Reading Korzybski through Nietzsche.At the outset, there are sharp differences between Nietzsche and Korzybski: the former is a distinguished critic of Platonic philosophy, a poet, philologist, and philosopher with an unusual style of writing, a thinker whose influence on Western intellectual history was not popularly recognized in the English-speaking countries until the 1960s, and a pioneer of the linguistic turn and poststructuralism/postmodernism, while the latter is a founder of general semantics, a builder of a "non-Aristotelian system" that tries to synthesize diverse areas of human knowledge, a scholar whose work gave rise to the "general semantic movement" in the 1940s and 1950s, and a practitioner of altering people's way of thinking and acting by changing their linguistic behavior. At a deeper level, however, Nietzsche and Korzybski share at least one common position, that is, to deconstruct the ancient Greek philosophical tradition as a basis of Western culture by illuminating the harmful pseudo-identity between the law of reality and the law of language. It is the deconstructive insight and function that marks both Nietzsche and Korzybski's contribution to contemporary scholarship. Many scholars have acknowledged this in similar ways. Foucault (1973), for example, believes that Nietzsche is actually the first thinker who not only treats language as a central issue of philosophy, but also deconstructs philosophy by displaying the identity between language and metaphysics. (1) Breazeale (1976) observes that Nietzsche is "practically and theoretically concerned with problems of language to a degree unparalleled among serious thinkers of modern times" (p. 301). Wilcox (1982), Schrift (1985), and Crawford (1988) argue that Nietzsche's theory of truth, value, and knowledge is inseparable from his philosophy of language. On the other hand, Ogden (1935) claims that Korzybski's work "presents a revolutionary thesis" (p. 82) as well as a wealth of materials that may "clarify a world view" (p. 84). Chase (1938) stresses Korzybski's "stubborn attempt to find out how words behave, and why meaning is so often frustrated" (p. 7), Postman (1988) characterizes Korzybski and general semantics as revealing the relationship between the world of words and the world of non-words as well as how people use words to abstract and symbolize reality.
This paper is a comparative study of Nietzsche and Korzybski's thought on several philosophical and linguistic issues. It consists of four sections: the first one focuses on their critique of Greek metaphysics and their own worldview; the second centers on their deconstruction of logocentralism; the third explores how they understand the nature of language and its relationship to thought and reality; and the fourth inquiries into their similarity and difference by comparing structuralism with poststructuralism. The paper suggests that although Korzybski does not acknowledge Nietzsche's influence on studies of language, the latter actually sheds more light on the relationship between language, thought, and reality than anyone Korzybski does give credit to; compared to Korzybski's pragmatic endeavor in changing people's linguistic behavior, Nietzsche's philosophical investigation has been proved more powerful and far-reaching in altering people's way of understanding and coping with language; in the final analysis, Korzybski can be said of a promoter of structuralism and Nietzsche a forerunner of poststructuralism.
Traditional Metaphysics and New Worldview
In reading Nietzsche and Korzybski, one finds that they share interests in some basic themes, advance a number of similar ideas, and even employ the same key words. (2) Both of them, for example, apply new achievements of natural sciences to their own research; both take a psychological approach to philosophical and linguistic issues; and both seek for answers to theoretical and practical problems in light of mankind's nature. However, the first and foremost similarity is manifested in three respects: critique of ancient Greek metaphysics; analysis of the basic laws of logic; and discussion on the relationship of language to thought and reality.
As we know, Nietzsche's philosophical investigation is based on an inquiry into nihilism. "What does nihilism mean? That the highest values devaluate themselves" (Nietzsche, 1968, p. 9). By "highest values" Nietzsche means the ultimate substances, including Christian God and Plato's Idea, and all kinds of idealism that provide human life with basis, aim, and meaning. In Nietzsche's view, Greek philosophers, mainly Socrates and Plato, construct a metaphysical system. This system denies human senses and instinct as well as the changes of various things, making realities unreal; on the other hand, it creates "God", "Idea", and an eternal world, making unrealities real (Zhou, 1990, p. 29). The very nature of Greek metaphysics is nihilistic because it is based on three fundamental values: morality, reason, and being. While morality is promoted to control human senses in the name of God and reason is employed to replace mankind's instinct in the name of science, being is said to be the very essence and final cause of the universe. Yet, in Nietzsche's view, the senses and instinct are vital to life; to deny the sense and instinct is to devaluate the essence of life, and to devaluate the essence of life is nothing but the root of nihilism. Moreover, nihilism features a "real world" "constructed out of the contradiction to the actual world" (Nietzsche, 1990a, p. 49). While the real world is characterized by such concepts as "stable," "organized," "perfect," and "transcendental," the actual world does not possess these features. To Nietzsche, the "real world" is nothing but "a moral-optical illusion" (1990a, p. 49); the actual world "is not an organism at all, but chaos" (1968, p. 379); "it is essentially a world of relationships" (1968, p. 306); it is full of energy (1968, p. 550); and it is always in a state of becoming (1968, p. 281). Since Greek metaphysics is against the very nature of human life and so of the actual world, it must lose its value. Nihilism is rightly the appearance as well as the outcome of Greek metaphysics' decline.
Like Nietzsche, Korzybski makes great effort to undermine Greek metaphysics. His book Science and Sanity (1941) (3) attempts to build up "a general science of man" (p. 38), or a non-Aristotelian system, (4) which not only embraces all human functions including language, mathematics, science, and "mental" ills (p. 38), but trains ordinary people to handle their thought and behavior with sanity in all walks of human life. To compare the Aristotelian system with his non-Aristotelian system, Korzybski draws a table of differences between the two. Among them, the following four factors are more crucial: (1) the old system deploys subject-predicate methods, the new system employs relational methods; (2) the old one orients to permanent substance, the new one orients to ever-changing process; (3) the old stresses the sameness and two-valued causality/certainty, the new emphasizes the non-identity and infinite-valued causality/probability; and (4) the old focuses on static absolutism, the new centers on dynamic relativism (pp. xx--xxii). One can see clearly that all these factors are tightly related to the nature of the world as well as the relationship between thought/knowledge and reality/existence, a fundamental issue of special concern to ancient Greek philosophers. Because Aristotle's doctrine systematically and creatively summarizes and elaborates key propositions of metaphysics, epistemology, and logic and thus stands for the cream of ancient Greek philosophy, Korzybski aims his critique at Aristotle's doctrine and argues that "for more than 2,000 years our nervous systems have been canalized in the inadequate, intensional, often delusional, aristotelian orientation" (p. xviii). And because over the past 2,000 years Western culture, particularly Western system of knowledge, has based itself on Greek philosophy, it is necessary for him to advance a non-Aristotelian system and bring a framework-shift to Western cultural tradition by reinterpreting the relationship between logic/grammar and thought/reality.
