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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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374          VII. THE MECHANISM OF TIME-BINDING
say the least. We have already seen that we have an excellent substitute in an actional, behaviouristic, operational, functional language. This type of language involves modern asymmetrical implications of 'order', and eliminates the 'is' of identity, which always introduces false evaluation.
To these fundamental starting points, we must add the principle that our language should be of non-el structure. With these minimum semantic requirements, we are ready to proceed.
Let us take any object of ordinary experience, let us say the one we usually call a 'pencil', and let us briefly analyse our nervous relationship to it. We can see it, touch it, smell it, taste it., and use it in different ways. Is any of the relationships just mentioned an 'all-embracing' one, or is our acquaintance through any of them only partial? Obviously, each of these means provides an acquaintance with this object which is not only partial, but is also specific for the nerve centres which are engaged. Thus, when we look at the object, we do not get odor or taste stimuli, but only visual stimuli,.
If the object we call 'pencil' were lying on the surface of this paper and we were to look at it along the surface of the paper in a perpendicular direction to its length, it would generally be seen as an elongated object, pointed at one end. But, if we were to observe it along the plane of the paper at right angles to our former direction, it would be seen as a disk. This illustration is rough, but serves to show that the acquaintance derived through any specific means (e.g., vision) is also partial in another sense; it varies with the position., of any specified observer, Smith, or a camera.
Furthermore, any given means provides, for different observers, different acquaintances. Thus, vision shows the pencil to one observer, Smith, as a pointed rod, and to another observer, Jones, as a disk. Feeling, through other receptors, is just as dependent upon many conditions; and different observers receive different impressions. This is well illustrated by the familiar tale of the five blind men and the elephant.
Because of differences in sensitivity in the receptors of Smiths and Browns (partial colour-blindness, astigmatism, far-sightedness.,), any given means of acquaintance (e.g., vision) gives to different observers different reports of the one object. The acquaintance is thus personal and individual.
Again, the reports received through particular channels are influenced by the kind of reports that have already come through that channel. To one who has not seen trees frequently, a spruce and a balsam are not seen to be different. They are just 'evergreens'. With better educated seeing, this individual later differentiates, perhaps, four kinds of spruce.