IGS Discussion Forums: Learning GS Topics: what is the best part in Science and Sanity ??
Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, July 21, 2007 - 08:42 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

What is the best part of a car, and how can you use it without the rest of the car?

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, July 21, 2007 - 10:44 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

General semantics is an extensional discipline that is meant to be internalized and used. The whole is greater than the sum of its "parts", and the "parts" synergistically combine to produce an overall effect that is incomplete without "all" of the parts. Picking out "parts" of general semantics would be like using a car (without the motor) only to coast downhill. You cannot achieve the power and speed if you do not have all parts working together.

As Jesse Jackson said, anthing worth doing takes effort; it is "inconvenient". The same is true of learning general semantics. It's worth doing, but it takes effort, and that is inconvenient. What you will get out of it will depend on what you put into it. If you want to go through life "coasting" on downhill slopes and avoiding the work of getting uphill, then by all means, learn only parts.

Assimilating general semantics "properly" is an ongoing lifetime commitment. Just like an expensive and powerful sports car, it requires all of its parts working smoothly together, and that requires that it be used, and that you expend a significant effort in ongoing maintainence. (Use it or lose it.)

It's also like a commited relationship with a sophisticated woman. You don't get close to her without a lot of effort and understanding in the first place, and when you do, you need to give continuous attention as well keep her in your consciousness at all times. The "payoff" is worth the effort, but if you dont put in the effort, you are likely to end up with a Paris Hilton - a celebrity with no depth.

"Best", "better", "good", "bad", "worse", and "worst", etc., are all value judgements made by a person through the abstraction process in conjunction with his or her experiences, sometimes in conjunction with some formulated criteria. So, what Ben, or anyone else, says is "good" or "bad" will depend strongly on his or her own idiosyncratic experiences. You will have to decide for yourself after you have assimilated a first reading, and your ability to do so will depend strongy on how much effort you put into the relationship.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, July 21, 2007 - 08:03 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Thomas said, in a a concise formulation, "There is really not that much theory in GS."

Hot dog! Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! Now that we know how little there is to "general semantics theory" perhaps it will be as simple a trick to teach it to everybody.

But ...
Where is consciousness of abstraction literally shown in the structural differential?
Where is testing inferences literally shown in the structural differential?
Where is "the map reflects the map maker" literally shown in the structural differential?

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, July 22, 2007 - 09:31 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail


From http://www.xenodochy.org/gs/
The basic principles of consciousness of abstracting are the caveats (often called the ABC's of general semantics):
The map is not the territory.
The map doesn't cover all the territory.
The map reflects the map maker. (see The "C" of general semantics.)

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, July 22, 2007 - 11:02 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

You must make the third person to first person transition with the ABCs of general semantics.

if you do not have the ABCs of general semantics in your awareness, you can not be conscious of abstracting. You must be applying those principles to your own process. While you are seeing, you must be holding in your awareness that "What I see is a map" (A), "What I see is not the actual territory" (B), and "What I see is determined by my nervous system and history of experience" (C'). If you are interpreting symbols, you must apply these ABC's to your best knowledge (model, map, etc.) of how those symbols got created. (The newspaper story "reflects" the abstractions of the publisher, editor, copy editor, reporter, dispatcher, dispatcher's sources, etc.)

Consciousness of abstraction "is" the awarenss that our abstracting is a map making process and all that goes with that while we are in the process of making the map.

Moreover, quoting Korzybski's "A map is self-reflexive" shows a "religious" orientation to "the master's "TRUE" words. I'm surprised that you are not jumping on Korzybski use of the word "ideal" which is a strictly Platonic dualism notion. It presumes the existence, independently of context, of some "perfect" criteria for "defining" what a map is. As an applied extensional discipline, "all" maps are subject to context (which includes the map maker) and purpose - purpose of the map-maker.

Of salient features of map-making, I consider general semantics (updated) to have replaced "self-reflexivity" (of maps) - a very problematic notion shown to be inconsistent by Russell's paradox, and for which Korzybski adopted levels of abstraction (applying Russell's theory of types) as a device to show that there is no "real" self-reflexivity [Every subsequent reference is at a higher level of abstracting.] with "reflects the map maker".

If you wish to stick exclusively to the preachings of Master Korzybski, go join the "Cult of General Semantics". If you wish to participate in modern open applied epistemology (general semantics as described in the articles of incorporation), then it's necessary to "apply" "modern" understanding and to be open to updates (as Korzybski himself has stated will be necessary).