To be sure, Nietzsche and Korzybski's critique cannot be separated from their worldview. While Greek philosophers believe in an ultimate substance, that is, a capitalized being, that is final, absolute, and independent from but giving rise to various things, Nietzsche (1968) rejects such kind of being and suggests that becoming is the essence of the world and even the world itself; as a becoming the world is eternally changing, eternally self-creating, and self-destroying (p. 550). To be specific, becoming cannot be ascribed to atoms or monads (p. 380); it is incapable of being expressed by language (p. 380); it has no a final state as its aim (p. 378); its state is not ordered (p. 379); it is beyond value (especially moral) judgments (p. 378); and its development is not lineal. By contrast, becoming is not the key concept Korzybski uses to interpret the essence of the world; instead, he claims that "The event is the most elementary notion" for the world consists of events rather than objects (p. 667). Unlike objects, which refer to space only and thus are three-dimensional, events refer to both space and time and thus are four-dimensional (p. 755). That means, events are associated with process (p. 205) and process is characterized by the infinity of the appearance and possibility of events (p. 206); moreover, events belong to the unspeakable objective level. To my understanding, nevertheless, becoming and event as two notions share the same features and can be used to define one another. While a world of becoming is a world of events, a world of events is full of changes and possibilities; while becoming is associated with and manifested in events, events display becoming as infinite activity and creativity.
Interestingly enough, both Nietzsche and Korzybski's worldview is shaped in promoting quantum physics (although they may not share the same definition of that term) while objecting classical mechanics. In thoroughly reviewing ancient Greek metaphysics, Nietzsche strongly criticizes atomism and mechanism. This is because where there are atoms, there would be an eternal unity; this unity provides constant with a base and gives metaphysics a home. According to Nietzsche, there are no such thing as atoms, monads, and durable ultimate units in the world (1968, p. 380); what truly exists is, in his view, a cumulated center consisting of non-material but active quanta, and the relation among quanta is tensional and discontinuous (Zhou, 1990, p. 208). Because of the activity, tension, and discontinuity, the world is relational and always in the process of changing and becoming. On the other hand, when introducing the result of his investigation, Korzybski claims that the non-Aristotelian system he formulated is "the first to express the very scientific tendency of our epoch, which produced the non-Euclidean and non-Newtonian (Einstein and the newer quantum theories) systems" (p. 7). Elsewhere in his work, he emphasizes "repeatedly the 'rganism-as-a-whole' principle" (p. 101), which is against the traditional principle that treats the world as elementalistic, separated, static, and solid.
Critique of Logocentralism
Nietzsche and Korzybski s worldview may not be entirely revolutionary since ever-changing and process, as onto-cosmological concepts, have been stressed by philosophers such as Heraclitus and Whitehead. However, what differentiates Nietzsche and Korzybski from other scholars is the very fact that they systematically and critically review the laws of logic in terms of the aforementioned characteristics of the world, illuminating the metaphysical and linguistic implication of these laws as well as their physiological and psychological root. In deconstructing logocentralism, nobody's work is as enlightening and effective as that of Korzybski and especially Nietzsche.
Generally speaking, Nietzsche and Korzybski's review of logic focuses on three issues: the origin and function of logic, the essence of causality, and the problem of identity. Regarding the first issue, Nietzsche makes four points. First, logic comes not from transcendental principles, but from the need for survival. In order to make quick and necessary decisions or "to comprehend the actual world ... to make it formulatable and calculable for us" (1968, p. 280), mankind has to transform complicated, changing, and different things into simple, fixed, and identical ones by means of certain tools. Second, these tools are originally images and words (1968, p. 275), which eventually change into regular formulas as they are repeatedly used "to classify phenomena into definite categories (1968, p. 280). Third, as a set of categories and formulas, logic is necessary for serving life-praxis; it functions well in facilitation and expression; thus, it is first seen as an effective tool and later recognized as truth (1968, p. 291). Fourth, logic becomes a vital method and component of metaphysics when it is normally employed to infer an eternal world and evaluate the actual world; consequently, logic is treated no longer as a tool for achieving an end, but as a measure of value upon which even the end is evaluated. "This is the greatest error that has ever been committed, the essential fatality of error on earth" (1968, p. 315).
On the other hand, the main point Korzybski makes about logic and its origin and function is that as the laws of thought, logic in fact represents "the relation between the structure of primitive languages and the structure of the 'philosophical grammar' formulated by Aristotle" (p. 200). By "primitive languages" he means those symbolic systems that fail to structurally reflect the changes, differences, and process of the world. (5) And by "philosophical grammar" he means the categories and formulas of thinking. In his view, what these categories and formulas do is to mislead people in understanding and acting upon the world. One may wonder in what way(s) logic and language mislead thinking and behavior. The answer can be found in Nietzsche and Korzybski's analysis of causality.
Causality is certainly an important law that people regularly follow when they try to understand an event, assuming that a subject is "responsible for something that happens and for how it happens" (Nietzsche, 1968, p. 296). Yet, Nietzsche claims that "There are neither causes nor effects" for an event actually appears as a "necessary sequence of states" that "does not imply a causal relationship between them (--that would mean making their effective capacity leap from 1 to 2, to 3, to 4, to 5)" (1968, p. 296); in other words, an event is itself both the cause and the effect. If the law of causality is simply "a deception" as Nietzsche labels it, why do people believe in it so consistently and for so long a time? He points out two main reasons: one is psychological, the other is linguistic. Psychologically, whenever mankind encounters something unfamiliar and thus feels disturbed or dangerous, he appeals to something familiar or experienced, which is associated with his "selected and preferred kind of explanation"; then, he thinks of the familiar as the cause of the unfamiliar since his explanation helps him cure his fear and gain control over the situation (1968, p. 297; 1990a, p. 62). Here we face a sharp contrast: while Kant treats causality as a transcendental category, Nietzsche sees it as mankind's oldest psychophysiological habit. Linguistically, the syntactic structure of subject-predicate leads people to assume a doer who and whose intention is the subject/cause and a deed that indicates the attribute and effect of the subject. In Nietzsche's words, whenever noticing something, we always "seek an intention in it, and above all someone who has intentions, a subject, a doer: every event a deed" (1968, P. 294). To many of us, this is a very logical and natural way of thinking; but to Nietzsche, this is a great stupidity (1968, p. 295). For what really exists is nothing but events that unite doer-deed, cause-effect, and subject-attribute. He takes the following example to explain his point: lighting and flashing actually belong to the same event; yet, when someone says "lighting flashes," he is indeed separating flashing from lighting. He is so doing simply because the grammar he follows asks him to set a subject/cause for flashing and to think of flashing as the attribute/effect of lighting even though here he mistakes an active becoming as a fixed being (1968, pp. 288-289). Through this example, Nietzsche argues that causality is derived not from the ultimate being but from our language; it is the grammar we follow that gives rise to causality.
