By James Dougal Fleming
This ebook examines the seventeenth-century undertaking for a "real" or "universal" personality: a systematic and aim code. concentrating on the Essay in the direction of a true personality, and a philosophical language (1668) of the polymath John Wilkins, Fleming offers a close clarification of ways a true personality truly was once imagined to paintings. He argues that the interval stream shouldn't be understood as a curious episode within the background of language, yet as an illuminating avatar of data know-how. A non-oral code, supposedly amounting to a script of items, the nature used to be to help clinical discourse via a common database, in alignment with cosmic truths. In a lot of these methods, J.D. Fleming argues, the realm of the nature bears phenomenological comparability to the area of contemporary electronic information—what has been referred to as the infosphere.
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Extra info for The Mirror of Information in Early Modern England: John Wilkins and the Universal Character
Rather, it is like them, and they like it. And that is to say that technologies of the message, in the seventeenth century, are not taken as normative for what ordinarily happens whenever people communicate about anything with a view to understanding. Wilkins’s Mercury shares the early-modern signals bookshelf with (among other texts) the Recueil de plusieurs machines militaires et feux artificiels pour la guerre et récréation [Compendium of military machines and artificial fires for war and pastime] (1620), by François Thybourel and Jean Appier.
As is well known, Wilkins and his contemporaries took a number of their working assumptions from the Biblical book of Genesis, which they read and understood literally (a standard attitude in the period). In particular, the Tower of Babel story of Genesis 11 told them that all human languages had originally, and properly, been one. Of course, God’s curse at Babel doomed language to eternal multiplicity—which is exactly where the real character comes in. Precisely as an un-language or ur-language—the objective and universal denotation of the mind—the character could serve as a platform for universal communication.
What we can say—and here I think Gleick is quite right—is that Wilkins’s work in cryptography, and his adumbration of binary, look like elements of what can be called an early-modern information theory. The overall goal of the present book (as the reader will recall) is to read Wilkins’s Essay as an illuminating avatar of that historical and technological field. But first we need to define it. ” THE MESSAGE IS THE MEDIUM Our term has many meanings. 9 Its cognates appear throughout the European languages.
The Mirror of Information in Early Modern England: John Wilkins and the Universal Character by James Dougal Fleming