Universal language

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DA072-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

References and further reading

  • Bacon, F. (1605) The Advancement of Learning, ed. G.W. Kitchin, London: Dent, 1976.

    (Bacon’s discussion of ‘characters real’ occurs in book 2, chapter 16.)

  • Bacon, F. (1620) The New Organon, ed. F.H. Anderson, New York: Macmillan, 1960.

    (Bacon criticizes words as ‘idols of the marketplace’ in book I, aphorisms 43, 59–60.)

  • Dalgarno, G. (1834) The Works of George Dalgarno, Edinburgh; repr. New York: AMS Press, 1971.

    (Contains all of Dalgarno’s writings on artificial language schemes, including his 1661 Ars Signorum.)

  • Descartes, R. (1991) The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, vol. 3 (The Correspondence), trans. J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoof, D. Murdoch and A. Kenny, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    (Descartes’ letter to Mersenne is dated 20 November 1629.)

  • Katz, D.S. (1982) Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England (1603–1655), Oxford: Clarendon Press.

    (Chapter 2 argues persuasively for the importance of the idea of an Adamic language in seventeenth-century England.)

  • Knowlson, J. (1975) Universal Language Schemes in England and France 1600–1800, Toronto, Ont.: University of Toronto Press.

    (The best survey of the topic; contains a valuable checklist of universal language schemes in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.)

  • Leibniz, G.W. (1966) Logical Papers, trans. and ed. G.H.R. Parkinson, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

    (The fullest collection in English of Leibniz’s writings on logic and language; includes selections from his 1666 essay On the Art of Combinations, in which appears his earliest plan for a universal language.)

  • Mersenne, M. (1636) Harmonie Universelle, Paris; repr. Paris: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1986.

    (Book I, proposition 24 contains Mersenne’s proposal for a ‘perfect language’, in which mathematical and scientific truths would be expressed by combinations of musical tones.)

  • Rutherford, D. (1995) ‘Philosophy and Language’, in N. Jolley (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Leibniz, New York: Cambridge University Press.

    (A comprehensive review of Leibniz’s interests in language, including the idea of a universal language.)

  • Salmon, V. (1988) The Study of Language in 17th-Century England, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    (A collection of ground-breaking essays on the projects of Dalgarno, Wilkins and their contemporaries; includes a bibliography of recent work in the area.)

  • Slaughter, M.M. (1982) Universal Languages and Scientific Taxonomy in the Seventeenth Century, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    (An important study of the relationship between seventeenth-century scientific thinking and the idea of a universal language.)

  • Wilkins, J. (1668) An Essay towards a Real Character, and a Philosophical Language, London; repr. in the series English Linguistics 1500–1800, number 119, Menston: Scolar Press, 1968.

    (Wilkins’ attempt at constructing a universal language, discussed in §2 above.)

Citing this article:
Rutherford, Donald. Bibliography. Universal language, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DA072-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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