Three Opinions

". . . . General Semantics is an ambitious program which appears to make a number of grandiose claims, but it is dismissed by professional philosophers as crank work."
--Larry Trask, COGS, University of Sussex, Brighton, England (24 Jun 1997)


"E-prime is a notion in the field of speculation called 'General Semantics', invented by Count Alfred Korzybski . . . . in the 1930s or so . . . . The movement has generally resembled a cult or revitalization movement more than a genuine school of intellectual investigation and has waned in more recent times. . . . the Count's no-count speculative linguistic philosophy . . . . In a more charitable summary, we might say that the General Semantics disciples and their Count had discovered both what we call polysemy and what anthropologists call the fallacy of contagion, i.e. they discovered what most of us had known for centuries that words have multiple but overlapping meanings and that a word for a thing is not the same thing as the thing it is a word for. . . .
Some of the postmodernist cultural anthropologists or younger 'linguistic anthropologists' might like some of its ideas since it seems to dismiss two-valued logic so that conclusions need not be either valid or invalid and nothing is about anything in particular that one doesn't want it to be about."
--Joseph F. Foster, PhD, Department of Anthropology, University of Cincinnati (18 Sept 1998)


"Although there have been numerous explanations of Korzybskiís ideas since the appearance of Science and Sanity there has been little development or refinement of the basic principles. General semantics1937 = general semantics1990 is a serious criticism for an approach which champions scientific progress.
Throughout the chapter youíve probably noticed the use of terms like mission, cause, and movement. These are strange words to appear in a book which catalogs objective theories of communication, yet they appropriately describe the zeal with which general semanticists enlist others in their goal to change the structure of language. . . .
In their quest to win converts for the general semantics perspective, its true believers abandon the very objectivity which they so strongly advocate."
--Em Griffin, PhD, Professor of Coommunications, "General Semantics," A First Look at Communication Theory (First Edition, McGraw Hill College Division, 1991).



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