Conferences & Symposia

igslogo-smallerThe Institute of General Semantics periodically hosts, sponsors, and co-sponsors conferences and symposia attended by people from around the world, featuring presentations on topics related to general semantics and its multidisciplinary interests.

Our conferences and symposia often feature our annual Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture Series.

Next Symposium

Information on the next scheduled IGS-sponsored symposium is below (when available).

The Two-Day General Semantics Symposium

October 2, 2017 @ 8:00 am - October 31, 2017 @ 6:00 pm

Past Conferences & Symposia

Below is a selection of past conferences and symposia sponsored or co-sponsored by the Institute of General Semantics, along with roundups that include photos, video, papers, publicity, and more.

2010s

  • Featuring the 64th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture by Iain McGilchrist
  • October 21-23, 2016
  • Princeton Club, New York, NY
  • View the event page »

Event Roundup

At the Princeton Club in New York City from October 21-23, 2016, attendees listened to more than 30 presenters at the general semantics Language in Thought and Action symposium.

Videos

 

  • Featuring the 63rd Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture by Andrew Keen
  • October 2-4, 2015
  • Princeton Club, New York, NY
  • View the event page »

Event Roundup

At the Princeton Club in New York City from October 2-4, 2015, attendees listened to over 20 presenters at the general semantics Language and “Reality” symposium.

Videos

 
  • Featuring the 62nd Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture by Jack El-Hai
  • October 24-26, 2014
  • Princeton Club, New York, NY
  • View the event page »

Event Roundup

At the Princeton Club in New York City from October 24-26, 2014, attendees listened to over 25 presenters at the general semantics symposium titled Making Sense through Time-Binding.

Videos

  • Featuring the 61st Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture by Terrence Deacon
  • October 25-27, 2013
  • Princeton Club, New York, NY
  • View the event page »

Event Roundup

At the Princeton Club in New York City from October 25-27, 2013, attendees listened to over 25 presenters at the general semantics symposium titled Language and Symbol Use in the Twenty-First Century.

Videos

  • Featuring the 60th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture by Shawn Lawrence Otto
  • October 26-28, 2012
  • Princeton Club, New York, NY
  • View the event page »

Event Roundup

At the Princeton Club in New York City from October 26-28, 2012, attendees listened to over 20 presenters at the general semantics symposium titled Language and Symbol Use in Politics and Other Arenas.

Videos

  • Featuring the 59th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture by Sherry Turkle
  • October 28-30, 2011
  • Princeton Club, New York, NY
  • View the event page »

Event Roundup

At the Princeton Club in New York City from October 28-30, 2011, attendees listened to over 20 presenters at the general semantics symposium titled Communication in the 21st Century.

Videos

  • Featuring the 58th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture by Deborah Tannen
  • October 29-31, 2010
  • Fordham University Lincoln Center Campus, New York, NY
  • View the event page »

Event Roundup

At Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus from October 29-31, 2010, attendees listened to over 35 presenters at the general semantics symposium titled New Languages, New Relations, New Realities.

Inside Fordham Online Article

Inside Fordham Online published an article on Deborah Tannen’s Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture.

Read the Inside Fordham Online article »

Videos

Milton Dawes

Milton Dawes drums at the conclusion of the symposium.

Watch Milton Dawes drumming » (.mov, 160MB).

Photo Galleries

Photography by Michael Dames

Photographer Michael Dames shot the presentations delivered during the Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture.

October 29

Photography by Mariusz Han

Fordham University student Mariusz Han, SJ, photographed many presenters at the symposium.

October 29

October 30

October 31

2000s

  • Featuring the 57th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture by Mary Catherine Bateson
  • September 11-13, 2009
  • Fordham University Lincoln Center Campus, New York, NY
  • View the event page »

Event Roundup

At Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus from September 11-13, 2009, a large number of attendees listened to over 70 presenters at the international general semantics conference titled Across the Generations: Legacies of Hope and Meaning

Where We Live Radio Segment

Where We Live, the Connecticut NPR radio show, aired a pretaped segment with 57th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecturer Mary Catherine Bateson, previewing her lecture.

Listen to the radio segment on Where We Live »

Fordham University News Article

Fordham University’s website contains a story about 57th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecturer Mary Catherine Bateson’s lecture.

Read the article on Fordham University’s website »

Facebook

Aaron DeNu created a Facebook page for the conference.

View the conference Facebook page »

Photo Galleries

Three photographers covered the weekend’s events.

Janet Faller Sassi

Photographer Janet Faller Sassi captured images from the Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture.

