The following five relatively short documents (a total of
under 50 pages) should suffice to give a sense of what the research group
of Hilgartner & Associates has accomplished
- "Statement of Intent" (1 page, 1987): This
summarizes my research results over the previous 25 years, and states
fairly directly why I have spent my life working in this area.
- "Course of Development of a Theory"
(4 pages, also 1987): This lists some of the 'ideas' I played with during
that 25-year period.
- "The Conventions for Symbolizing"
(12 pages of photocopying (25journal pages of text), 1991): Asks and answers
the question, "What do we have to assume in order to do any languaging,
any symbolizing, at all." My collaborators and I treat "grammar" as (a)
analogous to an axiomatic system, and (b) analogous also to a "template",
with a certain number of "slots" in it. Fill these slots in one way, and
you obtain a linguistic structure similar to the one which underlies Western
Indo-European languages such as English; fill it in other ways, and you
obtain structures similar to what underlies Choctaw, or Ainu, or Basque,
or Mundugamor, etc.
- "E-Prime and Linguistic Revision" (7 pages
of text, plus references, plus a 2-page cut which describes the E-Prime
dialect, and the advantages which supposedly follow from using it; 1996
- to appear in the third multi-author volume on E-Prime edited by Bourland
and Johnston): D. David Bourland proposed E-Prime in 1965 or 1966. 1 started
writing in that dialect less than five years later. Over the last decade
or so, Bourland has repeated and fervently urged me to write a piece discussing
what discernible effects using the E-Prime dialect has had on my long-term
research project. Eventually I agreed to do so, after I had realized that
in order to discuss the effects of E-Prime on my project, I would have
summarize the project, in non-technical language and clearly enough to
get across some sense of its overall outlines. In the text and notes,
I manage to cite and discuss some 44 of my 90 papers, including a couple
of dozen of the unpublished ones.
- "Ishmael and General Semantics Theory" (8
pages of text, 1997): Daniel Quinn's prize-winning novel about the current
survival-crisis of the human species(and of all fife on planet Earth)
presents views which, upon examination, appear congruent with my own.
But as a literary figure rather than a scientist, he can make use of resources
which I may not (mythological imagery, "God-talk", etc.). He does not
have to present himself as juggling formidable technical impedimenta -
logic, math, epistemology, science, general semantics, and the other technical
tools which make up the content, and sometimes the topic, of much of what
I write. In the arena which he and I choose to address, that can work
out as a disadvantage - and yet Quinn arrived at, and presents in his
novels, some of the most important biological and ethological generalizations
I have yet encountered.