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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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ON ABSTRACTING
381
The term 'abstractions of different orders' is, in this work, as fundamental as the term 'time-binding' was in the author's earlier Manhood of Humanity. Hence, it is impossible to be comprehensive about it at this stage; more will be forthcoming as we proceed.
But we have already come to some important semantic results. We have selected our structural metaphysics, and decided that in 1933 we should accept the metaphysics of 1933, which is given exclusively by science. We have decided to abandon the false to facts 'is' of identity and to use, instead, the best available language; namely, an actional, behaviouristic, functional, operational language, based on 'order'. And, finally, we have found a term which is functionally satisfactory and has the correct structural and neural implications, and which represents a non-el term, and of which the meanings can be expanded and refined indefinitely by assigning to them different orders.
In passing on to the general scientific outlook, similar structural remarks upon a non-el point of view apply, and are semantically of importance. Because of the non-el character of the work of the writers on the Einstein and new quantum theories, much use is made of this material in the present work. There is a marked structural, methodological, and semantic parallelism between all modern non-el strivings, which are extremely effective psycho-logically. More material on this subject is given in Parts IX and X.
Now, returning to the analysis of the object which we called 'pencil', we observe that, in spite of all 'similarities', this object is unique, is different from anything else, and has a unique relationship to the rest of the world. Hence, we should give the object a unique name. Fortunately, we have already become acquainted with the way mathema-t icians manufacture an endless array of individual names without unduly expanding the vocabulary. If we call the given object 'pencili', we could call another similar object 'pencil2',. In this way, we produce individual names, and so cover the differences. By keeping the main root word 'pencil', we keep the implications of daily life, and also of similarities. The habitual use of such a device is structurally and seman-I ically of extreme importance. It has already been emphasized repeatedly that our abstracting from physical objects or situations proceeds by missing, neglecting, or forgetting, and that those disregarded characteristics usually produce errors in evaluation, resulting in the disasters of life. If we acquire this extensional mathematical habit of using special names for unique individuals, we become conscious, not only of the similarities, but also of the differences, which consciousness is one of the