Let's include the original "C" of general semantics, namely "The map is self-reflexive" as one of the much less than best part of Science and Sanity.

Some maps can be "self-reflexive" in the sense of "multi-level" with a small meta-level "key", but most general maps are not.

If you would like, you may choose to understand the "self" in "self-reflexive" to refer to the speaker and not to the subject map. "My map is 'self'-reflexive."

"I, in making maps, am implicitly self-reflexive."

That would be a much better interpretation.

Further discussions of the "C" of general semantics should possibly be moved to its own topic.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, July 22, 2007 - 01:05 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

What's your take on quoting Korzybski's original words as opposed to updating general semantics. Should the institute, in your opinion be presenting "updated general semantics"?

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, July 22, 2007 - 02:18 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Ben, like Milton, is quite capable of "defending" himself and thinking for himself.

Too bad you "preempted" Ben. I would have liked to have heard his response (to my prior post as well).

My original post included a link citing why I chose to modify the so-called "C" of general semantic, so Ben's response pointing out that my formulation differed from Korzybski was gratuitous, especially in the context that my pevious post acknowledged the difference from Korzybski.

So, in being "gratuitous", Ben "quoted the master's true words" unnecessarily and in spite of the fact that I had already acknowledged the fact that the revision was mine, thus evoking my chide.

You will have to decide if the institute is to take an "official" position on what formulations constitute "current" general semantics. After all these years, "general semantics", it seems to me, "ought" to have been abstracted and condensed into something more managable and more current than Science and Sanity. Korzybski is still continually being referred to as the primary source.

The project of my website is to examine general semantics and its theoretical foundations and evaluate them for inconsistencies, lack of currency, fallacies, etc., based on updated science, philosophy, mathematics, brain science, etc.

This forum (and others) provided "fodder" for that project, and "spirited discussions" are just par for the course.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, July 22, 2007 - 11:58 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

What I called the "abc's" of general semantics, I recall were referred to verbally quite a number of times at multiple Institute seminars that I attended. Upon searching, however, it looks like that phrase and description did not make it into print (on the Internet) by anyone other than me and one other site (which appears to have copied my formulations word for word).

However, you can find reference to a publication by Donald McLean, formerly of the Los Angeles Society for General Semantics, entitled "ABC of General Semantics" published in 1940, which I have not seen.

I'll change my citation from "often called" to "often called at Institute seminars I attended".

I will stand my ground on this claim, that consciousness of abstraction "is" applying the (often called at Institute seminars that I attended) ABC's of general semantics (C as updated by me).

While you are (I am) seeing, you (I) must be holding in your (my) awareness that what you (I) see is a map" (and remain conscious of "the map is not the territory".), what you (I) see is not the actual territory" ("The map covers not all the territory. - you (I) don't see it "all".), and what you (I) see is determined by your (my) nervous system and history of experience" (The map reflects the map maker [you (me)].). If you are (I am) interpreting symbols, you (I) must apply these ABC's to your (my) best knowledge (model, map, etc.) of how those symbols got created.

We have extensional devices to remind us of these. Quotation marks to identify non-standard verbal use and emphasize the non-identity of the territory and map. "etc." to indicate we have not said it all, and "to me" to remind us of the map maker.

Technically a map with an inserted key or "meta-map" is not self-reflexive because the meta-map does not show the map. There are only sample icons designed to aid in interpreting the map. The meta-map is not a map of the map; it is an additional map that relates certain characteristics of the map to verbal levels, such as showing a generic distance and marking the proportional size (for example, one inch=10 miles), === is under construction, etc.

"This sentence has five words." is an example of self-reflexive language. The sentence refers to itself. If you point a television camera at a monitor and you see the monitor in the monitor in the monitor and so on, you have circular reflexivity. The monitor is not "in" the monitor, you see only a picture of the monitor in the monitor, and that picture hold also a picture.

This is of course an idea that differs from the mathematical relations where r(a,a). But that relation is not named "self-reflexive"; it is named "reflexive". The two-place predicate hold an item and its reflection, and cannot say which is which.

Feel free to ask for a citation or reference for anything you think I need to provide a citation for. But be prepared to respond in kind with citations of your own. I think I provide more time-binding reference citations than anyone else on this forum has, and I also think I provide more extensional examples, as in the cases of the self-reflexive sentence and mathematical reflexive relation above.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Monday, July 23, 2007 - 06:59 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Hi Vilmart,
Excellent post! This promises to be more productive.

