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TorgoX (1933)


"Il est beau comme la retractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces [...] et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !" -- Lautréamont

Journal of TorgoX (1933)

Sunday April 11, 2004
10:37 PM

A smart person with a stupid idea

[ #18293 ]
Dear Log,

«Putting it all together, I think we have a winner. Leibniz was clearly a really smart person, and the proposal to solve political and religious disagreements by translating natural language discourses into products of prime numbers was a really stupid idea. It's a good premise for historical fantasy, though -- the idea of a sort of Leibnizian underground, operating through history into modern times, is one of the fun background assumptions of Neal Stephenson's currently-unfolding historical trilogy.

To advance the discussion, in a gingerly way, into more recent times, I'll mention that I first asked myself these questions about Leibniz shortly after the publication of Katz & Fodor (1963), which advanced a theory of natural-language semantic interpretation based on the decomposition of word meanings into sets of primitive semantic features, and the collection of these features into ever-larger sets by a recursive procedure operating on syntactic "deep structures".»

--"A smart person with a stupid idea"

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