Sämtliche schriften und briefe series VI volume 4
Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften (ed)
Date: summer 1688 (?)
Translated from the Latin
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MIND, BODY AND SOUL
FREE WILL AND NECESSITY
POLITICS, LAW AND ETHICS
LEIBNIZ: ON SYMBOLS AND THE CHARACTERISTIC ART
[A VI 4, p916]
I call a symbol a visible sign representing thoughts.
The characteristic art is thus the art of forming and ordering symbols so that they reproduce thoughts, i.e. so that they have the relation to each other that thoughts have to each other.
An expression is an aggregate of symbols representing the thing which is expressed.
The law of expressions is this: just as the idea of a thing to be expressed is composed from the ideas of those things, an expression of a thing is composed from the symbols for those things.
© Lloyd Strickland 2007-08