SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

Home | About | Philosphy | Contact | Search




HIGHER ORDER ABSTRACTIONS                   429
types'. The status of this theory is a very interesting and instructive one. The theory solves the mathematical difficulties, thus saving mathematics, but has no application to life. Practically all mathematicians, if I am not mistaken, the author of the theory included, somehow 'dislike' the theory and make efforts to solve the problems in a different way and possibly to abandon the theory altogether.
We have already shown that the introduction of a language of 'different orders of abstractions' is structurally entirely justified and physiologically natural, as it describes, in terms of order, the activities of the nervous system. Such facts are important; but if, in addition, the introduction of a language of a newstructure would give us further demonstrable advantages, then the introduction of such a language would become increasingly desirable.
Although the majority of mathematicians 'dislike' the theory of types, yet, at present, this theory is unconditionally necessary for non-self-contradictory mathematics. The author was pleasantly surprised to find that after his -system was formulated, this simple and natural, actional, functional, operational, non-el theory covers the theory of mathematical types and generalizes it, making the theory applicable not only to the solution of mathematical paradoxes but to the solution of the majority of purely human and scientific difficulties. One general rule of 'non-confusion of orders of abstractions', and the acquiring of the simple and workable 'consciousness of abstracting' based on the denial of the 'is' of identity, offers a full structural and semantic solution. The disregard of the issues involved leads fatalistically to the manufacture of endless and unnecessary human sufferings and unhappiness, the elimination of which is one of the main points in a theory of sanity. There is no mystery in 1933 that continuous small painful shocks may lead to serious semantic and physical disturbances. Psycho-logicians and psychiatrists will find it increasingly difficult to work at their problems if they disregard these semantic issues. Parents arid teachers will find simple yet effective structural means for training the reactions of children in sanity, with all the ensuing semantic benefits to the individuals and to society.
When Whitehead and Russell were working at the foundations of mathematics, they came across endless paradoxes and self-contradictions, which, of course, would make mathematics impossible. After many efforts they found that all these paradoxes had one general source, in the rough, in the expressions which involve the word 'all', and the solution was found by introducing 'non-allness', a semantic forerunner of non-identity. Consider, for example, 'a proposition about all proposi-