The Start-Up Packet

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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
  1. "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.
  2. "Course of Development of a Theory" (4 pages, also 1987): This lists some of the 'ideas' I played with during that 25-year period.
  3. "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.
  4. "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 In the text and notes, I manage to cite and discuss some 44 of my 90 papers, including a couple of dozen of the unpublished ones.
  5. "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.