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The Logic and the Art of Memory: The Quest for a Universal Language

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A brilliant translation of this classic account of the art of memory and the logic of linkage and combination, the two traditions deriving from the Classical world and the late medieval period, and becoming intertwined in the 16th Century. From this intertwining emerged a new tradition, a grandiose project for an 'alphabet of the world' or 'Clavis Universalis'. Translated A brilliant translation of this classic account of the art of memory and the logic of linkage and combination, the two traditions deriving from the Classical world and the late medieval period, and becoming intertwined in the 16th Century. From this intertwining emerged a new tradition, a grandiose project for an 'alphabet of the world' or 'Clavis Universalis'. Translated with an Introduction by Stephen Clucas.


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A brilliant translation of this classic account of the art of memory and the logic of linkage and combination, the two traditions deriving from the Classical world and the late medieval period, and becoming intertwined in the 16th Century. From this intertwining emerged a new tradition, a grandiose project for an 'alphabet of the world' or 'Clavis Universalis'. Translated A brilliant translation of this classic account of the art of memory and the logic of linkage and combination, the two traditions deriving from the Classical world and the late medieval period, and becoming intertwined in the 16th Century. From this intertwining emerged a new tradition, a grandiose project for an 'alphabet of the world' or 'Clavis Universalis'. Translated with an Introduction by Stephen Clucas.

46 review for The Logic and the Art of Memory: The Quest for a Universal Language

  1. 5 out of 5

    Avery

    An incredibly valuable book linking together the mystical vision of Ramon Llull and the foundation of the Enlightenment. The concept of a "tree of knowledge" which can be united as a single root is traced from a Catholic origin into its Gnostic-Enlightenment counterpart. One astonishing fact for me is that this book came out in 1960, yet it was reviewed anew when the English editions were released in 2000 and 2006, as if people had never heard of it before (in fact, Dame Francis Yates was perfec An incredibly valuable book linking together the mystical vision of Ramon Llull and the foundation of the Enlightenment. The concept of a "tree of knowledge" which can be united as a single root is traced from a Catholic origin into its Gnostic-Enlightenment counterpart. One astonishing fact for me is that this book came out in 1960, yet it was reviewed anew when the English editions were released in 2000 and 2006, as if people had never heard of it before (in fact, Dame Francis Yates was perfectly familiar with it in 1966). This is starting to solidify my belief that research into the history of Western thought has not been continuously progressing up to the present day as recent books tend to claim, but actually hit a high mark between 1870 and 1970.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Heather Browning

    I found this quite dry and difficult to get through - lots and lots of names and dates. The underlying idea was interesting - the relationship between the mnemonic arts and the attempts to find a unifying 'philosophical language' (also timely, having just come across the idea in Quicksilver!), but I would have enjoyed more development of the idea, and fewer details on the historical writings. That's probably just my personal perspective though, as a non-historian; I find the ideas themselves mor I found this quite dry and difficult to get through - lots and lots of names and dates. The underlying idea was interesting - the relationship between the mnemonic arts and the attempts to find a unifying 'philosophical language' (also timely, having just come across the idea in Quicksilver!), but I would have enjoyed more development of the idea, and fewer details on the historical writings. That's probably just my personal perspective though, as a non-historian; I find the ideas themselves more interesting than the details of who came up with them and how. I also found the ending very abrupt - rather than a wrap-up or concluding remarks, the chapter just ended and that was it. Some summing up of what had been covered and its overall relevance, with perhaps some comments on any further work in the past four centuries, would have helped.

  3. 5 out of 5

    D. Stark

    Excellent book on the origins of the enlightenment via mnemotechnics going back to Aristotle, Cicero and the ars magna and combinatoria of Lull that strived for a "universal key", ie a universal language, best exemplified in Leibniz and continues to this day in computer programming (my own addition, computer programming language and systems are not addressed in this work as it is a historical overview of a movement from classical times to Leibniz documenting a movement towards memory and logic[v Excellent book on the origins of the enlightenment via mnemotechnics going back to Aristotle, Cicero and the ars magna and combinatoria of Lull that strived for a "universal key", ie a universal language, best exemplified in Leibniz and continues to this day in computer programming (my own addition, computer programming language and systems are not addressed in this work as it is a historical overview of a movement from classical times to Leibniz documenting a movement towards memory and logic[viewed as inseparable] cultivating a universal system of signs---a "Universal Key" to all knowledge requiring mastery of mnemotechnics best arrived at in a universal language. Thought of Joyce's Finnegan's Wake and Esperanto a great deal towards the end. Engrossing stuff, to say the least.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Summers-Stay

    The Ars Memoria was a medieval technique for memorization. One would imagine a structure that was intimately familiar, and in each corner or room, place an object that would bring to mind the thing to be memorized. It was considered a type of magic, to be passed down as all magical lore was, in secret. Rossi, however, finds connections between the Art and the combinatoric methods of Ramon Llull, the deductive logic of Aristotle, the scientific method of Bacon, the universal character of Leibniz a The Ars Memoria was a medieval technique for memorization. One would imagine a structure that was intimately familiar, and in each corner or room, place an object that would bring to mind the thing to be memorized. It was considered a type of magic, to be passed down as all magical lore was, in secret. Rossi, however, finds connections between the Art and the combinatoric methods of Ramon Llull, the deductive logic of Aristotle, the scientific method of Bacon, the universal character of Leibniz and Wilkins, and the computatio of Hobbes. In order to memorize something, we need to reduces it to its essentials, to find the symmetries and order underlying it, to find rules that will allow us to reconstruct it in our minds from the smallest amount of actual facts committed to memory possible. In other words, to memorize something is to understand it. (In the field of computer science, this identity between compression and understanding is made formal and exact in the field of data compression and algorithmic information theory.) Bacon had no patience for the magic of it, but thought that the principle of finding the hidden rules to make memorization easier was a useful tool for science.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Waldo Geraldo Faldo

  6. 5 out of 5

    José Osorio

  7. 5 out of 5

    John

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mateo Gonzalez

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bernard Ryefield

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sergio Liscia

  11. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  12. 4 out of 5

    Angie

  13. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  14. 4 out of 5

    Deniz

  15. 5 out of 5

    Arets Paeglis

  16. 4 out of 5

    Theophilus

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pedro

  18. 4 out of 5

    Piotr Rosół

  19. 5 out of 5

    TEELOCK Mithilesh

  20. 4 out of 5

    Michael Thomas Jones

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dusty

  22. 5 out of 5

    Erik Hoel

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jesus

  25. 5 out of 5

    Foppe

  26. 5 out of 5

    Inna

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Benarroch

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alex070205

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laurel Jarvis

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pysko

  31. 4 out of 5

    Rin

  32. 4 out of 5

    Robert Ottoboni

  33. 4 out of 5

    Silvelie

  34. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  35. 4 out of 5

    Anderson da Silva

  36. 5 out of 5

    Ted Ryan

  37. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

  38. 5 out of 5

    Yeram

  39. 4 out of 5

    Naomi Yumi

  40. 5 out of 5

    Euclides Cantidiano

  41. 4 out of 5

    John Amador

  42. 4 out of 5

    Abel

  43. 4 out of 5

    Kitty Blue

  44. 5 out of 5

    Olenka

  45. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

  46. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

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