Structural Differential

The structural differential provides a diagram of the abstracting process that allows us to see and think about the world around us.

A lot of activity occurs in the world around us for which we don't have the capability of either seeing, feeling, or smelling. Our senses abstract necessary information from that overwhelming volume of activity. That first level of abstraction allows us to experience a world that does not overwhelm our senses.

Humans have developed the ability to put names on the things that we abstract. Those names provide us with the first level — the verbal level — of communicating our experience. Because we have the ability to think about our thinking, we can achieve higher and higher levels of abstraction in our thinking.

These multiple levels of abstraction can both facilitate and hamper effective communication.

In this section on General Semantics we will describe how levels of abstraction and inference can either help or hinder our understanding of free markets.

Harry Weinberg's adaptation of Alfred Korzybski's structural differential— describing the levels of abstraction and inference.

Structural Differential

From Levels of Knowing and Existence
by Harry L. Weinberg, page 73

We will elaborate on the details of this diagram as soon as we have developed the text.

Alfred Korzybski

Alfred Korzybski
The creator of General Semantics