John Wilkins  

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"It were exceedingly desirable that the names of things might consist of such sounds as should bear in them some analogy to their natures; and the figure and character of their names should bear some proper resemblance to those sounds that men might easily guess at the sense or meaning of any name or word, upon the first hearing or sight of it. But how this can be done in all the particular species of things I understand not, and therefore shall take it for granted that this character must be by institution".--An Essay Towards a Real Character, and a Philosophical Language (1668) by John Wilkins

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John Wilkins (1614–1672) was a clergyman, natural philosopher and author, best-known as author of An Essay Towards a Real Character, and a Philosophical Language (1668) in which he proposed a universal language. That scheme was the subject of "The Analytical Language of John Wilkins" (1942) by Borges.


Wilkins is one of the few persons to have headed a college at both the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. He was a polymath, although not one of the most important scientific innovators of the period. His personal qualities were brought out, and obvious to his contemporaries, in reducing political tension in Interregnum Oxford, in founding the Royal Society on non-partisan lines, and in efforts to reach out to religious nonconformists. He was one of the founders of the new natural theology compatible with the science of the time.


His numerous written works include:

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