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Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics
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Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  326 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Hardcover, Fifth Edition, 806 pages
Published 1994 by Institute of General Semantics (first published 1933)
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Jun 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I am another reader whose life was changed by reading this book. I tripped over this dense tome in my searching (half-crazed) teenage phase of life. I think that is the only explanation for how I was able to slough through it. If I had first come across this today there is no way I would give it the time. Someone needs to do a condensed 200 page version. A copy has travelled with me in my life helping me to joyfully reach 56 years of age. Each time I think about a problem in my life or in the wo ...more
☼Book her,   Danno☼
Dec 10, 2007 rated it really liked it
"Science and Sanity" is perhaps the book that has had the most influence on my thinking. Korzybski's insight into the importance of language/semantics/reasoning is without equal.

That said, it is the one of the most difficult-to-read books I have ever run across. This stems from two principle problems. The first is that the author is not a native speaker of English. This no doubt made his explanations harder to structure. And secondly, I believe there is always going to be an inherent problem in
Joe Watkins
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Not for the faint of heart, this is a 900 page book packed to the brim with linguistic insight. If you have no previous background with semantics or linguistics philosophy, you might want to read "Language in thought and action" or "tyranny of words", as well as Korzybski's "Manhood of Humanity," first. Once you embark upon this journey, your disposition in life will never be the same, that i can guarantee.
Nick Hayward
Nov 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This could be the most important book I have ever read. Korzybski lays down what is wrong with our education, thought, speech and scientific practices and then describes what we need to do to fix it.

These ideas have changed the way I think, write and speak to people and have given voice to the nagging feeling I have always had that we have been doing everything fundamentally wrong.

I agree with other reviews that say this can be a difficult book to read. When discussing ideas as fundamental as t
Flemming Funch
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is one of the most important books I've read. The concepts in it have become very important to my outlook on life. The reason I'm not giving it 5 stars is that, honestly, it is almost unreadable for modern humans. It is very academic. You can guess that any book that starts off with 100 pages of references just in the introduction, before it even starts, isn't going to be an easy reader. But it is well worth it. I wish that General Semantics had truly caught on. Particularly, as indicated i ...more
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read it age 14 and it felt like I was wandering around inside my home, it also changed me and how I understand language, cognition, misinterpretation, misunderstanding, manipulation and religion.
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
It took me a whole winter - about 5 months - to read through this opus.

I really liked it - therefore the four stars.

What I retained is that a map is not the territory, and that there can be as many maps as there are individual minds.

However, I have the impression that Mr. Korzybski never questions his core belief that there is one territory, a single objective reality that might be shared among semantically educated people, resulting in sanity for all.

After having finished the book, I felt emot
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
The author much like Freud, Adler, Skinner, or any other early 20th-century psychologist is largely in the dark about the mind but adds his philosophy with a patina of science to it. In this case, he dazzles by knowing a thing or two about Analytic Philosophy, symbolic logic, and things like Russell's Paradox and new fangled ideas like Quantum Mechanics, and Relativity. But as for the meat of the theory it just basically boils down to a rejection of hard essences in categories and concepts foun ...more
Sep 27, 2012 rated it liked it
As has been noted in other reviews, this is not a book for the faint-hearted. I read all of it (save the appendices) back in the sixties and was very impressed. Some of the hard science is very dated, so you have to filter much of that out. The book definitely had an effect on the way I think about things.

I found that Harry L. Weinberg's Levels of Knowing and Existence to be much a more accessible work on the subject. S&S was more of a textbook/source-book/reference, and not really aimed at a g
Count-daniel Fogarty
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is one of the first books that I read on epistemology of non-Euclidean geometry, post-aristotelian logic systems(multi-valued/fuzzy logic) and introduced me to mathematical systems that started my quest onto Base-12 mathematics, triangular mathematics and Neurolingustic Programming.

When I first read thus book, I sought-out to improve my verbal-currency and communication. What I got from it was a prerequisite to the meta-model of NLP and the ability to delay my reactions when interacting wit
Semi-Academic Eric
I started reading this online. Many interesting studies point back to it.

If you are interested in the concept of paradigm shifts, this book may give you some interesting insights.