September 11

Mariusz Han

Fordham University student Mariusz Han, SJ, photographed many presenters at the conference.

September 11

September 12

September 13

Robert Barry Francos

Photographer Robert Barry Francos also documented the conference with photos.  He has created three galleries of photos from the conference.

September 11

View images from September 11 by Robert Barry Francos »

September 12

View images from September 12 by Robert Barry Francos »

September 13

View images from September 13 by Robert Barry Francos »

  • Featuring the 56th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture by Douglas Rushkoff
  • November 14-16, 2008
  • Fordham University Lincoln Center Campus, New York, NY
  • View the event page »

Event Roundup

On November 14, 2008, the Institute of General Semantics hosted the 56th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture at the Princeton Club in New York City.  Douglas Rushkoff delivered the Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture, titled “Playing the Future: Towards a Creative Society.”

On November 15-16, 2008, IGS followed with a two-day symposium at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus titled Creating the Future: Conscious Time-Binding for a Better Tomorrow.

The Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture

Douglas Rushkoff, teacher and documentarian, author of Screenagers, and host of Frontline’s The Persuaders, presented the 56th Alfred Koryzbksi Memorial Lecture to a large, attentive crowd at the Princeton Club in New York City.  His lecture, titled “Playing the Future: Towards a Creative Society,” is below.

  • Read the Lecture »
  • Listen to the Lecture (with introduction by Lance Strate):
          Douglas Rushkoff AKML (with introduction by Lance Strate)
  • Alternate Version:
          rushkoff2 - Alternate Version

New York Press Article

Brian Heater wrote an account the Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture that ran in the New York Press on November 18th, 2008.  It is now offline, but the text is preserved below.

Generational Semantics: Writer Douglas Rushkoff at the Institute of General Semantics Dinner

by Brian Heater

The writer and media theorist Douglas Rushkoff would, of course, have been remiss had he not addressed the polarized nature of his audience right off the bat. The front half of the room was monopolized by circular tables covered in white tablecloths, surrounded be gray-haired diners who had arrived at the Princeton Club at 6 p.m. to participate in the $90-a-plate meal. They made up a large portion of The New York Society for General Semantics, a 62-year-old offshoot of the Institute of General Semantics, which boasts the hopeful mission statement of, “improv[ing] one’s ability to evaluate the world and one’s place in it.”

The list of previous speakers at the event included such diverse luminaries as Buckminster Fuller, Steve Allen, Robert Anton Wilson—a list on which, the club’s acting president noted thoughtfully, Rushkoff’s name surely didn’t seem out of place.

Toward the back of the room were rows of chairs set up for the 8 o’clockers, those who poured into the room two hours later, forgoing that $90 meal, eager to watch the Ecstasy Club author in action. A motley assortment that were at least half the median age as those seated up in front.

“This is a really interesting mix,” Rushkoff smiled, at the top of his speech. “The half over here came because you’re members of the Institute of General Semantics and pay dues and get newsletters, and the other half of these people probably got a Facebook message…There’s two very different paths. Of course they wouldn’t have been able to come, were it not for the generosity of the [front] group. You guys, by paying your dues, made this possible. Instead of seeing your contribution as the privilege to get this thing, you decided that your contribution was about the privilege to share this thing.”

It was a perfect entry point into a talk that would have no doubt immediately been written off as socialist rhetoric by “Joe the Plumber” and his ilk. Over the next two hours, Rushkoff traced the present-day economic collapse all the way back to the Renaissance and the birth of the self, largely succeeding in bringing the room’s binary attendance together, save for the occasionally alienating video game metaphor—which, while effective in illustrating his points using references to programming language and mods, was no doubt a touch baffling to those finishing up their meals, scratching heads at references to virtual worlds. Still, in all it was a rather compelling talk by one of our most prominent counter-cultural media theorists, particularly when he referred to president-elect Obama (of whom Rushkoff admitted he was certainly a fan) as, “playing president.” Whether or not you agreed with such sentiments, there was likely nary a person in the room not drawn in by Rushkoff’s assertions.

Original Source: http://www.nypress.com/blogx/display_blog.cfm?bid=28618189

Blog Posts

Douglas Rushkoff

Douglas Rushkoff explains in a blog post on the website for the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies that being the 56th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecturer was “the biggest honor [he’s] had as a public speaker.”  Comments follow the blog post.

Read Douglas Rushkoff’s account of being the 56th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecturer »

Lance Strate

IGS Executive Director Lance Strate wrote two entries in his blog titled Blog Time Passing about the weekend.  The first was his personal account of the weekend, and the second was a corrigenda from the AKML.

