The Nature of Science

September 3, 1978

Copyright 1978 by Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr.

My purpose in writing this article is to "crystallize" formulations about "Science" using the perspective of general semantics. The strength of the methodology of general semantics can be likened to that recent technology, the LASER. Laser light illuminates objects with coherent radiation. In comparison, the scattered, diffuse, incoherent radiation from an ordinary light permits gaining only limited information from its pale illumination. Laser light can be used for many purposes that cannot be achieved using ordinary light. Precise measurements (like those which determine the distance to the laser reflector placed on the Moon), drilling holes in metal to far greater precision than can be obtained using mechanical means, "welding" the detached retina back in place (micro-surgery), the manufacture of holograms, etc. can be achieved with coherent light, but cannot even be hinted at with ordinary light. In a similar manner, the degree of "illumination" possible through the medium of the language of general semantics permits the resolution of finer and more subtly interwoven relations, the resolution of finer structure, etc.

In this article, I seek to focus on "Science" while being conscious of my abstractions. I have already "implied" my perspective when I wrote of "the medium of the language of general semantics." A property of "media" is conveying and transforming information. A great deal of work has been done on the technological (engineering, physical, mathematical, etc.) structure of "media". One property of a medium is its "bandwidth". The amount or rate of information which can be transmitted via a medium is limited (upper and lower limits) by this bandwidth. (TV signals cannot be transmitted at radio [KHz] frequencies, your friend's new stereo record (bandwidth 25,000 Hz) sounds very poor over the telephone (bandwidth 3,000 Hz). Since the bandwidth of the human ear is only 20,000 Hz (from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz), modern stereo recordings provide much more information than we can use (by ear). All higher and lower frequencies are cut out.(1) With the medium of the language of general semantics, the bandwidth for communicating is tremendously expanded (at the very minimum, multiplied by the "number of levels" used) in comparison to the bandwidth of ordinary language (English).

Until this point, I have used auditory illustrations. I wish also to refer to a visual illustration to supplement these more "objective" examples. Most of us have had occasion to use a microscope or a magnifying glass (or a telescope or binoculars). A useful concept is the "depth-of-field" of the instrument. By this, I am referring to the range of distances within which an object will be in focus. For microscopes, the depth-of-field is very narrow. A common figure is about one-eighth inch. (For telescopes, the depth of field is greater than that of the human eye). Those who have dabbled in photography know depth-of-field as that range of distances wherein one gets clear pictures. (Too close is out of focus because the object is outside the depth of field.) I mentioned the human eye's depth of field. The actual depth of field of the lens is a small percentage of the distance to the object; however, the individual lens can be adjusted to focus over a wide range of distances. The "depth of field" of the "whole system" is from about ten inches out to infinity (for a normal eye). Another characteristic of the human eye which is useful is its resolving power. The resolving power refers to the size of an object which can be detected at a given distance. What is interesting about this limitation of the human eye is that the resolving power relates directly to the density of cells on the retina. A particularly dense area in the center of the visual field is called the "fovea". It allows us to see with great detail in the central visual area as compared to the peripheral areas. ["Levels" of precision in a different direction (transverse) compared to depth of field (depth)]. The fovea represents a level of resolution of greater detail within the depth of field (what can be clearly seen), which, in turn, represents a region of detection within a greater region of "non-detection" (what is outside the view of the eye, outside the frame of the picture, outside the range of hearing, etc.)

I wish to abstract from the foregoing the notion of successive levels of information transmission. The notion of what in advertising and the motion picture industry is called "the frame", what in the communications industry is called the "bandwidth", what in photography is called the field of view, etc., I will call the "domain". The notion of what in photography is called the depth of field, the notion of what in biology is called the fovea, etc., I will call the fovea. The central point of the fovea, I will refer to as the focus. Since I am conscious of abstracting, I will note and point out a convention. When I write of focusing (on something or somewhere), I will be meaning also the same as to indicate. By this, I say; to indicate is to focus on and vice versa.