I heartedly agree with changing "the" to "a" in the "A" and "B", as well as the "disputed" "C", of general semantics. I'll cite you as the originator of this update to, as Ben calles it, "neo"-general semantics, unless you know of a prior usage that should more properly be given the time-binding reference credit.

A couple of technical clarifications.
In mathematics a relation on a set of elements is defined as a set of ordered pairs from the set. For example, if we have the set A = {a, b, c} the the set of all ordered pairs is {(a,a), (a,b), (a,c), (b,a), (b,b), (b,c), (c,c), (c,c), (c,c)}

Any non-null subset of this set is a relation by mathematical definition.
Here is an example relation: {(a,a), (b,a), (c,c)}
This relation also happens to be a function, because there are not any two elements which have the same first element with different second elements.

For example, "{(a,a), (a,b), (c,c)}" is a relation, but it is not a function, because "a" in the first position is paired with two different values, namely "a" and "b".

To reiterate, a mathematical relation (on a set of elements) is defined as a set of ordered pairs (from the set).

A relation need not be on the same set. For example, if set B is {1, 2, 3}, then the subset of A X B consisting of {(a,1), (a,2), (c,3)} is also a relation (but not a function).

A relation is defined as reflexive if for every x in the set, (x,x) is in the relation.

{(a,a), (a,b), (b,b), (c,c)} is an example of a relexive relation on set A. (*).

Notice that nothing above is said about what the elements of the set might be a symbol of. The definition of "reflexive" is purely syntatictic. It is not a semantic notion.

Semantics can be (I almost said "is often" ) described as the relation between words or symbols and the associated referents.

The word 'sentence' refers to a "well formed" sequence of words - one that is evaluated by people as having a meaning that talks about something. "Ralph wrote this sentence." is a sentence within this sentence." Now I can write about the previous sentence, call it "Ralph's first self-reflexive sentence in this post" and index it by "(1)", and the first instance of the word 'sentence' in this sentence points to something outside this sentence that readers can turn their attention back to and re-read.

Thus I have illustrated "self-reflexivity", of language, a semantic notion, because it involves the relation between words and their referents.

The word 'sentence' refers to a subset of words, whereas the word 'word' refers to a single word, and in this sentence the second instance of 'word' refers to the referent of the third instance of 'word', a generic concept. In this sentence the letters of the word 'word' are 'w', 'o', 'r', and 'd', and the referent of the second instance of 'word' is the particular instance written in this sentence.

Now, does all this self-reflexivity make your head swim, and by the time you finished reading it the word 'word' begins to lose any sense? It did to me. I had a momentary "zen" experience that saw 'word' without a significant semantic reaction. My brain said "huh?", I shook my head, and then came back to my senses. I don't know about you all, but I remember childhood experiences of repeating a word until it just became a non-sense sound. (Yoga meditation using mantras and mandala function this way.[Per discussions with a yoga meditator])

The mathematical reflexive relation is a purely syntatic notion; it does not involve reference.
The notion of "self-reflexivity" involves the semantic relation between words and symbols and their referents, and it is interpreted in two distinct ways (that come to my "mind"). Language that talks about language, and people who talk about themselves. The linquistic concept is that of "indexical", and includes such words as "I", "you", "here", "now", "that", "this" (when used not as an adjective), etc..

A map such as ones seen in commercial malls that "say" "you are here" is self-reflexive, because it is using the indexical "here". Take the map away from it's fixed location, and it will be wrong, because the indexical in this context depends upon the map being in the "correct" location in the territory mapped.

It might be argued that the indexical "I" may be "self"-reflexive in that in always refers to the speaker, but it is not "self"-reflexive in that it does not refer to the uttered word "I", and this distinction illustrates two ways that 'self-reflexive' is used.

A map, in mathematical terms, is a relation from one set to another. In semantic terms, a map is a relation between a set of symbols and another set, which may be a set of symbols, or it may be some non-symblolic stuff.

