Louis Couturat, Leibniz, & international languages

Louis Couturat (1868-1914) is not historically beloved in the Esperanto movement, as he was a prime mover behind Ido, a reformed version of Esperanto that split the movement. Couturat nevertheless was a significant figure not only in the international language movement, but in intellectual history, philosophy, logic, and Leibniz scholarship in particular.

Some information can be found in my:

Philosophical and Universal Languages, 1600-1800, and Related Themes: Selected Bibliography

Here I am highlighting Couturat's works of greatest interest to me, with indications of their most current available editions, in English wherever possible. My bibliography overlaps but does not completely coincide with the Wikipedia entry.

De l'Infini mathématique was first published in 1896, and has been reprinted several times.

Two seminal works on Leibniz are La Logique de Leibniz (1901) and Opuscules et Fragments Inédits de Leibniz (1903). See The Logic of Leibniz, a translation in progress by Donald Rutherford.

Histoire de la langue universelle (1903), came out in a 2nd edition in 1907. Also in 1907 Les nouvelles langues internationales was published. There is a reprint edition:

Histoire de la langue universelle, beigebunden ist Les nouvelles langues internationales, by Louis Couturat, Léopold Leau; mit einem bibliographischen Nachtrag von Reinhard Haupenthal. Hildesheim; New York: G. Olms, 1979. xxx, 576, 110 p.

L'Algèbre de la logique appeared in 1905. Note that the English translation is available online courtesy of Project Gutenberg:

The Algebra of Logic, authorized English translation by Lydia Gillingham Robinson, B. A., with a preface by Philip E. B. Jourdain, M. A. (Cantab.) Chicago; London: The Open Court Publishing Company, 1914.

Dover Publications reprinted this translation is 2005. The publisher's description:

In an admirably succinct form, this volume offers a historical view of the development of the calculus of logic, illustrating its beauty, symmetry, and simplicity from an algebraic perspective. Topics include the principles of identity and the syllogism, the principles of simplification and composition; the laws of tautology and of absorption; the distributive law and the laws of duality, double negation, and contraposition; the formulas of De Morgan and Poretsky; Schroder's theorem; sums and products of functions; solution of equations involving one and several unknown quantities; the problem of Boole; Venn diagrams; tables of consequences and causes; and formulas peculiar to the calculus of propositions.
Another seminal work appeared in 1905: Les Principes des Mathematiques: avec un appendice sur la philosophie des mathématiques de Kant. This has been reprinted; the most recent edition I know of is: Paris: A. Blanchard, 1980.

In 1912 a compilation of various authors, Logik, came out in German. An English translation was subsequently published:

Logic, by Arnold Ruge, Wilhelm Windelband, Josiah Royce, Louis Couturat, Benedetto Croce, Federigo Enriques and Nicolaj Losskij; translated by B. Ethel Meyer. London: Macmillan, 1913. x, 269 p.

Of recent vintage is the publication of this important correspondence:

Correspondance sur la philosophie, la logique et la politique, 1897-1913 par Bertrand Russell, avec Louis Couturat ; édition et commentaire par Anne-Françoise Schmid ; transcription et notes sur la langue internationale par Tazio Carlevaro. Paris : Kimé, 2001. 2 v. (734 p.)

Carlevaro is an Esperantist, a co-author of Esperanto en Perspektivo (1974).

Couturat's correspondence with Giuseppe Peano (important mathematician and creator of the language Latino Sine Flexione) has been published (letters in French with introduction in Italian):

Carteggio: 1896-1914. Giuseppe Peano, Louis Couturat; a cura di Erika Luciano e Clara Silvia Roero. Firenze : L.S. Olschki, 2005. lxix, 254 p.

An important conference proceedings (with bibliography) came out in 1983:

L'oeuvre de Louis Couturat: (1868-1914) : ... de Leibniz à Russell. Paris: Presses de l'Ecole Normale Supérieure, 1983. 130 p. Contents:
Actualité de Couturat / Maurice Loi -- Leçon inaugurale au Collège de France / Louis Couturat -- Couturat et la conception kantienne de la géométrie / Mario Laserna -- Couturat et la critique des conceptions du temps et ses contemporains Lechalas, Bergson, Evellin / Hervé Barreau -- Louis Couturat et Georg Cantor / Pierre Dugac -- Une remarque sur le problème de la subalternation dans "La logique de Leibniz" de Louis Couturat / Franz Schupp -- Philosophie et science dans la pensée de Louis Couturat / Ubaldo Sanzo -- La correspondance inédite Couturat-Russell / Anne-François Schmid -- Louis Couturat et les mathématiques de son époque / Jean Dieudonnée -- Un promoteur des recherches interdisciplinaires / Alexandre Giuculescu.
The Wikipedia entry contains links to other bibliographies as well as additional references. Aside from other philosophical, mathematical, and logical work, Couturat produced further publications on Ido and international languages.


Ralph Dumain said...

Histoire de la Langue Universelle troviĝas miareteje en PDF-formato.

Ĝi troviĝas ankaŭ diversformate ĉe arkivo de Canadian Libraries.

Elektitaj ĉapritroj aperas HTML-formate ĉe retejo de James Chandler.

Anonymous said...

Bona artikolo, sed Tazio Carlevaro estis tiom Idisto kiom Esperantisto. (Li lernis unue Idon.)