When I write of general semantics as laser light, I am also "conceptualizing" general semantics as the "fovea" of language. That the most abstract of languages, the older forms of Mathematics and the modern non-Aristotelian forms of meta-mathematics, forms the "focus of language" is also a part of this "metaphor of the medium". Mathematics has always been a coherent language, however, most people have not learned to "speak" this language. General semantics appears to me to provide a way of getting a coherent subset of English which is as powerful, when used correctly, as are Mathematics and Metamath.

Before I begin, there is one further "property" of the microscope I wish to abstract and use in my approach. When one first puts a slide on the microscope, the barrel is turned up and away from the object. Without looking through the microscope, the barrel is turned down until the object lens contacts the slide. We then look through the eyepiece -- all that can be seen is a uniform light field (or dark). By slowly turning up the focus knob, we gradually begin to detect a blur (the first sign that something "is there"). The same (similar) experience can be accomplished using this printed page. Close one eye and place the page flat up against the open eye (Don't actually touch the cornea of your eye as it will probably hurt and may irritate your eye.). Now, gradually moving the paper away from the eye, one first begins to detect that "something is there", that the darkness begins to lighten some more in some areas than in other areas. This I call the level of the first distinction. (The paper is still very close to the eye.) As the paper is moved away, we see the following (roughly). First, the light and dark appear as fuzzy rows. Second, the fuzzy rows begin to show a "lumpiness" (words). Then, a second level of "lumps within lumps" (letters) begins to be visible. By this time, the lumps are beginning to show various shapes, and we even almost recognize "letters". Continuing the process soon brings the black marks ("words and letters") into sharp focus. This process I will refer to as "focusing the medium".

With the foregoing as preliminary, I can now begin my "look" at "Science". I will start in our semantic-historical-cultural environment at a point before the "medium of science" is focused on any "objects". In my "abstracting", I will focus my writing on our culture at a point in time before any distinctions are made by the "medium of science". That is, before the first distinction.(2)

Using words which were invented (adapted after some development of "science"), Manly P. Hall describes the semantic environment of that time as follows:

Among the Ancients, philosophy, science, and religion were never considered as separate units: each was regarded as an integral part of the whole. Philosophy was scientific and religious; science was philosophic and religious: religion was philosophic and scientific. Perfect wisdom was considered unattainable save as the result of harmonizing all three of these expressions of mental and moral activity.(3)

By relating to the general semantics notion of "extensional" and "intensional", we can notice at this point, before the first distinction, the ancients were interested in wisdom, or what we might call "good" "knowing and doing". The "harmonizing" can be described as a balanced mixture where no distinction is made among what we now call science, religion and philosophy. Today, science is certainly well grounded in extensional methodologies, and we consider Religion to be intensionally oriented. We can say that the distinction between extensional and intensional knowing was not yet learned-discovered at that time. The Ancients did, however, distinguish between "mind" and "matter". Even though we, today, consider "body" and "mind" elementalisms, we must provisionally accept the ancient distinction in order to understand how it influenced the development of science. Wisdom was considered to be in the "domain of mind. Sages (those who knew) and philosophers (those who tried to find out) discoursed about the nature of knowledge.(4) [Epistemology is one of the six branches of philosophy. (5)] Characteristics of the structure of the language in use significantly impacted these "discourses". Greek and Latin were the forerunners of what is today called Standard Average European (SAE) languages.(6) Part of the linguistic structure of these early languages required that the subject of a verb or the "agent" of an action (transitive and linking verbs) be indicated. These linguistic structures were "obligatory". (In English today, if we choose a verb, we are "obliged" to choose its tense.) The language of the time provided for the distinction between "agent" and "object". That is, the mind-matter split was built into the language!

