Maps (was Re: the hazards of essentialist glossolalia )

From: Amara Graps (
Date: Mon Dec 17 2001 - 14:54:53 MST

>From: "scerir" <>
>> From: Amara Graps
>> P.S. That old adage: "The map is not the territory" might apply here.
>Alfred Korzybski ["General Semantics, Psychiatry, Psycotherapy
>and Preventio"; America Journal of Psychiatry; 98, (1941), 203-214]
>said that (1) a map is not the territory, (2) a map does not represent all
>of a territory, (3) a map is self-reflexive in the sense that an 'ideal' map
>would include a map of the map, etc., indefinitely.
>Statement ((2) is wrong. A map which represent all of a
>territory is a "contraction" but not a "contradiction".

Dear Serafino,

(Maps in a literal sense)

I like maps, especially the early maps. The early maps not only
were works of art, but the map's inherent scale and embellishments
captured the views and value systems of the people at those times.

>From a very nice map exhibit: "Mapping Early Worlds"

excerpt from one of the exhibit maps:
Orbis Terrarum: The Circle of the Earth

"Maps, like works of art and literature, are a means of
communication. In fact, when we look at a map we say that we are
"reading" it. While we usually think of maps as records of
geographical data, they may also record and communicate ideas and
even legend and scripture. Medieval world maps of the three
continents or the climatic zones were based on Biblical narrative
and literary sources rather than on observation and experience.
God's created world was usually represented as a circle within which
the three continents outlined a T, a shape reminiscent of the cross.
This T-in-O emblem of divine authority was incorporated into the
orb, carried by temporal monarchs as a symbol of their power. In the
fifteenth century, the rediscovered Geography of the Greek
mathematician Ptolemy was first translated into Latin and had a
powerful impact on Renaissance cartographers. Gradually, and with
increasing accuracy, maps came to represent geographic reality."


Amara Graps, PhD email:
Computational Physics vita:
Multiplex Answers URL:
"Take time to consider. The smallest point may be the most essential."
Sherlock Holmes (The Adventure of the Red Circle)

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