Look, for example at a map of an area that has small areas, such as cities, outlined and along side the edge of the map are areas that are "blown up" maps of the cities - maps in more detail. These expanded maps are not intended to be about the main map, but are intended as supplementary maps of some part of the same territory that the large area map includes. Both are maps of the territory. The distance key, a small area indicating the scale of the map with a bar that is labeled "1 inch = ... miles" contains an abstraction that is about the relation between the territory and the map. It is a "map" (limited to a single characteristic) of the larger map-territory relationship. It does not "show" the larger map, so it is not a "map of the map". Another key which shows a number of symbols with labels to name them, such as "toll road", "freeway", "major highway", "local street", "proposed", "under construction", etc. also comprise a limited map of the larger map territory relation. Such a key contains abstractions from the map paired with another set - words - that name or explain the symbols. It provides appropriate "semantic reactions" for the symbol characteristics, just as the larger map, with city names written on it, provides "appropriate semantic reaction" information for various portions of the map.

This small key is a higher level "map" consisting of an abstraction from the prior large area map together with tokens to elicit presumed semantic reactions in the reader.

The "problem" with "self-reflexivity".

If "map" is viewed from a single level of abstraction, then neither the lower map nor the higher map is "self-reflexive". It is only when the combination of both the large area map and the key are taken together and considered as a "whole" "map" that the word 'map' used in this way become "multiordinal", in that it is applied to the large area "map", the key "map", and the combined large area and key "map". "Self-reflexivity" arises in a multi-level context when the distinct levels are conflated so that a characteristic in the higher level refering to the lower level is treated as if it exists in only one level. The upshot of this analysis "is" that "self-relexivity" of these maps is "created" in the process of "conflating" or "identifying" two distinct levels of abstracting. Otherwise, one level is referring to another level, and that is, therefore, not to "self", because there is a difference in levels (of abstraction).

Language routinely conflates the distinct levels and treats them as all one level, namely "language".

Consider "This sentence has five words." Call the quoted sentence "My Sentence", that is give it a name. (Proper names are capitalized) Now I can talk about the sentence using its name. Since the sentence is about itself, we can use its name in place of

By substituting the name we just gave the sentence for the indexical phrase "this sentence" I can write:
"My Sentence has five words".
Now I can substute my sentence, for its name.
"'My Sentence has five words.' has five words".
Substitute again.
"'"My Sentence has five words" has five words' has five words".
Substitue again.
"'"'My Sentence has five words.' has five words".' has five words' has five words".

Notice that when any second level substitutions are made, the "truth" of the sentence is lost. (I chose the name to be two words so that truth would be preserved in the first substitution.)
The quotation marks indicate the various levels of abstraction of each substitution.
Notice that this substitution can continue (for as long as we are able to sustain our interest).

If I "destroy" the indicators of level by removing the quotation marks I get:
"My Sentence has five words has five words has five words has five words". And this illustrates the kind of trouble "self-reflexivity" of language can get us into if we are not careful to distinguisth levels of abstract, but when we do distinguish levels of abstraction, we no longer have "self-reflexivity" because each alleged "self-reflexive" reference is not to "self", but to a lower level of abstraction.

The foregoing illustrates the nature (and problem) of circularity. Russell's paradox shows the formal proof of the inconsistency involved.

Recall that reflexive in mathematics is not self-reflexive, and that it is a purely syntactic notion - there is no reference involved. "Self reflexivity (of language) involves using words to refer to words and sentences and sentences to refer to words and sentences, but always there is a temporal and level of abstraction difference that distinguishes or "non-identifies" the referrer from the referent, and when that happens, the referrer (higher level) is no longer the referent (lower level), consequently there is no "self" in this reflexivity.

I think this "proves" that self-reflexivity is inconsistent, involves identification of levels of abstraction, and is ultimately self-defeating. .

Korzybski noted and delt with the problem with self-reflexivity when he incorporated Russell's theory of types in the form of levels or orders of abstraction into general semantics. But I do not see it being made clear that "self-reflexivity" involves identification of distinct levels of abstraction.

Are maps "really" "self"-reflexive? I think Korzybski missed the fact that in order for a map to be considered as "self"-reflexive, it must be treated as if it were at a single level of abstraction. The map is not referring to the map and the key is not referring to the key, so neither is "self"-reflexive. But the meta-map is referring to the map, and the meta-map is not the map, unless you "identify" the meta-level of abstraction with the base level of abstraction. There is always a level of abstraction difference between the referrer and the referent.

Consequently, "self"-reflexivity requires or uses identification of levels of abstraction to bring the referrer and the referent into "one" level consisting of two distinct levels "identified" as one.

The upshot if this is that if we think "identification of levels of abstraction" is a "bad" thing to do, then we must discard the notion of "self"-reflexivity.

