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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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380          VII. THE MECHANISM OF TIME-BINDING
other semantic disturbances. Usually, the term 'abstract' is contrasted with 'concrete', which is connected with some vague feeling of 'allness\ By making the functional term abstracting fundamental, we establish a most efficient semantic counter-reaction to replace the older terms which had such vicious structural implications. Indeed, it is comparatively easy to accept the term 'abstractions of different orders', and any one who does so will see.how much clarity and how much semantic balance he will automatically acquire.
From a non-el point of view, the term 'abstracting' is also very satisfactory. The structure of the nervous system is in ordered levels, and all levels go through the process of abstracting from the other levels.
The term implies a general activity, not only of the nervous system as-a-whole, but even of all living protoplasm, as already explained. The characteristic activities of the nervous system, such as summarizing, integrating., are also included by implication.
If we wish to use our terms in the strictly non-el way, we must abandon the older division of 'physiological abstractions', which implies 'body', and of 'mental abstractions', which, in turn, implies 'mind', both taken in an el way. We can easily do that by postulating abstractions of different orders. We should notice that the above use of the term 'abstracting' differs from the old usage. The semantic difference is in uniting all the abstractions our nervous system performs under the one term, and in distinguishing between different abstractions by the order of them, which is functionally, as well as structurally, justified.
The term 'first order abstractions' or 'abstractions of lower order' does not distinguish between 'body' and 'mind'. Practically, it corresponds roughly to 'senses' or immediate feelings, except that by implication it does not eliminate 'mind'. Neither does the term 'abstractions of higher orders' eliminate 'body' or 'senses', although it corresponds roughly to 'mental' processes.
From the point of view of 'order', the term 'abstracting' has a great deal in its favor. We have seen what serious structural and semantic importance the term 'order' has, and how the activity of the nervous system has to be spoken of in terms of order. If we establish the term 'abstracting' as fundamental for its general semantic implications, we can easily make the meanings more definite and specific in each case by having 'abstractions of different orders'.
We have seen also that the terms we select should involve environment by implication: it is not difficult to see that the term 'abstracting' implies 'abstracting from something' and so involves the environment as an implication.