IGS Discussion Forums: Learning GS Topics: Inferences vs. Postulates
Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Monday, July 17, 2006 - 11:34 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Ben, the main difference between an inference and a postulate is that a postulate is a starting assumption, whereas an inference is the end result of reasoning of some kind, correct or flawed. An infrence usually refers to a conclusion drawn from either postulates, assumptions, or examples.

The verb form, "infer" refers to the process while the noun form "inference" refers to the result.

1. Think of one or more assumptions, postulates, or examples.
2. Use valid or invalid reasoning methods.
3. Arrive at a conclusion or inference.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, July 18, 2006 - 09:03 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail
Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, July 18, 2006 - 10:29 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Keyser - yes. Note that you say it includes the postulates and the deductions, and yes, the aim of scientific, mathematical, and logical, "doctrine" is to be as true as possible - that is to have no failed test for any of the theorems and to use only methods that yield truth.

Korzybski's command is to apply the methods of science and logic of the laboratory that uses only valid reasoning and tested conclusions where possible, but to be ready to test and discard assumptions that have not yet been corroborated. The "practice" of general semantics, however, seems to be quite another thing, as you can read all kinds of emotional inferences and such in the postings of many of the alleged general semanticists - exhibiting precisely what Korzybski coined the word 'unsane' to depict.

About the "existence" of the event level. A careful reading of general semantics, it seems to me, regards the event level, and in particular, any structure attributed to it as an assumption - a postulate, but not an axiom. We "take on faith" the existence based on our sensory experiences, but to date, we have only been able to directly experience our own personal abstractions. We continually test things - sit on a chair - does hold us up? Run an accelerator experiment - do the data match the predictions? If yes, that is tested corroboration. If no, then that is disconfirmation.

Yes. We are "supposed" to use only sane reasoning if we are to be called an effective practicing general semanticist, but people in any system are rarely doing what the system says they are doing.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, July 18, 2006 - 12:02 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail


It is sad indeed to deal with even young scientists in the colloidal and quantum fields who, after taking off their aprons in the laboratory, relapse immediately into the two-valued, prevalent aristotelian orientations, thus ceasing to be scientific 1941. In many ways these scientists are worse off than the `man on the street', because of the artificially accentuated split between their scientific and their life orientations. Although they work in an infinite-valued, non-aristotelian field, even they need special training to become conscious of how to apply their own scientific nonaristotelian methods to life problems.

S&S Introduction to the Second Edition, p. lix