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Giuseppe Peano and Louis Couturat and the context of the international language

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Numerous studies have examined the vast and multidisciplinary activity of the Italian mathematician Giuseppe Peano, revealing his genius and originality. His recently published correspondence with the French philosopher Louis Couturat, arising from the problem of an international language for scientific communication, reveals further aspects of Peano's personality but chiefly illuminates Couturat's involvement in proposals for solving this problem. The two protagonists agree on the necessity of adopting an artificial language, but in the moment of choice their viewpoints no longer agree. The birth of Ido and the enthusiastic transition to the new project on the part of Couturat, who had been an enthusiast of Esperanto, while Peano remained faithful to his Latino sine flexione, cooled the relations between them and their contact was abruptly interrupted. The correspondence has been edited with an extensive critical apparatus, precise documentation and perceptive interpretation, even if there are some minimal errors. The question of whether Couturat's efforts and the birth of Ido advanced the resolution of the problem of international communication still lacks a definitive response.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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