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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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ON ABSTRACTING
383
The 'disk' represents a joint phenomenon of the rotating blades (a) and of the abstracting power of our nervous system, which registers only the gross macroscopic aspects and slow velocities, but not the finer activities on subtler levels. We cannot blame 'the finite mind' for the failure to register the separate blades, because physical instruments may behave similarly. For instance, the illustrations (a) and (b) are photographs of a small fan which I use in lectures, and the photographic camera also missed the rotating blades and registered only a 'disk', in Fig. lb.
Something roughly similar may be assumed for our purpose as going on in what we usually call 'materials'. These are composed of some dynamic, fine-grained processes, not unlike the 'rotating blades' of our example; and what we register is the 'disk', be it a table or a chair or ourselves.
For a similar reason, we may assume that we cannot put our finger through a table, as our finger is too thick and too slow, and that, for some materials, it takes X-rays to be agile enough to penetrate.
The above analogies are helpful for our purpose only, but are oversimplified and should not be taken as a scientific explanation.
This neural process seems to be very general, and in all our daily experiences the dynamic fine structures are lost to our rough 'senses'. We register 'disks', although investigation discovers not 'disks', but rotating 'blades'. Our gross macroscopic experience is only a nervous abstraction of some definite order.
As we need to speak about such problems, we must select the best language at our disposal. This ought to be non-el and, structurally, the closest to facts. Such a language has been built, and is to be found in the differential and four-dimensional language of space-time, and in the new quantum mechanics. In practice, it is simple to ascribe to every 'point of space' a date, but it takes some training to get this s.r. The language of space-time is non-el. To the new notion of a 'point' in 'space-time', such a 'point', always having a date associated with it and hence never identical with any other point, the name of 'point-event', or simply 'event', has been given.
How to pass from point-events to extended macroscopic events is a problem in mathematical 'logic'. Several quite satisfactory schemes have been given, into the details of which we do not need to enter here. As the non-el structure of the language of space-time appears different from the older el language of 'space' and 'time', quite obviously the old term 'matter', which belonged to the descriptive apparatus of 'space' and 'time', should be abandoned also, and the 'bits' of materials we dealt with