The Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture Series

Since 1952, the Institute of General Semantics has sponsored the annual Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture (AKML), a presentation given by a distinguished individual on a topic of interest to the field of general semantics.

To quickly access or reference this page, use this short URL:
http://www.generalsemantics.org/akml

In 1952, two years after founder Alfred Korzbyski’s sudden death, Institute of General Semantics Director M. Kendig initiated an annual program to remember Korzybski and celebrate the continuation of his goals for human development and progress.

This program became known as the Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture Series, or “AKML.” Kendig viewed this series as a means not only to remember Korzybski, but also to celebrate the contributions of those whose work is scientifically oriented and promotes what Korzybski termed “time-binding,” the unique human ability to build on the achievements of others through the use of symbols and languages.

An impressive lineup of speakers has added significant prestige to the AKML, which over the years has featured prominent authors, scientists, psychologists, educators, and individuals from varied backgrounds.

A few of the more recognizable names include Abraham Maslow, Buckminster Fuller, Albert Ellis, Steve Allen, Leonard Shlain, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Lou Marinoff, Ellen Langer, J. Allan Hobson, Robert Carneiro, James Van Allen, Karl H. Pribram, Deborah Tannen, Sherry Turkle, and others.

Next AKML

Information on the next scheduled Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture is below (when available).

The 65th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture

October 1, 2017 @ 8:00 am - October 31, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

Past AKML Speakers

A complete list of past speakers, along with transcripts of their presentations and audio and video recordings (where available), is below.

The listed affiliations for each speaker were current on the date of the lecture and may have since changed.

2010s

Iain McGilchrist

Iain McGilchrist

  • Psychiatrist and writer
  • Author of The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World

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Andrew Keen

Andrew Keen

  • Author of The Internet Is Not the Answer
  • Lecture Title: “The Internet Is Not the Answer”

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Jack El-Hai

Jack El-Hai

  • Author of The Nazi and the Psychiatrist: Hermann Göring, Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, and a Fatal Meeting of Minds at the End of WWII
  • Lecture Title: “The General-Semantics Psychiatrist and the Nazi”

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Terrence Deacon

Terrence Deacon

  • Professor of biological anthropology at University of California, Berkeley
  • Author of Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter
Shawn Lawrence Otto

Shawn Lawrence Otto

  • Science advocate, humanitarian, and screenwriter
  • Author of Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America
sherry-turkle

  • Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other
Deborah Tannen

Deborah Tannen

  • University Professor and Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University.
  • Author of many books and articles about how the language of everyday conversation affects relationships, including You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation (New York Times Best Seller)

2000s

Mary Catherine Bateson

Mary Catherine Bateson

  • President of the Institute for Intercultural Studies.
  • Author of eleven books including Full Circles, Overlapping Lives: Culture and Generation in Transition; With A Daughter’s Eye: A Memoir of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson; and most recently, Willing to Learn: Passages of Personal Discovery
douglas-rushkoff-photo

Douglas Rushkoff

  • Teacher and documentarian
  • Author of Screenagers, host of Frontline’s The Persuaders

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Listen to the Lecture (with Introduction by Lance Strate):

      Douglas Rushkoff AKML (with introduction by Lance Strate)

Listen to the Lecture (Alternate Version):

      rushkoff2 - Alternate Version
Leonard Shlain

Leonard Shlain

  • Chairman of Laparoscopic Surgery at the California Pacific Medical Center
  • Author of The Alphabet Versus The Goddess, Art & Physics, and Sex, Time & Power

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Renee Hobbs

Renee Hobbs

  • Director, Media Education Lab, Temple University
  • Founder of the Alliance for a Media Literate America (AMLA)
  • Author of Reading the Media

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      Renee Hobbs AKML

Watch the Lecture » (.wmv)

  • Curator, Anthropology Division, American Museum of Natural History
  • Author of Evolutionism in Cultural Anthropology and The Muse of History and the Science of Culture

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      Robert L. Carneiro AKML

Watch the Lecture » (.wmv)

  • Motivational speaker and nightclub hypnotist
  • Student of Dr. Irving J. Lee
  • Long-time supporter of general semantics
  • Editor of Logic and General Semantics and author of Words, Meanings and People

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      Sanford I. Berman AKML

Watch the Lecture » (.wmv)

  • Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
  • Director of the Laboratory of Neurophysiology at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center
  • Author of The Dreaming Brain, Sleep, Dreaming as Delirium, and, with Jonathan A. Leonard, Out of its Mind: Psychiatry in Crisis: a Call for Reform

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  • Chair of Philosophy, City College of New York
  • Founding President of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association
  • Author of Plato, Not Prozac!

