Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

“anti-essentialism”, identity as “non-existent” and having any conception of it as “pathological”, “infectious”, and “ultimately harmful”… yeah i’d say that’s a true opposite!

you say "Korzybski includes Kant in the aristotelian tradition", which i'd agree with, but i wonder, does he count anyone before him as anti-Aristotelean?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, splitprimary said:

you say "Korzybski includes Kant in the aristotelian tradition", which i'd agree with, but i wonder, does he count anyone before him as anti-Aristotelean?

Korzybski doesn't use the term 'anti-Aristotelian' and doesn't consider himself to be opposed to Aristotle's main mission, which he thought was to make a system to explain science and set its goals. Korzybski only does it for the 20th century's science. He claims that his non-Aristotelian system is the first of its kind, as previous attempts (he doesn't yet mention which ones) weren't as comprehensive and complete as his own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, actually he does say that Aristotle's system is more comprehensive than those that followed during the two thousand years. On page xli (one of his prefaces), he includes this figure in which A (aristotelian system) contains "a more limited and less general system such as 'christianity' (C), within which is, for instance, the leibnitzian system (L), and within which there are individual, personal systems (P)."

fig.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I start thinking that Korzybski was insane but escaped hospitalization by lucky chance. First he calls Aristotle a 'genius' and then he writes this:

Quote

Aristotle, the extrovert, and his doctrines have appealed, and still appeal, to those who can 'think' but feebly. (p. 88)

So far the claim that Aristotle is 'the extrovert' is unsupported and the claim that he, Rand, I, and everyone on this forum think feebly is in logical error. He also so many pages into the book has yet to cite Aristotle at least once or at least analyze sufficiently any of Aristotle's ideas. Rand, in comparison, did a much better job with Kant than Korzybski can boast of doing with Aristotle. We have no details on Aristotle from Korzybski, only calling names. I will keep you posted if I find anything.

Edited by Ilya Startsev
for clarity & grammar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A long time ago I read the science fiction mentioned by Invictus2017.  I'm a little curious whether the following features in the science fiction came from Korzybski.

The term "null-Aristotelianism".

Abbreviating this term with a capital A with a bar over it, read "null-A".

Emphasis on the need to integrate the cortex, seen as the seat or source of reason, and the thalamus, seen as the seat or source of emotion.

Using "the cortico-thalamic pause" to achieve or maintain such integration.

Referring to a particular reaction as "thalamically quick".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

A long time ago I read the science fiction mentioned by Invictus2017.  I'm a little curious whether the following features in the science fiction came from Korzybski.

The term "null-Aristotelianism".

Abbreviating this term with a capital A with a bar over it, read "null-A". ...

Yes, that's Korzybski's non-aristotelianism, .

4 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

Since Korzybski died in 1950, it's not that surprising that he didn't discuss Rand.

But Rand also never discussed him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/8/2018 at 12:13 PM, Ilya Startsev said:

They are not inconsistent, especially if materialism is subjective, and it's also always idealistic, as are we all, to a certain extent. However, what do you mean that the passage illustrates that Korzybski was also an idealist? Being the brain has nothing to do with idealism, since idealism is only concerned with the metaphysical in the metacosmic sense (Platonism, Christianism, Descarteanism, & Hegelianism).

I suppose I should have said Representationalist (I think that's the term, it's been awhile).  This differs from Idealism in that, supposedly, the objects of consciousness have some (unknowable) relationship to reality, whereas Idealism supposes that the objects of consciousness are, in essence, illusions or hallucinations, unconnected to reality.  In my view, there is no real difference between "there is an unknowable connection to reality" and "there is no connection to reality", so Representationalism is a species of Idealism and I tend to use the latter to refer to both.

The notion that the objects of perception are mere constructs of the brain is Representationalist, in that it does not allow one to know how these constructs derive from reality -- any such knowledge would be just one more construct.  "Brain" is just a construct, and there is no reason for believing that there is "brain" or anything else.  (Which illustrates that Representationalism really is Idealism.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Invictus2017 said:

I suppose I should have said Representationalist (I think that's the term, it's been awhile).  This differs from Idealism in that, supposedly, the objects of consciousness have some (unknowable) relationship to reality, whereas Idealism supposes that the objects of consciousness are, in essence, illusions or hallucinations, unconnected to reality.  In my view, there is no real difference between "there is an unknowable connection to reality" and "there is no connection to reality", so Representationalism is a species of Idealism and I tend to use the latter to refer to both.

