Such statements are not propositions, but involve variable meanings and, therefore, generate propositional functions which are neither true nor false. Our expanding of the too simple, two-term relation 'cause-effect' into a complex series is closer to the structure of this world, as far as we know it.
The understanding and habitual application of what has just been said would not only save us from silly dogmatizing and inappropriate s.r, but would teach us not to disregard any regularity, and to investigate any relation which might appear. Then, in a specific case, we could again use the restricted principle of causality, based on probability and averages. The old absolute and objectified semantic attitude toward 'cause-effect' was and often is a serious hindrance in observing impartially the sequence of events (order) and relations. Preconceived notions and old s.r played havoc, for it is well known that we usually find what we want to find. If we approach a problem with definite unconscious 'emotional' wants, and cannot satisfy these s.r, we become bewildered, down-hearted, and perhaps utter some such non-sense as the 'finite mind', or the like. Under such semantic pressure, our power of observation and analysis is reduced by a kind of 'emotional stupor'. Such an occurrence is harmful in science and in life. 'Human knowledge' depends on human ingenuity, power of observation, power of abstraction,. It is an activity