In any event, we must continually remember that using self-reflexivity introduces inconsistency.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, July 24, 2007 - 06:30 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Hi Ben,
The only think I "sweat" now-a-days is after dancing for an hour or so, and that activity may account for some of my apparent "absences" from this fourum. Besides taking lessons and going to dances, I also teach ballroom dance as Ballroom Essentials.

To relate that to general semantics, I often cycle through several different ways of describing the footwork until I find one formulation to which the student responds best.

Relating that to this topic, unfortunately, I did not find that technique of applying general semantics in Science and Sanity, in Manhood of Humanity, or even in any of the other popular books. I got it from Don Kerr at a couple of seminars when he was a guest instructor. A short but very valuable experience.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, July 24, 2007 - 08:19 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Frege allowed a set to be a member of itself. It is precisely this formulation that Russell shows leads to a contradiction. See Russell's Paradox in The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy and in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Since my first exposure to this it was clear to me that simply allowing "x [is an element of] x" as part of the well formed formula produced the contradiction. In other words, the [is an element of] relation on any set is irreflexive: (x) ~ x [is an element of] x. (I'm using "[is an element of]" because this forum will not let me use the mathematical symbol.)

we can have "x" [is an element of] "{x}", and the presence of "{" and "}" marks the level difference. Clearly "x" is not equal, the same, identical with, etc., "{x}" syntatically.

If we allow both x -> (a) and {x} -> (a) in a semantic context, we get exactly the same paradox.

If one reads Lakoff, one can become familiar with the underlying common "embodyment" container metaphor metaphor. If x is in container A and container A is in container B, then x is also in container B. But we cannot have both container A in container B and container B in container A. Container X cannot be in Container X. Lakoff would suggest that the formal set theory that Frege worked on and Russell proved contradictory "forgot" the container metaphor upon which it is based. That is we, as a species, were unconscious of the container metaphor that formed the basis of Aristotle's logic of categories as formulated by Frege.

Strict "self"-reflexivity violates this container metaphor. We can say that "self"-reflexivitity is "self"-contradictory. This is consistent with physical reality, because, by the time we have referred to ourself, we are a new, changed self referring back to a prior, different, self. The notion of "self" or "identity" that is persistent over time involves a relative invariance over a changing process, and the relative invariance is at a different (higher) level of abstractionh than that which the relative invariance is abstracted from.

Riverstep1 is not equal to riverstep2, but we say it "is" (identity) the "same" "river".

Selftime1 is not equal to selftime2, but we say it "is" (identity) the "same" "self".

The very notion of "self" cannot apply at the base level of continuous change. It really must only apply as a relative invariance, and hence at a higher level of abstraction. But the reference relation to the event level must point at individual space-time events, and these cannot be "in" each other. Only a time-space region, a class of events, can be a "container" for events.
Consequently the semantic relation that relates the word "self" to a person, a formulation, cannot refer to a base event; only to a region or "container", therefore the referent of 'self' must be a container, and hence, cannot contain itself. Once again allowing "self" to refer to "self" violates the container metaphor, and introduces the contradiction.

Consequently a "deep" understanding of "self-reflexivity" shows it to be internally inconsistent, and I just love the oxymoron of saying that it is "self"-contradictory.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, July 29, 2007 - 01:04 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

The "ABCs" of anything is a metaphor for beginning learning. Children must learn their "ABCs" prior to learning how to read and write.

The "ABC's" of general semantics represents the simplest beginning entry for learning general semantics.

We cannot be extensional about abstracting without first having an awarenss of the mapping process that our nervous system does (or that "science" does) to describe the world. Learning the "simple" mapping metaphor is an effective starting point, perhaps the most effective starting point.

A map is not the territory. (It may have errors.)
A map does not cover all the territory. (It has omissions.)
A map "reflects" the map maker; a map is made by someone who made it for a purpose.

(Oh, by the way, a very few "literal" maps have keys or meta-maps that explain things in the map it is a key to.)

Territories are continually changing, so maps must be continually updated.

In general semantics his talk of maps is a metaphor or analogy for explaining the way our nervous systems together with language works for both individual knowledge and scientific knowledge of the world.

We are map-makers with our nervous system and our language. We continually update our "mental" picture of the world, both at unconscious and conscious levels of awareness and in the language we use to describe it. Also, the body of scientific knowledge is also continually being updated; its "map" in the language of theories of what is going on is continually being revised.

What's more, we are updating maps that we are using all the time. We only update our maps when we discover that they did not work. That's how we discover errors. When we do so, hopefully, we revise our map or picture of the world.

