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Alfred Korzybski

Alfred Korzybiski was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1879, which was then a part of Russia. For generations his family had been mathematicians, scientists, and engineers. He was trained as an engineer.

During the First World War he served as an intelligence officer in the Russian Army. Following the war he cooperated with the American and Canadian militaries. After the publication of his first book, Manhood of Humanity in 1921, he decided to remain in the United States and further develop his ideas. His work culminated in the founding of General Semantics, the basic ideas of which are outlined in Science and Sanity which was published in 1933. In 1938 he founded the Institute of General Semantics[?]; he directed the Institute until his death in 1950.

To express it simply, and thus inadequately, the essence of his work was the insight that the structure of language distorts our perception of reality, a failing that could be remedied by insight into that process and also by the creation of language that is structured in the same way reality is.

Dr. David Bourland[?], a student of Korzybski's, invented and promoted E-Prime, the use of the English language without any form of the verb "to be".

Further Reading

  • Manhood of Humanity, Alfred Korzybski, forward by Edward Kasner, notes by M. Kendig, Institute of General Semantics, 1950, hardcover, 2nd edition, 391 pages, ISBN 093729800X
  • Science and Sanity An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics, Alfred Korzybski, Preface by Robert P. Pula, Institute of General Semantics, 1994, hardcover, 5th edition, ISBN 0937298018

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