Monday, June 27, 2005


General semantics is an educational discipline created by Alfred Korzybski primarily in the years 1919 to 1933. As he often said, general semantics (GS) is distinct from semantics, a different subject. GS is based on the notion that certain personal techniques of evaluation derived from factors underlying the methods of modern science (and scientific knowledge of the world and ourselves), can enhance our ability to evaluate and respond to the world as we experience it.

The three major premises of the system are (1) the map is not the territory [our impressions of things, whether felt in our bodies as sensations, or expressed by the words we use to describe them, are not the things themselves], 2) the map does not show all of the territory, [our reactions (sensations or words) in response to things inevitably miss or leave out a lot of what is actually going on], and (3) the map is self-reflexive [our reactions to anything can prompt further reactions, nonverbal or verbal, which in turn become part of the territory of our experience, complicating everything].

This is quoted from the Wikipedia's entry on General Semantics