General semantics is the renowned, practical discipline that applies language strategies and modern scientific thinking to solve problems in everyday life.
Through the application of its key ideas and principles, general semantics brings about clearer thinking, better speaking, improved communication, more peaceful interaction, and greater sanity to one’s life.
General semantics has served as the foundation for numerous approaches to human problems with its unique applications adapted from modern science.
Used by people young and old, general semantics helps people navigate this complex, complicated, media-filled reality.
Students often discover the discipline of general semantics in college communications classes. In addition to students, general semantics is practiced by psychotherapists, authors, artists, and many others wanting to critically think about what they hear, what they see, and how they themselves think.
For an organization like the Institute of General Semantics, you might think our logo would be the initials “IGS.” Or for being an institution interested in general semantics, you might think we’d at least have the initials “GS” somewhere in our logo. Instead, our logo is a letter A with a bar over the top of it.
So what’s with the A? The Ā logo is from our founder Alfred Korzybski’s book Science and Sanity, which introduced general semantics. “A” stands for “aristotelian,” the name Korzybski gave to an old, ingrained type of thinking about the world that doesn’t match today’s scientific thinking. Adding a bar to the top of it — creating “Ā” — simply meant “non-aristotelian,” or a newer, more modern way of thinking about the world, directly influenced by current scientific understandings. In Science and Sanity, Korzybski simply used “A” and “Ā” as shorthand rather than repeatedly spelling out “aristotelian” and “non-aristotelian” over his more than 800-page book.
General semantics is largely about teaching people non-aristotelian, modern scientific ideas — it’s not just about meanings of words! The old Ā logo above has been adapted from the original Non-Aristotelian Library logo. We’ve adapted it in the past a number of times, too. To the right is the current logo for the Institute of General Semantics.
Founder of the Institute of General Semantics.
Our Quarterly Journal
ETC: A Review of General Semantics
ETC: A Review of General Semantics is a journal founded in 1943 by the International Society for General Semantics. ISGS merged with the Institute of General Semantics in 2003 and since that time the Institute has published the journal.
ETC contributes to and advances the understanding of language, thought, and behavior. Each issue of ETC provides the latest research and discourse on general semantics.
Last Four Issues of ETC
The following playlist of videos offers basic insights into general semantics.