Silent Discourse: The Language of Signs and “Becoming-Woman”


Since time immemorial, humankind has searched for a universal language in the quest for the perfect means of communication that would transcend prevailing cultural, religious, and language barriers. The hero of a poetic tale (Coelho 1993), in his quest for the language once understood by everybody yet now forgotten, arrived at the understanding that it’s all written there. Medieval symbolism considered the World as a book of God written in a codex vivus, to be deciphered. Leibniz conceived of a lingua characteristica as a universal pictographic or ideographic alphabet of human thought, complemented by calculus ratiocinator and reflecting ratio embedded in Nature. The corollary is that, ultimately, the correspondence between primitive signs and the complex ideas for which they stand is natural, and not simply arbitrary or conventional. Yet the contemporary transference of Leibniz’s dream into AI research or analytic philosophy of language has not brought us closer to realizing his project, even when the urgency of understanding the other is paramount for our .survival in a global climate permeated by diverse beliefs, disparate values and cultural conflicts.

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