Re: Universal Translators
Mon, 11 Nov 1996 01:49:18 -5

> Do you know someone who tried to construct a language as a tool for
> thinking?

I am not aware of any existing language experiments of this nature.
But that may just be due to my own ignorance since i am not a

I do, however, have quite a few ideas of my own on this subject. I've
toyed with this "thought language" concept for many years.

Perhaps some of us should get together to create something. If
successful, it would be a way to become something better in the near
term, while still persuing more long term improvements. A very
transhumanist endeavor.

When I was in high school, I formulated the crude beginnings of such
a language. The language was represented in two dimentions, and
thus could be shown on paper. Objects (ideas) were represented by
strings of symbols, just like any other modern human languages. But
the relationships between those ideas was, for the most part,
represented graphically, by means of different sizes, relative
positioning of the objects, and linking symbols. A very prominent
relationship was "containment", which was shown simply by drawing a
closed figure associated with each object. This closed figure would
then contain other objects that contribute to it, which could in turn
contain still more objects. An object representing the actor, might
contain the act, which might in turn contain the thing acted upon.
A graphical symbol might then link this to another set of nested
objects describing the state of affairs that proceeded as a result
of the actor's actions. This structure would imply that the main
idea being expressed is that this particular actor is responsible for
some resulting state of affairs. The rest is finer detail. It could
be structured very differently if the main concern were the way in
which all of this had affected the object that was acted upon.

My reasoning for having a hierarchical (or layered) structure like this
is that a single document could then be "read" at varying levels of
detail and still be meaningful.

For example, a quick glance at a document describing a computer
might reveal the outermost "layer" of the description, which might be
simply a symbol that represents the idea "computer" (very much like
the function that the word "computer" serves in English). This then
would contain other objects representing various aspects of a
computer, such as software, hardware, history, etc. These would then
contain further detail describing programming languages, busses,
logic gates, transistors, electrochemistry, etc.

This kind of structure could be greatly facilitated by using
computers. A "reader" could literally zoom in to get a more detailed
understanding of something, or zoom out to see the "big picture".

> (Excuse me for my misuse of English. I mainly use French.)
> (I french better than Ienglish :) )


Peace, William Kitchen