Similarly, Korzybski rejects the traditional notion of causality since it is against the newer quantum mechanics and the structure of the world. Particularly, he makes the following points. First, causality originates in three factors: mankind's experience, the habits of thought, and the structure of language. Second, the cause-effect relationship is not an accurate reflection of the world, "but a rash limiting generalization from probability." Third, all events are serially related rather than causally connected. And fourth, in an ever-changing world not only is a supposed effect produced by many possible causes, but the relations of the antecedents are hardly to occur again (pp. 215-217). Apparently, the first three points echo Nietzsche's ideas, but do not gain the same detailed analysis that Nietzsche conducts. Thus, one can comprehend the three points by reviewing Nietzsche's theory. What interests us is the two authors' attitude toward "cause" and "effect." In the case of Nietzsche, although causality is useful in the early stage of mankind's survival and cognition, as a whole it is a vital error because it misinterprets the actual world and contributes to the formation of metaphysics and morality; hence, it should be abandoned. Korzybski, however, does not suggest the cause-effect category be given up completely, but replaced by an infinite-valued notion of causality. By "infinite-valued causality" he means (1) for a given effect, there are many causes rather than only one; (2) the cause-effect relation is bound to many possibilities, so we cannot assume an absolute origin or consequence; and (3) there is no such kind of thing as the "same cause" or "same effect," the sameness comes from the nervous system's abstraction of the facts outside our skin. These ideas undermine traditional understanding of causality and develop Nietzsche's critique. But, one may ask: under the condition that Korzybski has believed the use of "cause" and "effect" in daily life leads to "a great deal of absolutism, dogmatism, and other harmful semantic disturbances" (p. 216), why does he reserve the cause-effect category? From the Nietzschean point of view, no matter how the infinite-valued notion is different from the two-valued notion, the contradiction between the connotation of causality and the nature of all events cannot be removed.
While the two authors do not have the same attitude toward causality, they do hold the same position on the notion of identity. It is safe to assert that the most insightful and powerful criticism of logic lies in Nietzsche and Korzybski's discussion of identity. This is the area where issues in ontology, epistemology, and logic are tied to language and fundamental problems can be convincingly (re)interpreted through grammatical rules.
Identity as a law of logic means that everything (either an object or a concept) is identical with itself, that is, A = A. This is a necessary condition for making logical thinking and inferences (Nietzsche, 1968, p. 277): to understand a thing through a concept, one has to assume the thing remains the same in different spatial-temporal situations; hence, one can use the concept to deal with it in both psychological and behavioral ways. However, this condition is to Nietzsche fictitious because there are no identical cases or "nothing is really equal" in the actual world (1974, p. 171) and "whatever is real, whatever is true, is neither one nor even" (1968, p. 291). Usually, Nietzsche reviews the meaning of identity through three terms: "same," "equal," and "even." We can understand them as stressing different respects of identity while maintaining the same concern: the first term focuses on the appearance of things; the second stresses the quality and quantity of things; and the third centers on the state of things. Since Nietzsche has described the world as eternally changing, creating, and destroying, it is natural for him to deny identity as an ontological and epistemological principle.
Of course, Nietzsche's criticism of identity does not stop at revealing what identity is not or how it is against reality. Instead, he further investigates its physiological, psychological, and linguistic origin. In the first place, he points out that the basis of logic is to make different things equal; this basis is itself illogical, meaning the laws of logic do not come from the realm of logic; and the root of logic can only be found in mankind's experience of dealing with daily problems. "Those, for example, who did not know how to find often enough what is 'equal' as regards both nourishment and hostile animals--those, in other words, who subsumed things too slowly and cautiously--were favored with a lesser probability of survival than those who guessed immediately upon encountering similar instances that they must be equal" (1974, p. 171). That is to say, identity is not derived from the nature of the world, but from mankind's will to equality and "the will to equality is the will to power" (1968, p. 277). In the second place, he reveals the psychological mechanism of making the unequal equal: first, our understanding of the world is based on our "inner experience," which is the function of memory and perception; second, memory refers to remembering, remembering is a process of assimilation and classification that emphasizes what is already familiar and experienced (1968, p. 289) while leaving out differences (1968, p. 274); third, perception is in fact the result of assimilation and equalization; the same ordering and equaling force the rules in our inside and outside experience (1968, p. 273); fourth, "In our thought, the essential feature is fitting new materials into old schemas (= Procrustes' bed), making equal what is new" (1968, p. 273). In the third place, he argues that all metaphysical and logical issues are generated not in an eternal substance, but in the language that mankind uses (1968, p. 303); as words create concepts, grammar creates logic. The two philosophical notions "subject" and "object," for example, come rightly from the two syntactical items "subject" and "object." To Nietzsche, it is because we believe in grammar and the grammatical subject that we believe in an absolute substance, be it "the soul," or "God," or "thing-in-itself" (1966, p. 67). Since grammar defines the necessity and legitimacy of the subject-predicate structure, we are trained or enforced to recognize an eternal and identical subject and its counterpart: an object of the same character. And as far as we want to communicate, we have to encode and transmit messages in terms of grammatical rules and consequently think of the ever-changing events as firm and simplified matters (1968, p. 306).
It is significant to mention that Korzybski's objection to identity is also based on the syntactic structure of subject-predicate and its function in thought and communication. He claims that the very nature of the logic formulated by Aristotle is a kind of philosophical grammar, which characterizes a primitive language (p. 89). In his view, the primitive language (1) centers on a subject-predicate; (2) adds to the world of non-words what it does not have; and (3) is unable to correspond to the reality structurally. He argues that "From the use of a subject-predicate form of language alone, many of our fallacious antisocial and 'individualistic' metaphysics and s.r [semantic reactions] follow" (p. 57). And in his eye, the law of identity exemplifies the problems growing out of the primitive language; it not only replaces the realistic non-identity with a false identity but also prevents sanity in knowledge, thought, and behavior. So, his general semantics treats identity as a primary issue.
