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Efficient CausationA History$
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Tad M. Schmaltz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199782185

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199782185.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 November 2021



Reason, Calculating Machines, and Efficient Causation

(p.192) Reflection
Efficient Causation

Matthew L. Jonesp

Oxford University Press

Calculating machines around 1700 served as something “good to think with” in the major early modern debate about what sorts of causes were philosophically licit in explaining the creation and emergence of the ordinary phenomena of nature. The idea of such machines helped Leibniz and others to think through both the power and limitations of matter in motion as invoked in the mechanical philosophy and to distinguish sharply the appearance of reasoning in existing complex material systems from the initial creation of complex organizations of matter. Far from leading to atheism, from Leibniz to Babbage and Lovelace, the machine helped specify the necessity of divine origination of organized matter.

Keywords:   Babbage, calculating machines, Leibniz, Lovelace, mechanical philosophy, organized matter, reasoning

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