Our nervous system's ability to abstract influenced the trend in philosophy of the time. The result of the abstraction process was the "creation" of "mental" concepts called "essences". The "essences" were the absolute, unchanging, aspects (what we now know to have been an "abstraction") which "made a thing a thing". "Chairness" and "bookness", etc. are examples. The process is also known, in mathematics, as "induction", to go from the particular to the general. During this time a general "inductive" trend was emerging among the world's religions (as indicated by the shift from polytheism to monotheism) and accompanied a general search for ultimate, absolute, unchanging, "essences" - essences which belonged to the domain of "Mind". At the same time the changing nature of the universe was taught by Heraclitus [sometimes called the first general semanticist because of this].(7) The "spiritual" world of absolute essences was accorded the status of reality ('real' from the Latin 'res'--a thing). Today, in general semantics, this ascribing to an abstraction ("essential aspect") the status of "a thing", is called "objectification of terms" (to give a term an "object"? [referent?]). Early in the psychological development of a child, a phenomenon called "object permanence" (in the visual perceptual field) may be being carried over into the "metaphorical mind-space" when a need for more "substantial" realities is felt. The studies of today in this area were done by Jean Piaget.(8)(9)

With this "objectification" process, "mental" objects and "physical" objects were seen as being of vastly different "qualities". The "mental objects", which are known as concepts, and the "physical objects", which are known as "sense data", seemed both to be "knowledge", however, in some way, different from each other. In a journal devoted to the unification of knowledge, Henry Margenau states:

There is a deep chasm between sense data, which are directly perceived in the world, and concepts, which our mind creates; scientists and philosophers throughout the ages have been appalled by (the) depth of this gulf, and have tried to bridge it. (10)

It is, I believe, this distinction between "mind" and "body", between "essence" and "matter", between "agent" and "object" etc., which drives the creation of the first distinction in science-philosophy-religion. Of course, "divine" knowledge and human experience can also be traced to the "Bicameral Mind" theory as related by Julian Jaynes.(11)

The first distinction is made explicit when, in the thirteenth century, certain Sufi teachings of the Illuminist school, the distinction between a collection of information and the knowing of things through actual experience, were interpreted and recorded by the adept, Roger Bacon, a Franciscan Monk.(12) In 1268, in Opus Miaus, Bacon wrote:

There are two modes of knowledge, through argument and experience. "Argument" brings conclusions and compels us to concede them, but it does not cause certainty nor remove doubt in order that the mind may remain at rest in truth, unless this is provided by experience.

What is self-evident (13) is that we have the first fuzzy glimmerings of the intensional, a-priori, argument, theory, etc., and the extensional, a-posteriori, experience, experiment, etc.

Argument, the most familiar kind being the classical syllogism, here, means, I believe, the reasoning which makes predictions from a-priori beliefs or principles, attempting to justify why a thing must be. The grand principle is embraced by the individual agent who selects a particular case where the principle applies, thus going from the general to the particular (commonly known as deduction). "Argument" is indeed so compelling that for centuries experience was "denied" or deemed "not relevant". Bacon set up a new principle, the principle of "verification" (to experience, after the argument, what was "argued"). The structure of the language is again relevant here. The conscious "agent" "experiencing" the general principle abstracts from it a particular case or a particular "object". He looks inwardly at this "mental" world of "concepts" and abstracts a particular configuration. By his "experiencing" the "mental" world as "objectified", he is able to apply the extensional operation of his nervous system to this "projected world of mental objects". (Incidentally, he has about as much freedom to "rearrange" this mental world as he does to "rearrange" the physical world). The results of this "mental" abstraction we call an "hypothesis". It serves as a specific, testable, prediction about the physical world (what we expect to experience).

Let us stop here for a moment and reflect upon what I have done so far. I have moved the focus of my exposition through the semantic-historical-culture environment to where we can characterize "Science" an a "first" level of structure. At this level, "Science" means to "know" (the Latin 'scire' literally meant "to know"). As a process, this "knowing" is, again, at this level, distinguished into two aspects, facets, ways, approaches, etc., which we can call argument (theory) and experience (observation). The body of knowledge represented at this level is generated by the induction of general concepts from experience and the deduction of particular concepts from argument. To put these together, then, Science, at this level, is a circular process of knowing involving the induction of general principles from the experience of sense data and the argument for particular deductions from these general concepts. We have elements of the extensional and intensional working together to create a whole (gestalt).

