Chapter

Material Structure and Calculating Machines

Kurt Smith

in Matter Matters

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199583652
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723155 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583652.003.0012
Material Structure and Calculating Machines

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In this chapter it is shown how Leibniz and others in the period understood bodies to be mathematically informed (structured). This led to their designing and constructing calculating machines—the operations of mathematics being inherent in the manipulation of bodies. The chapter considers how Ramond Lull's combinatorial machines may have inspired both Descartes and Leibniz. And, the chapter shows how John Napier's famous calculating machines, the slide rule and the ‘bones’ worked.

Keywords: Lull; Napier; calculating machine; logarithm

Chapter.  6934 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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