chapter  VI
16 Pages

William Ockham and Mental Language

In many different connections throughout his whole oeuvre, William Ockham puts forward the program of an ideal mental language. This language is presented as a universal representative system in which all thinking takes place and which lies at the background of all communication. In addition to people, it is used by all possible thinking beings, angels as well as the God. Most obviously, Ockham would have supposed machines to use this language as well, if he had presented fantasies of thinking machines. Also, Ockham clearly thought that everything that can be expressed in any language could also be expressed in the mental language. This is because all expressions of the spoken languages are subordinate to expressions of mental language, so that all meanings of spoken words are derivative upon those of mental terms. My claim in this chapter is that not only everything that there is in the world, but also everything true or false that can be said about the world, can be expressed in this language.