Saturday, July 7, 2012

Quantum Psychology

In 1933, in Science and Sanity, Alfred Korzybski proposed that we should abolish the "is of identity" from the English language. (The "is of identity" takes the form X is a Y. e.g., "Joe is a Communist," "Mary is a dumb file-clerk," "The universe is a giant machine," etc.) In 1949, D. David Bourland Jr. proposed the abolition of all forms of the words "is" or "to be" and the Bourland proposal (English without "isness") he called E-Prime, or English-Prime.

A few scientists have taken to writing in E-Prime (notable Dr. Albert Ellis and Dr. E.W. Kellogg III). Bourland, in a recent (not-yet-published) paper tells of a few cases in which scientific reports, unsatisfactory to sombunall members of a research group, suddenly made sense and became acceptable when re-written in E-Prime. By and large, however, E-Prime has not yet caught on either in learned circles or in popular speech.

(Oddly, most physicists write in E-Prime a large part of the time, due to the influence of Operationalism -- the philosophy that tells us to define things by operations performed -- but few have any awareness of E-prime as a discipline and most of them lapse into "isness" statements all too frequently, thereby confusing themselves and their readers. )

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