Korzybski observes that in our school books we still preserve identity as the most fundamental law of thought, which is defined as "absolute sameness" or "everything is identical with itself' (pp. 194-197). As a matter of fact, however, there is no identity between (1) words and things, (2) different things, and (3) the "same" thing in different times or situations. For example, "one may not step in the same river twice, not only because the river flows and changes, but also because the one who steps into it changes too" (Johnson, 1946, p. 23). Moreover, because the meaning of words is determined by the context in which they are used and because no two contexts are exactly the same, "no word ever has the same meaning twice" (Hayakava, 1978, p. 54). He further analyzes the reason behind the non-identity and thinks of it as threefold. First, what words amount to are statements on objects or events, and any statement is verbal in nature; yet, the nature of objects or events is empirical rather than verbal (p. ix). Second, the word that represents a thing is an abstraction of the thing, it leaves out "many important characteristics of the thing" (p. xxii) so as to maintain its sameness over time; however, "In a world of process and nonidentity it follows that no individual, 'object', event, etc., can be the 'same' from one moment to the next" (p. xxxi). Third, words are elementalistic instead of relational, they split "what in actuality cannot be separated" (p. xxx); things like mind/body, emotion/intellect, and space/time are empirically and innately related to one another; it is in language that they are changed into isolated elements.
Then, why is the non-identity easily replaced in people's daily communication by the false identity? The answer, according to Korzybski, lies in the lack of discrimination between the "is" of predication, the "is" of existence, and the "is" used as an auxiliary verb (p. 93). Under this condition, he repeatedly stresses one point: as maps are not the territories they represent, "words are not the things spoken about" (p. 50); and more importantly, he promotes a set of extensional devices that people can utilize to make their semantic responses structurally match the universe. The devices include: Indexes--e.g., cari, car2, showing "the uniqueness of every person or event;" Dates--e.g., Smith' 920, Smith1940, reminding "changes over a period of time;" Etc.--e.g., "It is clear, soft, attractive, etc.," indicating "any statement can not cover all the characteristics of a situation;" Quotes--e.g., "reality," "reliable," designating "a term is not to be trusted;" and Hyphens--e.g., "space-time," "psycho-somatic," bringing "to awareness the interconnectedness of the complexities in this world" and "their inseparability" (Read, 1984, p. 69). The first two devices are directly aimed to solve the problem of pseudo-identity.
In his study of Nietzsche and philosophy, Deleuze (1983) makes the following claim: "No one extended the critique of all forms of identity further than Nietzsche" (p. xi). This can be verified in both the width and depth that Nietzsche's theory reaches. In the history of Western ideas, Nietzsche is one of the first thinkers who criticize Platonic philosophy from a linguistic point of view. While other philosophers take the laws of logic for granted and base their own philosophy on these laws, he illuminates the physiologic root of causality and identity, traces their psychological character and development, displays their linguistic orientation, reveals their effect on the formation and function of Western metaphysics, and analyzes their vital influence on people's understanding of reason, truth, and knowledge as well as people's thought and action. Moreover, Nietzsche is probably also the first thinker who explores the key role that "is" plays in the development of Western philosophy. He points out that "is" not only changes differences into sameness, but also gives rise to the ultimate being: an metaphysical existence; although this being "is an empty fiction," since it was formulated by the Eleatics, change, mutation, and becoming have been "taken merely as proof of appearance" while unity, identity, substance, and cause are seen as the essence of the world; this concept is so powerful "for every word, every sentence we utter speaks in its favour" (1990a, pp. 46-48)!
Regarding the falsity of identity, Korzybski shares with Nietzsche similar understanding. Nevertheless, the focus of his critique is not on the root, character, development, and orientation of identity and its function in philosophy; instead, he is more concerned with how to free semantic reactions from the restraint of identity and make language use match or represent the nature of the world. As he asserts, the aim of general semantics is "of two kinds: (1) scientific, leading to a theoretical, general structural revision of all systems, and (2) purely practical, such as can be grasped and applied by any individual" who has gained some training in general semantics (p. 45). It is for fulfilling this aim that he advances a non-Aristotelian system to replace the Aristotelian doctrine and creates the extensional devices to cure cognitive ills and linguistic wrongdoings, including the belief in identity. Apparently, the extensional devices mark a significant difference between Nietzsche and Korzybski: the former orients more to undermining Greek metaphysics through a critique of identity, the latter makes more efforts in achieving sanity by altering people's linguistic attitude and behavior. When scholars in the 1930s and 1940s still separated semantics from pragmatics and did not take language use into account of meaning, Korzybski had investigated language by tying together its meaning and usage. This demonstrates a significant insight and merit of his theory.
Language, Thought, and Reality
Up to this point, we should be able to realize that Nietzsche and Korzybski's worldview and criticism of logic is closely associated with their analysis of the very nature of language and its relationship to thought and reality. Yet, it is necessary to mention that in the case of Korzybski, the nature and relationship is reviewed in terms of mankind's abstraction of the outside world and language's misleading to thought and behavior; in the case of Nietzsche, on the other hand, the nature and relationship is investigated in terms of the metaphorical development of language and the linguistic root of reason.
According to Postman (1988), "One of Korzybski's most interesting and fundamental creations was a model of the abstracting process" (pp. 139-140). This model refers to "the structural differential" in Korzybski's theory, suggesting that the way we understand the world is an abstracting process consisting of four levels of response. He takes "apple" as an instance to describe the process. The first level is the neurological response; at this level our senses are stimulated by an apple as a scientific object. The second is the perceptual response; at this level the specific object is transformed into an ordinary object by our lower nervous system. The third is the psychological response; at this level our higher nervous system changes the ordinary object into a mental picture. And the fourth is the verbal response; at this level the mental picture is defined and conceptualized by the term "apple" (p. 384). Korzybski explains this model through three points. First, each of the four levels of response focuses on a category: scientific objects, ordinary objects, labels, and descriptions (p. 406). Second, the last two levels involve language: while psychological response appeals to words, that is, linguistic labels, verbal response unfolds along with concepts, that is, intellectual judgments such as descriptions, inferences, and interpretations (p. 406). Third, abstraction takes place in both lower and higher orders: the former is to abstract objects by means of language, and the latter is to review abstractions of objects through language (pp. 426-433).
Probably, his most concise explanation of the nature of the abstracting process is made in this passage: "we abstract whatever we and the instruments can; then we summarize; and, finally we generalize" (p. 377). Here all the three key words he uses, that is, "instruments," "summarize," and "generalize," relate to language. While no abstraction is independent from a certain instrument, the most important one is language. It is language that directs abstracting: as far as we want to control over the world psychologically and semantically, we have to rely on language; even the meaning of the outcome of any other abstracting utilizing a different instrument is defined in language. Furthermore, since our response to, and eventually our knowledge of, the world of non-words is mediated and formulated by language, the objects we deal with do not appear as what they are in their original manner, but as what language projects them to us. As for summarizing, it refers to describing an object by filtering out many of its unique characteristics. When summarizing, we not only make the object simpler and thus easier for us to handle, but also fit it in the label we already have in hand. In so doing, an apple appears similar to many other apples and meets our definition of apple as a term. In other words, to summarize is to inductively build up the similarity of objects at the expense of their differences. As for generalizing, it refers to interpreting various objects in light of the same character. When generalizing, we think of an object identical not only to itself in diverse spatial-temporal contexts but to other objects of the same category. In so doing, an apple changes from a kind of fruit into a symbol, which in turn stands for all individual apples no matter how different they are from each other. In other words, to generalize is to deductively ascribe objects the same attributes embodied in a term.
