“To Mirror and to Transform”

Minkov, S. “To Mirror and to Transform.” Review of Politics 71 (2009a): 144–46.

First Paragraph: “In a book of wide-ranging historical and archival erudition, Rhodri Lewis ably tells the story of efforts in seventeenth-century England to produce an “artificial language.”  This movement was inspired by Francis Bacon, culminated in John Wilkins’s Essay Towards a real Character and a Philosophical Language, and was eventually pronounced a failure by John Locke.  An “artificial language” project-or, since Lewis admits at the outset that this is an anachronistic expression (xii), what is better called natural or strictly philosophical language-is the attempt to represent the natural articulation of thought, and hence of being or things as such(12), through simple symbols or characters that would be universally communicable.  This book is written in an engaging and occasionally poetic manner, to the point that one would rue the prospect of a rigorously systematic artificial language. “

The Review of Politics