IGS Discussion Forums: Learning GS Topics: Beyond Science and Sanity
Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, November 5, 2005 - 10:23 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Hi Brent,
For a somewhat more analytical perspective, see my general semantics pages. I also recommend Jeff hawkins site on intelligence, Donald Loritz book, How the Brain Evolved Language (not so easy to read), and Antonio Damasio's The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Monday, July 2, 2007 - 12:17 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

I'm inclined to think that "understanding" either book (not as a yes-no distinction, but a matter of degree) depends on the amount of experience one has with the breadth of the reference material. I go back to Don Kerr at general semantics seminars, which I paraphrase as: the listener hears the speaker's words with the listener's experiences. For best results the speaker finds out what the listener's experiences are, and then choses his or her words to evoke the experiences of the listener. Before giving us a "lecture", Don surveyed the "class" for varies genre of experiences, and then chose metaphors based on the most common experiences reported by the class members. Don also said that if the listener lacks the necessary experiences, they must be provided in some way.

This basic principle applies to written material as well, however the "speaker" (writer) does not have the ability to target reader's experiences. Therefore the responsibility for acquiring the necessary experiences rests with the reader, and would indicate supplementary reading of references and citations or other related material whenever one began to experience a sense of not understanding the writer.

Perhaps after 50 years of life experiences, re-reading Science and Sanity can now evoke experiences that enable it to make much more sense to you than it did 50 years ago. But it may be a bit late for Philosophy in the Flesh, as that book references a significantly large portion of western philosophy in the area of metaphysics and epistemology, as well as other main branches of philosophy. Both books resonate strongly in me, as I had and have long history of experiences in the areas referenced by both books.

I have also often said that a person reaches the "interest barrier" long before they reach the "ability barrier" in understanding academic subjects. We have our priorities.

With regard to abstract categories such as the "chair" David mentioned, I'm personally inclined to think that "vision" and "visualization" automatically pushes one to more extensional and lower levels of abstraction. One cannot "visualize" a category, it seems to me; one can only visualize instances that might contribute to forming a "concept by intuition". "Chairs" in our experiences are much more similar than "furniture", which one cannot "visualize" as a category.

I put down both subject areas and go dancing when the opportunity arrises - to take them up again later.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, July 3, 2007 - 12:20 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

I think it's pretty well known that Korzybski held academia in very poor regard, especially in connection with the fact that he was not recognized or accepted by that body, partly, perhaps, due to the fact that he had no academic credentials. See KORZYBSKI'S GENERAL SEMANTICS* by. Allen Walker Read.

I'm nearly through with Philosophy in the Flesh. It is about "grounding" philosophy in second generation cognitive science - to approach philosophy from primarily an empirical approach - to dispense with all "a priori" postulates about "what is". Another "plank" in the "floor" is his language research in metaphor, that relates abstract notions metaphorically to everyday activities and experiences.