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LULL'S ART

LULL, Ramon. Ars magna generalis et ultima... [Edited by Bernard de la Vinheta.] Lyons, Jacob Marechal for Simon Vincent, 5 May 1517.

Small 4to, ff. [4], 124; gothic letter; title and last preliminary leaf printed in red and black, title with large woodcut printer's device and strip ornament on two sides, 5 large woodcut diagrams, one with volvelles, smaller printer's device at end; an excellent copy in 17th century limp vellum.

Third edition, the first edited by the Lullist Bernard de Lavinheta (d. c. 1530), of the definitive Ars Magna, Lull's greatest contribution to science - his attempt to unify all knowledge into a single system.
"Lull invented an 'art of finding truth' which inspired Leibniz's dream of a universal algebra four centuries later... The most distinctive characteristic of [his] Art is clearly its combinatory nature, which led to both the use of complex semimechanical techniques that sometimes required figures with separately revolving concentric wheels - 'volvelles', in bibliographical parlance - and to the symbolic notation of its alphabet. These features justify its classification among the forerunners of both modern symbolic logic and computer science, with its systematically exhaustive consideration of all possible combinations of the material under examination, reduced to a symbolic coding... The Art's function as a means of unifying all knowledge into a single system remained viable throughout the Renaissance and well into the seventeenth century. As a system of logical inquiry, its method of proceeding from basic sets of pre-established concepts by the systematic exploration of their combinations - in connection with any question on any conceivable subject - can be succinctly stated in terms taken from the Dissertatio de arte combinatoria (1666) of Leibniz, which was inspired by the Lullian Art: 'A proposition is made up of subject and predicate; hence all propositions are combinations. Hence the logic of inventing [discovering] propositions involves solving this problem: 1. given a subject, [finding] the predicates; 2. given a predicate, finding the subjects [to which it may] apply, whether by way of affirmation or negation'" (R. D. F. Pring-Mill in the DSB, sub Lull).
The editor of this edition, the Franciscan Bernard de Lavinheta (d. c. 1530), was the greatest Lullist of the early 16th century. "Almost nothing is known of [his] background, nor even whether he was Spanish or French. We only know that before coming to Paris he taught at Salamanca. The brand of Lullism he brought there was that of the Lullist school of Barcelona and its interest in the Art. He was the first, as a trained theologian, to teach the Art at the University of Paris, thereby giving it the official sanction it had lacked for a century and a half. His publication of Lullian works at Lyon, Paris and Cologne in 1514-18 was very influential throughout Europe" (Anthony Bonner, Selected Works of Ramon Llull (Princeton University Press, 1985), vol. 1, p. 80).
Palau 143693; Rogent & Duran 65.

11000

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