Characteristica Universalis

In Kevin Mulligan (ed.), Language, Truth and Ontology. London: Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 48--77 (1992)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Recent work in formal philosophy has concentrated over-whelmingly on the logical problems pertaining to epistemic shortfall - which is to say on the various ways in which partial and sometimes incorrect information may be stored and processed. A directly depicting language, in contrast, would reflect a condition of epistemic perfection. It would enable us to construct representations not of our knowledge but of the structures of reality itself, in much the way that chemical diagrams allow the representation (at a certain level of abstractness) of the structures of molecules of different sorts. A diagram of such a language would be true if that which it sets out to depict exists in reality, i.e. if the structural relations between the names (and other bits and pieces in the diagram) map structural relations among the corresponding objects in the world. Otherwise it would be false. All of this should, of course, be perfectly familiar. (See, for example, Aristotle, Metaphysics, 1027 b 22, 1051 b 32ff.) The present paper seeks to go further than its predecessors, however, in offering a detailed account of the syntax of a working universal characteristic and of the ways in which it might be used.
Categories
(categorize this paper)
Reprint years
1998
PhilPapers/Archive ID
SMICU
Upload history
First archival date: 2015-11-21
Latest version: 2 (2021-06-10)
View other versions
Added to PP index
2013-06-29

Total views
618 ( #8,759 of 2,439,406 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
58 ( #11,580 of 2,439,406 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.