He argued that human knowledge of the world is limited both by the human nervous system and the languages humans have developed, and thus no one can have direct access to reality, given that the most we can know is that which is filtered through the brain's responses to reality. His best known dictum is " The map is not the territory ". Born in Warsaw , Poland , then part of the Russian Empire , Korzybski belonged to an aristocratic Polish family whose members had worked as mathematicians, scientists, and engineers for generations. He learned the Polish language at home and the Russian language in schools; and having a French and German governess , he became fluent in four languages as a child. Korzybski studied engineering at the Warsaw University of Technology.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Science and Sanity by Alfred Korzybski. Get A Copy. Hardcover , Fifth Edition , pages. Published by Institute of General Semantics first published More Details Original Title.

Other Editions 6. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Science and Sanity , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jun 18, Steven 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 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 I am another reader whose life was changed by reading this book. Each time I think about a problem in my life or in the world I remember what I learned in this book. In addition to the other factors making this book a difficult read is the author's application of mathematics and physics to explain, illustrate and justify his concepts.

I was lucky I enjoy reading about math and physics, while not having studied much of the subjects in school. I consider this book the most valuable member of my book collection, and it has profoundly influenced many aspects of my life.

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 "Science and Sanity" is perhaps the book that has had the most influence on my thinking.

And secondly, I believe there is always going to be an inherent problem in using words to discuss words. No doubt especially true if one is building up a complex schemata. Fascinating subject. This was the seminal work for non-Aristotelian logic and a host of other sub-specialties of Semantics.

See General Semantics Wiki And if you can slog through the book and grasp the concepts, you will never think the same again. Jan 26, Joe Watkins rated it it was amazing. Not for the faint of heart, this is a 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.

Nov 06, Nick Hayward 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 This could be the most important book I have ever read. When discussing ideas as fundamental as these, our normal language fails and this is part of what Korzybski is saying - we need new language and new tools to approach these concepts.

With this is mind, wading through the tougher parts of the book was still well worth it for me! Aug 14, Flemming Funch 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 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 This is one of the most important books I've read. Particularly, as indicated in the title, within the practice of science. It hasn't really.

Feb 29, Ian 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, Marius 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 It took me a whole winter - about 5 months - to read through this opus. After having finished the book, I felt emotionally connected to Mr.

Korzybski, touched by the combination of strength, gentleness and modesty his writing exudes. Sep 27, Mike 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. Dec 08, Semi-Academic Eric rated it it was amazing Shelves: creativity , owned-books , communication , consciousness , education , psychology , a-writer-writes , philosophy , science , language.

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 I started reading this online.


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



Alfred Korzybski



Science and Sanity




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