Read Lance Strate’s first blog post about the weekend »

Read Lance Strate’s second blog post about the weekend »

Robert Barry Francos

Not only did Robert Barry Francos photograph the weekend’s events, but he also provided a personal account of the weekend in his blog titled FFanzeen: Rock ‘n’ Roll With Integrity.

Read Robert Barry Francos’s account of the weekend »

View selected photos and a short account of the Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture »

More photos by Robert Barry Francos are above in the Photo Gallery section.

Video

In the following video, Martin H. Levinson presents Allen Flagg the 2008 J. Talbot Winchell Award.

Photo Gallery

Special thanks to Robert Barry Francos for photographing the weekend’s events.

November 14

November 15

November 16

  • Featuring the 55th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture by Leonard Shlain
  • October 26-27, 2007
  • The Princeton Club and Fordham University Lincoln Center Campus, New York, NY
  • View the event page »

Event Roundup

The Institute of General Semantics was one of five sponsoring organizations for the 55th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture and All-Day Symposium held on October 26-27, 2007, at the Princeton Club and Fordham University respectively. The Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture featured Dr. Leonard Shlain, M.D. whose lecture was titled “Right Brain/Left Brain: Hemispheric Lateralization and its Effects on Religion, Culture, Gender and History.” Shlain is the author of three best-selling books and a professor of laparoscopic brain surgery in California.

The symposium, titled “Mind and Consciousness: Understanding/Reconciling/Integrating Symbol Systems and Nervous Systems,” featured twelve speakers whose topics ranged from “Practical Fairy Tales for Everyday Living” to “Right Brain, Left Brain and How They Affect our Food Choices” to “Understanding the Decalogue through General Semantics and Media Ecology.”  Before the sessions began, New York Society for General Semantics Vice President Martin H. Levinson was presented with the Media Ecology Association’s Suzanne K. Langer Award for his book Sensible Thinking for Turbulent Times.

The room where the symposium was held was filled to capacity. Attendees at the Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture and the symposium were in general agreement that both these events were highly worthwhile learning experiences.

Photo Gallery

Special thanks to Katherine Liepe-Levinson for photographing the event and editing the images.

October 27

  • Featuring the 54th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture by Renee Hobbs
  • October 27-28, 2006
  • Arlington Hilton Hotel, Arlington, TX
  • View the event page »

Event Roundup

Graphic for the Making Sense Conference

From October 27-28, 2006, the Institute of General Semantics sponsored the Making Sense Conference at the Arlington Hilton Hotel in Arlington, Texas.  Renee Hobbs delivered the 55th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture titled “Literacy in the 21st Century,” the culmination of a weekend of over 20 presentations from national and international presenters.

Preceding the conference from October 24-26, the Institute of General Semantics hosted a special Pre-Conference Workshop on “Making Sense,” which offered participants a unique opportunity to review some of the basic principles of general semantics, then apply those principles toward major issues of the day.  The Pre-Conference Workshop was held at Read House, the headquarters for the Institute of General Semantics in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture

On the evening of October 28, 2006, Renee Hobbs, Director of the Media Education Lab at Temple University, Founder of the Alliance for a Media Liberate America (AMLA), and author of Reading the Media, presented the 54th Alfred Koryzbksi Memorial Lecture to a large crowd as the apex of the Making Sense Conference at the Arlington Hilton Hotel in Arlington, Texas.  Her lecture, titled “Literacy in the 21st Century,” is below.

  • Read the Lecture »
  •       Renee Hobbs AKML
  • Watch the Lecture » (.wmv)

Videos

Preview videos of presentations at the Making Sense Conference »

Purchase the videos on DVD of the presentations at the Making Sense Conference »

Photo Gallery

Papers & Presentations

The following papers and presentations are pre-publication drafts from the Making Sense Conference.  A number of the items below were later edited and published in the General Semantics Bulletin, No. 73 (2006).

