SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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recognizing it, the modern trend of science is to banish from its habits and ; methods the application of the 'is' of identity.
So in science we have to use an actional, 'behaviouristic', 'functional', 'operational' language, in which we do not say that this and this 'is' so and so, but where we describe extensionally what happens in certain order. We describe how something behaves, what something does, what we do in our research work , . If one asks, for instance, what is 'length', what is 'space', what is 'time', what is 'matter'. , the only correct answer would be, 'As you asked the question verbally, and I answer it verbally, the above terms remain terms, which beside Structure, have no connection whatsoever with the external world'. Yet undoubtedly we are interested in this external world and we should like to use a language which would help us in understanding this world better. What hall we do? It seems that if we produce a language which is similar in structure, to the external world, somehow, as a map or picture is similar in structure to the region it pictures, we should have a uniquely appropriate language. How can we do it? It is quite simple the moment we discover the principle. First of all, abandon completely the A 'is' of identity, and, instead, describe ordered happenings in an actional and functional language. Such a language shares with the external world at least the multi-dimensional order of happenings, and it gives us a solution.
It is easy to see that arguments (verbal) about 'matter', 'space', 'time'. , will never become anything else than verbal. All uses of the 'is' of identity, must lead to delusional evaluation. The situation is radically changed when we use an actional or functional language, when we describe what a physicist does when he finds his 'length' or 'second' or any other entity he is interested in.
We should notice here that the above procedure involves extremely far-reaching structural and semantic consequences. First of all, we abandon the vicious use of the 'is' of identity, and eliminate the semantic disturbance called identification. We introduce automatically the full psycho-logical working mechanism of order, extensional methods and discrimination between the orders of abstractions. We introduce the four-dimensional and differential methods, we build up static units, 'quanta', and so introduce measurement and its language called mathematics, which leads to structure and so to knowledge at each date.
It will be useful to recall why mathematics and measurements are somehow so important in our lives. Our nervous system, as we have seen, exhibits different activities on different levels. On one level the abstractions are shifting, non-permanent; on the other static and permanent in principle. This is expressed in our lives in a longing for some permanency, some security, some 'absolutes'. Mathematics formulated this tendency first and with full success. Mathematics has not only formulated full and successful theories of 'change', as, for instance, the theory of functions and the different calculi, but also full-fledged and remarkable theories of invariance under transformations. These new theories of invariance are actually absolute formulations in the only sense in which the