Palacký University, Olomouc,
graduated 1969, PhDr. 1988
Born in Seninka
near Vsetín, he undertook studies in English philology
and in 1969 he graduated at the Faculty of Arts of the
He has published books in Czech and English on mathematical and comparative linguistics, historical poetics, literary history, literary theory, humanities, semantics, theoretical mathematics and philosophy. From 1990 he acts as the editor-in-chief of Urania Publishers devoted to theoretical publications in humanities and cultural sciences. He also conducts editing the scepticist website Democritus Association oriented against the wave of pseudoscientific irrationality in academic studies.
In his youth he cooperated with the painter Jan Kratochvíl (1941–1997) and founded a literary group engaged in writing dramas of the so-called “stageless theatre with two opposed auditoria“. In their vanguard performance A Play at Jesus (1967) they anticipated scenic reforms reinforced independently by Peter Handke’s project of “total theatre”. They developed the poetics of Breughel’s humoristic realism and Bosch’s philosophy of robotic homunculi influencing also movies directed by Miloš Forman and Jaroslav Papoušek. Their artistic direction drew from instigations of contemporary artistic movements such as New Figuration, conceptualism, hyperrealism and pop-art. Besides they worked on a joint project of ‘categorematics’ endeavouring to render a formal axiomatisation of art theory employing ideas of Kenneth Pike and Noam Chomsky.
In the 1970s and 1980s their efforts culminated by formulating the Manifesto of Proprealism (from French réalisme propre, 1981). It enthused experimental poetry in the wake of Velemir Khlebnikov and Edoardo Sanguineti fascinating by broken verse with dynamically eruptive proclamations. Since the 1980s Bělíček has engaged in movements of ecological environmentalism and written larger epic compositions bringing tidings of catastrophic balladics. Their genre got settled on a sort of civilisation epic in the track of Walt Whitman, T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. Each poem put on the appearance of a report on the present-day state of civilisation at the end of the last millennium. Despite murky moods his poetry and prose never lost a sense of black humour peculiar to Menippean satire.
Since the late 1960s Bělíček worked on papers concerning transformational grammar, generative semantics and generative poetics. The greatest influences were G. Lakoff’s generative semantics and E. H. Bendix’s componential analysis of general vocabulary. Their impact was strengthened also by incentives of G. N. Leech’s semantics and D. A. Wilkins’s project of Notional Syllabus. In their honour he founded the language-training institute Wilkins Language School in 1990. The first results of his enquiries were stored in the work Handbook of English Semantics (1988) designed for postgraduate students of mathematics. Its outline took ripe shape in the theoretical study English Semantics (2005) rendering an integrated algebraic system rewriting texts in natural languages into categorical symbols and enabling their reformulation in different types of styles and utterances. The algebraic description of the English word-stock was complemented by an integral formalisation of grammar. His theory defined syntactic theory in formal transformations and semantic equations as follows:
to learn = to begin to know = cease not to know
to remember = to continue to know = not to forget
to forget = to cease to know = to begin not to know
Such an apparatus provided a powerful tool of deciphering, rewriting and restructuring texts in natural languages. It employed algebraic symbols with diacritics denoting several types of negation: dual negation in veil – unveil or go – stay, quadral negation in must – may (modal logic), make – let (causative logic), certainty – possibility (epistemic logic), learn – remember (cognitive logic) or begin – continue (phasal logic) and octal negation in shall – will or want – agree. Its wide applications are seen in organising data-bases and semantic programming (Prolog, SOP,).
From 1991 he coordinated a grant on programming in natural languages whose output was a series of software appliances that executed tasks assigned in commands such as “Draw a small yellow triangle and put it into the right upper corner of the desktop.” His method of decomposing English vocabulary and the algebraisation of English grammar is referred to as notional calculus, algebraic semantics or conceptual logic. It developed ideas of R. Carnap, C. I. Lewis and W. Quine concerning modal logic but translated their achievements into the formal models of relational algebras.
Since the early 1970s Pavel Bělíček has undertaken enquiries into the classification and morphology of literary and cultural trends. The first output was an outline of the evolutionary genesis of genres of oral folklore given in his Historická poetika and its first volume Poetika folklóru (2001). It traced the origins of prehistoric folktales, hymns and songs from aboriginal and prehistoric tribes and arrived at the conclusion that their cultural mythology had developed in at least four large ethnic stocks due to plant-gatherers and agriculturalists, hunters and pastoralists, nomadic fishermen and Lapponoid (Pygmoid) tribes. An accomplished systematics of the comparative classification of literary trends and prosodic foundations of poetic versification was proposed in three volumes of his Encyklopedie soustavné literární vědy (2011). Its scope concerned all literatures and prosodic traditions all over the world and formulated general outlines of human ‘prosodogenesis’ and ‘poetogenesis’. His results will appear in the forthcoming literary encyclopaedia Systematic Poetics I-III written in English.
