Print

Print


"The two problems, the construction of language systems in symbolic
 logic and the construction of international languages, are entirely
 different from a practical point of view.  Leibniz was the first to
 recognize the importance of both problems, to see their connection
 but also their difference.  Throughout his life, he envisaged the
 idea of a characteristica universalis, a kind of logical symbolism
 or Begriffsschrift in Frege's sense.  He also thought about the
 possibility of constructing a universal language as a means of
 international communication.  Leibniz intended to base this
 language on Latin, but he planned to give it a simple and regular
 grammatical structure.  Leibniz' second aim has been fulfilled in
 our time by the various forms of an international language.
 
 Although the two problems are different and are directed toward
 different aims, working on them is somehow psychologically similar.
 As I see it, both must appeal to those whose thinking about means
 of expression or about language in the widest sense is not only
 descriptive and historical but also constructive, whose concern is
 the problem of finding those possible forms of expression which
 would be most suitable for certain linguistic functions.  I think
 it might lead to fruitful results if some of those logicians who
 find satisfaction and enjoyment in designing new symbolic systems
 would follow the example of Leibniz, Descartes, Peano and Couturat
 and direct their thought to the problem of planning an international
 language."
                    Rudolf Carnap, from the Intellectual Autobiography
 
                         Fine
 
I think I might put these passages together into a webpage.
 
James Chandler
[log in to unmask]