Since Korzybski believes that language is the primary instrument we use to understand and act upon the world, it is unavoidable for him to inquire into the nature of language and its relation to reality. Does the structure of language match the structure of the actual world? This is a question Korzybski repeatedly asks in his work. When contrasting and comparing the Aristotelian system and non-Aristotelian system, he actually describes the difference between two structures. To him, the world is dynamic, relational, diverse, ever-changing, non-lineal, four-dimensional, infinite-valued, etc.; yet, whenever we abstract, we order things at different levels, and the very nature of ordering is to abolish factual differences among things and to achieve metaphysical identification (p. 404). He argues that the way we abstract is determined by "the structure of language we habitually use" (p. xviii) and the "elementalistic, splitting, structural characteristics of language have been firmly rooted in us through the aristotelian training. It built for us a, fictitious animistic world" (p. xxx). What he suggests is that the structure of language is opposite to that of the world and its grammar leads us to (1) blur the differences between the world of words and the world of non-words; (2) ignore changes of the same thing over time; and (3) cut off the relationship of one thing to others. Under this condition, we should establish consciousness of our abstracting process and transform the structure of our language.
Regarding the relation of language to thought and reality, Nietzsche makes some original and enlightening points. Among others, the following one deserves special attention: knowledge is a function of metaphor; to know is to translate an unfamiliar situation into a familiar one. Generally speaking, Nietzsche uses the term "metaphor" in two senses: first, it means the linguistic identity of things that are actually not the same; and second, it regards any transference from one sphere to another (Schrift, 1985, pp. 374-375). The first usage can be interpreted as relating to the constitution of concepts and the second to the process of cognition. Undoubtedly, language consists of terms and many of them are thought of as names; as names they are used to designate classes of things; so, the process of naming is the process of constituting concepts. For example, we only see in real life individual leaves and no two leaves are exactly the same in color, size, and form. When using the word "leaf' to denote individual leaves, however, we omit all differences among them and put all leaves in one category, assuming they share the same character. In so doing, a word becomes a general name, that is, a concept. As Nietzsche claims, "the concept 'leaf' is formed through an arbitrary abstraction from these individual differences, through forgetting the differences; and now it gives rise to the idea that in nature there might be something besides the leaves which would be 'leaf--some kind of original form" (1982, p. 46). What he tells us here is that there exists an essential gap between "leaf" as a symbolic reminder and as a physical matter; the former is indeed a metaphor of the latter.
Then, how does metaphor create knowledge or make knowing possible? Nietzsche answers this question by introducing a model of three-stage transformation: it starts from a nerve stimulus, which is transformed into a mental image: first metaphor; in turn, the image is imitated in a sound or word: second metaphor; and finally, the sound or word is reformed into a concept: third metaphor (1968, p. 275; 1982, p. 46). "In this series of metaphorical translations (nerve impulse-image-sound/word-concept), what Nietzsche isolates is an expressive transference through four experiential spheres: physiology, intellect, acoustics-linguistics, and abstraction. Each is marked by a selective, creative carrying over from one 'language' to another" (Schrift, p. 375). That means, to know is to project our experience formed in one sphere to a thing in another sphere; our past experience measures this thing and gives meaning to it; once we complete transferring the thing from one sphere into another, we announce we have gained knowledge of it. Even the most metaphysical notion of being, says Nietzsche, is derived from the human experience: to breathe (quoted in Schrift, p. 375). Thus, "Knowing is nothing but working with the favorite metaphors" (Nietzsche, 1990b, p. 51).
One can compare Nietzsche's four experiential spheres (ESs) to Korzybski's four abstracting levels (ALs) through the following table:
Nietzsche Korzybski ES1: a stimulus--leaf AL1: a particular object--apple ES2: a mental image--picture of a AL2: an ordinary object--apple leaf ES3: a sound/word--"leaf" AL3: a psychological picture--apple ES4: a concept--"leaf" AL4: a verbal definition--"apple"
This table indicates that (1) both models refer to mankind's cognitive process consisting of four steps; (2) both start from an objective thing (be it an event or object) and end at a conception of the thing; (3) both recognize a mental picture of the thing as a bridge between the thing and its conception; and (4) the former includes a word but lacking "lower nervous centers," which produce the ordinary object, and vice versa. Closely looking at the two models, however, the difference is not too substantial to compatible. According to Korzybski, the "ordinary object" grows out of the lower level of abstraction; its distinctive features have been left out while its similarities to other objects are spotlighted. It becomes "ordinary" because it has been treated as a familiar and hence repeating as well as fixed impression. This familiar, repeating, and fixed impression is what Nietzsche means by a "mental picture." The second step is necessary in transformation or abstraction, but not exclusively human since some animals could form such kind of object as well. It is the third step (i.e., the higher level of abstraction) that differentiates mankind from animals. While on the surface a sound/word may not be the same as a psychological picture; the two are in fact interchangeable for a word is nothing, according to Nietzsche, but "The image of a nerve stimulus in sounds" (1982, p. 45). So, even though the two authors employ different terms, the two models of transformation/abstraction express some similar ideas.
Certainly, besides recognizing the similarities of the two models, one should also be aware of their differences. The most significant difference lies in the fact that Korzybski's model stresses that the abstracting process is conducted at both non-verbal and verbal spheres, while Nietzsche's model focuses on the genesis and development of language. As mentioned earlier, Korzybski suggests that abstraction can proceed in different orders; the lower order starts from a real apple as a scientific object and ends at a concept of apple. But, we can also start abstracting from the word "apple" as a stimulus and ends at a statement of apple as a word; moreover, our abstraction can also start from the statement of "apple" and end at an evaluation or interpretation of that statement. In these cases, we use language to think about language instead of objects. The purpose for Korzybski to address the diverse order of abstraction is twofold: (1) to display the self-reflexive character of language as a kind of instrument of abstraction and (2) to reveal a vital source of mental illness or insanity. Those who confuse the world of words and the world of non-words are by and large not aware of the different levels and orders of abstraction. On the other hand, Nietzsche's model indicates that language originates in the stimuli of the world mankind lives in; those stimuli that repeatedly occur become fixed psychological images; when these images are marked by and bound to certain recognizable sounds, words come into being. As the function of these words is to serve mankind's survival and communication, their connection to what they symbolize is merely metaphorical (i.e., arbitrary). Moreover, words are not transformed into concepts until their meaning and relation to objects and other words is carefully examined and popularly recognized. That means, in the beginning or for quite a long period of time language is used under the conceptual level. Nietzsche does believe concepts and reason come much later than language (1968, p. 220, p. 283; 1982, p. 482).
