Universal Languages and Scientific Taxonomy in the Seventeenth Century

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-03-04
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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In the seventeenth century, a series of proposals and schemes for an artificial language intended to replace Latin as the international medium of communication gained currency. Fully developed, these schemes consisted of a classification of all known 'things' and a set of self-defining names designed to reflect the divisions of the classification. This attempt to create a specialized and scientific form of language was enthusiastically taken up by a number of eminent scientists of the day, including Bacon, Descartes, Newton and other members of the Royal Society. Dr Slaughter demonstrates that the idea of a universal language was a rational response to the inadequacy of seventeenth-century language, a result of social and cultural changes precipitated by the rise of science, the spread of print and literacy, and the subsequent development of a literate culture. A valuable addition to the study of history and literature, this book also has relevance for contemporary languages with similar problems of development.

Table of Contents

The Rise of Essentialist Taxonomy
The Aristotelian origins
The Development of the Universal Languages
The groundwork
Proposals and schemes for a universal language
Proposals for a philosophical language
Schemes for a philosophical language
The culmination, aftermath and end
The End of the Taxonomic Episteme
The fall of essentialist taxonomy
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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