ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

This quarterly journal provides peer-reviewed articles on topics relating to general semantics.

Articles from Vol. 51, No. 4, Winter

Abstractions
The "silly question" is the first intimation of some totally new development. ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD The volume of political comment substantially exceeds the available truth, so columnists run out of truth, and then must resort to imagination. Washington...
A General Semantics Glossary, Part IX
extensional devices: indexing and dating. Korzybski used his "extensional devices" throughout the First Edition of Science and Sanity. In the Introduction to the Second Edition he listed them explicitly, along with the related formulation of over/under-defined...
Common Sense Principles about Language
1. THE WORD is not the thing. You can't eat the word "apple" or shoot the word "gun." In many ways, words are like maps. The more accurately the map describes the territory, the more useful it is. Maps can be wrong, and often are. There are outdated...
Economic Metaphors for Education
AS WE BECOME increasingly obsessed with money and the bottom line, we look for the bottom line in nearly everything, importing this metaphor from accounting into many other situations. Often, this helps us cut through the details of a complex and confusing...
From a "Rational" Structure to a "Socio-Technical" System: A Whole-Mind Metaphor for Organizational Change
I WORKED FOR a company that decided to redesign its organizational structure. Leaders of this particular company, Star Insurance Corporation (a pseudonym), concluded that the development of "self-managed, interdisciplinary teams" (as opposed to a "functional...
In Search of the Un-Speakable
ONE DAY, you stroll into an art gallery. You see a painting, a landscape, still life, or abstract, and you pause to savor its beauty. The picture fires your imagination. In it, you see many wonderful things. But you feel incomplete. Something nags you....
The Aphorism
WHAT IS AN APHORISM? What makes it quotable and memorable? Aside from its condensed, witty quality, it must, like a joke, be somehow surprising, either in thought or phrasing. The best aphorisms, like the best witticisms, are repeated with pleasure....
The Interaction of Experience and Language
ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD expressed some cogent criticisms of Zeno's "arrow" paradox. Zeno designed his paradox to demonstrate that motion or change is impossible; that is, because an arrow in flight is always at rest exactly where it is at every moment...
The Real-Time Blues (an Internet Tale)
BELINDA BAILEY was in love with discovery; loved a good mystery whether of the complexities of nature or simply a well-told tale. Just so long as it spun the ol' mental wheels well up. An admitted addict of that special rush when endorphins gush from...
The Symbol User and the Animal (with a Nod to Kenneth Burke)
CHARLIE HAS never been to Africa. However, he knows a lot about Africa. Charlie has read books about Africa. He has heard lectures about Africa. He has talked with people who have been to Africa. Symbols let Charlie travel without leaving home. Fido...
Violence
WHILE VIOLENCE IS AN important element of the mass media, the actual effects this violence has on audiences has stimulated heated debate. A great deal depends upon how we define violence. If we define it broadly, and involve matters such as intent and...
You Are Nothing but a Pack of Neurons
"YOU ARE nothing but a pack of neurons." Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick makes this astonishing declaration on the first page of his latest book, The Astonishing Hypothesis, (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1994). What does Crick mean? In this brief essay,...