I had a link posted here in this review because I found a free version of it online and I thought it was now in the public domain. The last time I checked the link was invalid, so I removed it.

If you find another link to it or discover whether it's actually available for free please let us know. Unfortunately, I don't h
Apr 24, 2008 marked it as to-read
a daunting task...
Oct 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
It's not an easy read - but well worth it. 'Science and Sanity' changed my relationship with language radically.
Nov 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The book that started it all (neurolinguistic programming)
Jim Davis
Jun 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
I am a fan of classic science fiction and the many references to general semantics by authors such as A. E. Vogt made me want to go to the source of these ideas. Unfortunately I found the book unreadable. I found the language difficult to understand and overly repetitive. If I didn't understand the words and phrases the first time then repeating them several times using the same words and phrases doesn't help. I read the 4th edition which is basically the 1933 version. Was my problem because the ...more
Aug 13, 2013 rated it liked it
science and sanity is actually the antidote to many philosophies that uses confusions in their understanding of language to create meaningless questions, and respond with meaningless answers. That being said, the book tends to repeat the same messages over and over (map is not the territory, deny the is of identity).

I think however that he is a bit naive. People make mistakes when they generalize and confuse orders of abstraction, because those mistakes are beneficial to them. A synonym for this
Dr. Cavid Cəfərov
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
То что основана Альфредом Коржибски, т.е. общая семантика-эмпирическая дисциплина, представляющая собой систематическую методологию по исследованию того, как люди взаимодействуют с миром, реагируют на мир, реагируют на собственные реакции и реакции других людей и, соответственно, каким образом они изменяют своё поведение. Иными словами, такие книги делают нас умнее:))
May 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This book is my #1 must read for all. It is a incredible tool for assisting the will to govern the mind instead of the other way around.
Serguei Filimonov
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The fact that "The Art of Awareness" by Samuel Bois is a very accessible, shorter summary of this, doesn't take away from this book. This book examines the fundamentals of thinking, ranging from the basic senses, to mathematics, to psychology. Applicable to every moment of waking life.
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Special book my science teacher gave me and always reading for good times.
Xe921 Nikhil
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I keep a print xeroxed next to my bed-top: I stare it every night: I've blazed it ever since I saw! My top-of-the-list.
rated it did not like it
Jan 10, 2016
Oct 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Korzybski tells us talking crazy makes us crazy. Therefore talk sane, be sane. Sane speak will actually heal your nervous system. Sane speak is less in certainties and more in abstractions. Crazy speak is. Sane speak seems.
Andrew Donnachie
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This magnum opus could be taught to 2 year old children - the result would be a radically different world from that which we now know.
It is said that some think and speak in ways which change the world. That hypothetical speculation simply must include Korzybski.
Phelan Mahegan
Aug 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The seminal work in the study of semantics. Not for the fainthearted. Detailed and dry, but a mind opener if you can bear with it.
Jan 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A curiosity, to be read with other books of its decade.
Michael Warot
Jan 14, 2009 marked it as to-read
It comes highly recommended from a friend.
Nik Kane
Aug 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Although I couldn't make it all the way through this book when I tried in my teens, I remember being awed by some of the ideas presented in this weighty tome (those that I could understand).
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that I want to read again every single year - it has a lifetime's worth of knowledge that I hope to grasp even a tiny fraction of.
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
General Semantics is a system for integrating the multi-ordinal processes of our cognition and expression. An intimidating book, but well worth it.
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Goodreads Librari...: Correct year of publication 11 150 Jul 13, 2016 11:40AM  

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Alfred Korzybski was a Polish engineer, mathematician, and philosopher, most famous for creating the theory of General Semantics.

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22 likes · 16 comments
“The objective level is not words, and cannot be reached by words alone. We must point our finger and be silent, or we will never reach this level.” 41 likes
“Our rulers, who rule our symbols, and so rule a symbolic class of life, impose their own infantilism on our instituitions, educational methods, and doctrines. This leads to maladjustment of the incoming generations which, being born into, are forced to develop under the un-natural (for man) semantic conditions imposed on them. In turn, they produce leaders afflicted with the old animalistic limitations. The vicious circle is completed; it results in a general state of human un-sanity, reflected again in our instituitions. And so it goes, on and on.” 14 likes
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