To continue moving my focus along the development of science, in the next century, an additional principle, facet, characteristic, etc., is added. Heretofore we have seen the distinction developing between intensional and extensional modes of knowing but without regard for some means of mediation between these aspects of knowing. Roger Bacon hinted at this "conciliation" or mediation when he mentioned "the removal of doubt". An assumption which we can infer rests behind this is the idea that "what" we argue and "what" we experience should be the "same" (that what we argue is "confirmed" by experience). It can also be formulated as a search for "unity" in knowledge, "knowledge" that we "know" both intensionally and extensionally, that is, that what we theorize and what we experience seem indeed a greater gestalt. Each of the two ways of knowing show but one aspect of the greater gestalt which in general semantics terms we might call the common abstraction.

It was, I believe, a part of the beliefs of this time that "knowledge" was something apart from how it was expressed. That is, that the language expressing knowledge did not influence the knowledge. Today's concept of the "bias of the medium", the Sapier-Whorf hypothesis, general epistemological considerations, etc., introduce levels of structure in "knowing" far more complex than those of Bacon's time. Distinctions develop "hand-in-hand" with complexity of structure. I do not wish to use today's distinctions to "judge" the then development of the structure, but may contrast, as is our ability through consciousness of abstracting, our present perspective with it. In fact, I believe the structures of today are built on those that went before (according to the theory of time-binding).

This "oneness" of knowledge reflects the ability/propensity of the human nervous system to abstract. We invariably ask, when presented with two different stimuli, "What do these have in common?" In the middle ages, academic studies generally consisted of the Seven Liberal Arts. The Quadrivium: arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy, had higher status compared to the Trivium: grammar, logic and rhetoric (the lower division). One characteristic of the distinction was the "unity of knowledge" within the Quadrivium. The structure of this knowledge was more coherent compared to the "diversity" in the Trivium. Of common utilization within the Quadrivium was an aesthetic principle. This principle enhanced the coherency by eliminating contending or contrasting (incoherent) aspects of the knowledge. This "selection" principle was explicitly formulated by William of Occam. Generally considered to have been written in 1349, William of Occam's motto was:


Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.
[Entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity.]

and is known today as Occam's Razor. (14) This principle establishes a means of selecting from among the "things" which are "intensional" (the more general "theories", "arguments", "principles", etc.) those which are acceptable. This does not apply to the "out there" world of the "body", but to the "in here" world of the "mind". At this stage not "all" ideas are acceptable to "Science". The "mental" world is now being "sifted" to "remove" (designate as not within the purview of "Science") some internal ideas and keep others. The first stage of abstraction from "all" possible thoughts (characterizing what are acceptable ideas for "Science" or "Knowing") derives from Occam's Razor. Today, this is more commonly known as the "principle of parsimony", and can be paraphrased thusly: : "If two explanations equally account for the facts, the one which is simpler, has fewer postulates, requires fewer assumptions, etc., shall be chosen."

The principle of parsimony or Occam's Razor is an "ought". It's part of the intensional or a priori; however, it is derived from much observation and historical experience with developing theories. The simple, elegant, beautiful, theories have generally shown greater results. (Of course, general semantics, as a theory, predicts that "the more abstract a theory, the greater its application will be.") Occam's Razor, then, represents a generalization from experience. It is at once a-priori and a-posteriori. It's a synthesis from intensional and extensional, and it mediates their interaction. According to Manly P. Hall:

Philosophy is the science of estimating values. The superiority of any state or substance over another is determined by philosophy . . . . The mission of philosophy a priori is to establish the relation of manifested things [intensional] to their invisible ultimate cause or nature [extensional] . . . . The ideal function of philosophy is to serve as the stabilizing influence in human thought.

We could argue, at this stage, that experience, religion and philosophy are allegorical of extensional orientation, intensional orientation, and balance. The activity of "religion" reflects the intensional aspect of man, the activity of science reflects the extensional aspect of man, and the activity of philosophy reflects the balance between the other two aspects. Inasmuch as the distinctions are still "fuzzy", I'll not "force" that fit because the terminology of one perspective may draw different distinctions than the terminology of a different perspective.

