Murder, She Wrote

Murder, She Wrote

Every week (if not every day) we hear about another shooting in Toronto, and something ought to be done about that.   I enjoyed the Godfather movies, everyone loves a good murder mystery, and more-and-more popular culture seems to be endorsing mayhem of all kinds. Perhaps murder is becoming de rigueur.

I was born in 1934. The previous year, Freud, who was seventy-seven at the time, suffered a heart attack; Adolph Hitler was appointed Chancellor, and Germany withdrew from the League of Nations; and a displaced Polish scholar by the name of Alfred Korzybski published the first edition of his magnum opus, Science and Sanity, which introduced the general public to the term “General Semantics” and the non-Aristotelian system of logic underlying it. For a time, general semantics enjoyed a place of interest within the philosophical community and, since psychology was yet to separate from philosophy within the academic community – and remember that a Ph.D. is a Doctor of Philosophy – I ended up majoring in Philosophy.

Many years ago, Donald Washburn published, in the General Semantics Bulletin for 1977-78, a paper called The Epistomology of Murder. I was able to track down the original publication, which provided the following information:

Donald E. Washburn is no stranger to the G.S.B. and even less a stranger to the special world of general semantics conferences. A brilliant writer (including poetry) and speaker, Dr. Washburn has for many years demonstrated a peculiar genius for flashing the light of general semantics into unexpected corners. His paper in this issue is a case in point.

A graduate of Yale (B.A., M. A.), he attended I.G.S. seminars in 1952 and 1957.  His interest in general semantics led him to become one of Elwood Murray’s doctoral students at the University of Denver where he received his Ph.D. in communication methodologies methodologies in 1962. (See his comments on Dr. Murray’s Korzybski Memorial Lecture in this issue.) He is presently Chairman of the Department of Engish at North Adams State College in Massachusetts.

To be continued

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