Leibniz on symbolism as a cognitive instrument

Research output: Contributions to collected editions/worksContributions to collected editions/anthologiesResearchpeer-review


Leibniz’s goal is to transfer a novel form of nonlinguistic, operative writing, practiced in sixteenth- and seventeenth- century mathematics and written reckoning, to cognition and research in general. “Operative writing” is inspired by three attributes: (1) Symbolic language can be used as a technique for problem solving. (2) The rules of manipulating symbols can be independent of their interpretation. (3) Symbols do not only depict, but constitute knowledge. By introducing this kind of operative procedure, Leibniz hopes to reduce truth to correctness. Kurt Gödel in the twentieth century demonstrates the impossibility of the Leibnizian program. But its ongoing inheritance is that all reasoning depends on and is constituted by symbolism, be it linguistic, iconic, or written signs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Philosophy of Emerging Media : Understanding, Appreciation and Application
EditorsJuliet Floyd, James E. Katz
Number of pages12
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication date2016
ISBN (Print)9780190260743
Publication statusPublished - 2016