Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

Introduction to Two Papers from Students at Vermont Academy

Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

Introduction to Two Papers from Students at Vermont Academy

Article excerpt

I WAS FIRST INTRODUCED to general semantics as a graduate student at St. Lawrence University in the 1970s. I was in the army teaching in the ROTC program there. I have been teaching at Vermont Academy since retiring from the army 20 years ago. About five years ago I decided to integrate GS ideas as much as possible in all of my classes. (I teach primarily sophomores and seniors.) For instance, in a sophomore class studying the Cold War, students write papers arguing that either the US or the USSR was responsible for the initial tensions of that conflict, then they grokduel in "opposing" pairs in front of the class. [Editor's note: "grokduel," coined by Edward MacNeal in 1999, refers to a contest in which two or more parties vie to see who best understands the position of the other. See ETC, vol 56, no. 2, Summer 1999.]

The papers excerpted here come from a senior honors course called Conflict Resolution. The first semester we study various theories of human nature: Plato, Marx, Freud, Skinner, Lorenz, and various religions, etc. The purpose of this is to sensitize the students to the tentative nature of reality as it applies to our own nature and how this can cause conflict. …

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