The notion that the objects of perception are mere constructs of the brain is Representationalist, in that it does not allow one to know how these constructs derive from reality -- any such knowledge would be just one more construct.  "Brain" is just a construct, and there is no reason for believing that there is "brain" or anything else.  (Which illustrates that Representationalism really is Idealism.)

I agree that there is no significant difference between 'unknowable connection to reality' and 'no connection', but I disagree with your definition of idealism. To the contrary, look at Plato. The only true reality, according to him, is the reality of ideal forms only through which our mind can grasp physical and illusory reality outside, [which in itself is] not true reality. Hegel and Emerson were idealists in pretty much the same sense, in that mind is the connection between physical and true (or metaphysical) realities.

Representationalism, on the other hand, is a very vague term, to which we can append Descartes, Locke, and Kant, philosophers of significant differences, in fact, differences so significant that we can fairly judge these men to belong to three different categories.

The notions of constructs is essential to another vague term: constructivism, which is popular in academia, or at least it was popular at the end of the 20th century.  What you describe sounds more like social constructivism, which attributes even to science as an institute such purely subjective and arbitrary constructs. And this is surely neither Kant's, not Korzybski's positions. Hence your arguments to equate Representationalism with Idealism don't work, except in the case with Descartes, but only because the main 'thing' for him that constructs everything, including the mind (or the brain), is God.

Edited by Ilya Startsev
in [ ]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a quote by Korzybski that I think supports my evaluation of him as a mentally ill individual:

Quote

If we take even a symbolic expression 1 = 1, 'absolute sameness' in 'all' aspects is . . . impossible . . . 'Absolute sameness in all aspects' would necessitate an identity of different nervous systems which produce and use these symbols, an identity of the different states of the nervous system of the person who wrote the above two symbols, an identity of the surfaces., of different parts of the paper, in the distribution of ink, and what not. (pp. 194-5, his italics)

And then, to make this absolutely clear, he adds:

Quote

[Learning t]his may be comparable to the spending of many years in teaching and training our children that one and one never equal two, that twice two never equal four. , and then they would have to spend a lifetime full of surprises and disappointments, if not tragedies, to learn, when they are about to die, that the above statements are always correct in mathematics and very often true in daily life, and finally acquire the sadly belated wisdom that they were taught false doctrines and trained in delusion . . . from the beginning. (ibid., his italics)

 

Edited by Ilya Startsev
additional quote

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To elaborate and analyze one of the previous quotes, I want to note that in Korzybski's own words, the problem with the mentally ill is that they "identify the symbol with actualities" (p. 196, his italics), which he has done on the previous page when he "necessitated" the '1 = 1' formula to mean the following external (in Korzybski's words "outside of his skin") elements:

  1. "different nervous systems which produce and use these symbols";
  2. "the surfaces" and "different parts of the paper";
  3. "the distribution of ink";
  4. other materials or material conditions.

So what happens is the equivocation between symbolic language made as a tool for comprehending reality outside and the empirical data from reality outside to which our language refers. Without the link of reference, which Korzybski ignores in his definition of identity ('absolute sameness in all respects'), he projects his own disorienting confusion on the readers and Aristotle, whose works he never bothered to read. Although Korzybski states some truths in his work (e.g., "[A]n enormous amount of knowledge may be found in a mature occasional perusal of a good grammar or dictionary, the neglect of which acts as a psycho-logical blockage to the understanding" - p. 763), he doesn't usually follow his own advice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/11/2018 at 8:27 AM, splitprimary said:

you say "Korzybski includes Kant in the aristotelian tradition", which i'd agree with . . .

I'm starting to think otherwise due to this quote, in which he removes Kant from the category of 'philosopher' to which Aristotle belongs:

Quote

In all fairness, it must be said that not all so-called 'philosophy' represents an episode of semantic illness, and that a few 'philosophers' really do important work. This applies to the so-called 'critical philosophy' and to the theory of knowledge or epistemology. This class of workers I call epistemologists, to avoid the disagreeable implications of the term 'philosopher' (p. 78, his italics)

And because he attributes noumena to Aristotelian analytics:

Quote

We can not know 'essences', things in themselves (p. xvi, italics there) [and] un-speakable effects, such as an object (p. 35)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On page 409 (halfway through the book), Korzybski states a millionth time:

Quote

Let me repeat once more that the 'is' of identity forces us into semantic disturbances of wrong evaluation. (his italics)

So his entire book most probably consists of such repetitions without any justifications.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×