Download GSB 73 from the IGS Store »

AuthorArticleFormat
Ben HauckOn Knitting Sweaters during ConferencesPDF
Bob EddyMaking Sense ConstructivelyPDF
Jeffrey R. Dafler & Ross A. JacksonFreedom as Ego-Nihilism: The Deconstructive Art of Self-AwarenessPDF
Bruce KodishKorzybski in America (abstract)PDF
Robert Kerrick MurrayExploring a Fundamental, Non-Verbal CoherencyPDF
Milton DawesA Universe of Rhythms: Our Lives as a Complex of RhythmsPDF
C.A. HilgartnerA Neglected Aspect of Time-Binding: Rejecting Tacit 'Identity'PDF
C.A. HilgartnerA Neglected Aspect of Time-Binding: Rejecting Tacit 'Identity'PowerPoint
Michael RoundPolite Discussion: A Play about Rational DiscoursePDF
Martin H. LevinsonEmotional IntelligencePDF
Charles E. Bailey, M.D.General Semantics: The Key to Understanding the BrainPDF
Charles E. Bailey, M.D.General Semantics: The Key to Understanding the BrainPowerPoint
Sandra S. PateChanging Futures for FamiliesPDF
Sandra S. PateChanging Futures for FamiliesPowerPoint
Sandra S. PateChanging Futures for FamiliesPowerPoint-PDF
Nora MillerMaking Sense of LossPDF
Laura BertoneFrom the Confusion of Babel (abstract)PDF
Vanessa Biard-SchaefferOn RegionalismPDF
Michael FuhlhageWhat's the Matter with Kansas?PDF
Erica GordonThe Semantic PersonPDF
Andrea JohnsonMaking Sense of Change ThingingPDF
  • Featuring the 53rd Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture by Robert L. Carneiro
  • April 22-23, 2005
  • American Museum of Natural History, Linder Theater, New York, NY
  • View the event page »

Videos

  • The Twelfth International Conference on General Semantics
  • Featuring the 52nd Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture by Sanford I. Berman
  • October 31 – November 2, 2003
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • View the event page »

Event Roundup

From October 31 to November 2, 2003, the Institute of General Semantics sponsored the Twelfth International Conference on General Semantics in Las Vegas, Nevada. Titled Confronting the Challenges of Conflicting World Views, the conference was co-sponsored by the International Society for General Semantics and the New York Society for General Semantics.  It featured the 52nd Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture, delivered by Sanford I. Berman.

The Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture

Sanford I. Berman, motivational speaker, nightclub hypnotist, editor of Logic and General Semantics and author of Words, Meanings and People, delivered the 52nd Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture titled “On the Teaching of General Semantics.”

  • Read the Lecture »
  •       Sanford I. Berman AKML
  • Watch the Lecture » (.wmv)

Papers & Presentations

The following papers were accepted and their authors were invited to present them at the conference.

AuthorArticleNote
Karen Van HoofThe Conundrum of Knowing What I Didn't KnowEssay Award
Nan BialekOn Time-Binding as an Instrument of Peace
Kelly DugganFrom the Unconscious to the Conscious
Bob EddyOn Belief Systems
Jon BouknightConspiracy Theory and Sound Argumentation
Kate GladstoneBeliefs Affecting Handwriting Communications
Allen FlaggDreams, Nightmares and Non-Violence
Katherine Liepe-LevinsonWorkshop: Toward a Civil Society
Martin LevinsonA GS Approach to Reducing Student Alienation
Milton DawesChallenging Culturally-Expected Ways of Thinking
Gregg HoffmannSeeking Unmediated Truths
Abdul SalaamReligion as a Belief System
Phil ArderyRamifications of Julian Jaynes's Theory of Consciousness for Traditional General Semantics
Edward Korczynski 5thResurrecting the Classic Skeptic: Defining Beliefs from a Classic Skeptic PerspectiveSpecial Submission
RaeAnn Burton, Beth Maryott & Megan O'ByrnePANEL: A General Semantics View of the Changing Perceptions of Christ
Jay BlackMedia Ethics Between Iraq and a Hard Place
Vanessa Biard-SchaefferFrance - USA
Laura BertoneThe Argentine Case
Chip StewartThe Language of Change: General Semantics and Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping PointEssay Award
Andy HilgartnerReplacing Our Patterns of Universal Discord
Maurine Eckloff & Jeanne Stolzer"DISCUSSION: Intrapersonal Evolution
Bruce KodishChanging Reputations:De-marginalizing General Semantics
Gardner GateleyResisting Our Demamaps(Not Presented)
Gardner GateleySome Thoughts on the WWJD? (What Would Jesus Do?) Bracelet(Not Presented)
David HewsonGroup Comparison Formulations(Not Presented)
Andrea HydeUtilitarianism May be the Cure for What Ails Us(Not Presented)
Haiko SchmarsowEnforcing Rules(Not Presented)
Anthony WorrellConfronting the Challenges of Conflicting World Views(Not Presented)

The Institute of General Semantics has sponsored congresses and conferences dating back to 1935.

Click here to view a list of prior conferences and symposia sponsored by the Institute of General Semantics.