At this degree of resolution, "science" means "to know", at one level, and at another level, it consists of a process of knowing which has several aspects; observation, abstraction of general principles (induction), prediction of the particular from the general (deduction), and selection from among different general principles (verification). The selection process of verification is two-fold. It "confirms" some predictions and "refutes" some (confirms some predictions; however, does not confirm the theory making the prediction -- it merely does not disconfirm that theory). This is a spiral process which builds upon what it has produced before (as the snail builds a new shell on the old shell).

What I have referred to as intensional and extensional can be referred to, at another order of abstracting, as theoretical and empirical.

Since the time of Roger Bacon and William of Occam, the "object" of this "knowing" has expanded to include much diversity. The "medium" of "Science", like the microscope, is being focused and its domain is expanding. During this process, the "sharpest focus" for the medium becomes multifaceted. Many "object lenses" point in different directions. The focus fractionates the "fovea" around many points. Each point of focus in the fovea can be formulated as a "line of inquiry", or "area of specialization", etc. Usually, the formation of such an inquiry represented the interests of one particular individual. Newton's gravitation, Mendel's peas (genetics), Mme. Curie's radioactivity, etc., are examples. The fact that I am now using the word "inquiry" instead of "know", is indicative of the general shift of balance from the a-priori to the a-posteriori represented in Occam's Razor. Bacon "started" the trend toward the more objective which shifted the balance of knowing toward the "discoverable". This "knowing" would be more properly called "discovery", today. Science, today, represents a particular kind of knowing; a knowing characterized by its methodologies. This "knowing" represents a shift toward what may be found out with an emphasis on that which can be experienced - empirical knowledge. This "knowing" has "split away" from the more traditional "divine knowledge" which represents today's religions.

I have thus far shown the gradual development of the distinction between religion and science, and have indicated or hinted at the distinguishing of philosophy from religion and science as well. Philosophy had six branches: metaphysics, logic, ethics, psychology, epistemology and aesthetics. Of the six, Science is "swallowing" them up as follows: metaphysics -- by anthropology and linguistics from such "ideas" as developed by Whorf and Chomsky; ethics -- by developmental psychology from such ideas as developed by Piaget and Kohlberg; psychology -- Psychology is generally considered, today, to be a science in its own right; and epistemology -- In another paper I argue that, with general semantics, epistemology forms a "Science" by using the human nervous system (including the brain) as the physical referent to study "How we know what we know." (Both Korzybski and Piaget use this referent). Aesthetics and logic remain; however, aesthetics seems to be shifting toward "general values" in developing "broader" (more abstract?) religious perspectives. (Consider the Christian Scientist "divine principle" and the physicists "conservation laws".) [In general, I think aesthetics is being "lost" from philosophy to "Art" at formal levels and to "everyone" at informal levels.] An "logic" has positively mushroomed into the many branches of mathematics (systems of evaluation and argument). Traditional philosophy answered a few basic questions:

  1. The nature of the universe
  2. Man's place in the universe
  3. What is good and evil
  4. The nature of God
  5. The nature of volition and immortality
  6. The relationship of Man and the State
  7. What is knowledge, learning, education, etc.
  8. Ideas and thinking.

What province these questions belong to now seems apparent.

1. The nature of the Universe--that which can be found out--Science; empirical science, in particular: physics and cosmology. 2. Man's place in the Universe--that which can be found out--in particular, empirical science, anthropology. 3. What is good and evil?--At the meta-level, developmental psychology (again, empirical science) deals with this question as well as with the relationship of man and the state, 6. (political science and Kohlberg's developmental theory of Moral and Ethical considerations). 4. The nature of God--Julian Jaynes studies of Consciousness places this issue in "the middle of" linguistic, cultural, Anthropology. 5. Volition and immortality--volition is the province of psychology and immortality is the province of medicine (both empirical science). 7. Knowledge, learning and education--psychology and the new "science" of epistemology deal with this question. 8. Mind & matter--this question is dealt with by studies in Cognitive Psychology and by basic Physics. 9. Ideas and thinking--scientific research in these areas is covered by general linguistic research, general semantics research, artificial intelligence, multivariate behavioral research, psychology, etc. What has become of philosophy? That is another story; however, as each area of "objective" effort has been abstracted by Science, what remains is the more abstract "relations" or "pure structure"--what is known as "structure without content" today is mathematics.

