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Matter MattersMetaphysics and Methodology in the Early Modern Period$
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Kurt Smith

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583652

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583652.001.0001

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Material Structure and Calculating Machines

Material Structure and Calculating Machines

(p.181) 11 Material Structure and Calculating Machines
Matter Matters

Kurt Smith (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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

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