Sunday, January 23, 2011

Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence #2 -

"Lingua Cosmica." A language for extraterrestrial communication developed by Hans Freudenthal, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Utrecht. Details of it are presented in Freudenthal's book1 published in the Netherlands in 1960.

LINCOS represents an extension of the logistic language of mathematics developed by Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell. It is intended to be conveyed by unmodulated radio signals of varying duration and wavelength which represent phonemes. The signals would be combined to make up concepts or words.

Lancelot Hogben, who himself described a code for communication with alien intelligence, called Astraglossa, discussed Freudenthal's work.

Chapter III: Behaviour

3 00 1. For the time being it would be premature to try to describe 
human behaviour by a system of general rules like the mathematical 
and chronometric rules of the preceding chapters and some of the 
mechanical laws of the next chapter.  Instead we shall show behavior 
by quasi-regular examples, from which the receiver may derive as 
many general behaviour rules as he pleases.
3 00 2. As the program events are to display behaviour, it is necessary
for at least part of them to be acts, i.e. caused by persons. 
Our Lincos vocabulary is still far from sufficient for introducing the 
bodies of the acting persons.  So the only kind of act that can be displayed 
immediately is the act of speaking.  The Lincos word that designates this 
activity, is written Inq (fL inquit = says). The terrestrial reader should
guard against a too narrow interpretation of this 'Inq'. 
In the present chapter the physical background of the Inq-events,
whether it be accoustical or optical or tactile or anything else, will remain undiscernable.
3 00 3. The names of the dramatis personae will be written Ha, Hb, Hc,
 and so on.  In due course we will state that these persons are
 members of the set called Hom (fL homo = man) in written Lincos.

3 00 4. Our theatre is still incomplete.  Besides persons and acts a third
 thing is needed.  We have been able to build a vocabulary of
 mathematics without valuating our propositions.  We had only to
 confine ourselves to true propositions.  The falsehood of 1=2 could
 be formulated as 1<>2.  Yet we cannot show behaviour by good
 actions only.  We must stage bad ones too, if we wish to condemn
 them.  We have to create a vocabulary that contains words meaning
 "good" and "bad" and intermediate valuations.
   To begin with, we shall stick to two values.  Of course they
 cannot be 'Ver' and 'Fal', which are values of propositions.  What
 we wish to valuate are acts, not propositions.  (We are not here
 considering value-judgements of esthetics.)
   Our valuating words will be written Ben (fL bene = well) and
 Mal (fL male = badly).  They mean "good" and "bad" respectively.
LINCOS: Design of a Language for Cosmic Intercourse Hans Freudenthal
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