It is important to note that Nietzsche's examination of reason is of special significance for it reveals the effect of language on thought in general and on philosophy in particular. As a philosophical concept, reason is in many cases used interchangeably with rationality and has three usages and three features as well. First, it refers to a metaphysical entity. Second, it designates a set of epistemological rules and measures. And third, it means the human faculty of making right choices. According to the classical or foundationalist model of reason or rationality, those beliefs, decisions, and acts that are rational must be "universal, necessary, and determined by rules" (Brown, 1988, p. 5). Here, by "universal" it is meant that based on the same information different individuals will arrive at the same solution to the same problem. The "necessary" refers to a logical connection between premises and a conclusion. And the "rules" are laws that regulate thinking and establish relations between propositions. Although Nietzsche deliberately gives no definition to reason (and many other philosophical concepts), we can still see he covers all the three usages of this term in different contexts, and his critique of the traditional notion of reason can be comprehended along with the three features of rationality.
First of all, where does the universal come from? To seek a universal solution, one has to assume a universal starting point plus a universal way toward the universal solution. And all these universalities are not possible unless there is something constant. It is this constant that makes things themselves and identical with themselves over time and space. Only under this condition can these universalities be achieved. According to Nietzsche, reason amounts to this condition because reason is "a source of revelation concerning being-in-itself' (1968, p. 311) and "the road to the constant" (1968, p. 317). What he argues here is that ontologically reason manifests itself as a metaphysical entity and epistemologically reason leads beliefs, decisions, and acts to the constant universality (or the universal constant, they are the same thing).
Secondly, why is the necessary necessary? To think rationally is to think logically, and to think logically is to follow and express the scheme of premise/cause-conclusion/effect; "we cease to think when we refuse to do so" (Nietzsche, 1968, p. 283). The necessary is necessary because it is the only way for us to think correctly and to communicate effectively. In short, "rational thought is interpretation according to a scheme that we cannot throw off" (Nietzsche, 1968, P. 283). However, even though the necessary is necessary, it is not rational from the viewpoint of Nietzsche's perspectivism because it displays the constraint of language, which misrepresents the actual world, harms the will to power, and prevents people from being aware of the constraint of language.
Finally, what are the rules? They are the laws of causality, identity, and contradiction. These laws are more important than the universal or the necessary for the latter is derived from these laws. It is by following these laws that we classify various things into "subject," "attribute," "activity," "object," "substance," "form," etc., as well as put them in organized relations. However, these laws do not come from the transcendental world; instead, they are rooted in the language mankind creates and uses; in the final analysis, they are nothing but grammatical rules. In other words, although reason in some people's view belongs to a metaphysical entity, that entity in Nietzsche's eye cannot be separated from language; actually, reason itself lives in language. "'Reason' in language--oh, what an old deceptive female she is!" Nietzsche (1990a) says, "I am afraid we are not rid of God because we still have faith in grammar" (p. 48). Furthermore, even if reason can be thought of as a human faculty, the faculty is not free. Insofar as grammar functions, reason can only dance with the shackles of language.
Structuralism vs. Poststructuralism
In his Science and Sanity, Korzybski does not mention Nietzsche at all; yet, rather than anybody else he gives credit to, from Socrates and Wittgenstein to Newton and Freud, Nietzsche turns out to be the real forerunner of Korzybski's critique of the Aristotelian logic. Korzybski claims that what makes his theory different from the Aristotelian system is his denial of the law of identity and that his general semantics is based on this denial. Several decades before the publication of his work, however, Nietzsche already conducted the same sort of critique and went even further and deeper. (6) From the above discussion, one can see the two writers' similarities in their differences as well as their differences in the similarities. Putting every similarity and difference together, we can observe one tension that ties and explains all the philosophical and linguistic issues this paper has reviewed, that is, structuralism vs. poststructuralism.
Although structuralism and especially poststructuralism as labels for two types of theory, mode of thinking, or thought movement are vague and controversial, they do represent the primary themes, sharp arguments, and significant achievements of the Western intellectual history in the twentieth century. Generally speaking, structuralism (1) emphasizes a pattern of homologous relation between things, (2) thinks of the structure as a self-closed system governed by universal rules, and (3) seeks objective truth, coherent laws, and scientific status; as a contrast, poststructuralism (I) stresses discontinuity, heterogeneity, innovation, plurality, and openness, (2) thinks of the world as fragmentary and determined by local rules, and (3) rejects any standard models of foundation, truth, objectivity, certainty, and system (Piaget, 1970, Frank, 1989; Best & Kellner, 1991).
Korzybski does not claim he is a structuralist; but the term that appears frequently in his Science and Sanity and bears extreme importance is "structure." He intentionally interprets reality, language, and knowledge in terms of this concept. As he asserts, language has a structure, which affects semantic reactions (p. xxxvi); "structure, and structure alone, is the only link between languages and the empirical world" (p. 50); moreover, "structure, and structure alone, becomes the only possible content of knowledge, and the search for structure, the only possible aim of science" (p. 449); eventually, "only an analysis of structural and semantic reactions," particularly his non-Aristotelian system, can free people from their "unconscious copying of animals" (p. 37).
Up to this point, nobody will doubt Korzybski's firm belief in structure. Then, what does it mean by "structure?" It "can be considered," says Korzybski, "as a complex of relations, and ultimately as multi-dimensional order" (p. 20). Here "relations" and "order" refer to the ordered connection between elements and the position of the structural elements in a system. Obviously, a system cannot live without elements and the relations and order; furthermore, the relations and order are determined by "structural laws." In this situation, "the only possible aim of science is to discover structure," including the elements, relations, order, and laws of a certain system (p. 29).
Science and Sanity can be thought of as a structuralist work because it features the principles of structuralism. Methodologically, it respectively treats the world, language, knowledge, and even the nervous system as a structure (or system, the two terms are interchangeable in both structuralism and general semantics), ascribing them the same nature and hence making them reducible to several simple foundations. Ontologically, it suggests that as the world is objective and independent from mankind, our language and knowledge could be objective as well if they structurally correspond with the world; in this sense, the truth-value of language and knowledge is derived from the objective world. Epistemologically, it sees science as the most desirable form of knowledge and seeking and formulating laws as the sole aim of scientific study; whenever structures exit, laws function; knowledge is desirable, possible, and dependable only under the condition that laws are objective, universal, absolute, and eternal.
