SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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MATIIKMATICS AND THE NERVOUS SYSTEMS 287
the proper working of the human nervous system. In fact, a 'law' of nature represents nothing else than a statement of the invariance of some relations. When the Einstein criterion is applied, it renders most of the old 'natural laws' invalid, as they cannot stand the test of invariance. The older 'universal laws' then appear as local private gossips, true for one observer and false for another.
The method of the theory of invariance gives us the trend of relations that abide, and so expresses important psycho-logical characteristics of the human 'mind'. Its further significance is revealed by Keyser in the suggestion that when a group of transformations leaves some specified psycho-logical activity invariant, it defines perfectly some actual or potential branch of science, some actual or potential doctrine.8
We all know how deeply rooted in us is the feeling, the longing for stability, how worried we are when things become unstable. Worries and fear are destructive to semantic health and should be taken into account in a theory of sanity. A similar semantic urge apparently moved mathematicians when they worked out the theory of invariance; it was a formulation of a necessity of the activities of the human nervous system. That similar semantic methods, if applied, would give similar results in our daily lives, scarcely needs to be emphasized.
We have already spoken of the mathematical theory of invariance as a mathematical species of a semantic theory of universal agreement. Similarly, in a-system based on relations and structure, it is possible to formulate a theory of universal agreement which would be structurally impossible in the-system, and so the dreams of Leibnitz become a sober reality; but we must first re-educate our s.r.
Section D. Similarity in structure of mathematics and of our nervous system.
In the chapter on the Semantics of the Differential Calculus, the fundamental notions and method of this calculus are explained. Here we may say, briefly, that it consists in stratifying, or expanding into a series, of an interval of any sort which proceeded by large steps. The large steps are divided into a great number of smaller and smaller steps, which, in the limit, when the numbers of steps become infinite, take on the aspect of 'continuity' so that we can study the 'rate of change'. When 'time' is taken into consideration, the dynamic may be translated into static, and vice versa; processes can be analysed at any stage,. This short description is far from exact or exhaustive; I emphasize only in an intuitive way what is of main semantic importance for our purpose.