Lets back-track a little and look at the process of development of science and growth of knowledge as it was developing in society when the focus of Science began to fractionate. When an individual with intuition and vision tenaciously pursues a particular inquiry into the "nature of things", that individual usually develops a group of assistants, supporters, followers, patrons and organizations to continue the work. Organizations, once formed, have a way of continuing, expanding, and becoming involved with more activities. The findings of these organizations influence the development of the culture, and the changing culture effects the growth of the organization. More precisely, they "coevolve". Other organizations develop which use the knowledge discovered. Groups of organizations exchange information in the form of "professional societies". In some cases, many large institutions develop and seek to "standardize" the knowledge. This process can be called "institutionalization". This process has so thoroughly infused our culture that a relatively static balance among major institutions has arisen. The underlying growth and development of knowledge (empirical knowledge) is "parceled out" among the institutions. A "category metaphor" drives many who feel that the fields of knowledge are mutually exclusive and "cover it all" (exhaustive). This perspective, according to Sam Bois, is called the "classifier" level or "semantic breed". (15) In mathematics, descriptive statistics use measurement scales of various levels. The category metaphor corresponds to the "nominal" scale -- that of naming or labeling. The nominal scale is the first of four increasingly sophisticated (structured) mathematical perspectives. (The second, the ordinal scale, refers to the order [relation] among the already named "objects" [left or right, etc.]. With order, "betweenness" can be discussed. In Science, interdisciplinary considerations deal with ideas "between" disciplines.)

During the process of cultural "coevolution" between the discipline and the language, each field of inquiry created or adapted words to suit its needs. These "technical terms" or "jargon" coevolved with the inquiry. In general, this evolution (of the use of the words) is away from or different from the way the terms had previously been used in the general culture (before it was adapted to the needs of the particular discipline). A great deal of interdisciplinary "borrowing" of terminology occurs, especially where a similarity of structure is seen by the person who needs to invent or adapt a term to communicate his or her insights. In spite of this borrowing, each discipline develops usages of common terms as well as creates terms and usages which are unique to that discipline. Today, each discipline can be characterized by a frame of reference the terms of which are distinguished from the terms identifying the frames of reference of other disciplines. In 1973, I coined the word "framinology" (from 'frame of reference'-'terminology') to indicate the essentially singular idea as viewed from two perspectives. I believe that a choice of terms indicates a frame of reference and a frame of reference prescribes a particular choice of terminology.

Since I have reached a point where I begin to synthesize, I will terminate my expository portion and become reflective. I will briefly indicate several areas where the "structure" and "processes" depicted can be seen at various levels.

What I evaluate as "implicit and unconscious" application or occurrence is where a similar process and structure can be seen in the interaction between "bottom up" inputs and "top down" purposive processing effects. These studies are in the fields of Cognitive Psychology and Artificial Intelligence.(16)(17) The structure and functioning of the human nervous system seems to require processes similar to those depicted here for Science. Descriptive approaches (cognitive psychology) and modeling approaches (artificial intelligence) appear, from my rudimentary contact, to be developing similar structures and processes to those described here for Science. My explicit comparison does not change my evaluation that the relation is, to those in the fields, implicit and unconscious. What could they do if the possibility of underlying structural similarity (as explicitly asserted by Korzybski(18) were made conscious to them?

To whom, or, in what way, would implicit but conscious treatment of the relation be depicted? I feel that allegory -- especially some of the allegorical teaching stories of the Sufi (sometimes associated with Islamic Mysticism) and particularly of the behavior of the Mulla Nasrudin(19) -- illustrates these three: extensional, intensional and balance, for which the development of science, religion, and philosophy could stand as the grand allegory of consciousness of abstraction.

