Pour une économie non-aristotélicienne / For a non-Aristotelian economy

23 janvier 2014

Cours de sémantique générale: MOOC General semantics: an approach to effective language behavior.

Je me permets de vous informer que se tient actuellement un MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) organisé par Steve Stockdale, Mary Lahman et Greg Thompson sur la sémantique générale : General semantics: an approach to effective language behavior.

Dans l’hypothèse où vous seriez intéressé pour y participer, il est encore possible de s’y inscrire.
Les cours sont gratuits, et l’accès au site est libre: https://learn.canvas.net/courses/191

Y étant inscrite depuis le début, je peux dire que ces cours sont très bien faits et que la qualité et l’ampleur de documentation fournies sont impressionnantes.
Lien pour les inscriptions: https://www.canvas.net/courses/general-semantics-an-approach-to-effective-language-behavior

Bien sincèrement.

Isabelle Aubert-Baudron


17 janvier 2014

A non-Aristotelian logic : general semantics in the framework of evolution of the West

Je mets en ligne cet article et cette traduction pour le MOOC « General Semantics: An Approach to Effective Language Behavior » , Manchester University, qui se déroule actuellement du 13 janvier 2014 au 24 février 2014, animé par Steve Stockdale, Mary Lahman et Greg Thompson.

Korzybski called general semantics a “non-Aristotelian” logic. This requires clarifications on the meaning of this term and its origin.

Some important elements played a large part in the way Korzybski elaborated general semantics related to his experience of World war 1 : he found out that the mechanisms of thinking which had led to this war were based upon the premices of Aristotelian logic, elaborated 450 BC., which induced relations of opposition and conflict. This logic  rested upon the antique vision of mankind and of the world: the earth was conceived as flat, and at the center of the universe. Such a conception was of course obsolete and not valid anymore in the beginning of the twentieth century, as well as Aristotle’s logic. So Korzybski realized the gap between our evolution at the scientific level (XXth century), and in human domains (-450 BC and XVIIth century). He infered that, starting from the physics and mathematics of his time, he might elaborate a new logic fitting to the level of evolution of sciences, which would mentally free mankind from this logic of conflict. He built up general semantics, a a non-Aristotelian logic, upon the researches in modern physics : in the chapter XXXVII of Science and Sanity, “On the notion of “Simultaneity”  , he starts from Einstein’s work to integrate in his logic the role of the observer on the result of the observation, which was neglected in the previous logics (Aristotle and Descartes) and the physics they rested upon. This chapter seems to me very important because the reader can state the mathematical demonstrations and understand the scientific basis of general semantics.

Now, to understand what non-Euclidian geometry (XXth century) rests upon, you have to have a minimum of knowledge about Euclidian geometry (antiquity). Hence, before starting the GS teaching, what a non-Aristotelian discipline is about, a minimum of knowledge on Aristotle’s logic seems to me necessary, especially to to become aware of the ways it conditions our mechanisms of thinking and our behaviours, as well as its use in the domain of communication, so to become able to escape from its tricks. 

Here is in pdf a first draft of translation from my article “Les différentes étapes de l’évolution de l’Occident: Aristote, Descartes, Korzybski, Trois visions de l’homme et du monde”   .

It needs corrections and is not definitive (January 2014).


One point to avoid misunderstandings: “non-Aristotelian” does not mean “anti-Aristotelian”:  

The meaning of the terms “non-Euclidian”, “non-Newtonian” and “non-Aristotelian” does not mean that those domains would be “opposed” to the previous systems, but that the applications of the first ones, which appeared in the context of the sciences of the previous times, could not apprehend nor solve the new problems inherent in the level of scientific evolution at the Xxth century: for instance, Newton’s physic was helpless to solve problems created by modern technology: impossible to build or repair a computer or a radio with Newton, whose work was previous to the discovery of electricity.

 Non-Newtonian physics are not opposed to the one of Newton, they are used to solve problems which did not exist when he was alive.

 Those different systems are different element of the same set: without the Euclidian  and Aristotalian system,  the Newtonian and non-Newtonian ones could not have arisen. See 1. Que signifie « non-aristotélicien » ?  (What does « non-Aristotelian » mean ?)

 We can compare those steps of evolution of the West to the different ages of a human being: as adults, we do not think nor act anymore as we did when we were born, nor during our childhood. Though our life is different when we are a baby, then a child and then an adult, those different ages are parts of a human life and cannot be opposed.

10 décembre 2013

Steve Stockdale: « General Semantics: An Approach to Effective Language Behavior » at the MOOC

Filed under: Actualité, Alfred Korzybski, MOOC, Sémantique générale, Teaching — Étiquettes : , , , , — Isabelle Aubert-Baudron @ 7:51

I’m pleased to announce I will be team-teaching my first Massive Open Online Course (or MOOC). This type of free online course provides an alternative means to deliver and experience educational offerings to anyone in the world with access to the Internet.

The course is titled General Semantics: An Approach to Effective Language Behavior, based on a Communication Studies course that Mary Lahman, Ph.D., has taught at Manchester University in Indiana for fifteen years. Greg Thompson, Ph.D. and visiting anthropology professor at BYU, rounds out our teaching team. So participants will benefit from three different perspectives about General Semantics.

Registration is now open for the six-week class that begins 13 January 2014. There is no fee for registration or materials – it’s completely free, offered through the Canvas Network  . Here’s the description:

This course provides an introduction to general semantics—the study of how we transform our life experiences into language and thought. Students will learn how their language habits and behaviors, as well as how they think about and share experiences, are what make them uniquely human. In other words, students will discover the critical, but sometimes subtle distinctions between what happens in their lives and how they talk about what happens.

The course will include readings from a wide array of disciplines, such as communication studies, neuroscience, and cultural anthropology. It will also include visual and auditory demonstrations through music and social media, and collaborative interactions with fellow learners. These types of learning experiences allow students to not only learn about more effective language behaviors, but also practice those new behaviors in order to communicate more effectively and appropriately in interpersonal and organizational contexts.

To enroll, simply click the blue ENROLL button on this page.

The course content is organized into weekly modules. Participants can work at their own pace and sequence, with activities and exercises arranged to facilitate learning.

This is a great opportunity to try something new, both in terms of the subject matter and educational format. After five days of open registration it looks like we have participants signed up from four continents. Feel free to enroll and participate as much, or as little, as you wish. We’ll all learn something together, although those « somethings » may be quite different.

Attached is an information sheet about the course. Please consider sharing with your social media networks or with anyone who might be interested in learning something like General Semantics in an international virtual classroom.

Best regards,



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