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      Lou Marinoff AKML
Bob Pula

Bob Pula

  • Director Emeritus, Institute of General Semantics
  • Author of A General-Semantics Glossary

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      Robert P. Pula AKML

1990s

  • Professor of Psychology, Harvard University
  • Author of Mindfulness and The Power of Mindful Learning

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  • Educator and author of Horace’s Hope, Horace’s School, and Horace’s Compromise

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  • Author of The Illuminatus Trilogy and Prometheus Rising

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      Robert Anton Wilson AKML
  • Professor of Human Development, University of Chicago
  • Author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience and Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention

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  • Former Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
  • Professor of Law, University of Iowa College of Law
  • Son of Dr. Wendell Johnson, the author of the popular general semantics text People in Quandaries

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  • Professor Emeritus and Director of the Berkeley Initiative in Soft Computing
  • Known for his contributions to machine intelligence, particularly through “Fuzzy Logic”

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  • Professor of English and Director of the English Graduate Program at Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey
  • Author and “doublespeak” authority

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  • Author, entertainer, songwriter
  • Creator of NBC’s Tonight Show

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  • President and Founder, Institute for Rational-Emotive Therapy, now the Albert Ellis Institute
  • Author of numerous books on personal adjustment

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Read an Addendum to the Lecture

  • Founder, Director Emeritus and Senior Scholar, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art

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1980s

  • Educator and author
  • Authority on interpersonal communication

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  • Psychologist
  • Research Fellow, Russell Sage Foundation

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  • Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Critical Thinking and Moral Critique, Sonoma State University, California

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  • Louis E. Kirstein Professor Emeritus of Human Relations and former Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Business, Harvard University

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  • Professor of Neuroscience, Stanford University

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Allen Walker Read

Allen Walker Read

  • Emeritus Professor of English, Columbia University

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      Allen Walker Read AKML

Robert R. Blake

  • President , Scientific Methods, Inc. Now Grid International, Inc.

Jane Srygley Mouton

  • Vice President, Scientific Methods, Inc. Now Grid International, Inc.

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  • Distinguished Professor of Linguistics and Semiotics, Indiana University

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  • Photographer, painter, and author

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1970s

  • Author and lecturer
  • Formerly Director of Publications, Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation
  • Author of Communications: The Transfer of Meaning

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  • Emeritus Professor of Speech Communication, University of Denver

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  • Author and Editor of Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact Magazine

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  • Professor of Linguistics and Anthropology, Drew University

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  • Director, Department of Psychiatry, Roosevelt Hospital, New York

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Kenneth G. Johnson

  • Professor of Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Neil Postman

  • Professor of Media Ecology, New York University
  • Author of numerous books on media and culture

Read the Lecture »s »

“General Semantics: Whence 1920…Where 1973…Whither”

Panel with:

J. Samuel Bois

  • Viewpoints Institute, Los Angeles. Author of The Art of Awareness

Elton S. Carter

  • Dean for Graduate Studies, University of Nebraska

Walter Probert

  • Professor of Law, University of Florida, Gainesville

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  • Extraordinary Fellow, Cambridge University
  • Internationally-known writer, scholar, literary critic and analyst of culture
  • Professor of Physics and Natural Philosophy, Yale University

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  • Associate Director for Research, Oceanic Institute, Waimanalo, Hawaii

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1960s

  • Pioneering scientist-philosopher, lecturer, and author of The Next Development of Man, The Unconscious Before Freud, and The Unitary Principle in Physics and Biology

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  • Professor of Political Studies and Geography, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario
  • President of the Canadian Association for American Studies

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  • Author of Science and Human Values and The Identity of Man

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  • Physicist
  • Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

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  • Professor of Linguistics and English, Chairman, Department of Anthropology and Linguistics, State University of New York at Buffalo

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  • Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst
  • Associate Professor of Psychiatry, New York School of Psychiatry

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  • Chief of Research of the Health Services of the Armies of France
  • Director of Physio-Biological Research and Physician-in-Chief of the National Navy
  • American Public Health Associations’ Albert Lasker Award, 1957

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  • Professor of Chemistry, Yale University
  • Author of The Sciences and the Arts: A New Alliance

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  • Professor of Psychology, University of Texas
  • Author of The Managerial Grid and co-founder of Managerial Grid Theory

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  • Research Laboratory of Electronics, M.I.T.
  • Author of Finality and Form

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1950s

“Extending the Parabola”

Symposium with:

Charles M. Pomerat

  • Professor of Cytology and Director of the Tissue Culture Laboratory, University of Texas, Galveston

William J. Fry

  • Research Professor of Physics and Director of Biophysical Research Laboratory, University of Illinois

James A. Van Allen

  • Professor and Head, Department of Physics, State University of Iowa

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  • Professor of Surgery, College of Medicine, State University of Iowa
  • Chairman of Division of Neurosurgery, University of Iowa Hospitals
  • Author of “Preface to the 4th edition of Science and Sanity

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  • Professor of Psychology, Brandeis
  • Author of Motivation and Personality

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  • Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University
  • Author of Mirror for Man and What is Science?

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  • Distinguished engineer, mathematician, inventor, designer, mechanic, writer and philosopher
  • Author of Nine Chains to the Moon and Dymaxion Air-Ocean World Map
  • Professor of Philosophy and Law, Yale University
  • Author of The Meeting of East and West and The Logic of the Sciences and Humanities

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  • Professor of Human Relations, Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration
  • Author of Management and Morale

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William Vogt

  • Author of Road to Survival
  • National Director of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America

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M. F. Ashley Montagu

  • Professor of Anthropology, Rutgers University
  • Author of On Being Human and Statement on Race

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