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universal symbolistic


Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


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L ogic, philosophy of language Also called universal characteristic, Leibniz 's project for providing a system of symbols or an artificial language for overcoming the deficiencies of natural language and for representing rational thought more accurately and effectively. For Leibniz it is a universal system of writing and an “alphabet of human thought.” Through the combination of the letters of this alphabet and through the analysis of the words produced from them, we can discover and judge everything. To establish a universal language for communication among different languages was not a new idea, but Leibniz attempted to extend the notion of such a language to form an art of discovery and an art of judgment. He believed that it would be one of the greatest inventions if it succeeded. There is much dispute among scholars about the scope, nature, and significance of this project. On one reading, the universal symbolistic is intended to be a type of ideal language , a language composed of real characters capable of expressing symbolically the contents of thought. On this reading, it is the predecessor of the ideal language proposed by some modern analytical philosophers. On another reading, this project is concerned only with the form, not the content, of rational thought. It is a plan for a general science of form and for expressing the logical relations among concepts ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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