General Semantics Dictionary

The purpose of this list is to collect formulations for this context as my brain uses them.
This multi-meaning is here-now as I shall try to be consistent with my usages.
(This will grow.  To plant a seed, contact me using the link at the bottom of the page below.)

Some preliminary cautions. My perspective on knowledge, which I believe fully consistent with general semantics, can be traced back to the ancient skeptics, and my screen name is "diogenes" after Diogenes of Sinope (the cynic), some of whose proclivities I sympathize with. 

In the act of perception a figure object is distinguished from that which is not figure, called the background in a composite structure.  As such the figure object is an abstraction from the composite figure and background structure. Neither figure nor background can be null or empty.  Note that this illustration is just a metaphor mapping any sensory input (including from memory) to the visual. Using this metaphor we can speak of auditory "images", tactile "images", olfactory "images", even memory "images", etc., each an abstraction range (map) mapped from the corresponding domain (territory).

Abstraction - the output of a process of one or more transformations and/or transductions.  See Abstraction. Alternatively, the selection of a figure object from a composite structure.

Atomic - primitive - cannot be distinguished into figure and background.

Background - the remainder of the structure from which an object is abstracted. Alternatively, that which is not figure.

Compare - evaluate two structures with respect to the appropriate binary distinction - same or different for two atomic structures and similar or different for two general structures.

Different - a primitive or higher level evaluation - see same, similar, identity.

Distinction - a binary crossing - alternatively the division of an object into figure and background.  see Form of the Distinction

Domain - the mathematical term equivalent to "territory" in a mapping; the source "domain" of the mapping.

Equal - Equivalent under a reflexive, symmetric, and transitive relation - having the same value..

Essence - a high level abstraction - see essence.

Event - a hypothetical structure indexed by time said to be the "physical" cause of an object.

Fact - fact - a putative event or situation in the presumed external world - distinct from a "statement of fact".

False - false - one of two values that may be ascribed to statements, the other being true.

Figure - the object of attention abstracted from a composite structure.

Identity - an evaluation response in brains.  See The Neurological Basis of Identity

Map -

Meaning - the auto-associative brain response to similar stimuli, consisting of external and internal sensory abstraction, recalling prior similar stimuli together with their associated prior responses and subsequent results.  See meaning.

Not - the crossing of a binary distinction from a figure object to that which it is distinguished from.

Object - a reaction in brains.

Same - one of two primitive evaluations when comparing atomic structures - see identity, different.

Semantic reaction - response of a person to symbols and events in terms of meanings to the person. See Semantic Reaction.

Similar - one of two possible higher level evaluations when comparing two composite structures  - see different.

Structure - a composition of one or more objects. Alternatively, a composition of one or more events. A structure can be atomic - consist of a single object or event - or composite - composed of two or more subordinate structures. A structure is said to subordinate to another structure if the later can be distinguished into figure and background. Either or both figure and background so formed are subordinate structures. 

Territory -

Time-binding - The practice of recording the past and writing plans for the future using language, enabling each new generation to build on the accomplishments of the past, avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, and communicate new knowledge to future generations - characterized by an exponentially increasing store of information.  See Time-binding - the general notion.

True - true - one of two values that may be ascribed to statements, the other being false.


Annotated bibliography of general semantics papers
General Semantics and Related Topics

This page was updated by Ralph Kenyon on 2009/11/16 at 10:54 and has been accessed 1807 times at 10 hits per month.