Three themes exemplify Korzybski's structuralist position and his difference from Nietzsche. They are changing objects vs. static structures; scientific laws vs. humanistic interpretations; and organized and trained speeches vs. free and open speeches.
First of all, when Korzybski criticizes the Aristotelian system as well as the false-to-fact identity between language and reality, he shares Nietzsche's viewpoint, emphasizing the relational and changing character of all events or objects. But, when he insists on a structural correspondence between language and reality under the influence of early Wittgenstein (1990), he goes back to traditional metaphysics not only because he still wants to seek the meaning of language from a source that is transcendent to language itself, but also because he has to assume the structure of both language and reality is fixed and dependent on each other; otherwise, objects will be immeasurable and language unmanageable. However, later Wittgenstein (1968) replaces the notion of structural correspondence with the notion of language game. For he realizes that the meaning of language comes not from its relation to logical/grammatical rules or reality, but from its use in real life; the actual use of language is itself a form of human life. Here Wittgenstein stands on the side of Nietzsche, emancipating language from the metaphysical jail and resuming its pragmatic identity. As a matter of fact, at the time Korzybski published his Science and Sanity, Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigation had not come out yet. Suppose Korzybski had a chance to read Wittgenstein's later works, would he give up the notion of structural correspondence between language and reality? The answer is most likely negative partially because of his belief in scientific laws.(7)
Needless to say, objectivity is the principle and essence of science. While the world is objective, the laws of the world are objective; consequently, science as the discovery and formulation of objective laws is objective, too. According to Korzybski, "objective" means events or objects are self-established, regulated by their own rules, and independent from mankind's will; furthermore, the laws of the world are objective because they are eternal and universal, those "laws" that "cannot stand the test of invariance" are not Laws but "local private gossips, true for one observer and false for another" (p. 286). Surely, when talking about scientific laws, Korzybski does not completely separate them from language for he recognizes laws are represented in the form of scientific "statements." Nevertheless, as far as these statements structurally tally with reality, they are in Korzybski's eye universal truths instead of individual interpretations. By stressing the objectivity of science and laws, he actually denies the function of intersubjectivity (in Husserl's sense (8)) and the openness of laws to intellectual discourse (in Foucault's sense (9)). However, Kohn (1962) convincingly demonstrates in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions that science is in nature institutional discourse; while scientific laws appear as paradigms, scientific progress is nothing more than paradigm-shift. In other words, both scientific laws and scientific studies are subject to discursive interpretations, which are neither objective nor universal, but intersubjective and local. This is what Nietzsche suggests in various ways.
To better understand Science and Sanity, one should not underestimate the significance of its extensional devices. In addressing the characteristics of his non-Aristotelian system, Korzybski repeatedly claims that this system could work as a handbook training people how to achieve sanity and solve social problems by correctly using language. The major tool he invents to accomplish this task is the extensional devices. Seen from the general semantic point of view, these devises perform two main functions. Theoretically, they demonstrate the structural correspondence between the world of words and the world of non-words. And practically, they make the world of non-words verbally graspable and the world of words meaningful and valuable. What the devices imply is that there is only one correct way to use language; any speech that does not apply them will result in semantic falsity and mental illness. Consequently, the structure of language and the extensional devices are closed to active conversations, their contexts, and speakers' will, emotion, and attitude, while the diverse possibility, rich productivity, and necessary creativity of language and its use is denied, discouraged, and destroyed. As mentioned earlier, it is insightful for general semantics as a theory of meaning to take into account a speech act, which brings up infinite possibilities. But, since structural correspondence is the ultimate principle and criterion, a speech act could not play the key role in the relationship of language to thought and reality; instead, it is imprisoned in a highly closed and restricted area.
By contrast, Nietzsche is neither a structuralist nor a poststructuralist. Rather, he is a forerunner of poststructuralism, exerting great influence on leading poststructuralists such as Derrida, Foucault, and Deleuze. (10) As we know, there were two dominant topics in twentieth century Western philosophy: one is the linguistic turn, the other is the end of philosophy. (11) Both of them aim to critically review the Platonic philosophy by exploring its metaphysical root in language and the future direction of philosophy after the linguistic turn. Nietzsche is definitely a crucial thinker who initiates discussions of these two topics. Regarding the first topic, he claims that language not only results in logical laws, but contains the secret of metaphysics. His analysis of how "is" as a word becomes a philosophical concept (being) and a law of thinking (causality) powerfully illuminates the relationship between language, logic, and metaphysics. He even suggests that a particular way of philosophizing is guided by the language philosophers employ. "It is highly possible," therefore, "that philosophers within the domain of the Ural-Altaic languages (where the concept of the subject is least developed) look otherwise 'into the world,' and will be found on paths different from those of the Indo-Germanic peoples and the Muslims" (1966, pp. 27-28). (12)
Regarding the second topic, Nietzsche proposes to replace negative nihilism with positive nihilism. The former designates the decline of Greek metaphysics, which compiles a set of false values (ultimate substance, absolute truth, transcendental principle, etc.), while the latter recognizes becoming and appearance as the essence of the actual world. Clearly, the shift from the Platonic philosophy to a new philosophy is the process of reversing values: as a world of becoming was changed into a world of being and appearance was devalued in traditional metaphysics, the new philosophy should see the world the other way around or resume what has been turned upside down; the world is what appears rather than what is behind the appearance and appearance is becoming because becoming is inventive, appearance is fluxional (1968, p. 319; pp. 330-331).
Perhaps, we can use Nietzsche's saying to generalize the meaning of and difference between negative and positive nihilism, that is, "Everything is false! Everything is permitted" (1968, p. 326)! What is false? Every value of traditional metaphysics is false. What is permitted? Every appearance or every state of becoming is permitted. Here "permitted" can be construed as "possible," "understandable," and "valuable." It refers to the universe as well as mankind and his relation to the universe. In other words, as the world is a world of becoming, its appearance in mankind's consciousness must be diverse, ever-changing, relative, and incomplete. That means, (1) mankind's understanding of the world shares the same characteristics of the appearance; (2) hence, every interpretation of the universe and mankind is permitted; and (3) accordingly, ultimate, absolute, and exclusive explanation of the world is impossible and deceptive. So, Nietzsche's saying bears both ontological and epistemological significance. Actually, his perspectivism unfolds along with the above vein.