As I just indicated, explicit and conscious treatment of the relation between the scientific process and the functioning of the human nervous system was published by Alfred Korzybski in the form of Science and Sanity.(20)

At any given point in time there is a certain body of knowledge which is comprised of some theories which have general acceptance and some records of observations which do not appear coherent with the theories. "Theory" is used in a process of developing specific, limited predictions. General statements are formulated (abstracted) as candidates for "theory". Arguments are made for selection among theories based upon degree of consonance (with the observations and with standards of simplicity) and acceptability. During the process, questions are raised. These questions form the basis for the process of developing predictions by contending theories, and of structuring experiments, etc. This basic circular process continues to expand and increase humanity's formulations of knowledge regarding the particular as well as adding to the store of formulations of the general theories which are currently untenable.

As Kenneth Boulding, Paul Watzlawick, and Anatol Rapoport agreed at the International Conference on General Semantics at St. Louis in March, 1977:

The truth cannot be found out; however, falseness can. Hopefully, if you find out about a large proportion of what is not true, what remains has a greater proportion of truth.

Science, then, is "knowing" -- "knowing" that has become more limited in its scope. The limitations are: first, the object as opposed to the agent of knowing; second, the concepts as opposed to the sense data; third, the concepts which correspond to "experience"; fourth, Those concepts which correspond to experience and can be "verified" (by another experimenter); and etc. It is truly said that an expert knows more and more about less and less.

The extreme of "more and more about less and less" is the adage "Knows everything about Nothing". As Science has taken the path of knowledge, empirical knowledge, it has left behind the possibility of wisdom. Wisdom requires the harmonious balance of science, religion, and philosophy. I am not going to tell you what wisdom "is". I will point out that there have been some very knowledgeable, intelligent decisions which were unwise. It is also not my intent to decry science or knowledge. To know wisdom is not the same as to do wisely. Without knowledge, there can be no wisdom, but knowledge does not make wisdom. Science is the personification of knowledge or knowing; we cannot expect wisdom from science (yet).


  1. Henri Busiznies, "Communications Channels", Scientific American Vol. 227, No. 3 Sep 1972 Back to the document
  2. G. Spencer Brown, "Laws of Form", Great Britain, Allen and Unwin, 1969 Back to the document
  3. Manly P. Hall, "The Secret Teachings of All Ages: An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Quabbalistic, and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy" y", Los Angeles, Philosophical Research Society, 1928 Back to the document
  4. Idries Shah, "The Sufis", New York, Doubleday, 1964 Back to the document
  5. See note 3. Back to the document
  6. Benjamin Lee Whorf, "Language Thought and Reality", Cambridge, M. I. T. Press, 1956 Back to the document
  7. Robert Pula, Institute of General Semantics seminars in 1974, 1977, & 1978 Back to the document
  8. Jean Piaget, "Psychology and Epistemology", New York, Grossman, 1971 Back to the document
  9. -----------, "Genetic Epistemology", New York, Columbia University Press, 1970 Back to the document
  10. Henry Morgenau, 'The Method of Science and the Meaning of Reality', "Main Currents in Modern Thought (retrospective issue)", Vol. 32, Nos. 2-5, 1975 Back to the document
  11. Julian Jaynes, "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind", Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1976 Back to the document
  12. See note 4. Back to the document
  13. According to Ambrose Bierce, "self-evident" means "evident to one's self and to nobody else". Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary", Dover edition, Dover Publications, New York, 1958 Back to the document
  14. Anatol Rapoport, "Semantics", New York, Crowell, 1975 Back to the document
  15. J. Samuel Bois, "Breeds of Men: Towards the Adulthood of Humankind", New York, Harper & Row, 1969 Back to the document
  16. Ulric Neisser, "Cognition and Reality: Principles and Implications of Cognitive Psychology", San Francisco, Freeman, 1976 Back to the document
  17. Philip C. Jackson, "Introduction to Artificial Intelligence", Petrocelli/Charter, New York, 1974 Back to the document
  18. Alfred Korzybski, "Science and Sanity: an Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics", Fourth Edition, Lakeville, The International Non-Aristotelian Publishing Co. 1958 Back to the document
  19. See note 4. Back to the document
  20. See note 18. Back to the document
    Annotated bibliography of general semantics papers
    General Semantics and Related Topics

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