"Semantic Research and the Advancement of Peace". (Retrospect)

By Ettinger, Karl | ETC.: A Review of General Semantics, Summer 2002 | Go to article overview

"Semantic Research and the Advancement of Peace". (Retrospect)


Ettinger, Karl, ETC.: A Review of General Semantics


The time has come to explore the long-neglected problems of semantics in international relations with the same intensity and ingenuity that has been devoted to the study of history and of international law and economics, and of the various forms of international organization. The findings of this research may be applied to the creation of new and more effective techniques of communication between peoples.

We might begin with a catalog of terms most frequently used in international affairs, say, an Encyclopedia of International Relations which would contain not only the linguistic meaning but also the value connotations of words and other symbols in the cultures of the world. Such a lexicon of symbols as the opening program of semantic inquiry could be followed by studies of the elements of intra-cultural communications. Our concepts of international relations could be re-examined in the light of current facts. If symbols are the maps and the facts of national life the territory -- we must improve our maps to be useful in 1953 and later. This means taking inventory of thought in an encyclopedic form. It means also approaching the problem of international understanding scientifically, from the point of view of fact-finding and technique-seeking. Such a study might lead to, among other things, inquiries such as these:

Is the traditional concept of sovereignty still valid in 1953? …

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