Australian General Semantics Society Inc.




Sunday 30 July
"GS for Skeptics"

What does skepticism and GS have in common?
How can skeptics benefit from GS formulations?
Learn about skeptical world views.
Led by David Hewson


Our seminar
at "Cifftop View" Bonnet Bay in Sydney was hosted as usual by Pauline and Gavan - Thank you both!

Sharing of triumphs and tragedies and miscellaneous yarns.

GS Diary
In the spirit of "applying general semantics principles" to our lives, as opposed to dwelling in theory, we considered members' accounts of o
bservations and applications relating to the principles and formulations of our discipline.

"GS for Skeptics"
Following-up on last meeting, we discussed a number of "health" issues, such as the value of considering waist to height ratio as a better predictor of heart disease and diabetes risk than BMI.  So we resolved to keep our waist circumference to less than half your height to help increase life expectancy.

We discussed the motivation of various skeptics and skeptic organisations, looking at similarities and differences between GS and skepticism.  After some warm up exercises and puzzles we discussed some GS formulations that sceptics could use. These included:

  • Abstracting processes - Cause and effect at one level of abstraction does not cause at another level of abstraction.  It’s just two different ways of describing the same thing.

  • Identification of levels of abstraction, e.g. Fact inference confusion.

  • Identification of members in a group.

  • Projection of evaluations.

  • Over generalisation, e.g. homeopathy extrapolation when diluting substances. etc, reminds us of information left out such as alternative hypothesis.  This was shown by the chance alternative hypothesis to dowsing.

  • Either Or language like pass or fail and its distortion of what is going on.

  • Conflict resolution derives from agreement and hence demonstration and hence definition and ultimately correct symbolism.

  • Being aware of viewpoint and abstraction one can disagree in a more agreeable manner.

We then tried to apply these to more “real life” examples like differences between people who like to minimise effort before or after use of some item.  We also watched a video about a difference a couple had and possible ways to resolve it.

Next Meeting

We reflected on the year past and planned for the year ahead, in our usual style.

Next Meeting

Sun 3 September

“Learning from others mistakes”
Normally when we talk about “Time-binding” (which means learning from others / previous generations) we usually talk about using their successes and building better theories or bridges, etc, based on them.

At this session we will look at the flip side and see what we can learn from other’s mistakes, errors or incompetence, so as to reduce or not repeat them ourselves.  This has the advantage of not paying the cost of our mistake, if we learn just from our own mistakes.

The seminar will be based on the book "The Psychology of Military Incompetence" and an article “Why do some societies make disastrous decisions”

Led by David Hewson

Disclaimer: This "summary" is a collection of notes derived from our discussion by various means.  It is by no means a scholarly dissertation on the subject as presented.  It does not purport to be the "policy of AGS".  Comment and criticism (constructive or otherwise) is welcome.  If anyone has been misquoted, copyrights infringed or confidences betrayed, please Contact us.



Updated by RJ 9 August 2017

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