Because maps are not what they are a map of, and they do not cover all of what they are a map of, the process of going from the "territory" to the creation of a map of it is one of abstracting and representation. We select, or pick out, some things to be represented, and we choose some(other)"things" to represent the things that we did not leave out. We leave out lots of stuff, sometimes because we have no way to sense or discover them, sometimes because they are not interesting to our purposes or needs at the time.

The key to this map making is abstracting characteristics at one level and representing them by (other or different) characteristics at another level.

Something out there in the world (event) may be represented in our nervous system as a group of active neurons (object).
A group of active neurons (object) may be represented again by the speaking or writing of a word or phrase (verbal).
A grouping of worlds or phrases (verbal) my be represented again by another grouping of words and phrases ([higher] verbal).

Things in the world are said to be at the "event level".
Direct neurological representations are said to be at the "object" level.
Spoken or written words are said to be at "verbal" levels.

The process of going from the event, to the object, to verbal levels is shown in the structural differential.

Much of the rest of general semantics is about refining our knowledge of this process and using that knowledge to "improve" our ability to make and use our maps of the world.

As with any other process, map making can be crude and ineffective; it can be refined and efficient, it can be anything in between.

Abstracting from any level to the next includes selecting and representing. Both these can have errors.

We may exclude stuff relevant to our purpose. When the map does not work, we may want to go back and look again for what me may have missed. Learning to do this regularly is developing an "extensional orientation" - to get back down to lower levels of abstracting.
We map choose representations that do not match well with the structure of the territory. We must "test" our map to see if the map can be used for navigation. We do that by using the map and discovering that it was wrong. (The map may have errors.)
Whatever map we construct, is done so within the limitations of our own experiences, our own needs, our own desires, for our own purposes, so, if we are to use somebody else's map, we must do so with the knowledge that it was constructed by them for their own purposes and needs, etc. Our own maps constructed with unconscious or conscious biases will reflect our own point of view in many ways.

Keeping these three caveats about maps in our conscousness as we go about our daily lives will allow us to become more effective map makers and map users.

And there's more, but this post is principly about "ABCs".

Note that "ABCs" has a strong cultural connotation meaning the basics or starting point. "ABCDs" does not have this connotation; it breaks the pattern and jarringly contrasts with the much more familiar time-binding code for beginning.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, July 29, 2007 - 08:18 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Maps don't necessarily "re-present" territories (the map ain't the territory); a map becomes a tool for navigation; sometimes it works; sometimes it does not. When a map works, we infer a structural similarity, and on the basis of this inferenence, we say it "represents" a territory. However, even when it works "this time", we have no guarantee that it will work the next time. On the other hand, when the map fails to work, then it would be improper to say that it "represents" a territory. Since we do not have direct access to the event level - we only have our maps, "it represents" assumes something we cannot "know".

Yes, let's change C to a map "reflects" its maker, and while we're at it, simplify even more.

General Semantics ABCs
A map is not a territory,
But, no map is complete,
Consequently, every map reflects its maker.

There is more to "reality", and it is different from how I am able to see it through my only means, my cognitive and verbal mapping process.

I make incomplete and erroneous (unconscious and conscious) cognitive and verbal maps to see, understand, and navigate with, including when I make maps of other people's verbal maps.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, July 29, 2007 - 11:21 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

In this post Vilmart stated:


Besides, this other website page says many things on which Ralph said the exact opposite :

1. that it is not "bad" to abstract highly, as many GS popularizers thought. Modern cience represents our highest levels of abstractions..
2. that a human being can abstract indifinetly
3. that the abstraction process is utterly self-reflexive.
4. that abstracting is not only applying the ABCs but rather being conscious of the our process of "leaving out characteristics while adding characteristics not present at the previous levels."

I suppose I have to comment. I do not say the "exact opposite" of any of these.
1. I'm in agreement with this.
2. ESGS is false if they claim this. We have finite lives, so we cannot continue anything "indefinitely", let alone abstracting.
3. This is false, and I do not believe ESGS makes such a claim. We would not need general semantics training or the extensional devices if the abstracting process was "self-reflexive". We have to learn to be aware of our theory and how to recognize it in action.
4. Abstracting can take place without consciousness. I've noted elsewhere that "abstracting" involves "transducing" from one form to another. This is changing characteristics from level to level. This is our "theory" that a good many people are completely unaware of and unconscious of the process.