MOOC Index of Pages

GS on Canvas Network

Index of materials for the General Semantics: An Approach to Effective Language Behavior course on the Canvas Network (2014). All individual pages are linked, with major topic headings and sub-headings depicted below where applicable.

Course-Level Pages

Course Overview

About the Course
MOOC Expectations
MOOC Assignments
References and Resources
Our First MOOC


Module 1: What is General Semantics?

Led by Steve Stockdale

General Semantics

Module Map, Objectives, Key Topics
Defining and Describing General Semantics
Basic Understandings of General Semantics
— Time-binding
— Scientific Approach
— Abstracting and Evaluating
— Verbal Awareness
— Sensory Awareness

Point of View Survey

AK and General Semantics


Korzybski’s Quest
— What makes humans human?
— What accounts for the differences in human behavior? Evaluating
— How to characterize a method or system that can be taught, learned, and applied?
Map|Territory Foundational Premises
— The map is not the territory.
— The map cannot show all of the territory.
— A map is self-reflexive and made by a map-maker.
— Structural Differential
— Significance of Abstracting
— Example of the Abstracting Process
— Summary of Abstracting
Two Worlds
— The World “Out There”
— The World “In Here”
— Phantom Limb Pain
— The Marshmallow Experiment

Consciousness of Abstracting

Abstracting 'c-h-a-i-r'

Seeing, Visual Abstracting Examples
— Abstracting a ‘c-h-a-i-r’
— Benham Disc
— How the Brain Constructs Vision
— Vision Confusion
— Count the Dots
— Dimples and Bumps
Hearing, Auditory Abstracting
— Hearing Explained
— A Listening Demonstration
— My Tinnitus
Touch, 3 Buckets Demonstration

On Language

Scientific Orientation Toward Language
— Difference between Facts and Inferences
— Language Matters
Language(s) as Map(s)
— Importance of Constructing Proper ‘Maps’
— Language Misbehaviors
— Developing New Language Behaviors and Attitudes
— GS as an Overlay to Evaluating
Maps without Territories
— Higher levels of abstracting
— Inventing the unobservable
— Attention hijacking
Language-Behaviors That Matter
— What is a ‘weapon’? (or is zero-tolerance ‘thinking’?)
— Was Uncle Bruce a Nazi? (or the meaning of symbols)
— Driving with an old map
— On the Power of Words
— The Tyranny of Categories
— 2 Uncritical Inference Tests

In Their Words

Neil Postman on Korzybski
Wendell Johnson on General Semantics
Irving J. Lee on Korzybski
J. Samuel Bois on “meaning”
Book List

Module 2: Allness

Led by Mary Lahman, PhD


Module Map, Objectives, Introduction
Definition: Allness
Contributing Factors
Corey Anton’s Corollaries

Allness Case

Sample Case: Phonathon
Character Analysis
3 Allness Cases

Practice: Abstracting and Awareness

Practice with the Structural Differential
Structural Differential Worksheet
Practice with Sensory Awareness

Module 3: Bypassing

Led by Mary Lahman, PhD


Module Map, Objectives, Activities
Definition: Bypassing
Contributing Factors
Verbal Awareness
Twilight Zone episode, “Word Play”
Multiple Meanings for “FAST” and “CALL”
Miscommunication Worksheets

Module 4: Linguistic Relativity

Led by Greg Thompson, PhD

Kodish, Dare to Inquire

Module Map, Description
Language, Thought, and Behavior
— Beyond Eskimos and 10/100/1000 Words for Snow
— English examples of Linguistic Relativity
— Cross-linguistic examples of Linguistic Relativity

What We Do With Language – What it does to us

Neuro-Linguistic Relativity
Language and Thought
The Chomskyite Protest
Non-Verbal ‘Thinking’
Basic Color Terms
Hopi Concept of ‘Time’
Eskimo Snow
Experimental Evidence for Linguistic Relativity
Neuro-Linguistic Revision

How Language Shapes Thought

Lera Boroditsky

Lera Boroditsky: How language shapes the way we think (TED Talk)
Relativity, not determinism
— Relativity in Physics
— Cultural relativity
— “Bride Kidnapping” in Kyrgystan
— Female Genital Mutilation/Female Circumcision

Implications of Linguistic Relativity

Implications of Linguistic (and cultural) Relativity – here and now
Personal Examples

Module 5: Who rules your symbols?

Led by Steve Stockdale

Evaluational Environment

Point of View Survey Results
Module Map, Course Re-cap, Objectives
Orientations and Environments
— Of a Plant, Tropism
— Of a Human, Me

Theories of Evaluation Values and Meanings

Calling Out the Symbol Rulers

“Theories” in General Semantics
Brain-Based Evaluating
Your “Inner Interpreter”

Symbol Rulers

“The Persuaders” with Douglas Rushkoff
“Lay Off of My PERSUADE Shoes”

Implications for Education

Response Side Semantics


Module 6: Review and Reflection

Lahman, Awareness and Action

Module Map
Extensional Orientation
A Map of Korzybski’s General Semantics

Converging Competencies – Heinlein and Ellis

Culture and the Individual

Suspended in Stereotypes

Living Extensionally Takes a Lifetime

Course Conclusion

Concluding Remarks – Mary Lahman (video)
Concluding Remarks – Greg Thompson (video)
Concluding Remarks – Steve Stockdale (video)
“After You’ve Studied General Semantics” by Wendell Johnson

A Map of General Semantics (Stockdale)