His primary interest was in English and American literature but as a graduated Bohemist he devised also a four-volumed compendium Dějiny české literatury v statistických grafech a tabulkách (2011). These extensive studies were all appended by detailed chronological timelines of recapitulating a statistic evaluation of literary trends counted according to the number of genres of literary artworks during every year. This statistic method made it possible to discover the dependency of cultural styles in literature, religion, philosophy upon standard cycles of market development. In analogy to researches of econometry and Konjunkturforschung it could formulate “periodic laws” of literary and cultural development and lay rudimentary foundations of ‘cultural ideometry’ and ‘poetometry’. Parallel trends in philosophy and aesthetic thought were traced in his Dějiny literární estetiky I–III (2001, 2009) and A History of Classic Philosophy (1993). Such detailed chronological maps of literary and philosophical growth were arranged in fields of ancient Greek, Roman and medieval literature and in the history of English, American, French, German and Czech literary history. Their chief conclusion suggested that literary growth in most world literatures repeats successions of classicism, elegism, civilism, intimism, formalism, realism, traditionalism, spiritualism, esoterism and heroism in meaningful correlation to market booms. It revolves in circular vortices and helices driven by such gushes in the distribution of economic wealth as centralisation, consumerisation, privatisation and corporativisation. His ‘periodical tables’ and chronological maps make it possible to draft out a ‘systematic evolutionary taxonomy of literary and cultural species’ in a way similar to Mendeleev’s periodic tables of chemical elements.
Comparative Linguistics and Ethnology
Transition from systematic
biology to systematic culturology is undermined by wide
gaps yawning in the fields of anthropology, ethnology and comparative
linguistics. His interest in the Nostratic Hypothesis
led him to fill such gaps by comparing similar typological patterns in all
prehistoric sciences. The most reliable evidence was found in categories of Acheulian, Levalloisian, Mousterian or Gravettian
archaeology that have to correspond to the stocks of Bantoid,
Altaic, Europoid and Lapponoid
nations. His synthetic considerations resulted in publishing the voluminous
study Prehistoric Dialects I-II (2001), whose principal objective was to
sketch a comparative survey of all world language families and develop current
linguistic typology into an integral outline of human glottogenesis.
His theory of linguistic prehistory presupposes the growth of Levalloisian and Aurignacian flake-tool cultures into stocks of Tungusoid and Pelasgoid languages
and the dispersal of Magdalenian and Maglemosian microlith peoples into Turcoid, Khmeroid, Cimbroid and Hebroid language families. These tribes of nomadic fishermen had a brotherly moiety in Mousterian big-game
hunters who exhibited a similar type of Altaic agglutination. Their progeny
fell into branches of Scythoid, Abkhazoid
and Bascoid Megalith builders akin to the nationality
of Uraloid and Sarmatoid
languages. These flake-tool cultures were opposed by chopping-tools and
hand-axe industry elaborated by the equatorial races of plant-gatherers. Their
first wave gave rise to Bantu, Australian and Melanesian groups with a system
of prefixing classifiers and prenasalised stops
Bělíček conclusions corroborated the tenets of Nikolai Trubetzkoy’s Kettentheorie (chain theory) that refuted A. Schleicher’s and J. Schmidt’s ideas of large concentric realms of Ursprachen and confided in long-range linear typological chains documenting ancient colonisations. His linguistic genealogies were supported by toponymic studies tracking the distribution of tribal ethnonyms in close relation to archaeological migrations. Detailed maps of tribal prehistoric routes made it possible to found a new subdiscipline of toponymy called ‘linguistic archaeology’.
Pavel Bělíček has never been a member of a political party but he cannot help joining the side of rational evolutionary science in its strife with pseudoscientific irrationality. The latter looms as a tremendous menace in fundamentalism that does not flourish in Islamism but thrives on all continents. His comparative tables of western and eastern European literatures demonstrate that their countries had different political regimes and but exhibited a parallel development in similar cultural styles and patterns. His brosures developed an integral typology of social ideas denoted as ‘systematic ideology’. His brosures Postmoderní krize humanitních věd a úkoly jejich obnovy (2004) and Postmodern Irrationalism (2005) are conceived as Carl Jaspers’s Psychologie der Weltanschauungen (1921) and propose a systematic diagnostics of diseases of in scientific methodology. Their subtitle An Outline of the Systematic Psychopathology of Mental Disorders in Scientific Thought indicates that science is subdued to the same pressures of social ideology as morals, fashions and political views. The best antidote to extremist fundamentalism is provided by a detailed scientific diagnostics of all ideological currents.
literary pseudonyms Martin Kobalt and Josef Vodvaz