In Nietzsche's proposal, a new philosophy is based on five fundamental innovations and one of them is that a perspective theory of affects should center the place of epistemology (1968, p. 255). This theory holds:
That the value of the world lies in our interpretation (--that other interpretations than merely human ones are perhaps somewhere possible--); that previous interpretations have been perspective valuations by virtue of which we can survive in life, i.e., in the will to power, for the growth of power; that every evaluation of man brings with it the overcoming of narrower interpretations; that every strengthening and increase of power opens up new perspectives and means believing in new horizons--this idea permeates my writings. The world with which we are concerned is false, i.e., is not a fact but a fable and approximation on the basis of a meager sum of observations; it is "in flux," as something in a state of becoming, as a falsehood always changing but never getting near the truth: for--there is no "truth." (1968, p. 330)
In Zhou's (1990) view, at least five points are made in this passage. First, knowing is evaluation or interpretation; interpretation is multiple and mankind's interpretation is just one of all possible interpretations. Second, interpretation is perspective, which associates with horizon, a particular point of observing; that is to say, knowing is always bounded to and restrained by the point of observing. Third, the center of perspective or the subject of knowing is mankind's instinct for survival, the will to power, and emotional impulse. Fourth, the view of the world derived from perspective is not truth, but virtual appearance. And fifth, perspective is fluxional rather than static; it is enhanced as the will to power increases (p. 143).
Nietzsche's philosophy has two distinctive features: holistic and human-centered. It is holistic because it treats issues in ontology, epistemology, logic, ethics, aesthetics, religion, and language as interrelated rather than isolated problems. It is human-centered because it investigates these issues through a consistent and thorough framework, that is, mankind's will to power instead of the aim of Being, God, or Idea. Accordingly, he appreciates ever-changing and various appearances since they stand for creation and innovation as the essence of the universe and human life. He encourages the Dionysian and favors the philosophers in the pre-Socratic period since the Apollonian dominates the Platonic tradition and makes Western culture imbalanced. He thinks of the value of the world lies in mankind's interpretation since the meaning of the world manifests in human reactions to the universe. He supports the diversity, relativity, and development of interpretation since knowing is in nature limited, varied, and local perspectives. All these ideas inspire poststructuralists and are developed in their writings.
Certainly, Nietzsche's understanding and employment of language is a part of his philosophy and vividly displays the two features. He argues that the very function of language lies not in its correspondence to reality but in its activity in human life and that the use of language is itself a dimension of human life. He values very much the multifunction and creativity of language for each use of "language has the potential for reinforcing or changing the existing value moment, both within the system of language itself, and at the same time, in the broader cultural or moral systems of people" (Crawford, 1988, p. xiv). He believes in the diverse meaning, metaphorical character, and openness of language for "The life of actual language consists in multiplicity of meaning," and "To relegate the animated, vigorous word to the immobility of a univocal, mechanically programmed sequence of signs would mean the death of language (Heidegger, 1991, p. 144). He suggests resuming the poetic, aphoristic, and emotional genre of language for "The profoundest and least exhausted books will probably always have something of the aphoristic and unexpected character of Pascal's Pensees" (1968. P. 229). Moreover, he composes his philosophical work in a non-philosophical mode by using aphorism for our thoughts come to us not merely in the logical manner. He seldom makes a definition to the key words of his writings, but shows their meanings in different contexts; he uses various rhetorical means such as mockery, self-sneering, analogy, ellipsis, and leap to escape from the restriction of logic/grammar (Zhou, 1990, pp. 113-114). In short, he draws a sharp dividing line between his philosophy and Platonism or linguistic metaphysics not only in theory but in practice as well.
The most common point between Korzybski and Nietzsche is that both stress the importance of relational elements and change as the key to systems. This makes them share similar worldview and pay great attention to language and its connection to thought and reality. On the other hand, the most crucial difference between the two authors lies in their ultimate concern: in the case of Korzybski it is the eternal structure and science as the real knowledge of the structure; in the case of Nietzsche it is mankind's relation to the universe and his will to power. While Korzybski tries to emancipate thought and behavior from the Aristotelian system, the eternal structure and scientific laws in his non-Aristotelian system become an ultimate substance and an absolute knowledge; hence, change is not the end, but the means to that structure and knowledge. In this sense, his critique of Aristotelian logic is not complete and thorough and his general semantics includes the remainder of Greek metaphysics, to say the least. This problem is shared by all structuralists and leads to poststructuralists' objection. On the contrary, Nietzsche asserts that becoming is the nature of the universe and mankind and that mankind is different from animals because of his will to power. It is the will to power that makes mankind always on the way to change, innovation, and difference. Seen from the Nietzsche's point of view, the meaning and value of human life and the world is manifested in becoming and diversity as well as established through and displayed in language; as the voice of the will to power, language does not believe any rule or accept any regulation from a transcendent authority; it is its own master and dwells in all fields that it could possibly open up.
(1.) According to Wolfgang Stegmuller, Franz Brentano, Nietzsche's contemporary and countryman as well as teacher of Husserl and Freud, also investigated the relationship of language to basic metaphysical categories. See his Main currents in contemporary German, British, and American philosophy (1970, Indiana University Press).
(2.) Examples include "nervous system," "quantum," "mathematics," "organism," "animalistic," "consciousness," "physiology," and "relational." In addition, Korzybski even shares Nietzsche's tone when both of them talk about philosophers.
(3.) Throughout this paper all quotations from Korzybski refer to this book.
(4.) By "system" Korzybski means "a complex whole of coordinated doctrines resulting in methodological rules and principles of procedure which affect the orientation by which we act and live" (p. lix).
(5.) According to Korzybski, the only scientific or non-Aristotelian language is the one that adopts the extensional devices he promotes; therefore, all languages people use in daily life are primitive languages.
(6.) The Complete Work of Friedrich Nietzsche, an authorized English translation, was published by Macmillan in 1911. It is valuable to know whether or not Korzybski had read Nietzsche before working on his general semantics.
(7.) It is highly important to keep in mind that by "scientific laws Korzybski means not only laws in physics, chemistry, mathematics, bat laws in mankind and society as well.
(8.) As Duranti argues, "Husserlian intersubjectivity includes a mode of participation in the natural and material world that does not even require an immediately perceivable human presence." See his "Husserl, Intersubjectivity and Anthropology" (Anthropological Theory, 2010, no. 1-2, pp. 16-35).
(9.) Lessa summarizes Foucault's definition of discourse as "systems of thoughts composed of ideas, attitudes, courses of action, beliefs and practices that systematically construct the subjects and the worlds of which they speak." See her "Discursive Struggles within Social Welfare: Restaging Teen Motherhood" (British Journal of Social Work, 2006, no. 2, pp. 283-298).
(10.) It does not matter whether or not these thinkers label themselves as a post-structuralist as far as they share Nietzsche's critique of Greek metaphysics.
(11.) The two edited books: The linguistic turn (1967, University of Chicago Press) and After philosophy (1987, The MIT Press) present leading philosophers' arguments on the two topics.
(12.) In this sense, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is an echo of Nietzsche's suggestion.
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Zhenbin Sun is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, New Jersey. He thanks Dr. Ingledew for his suggestion of the title.