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date: 30 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter sketches the challenges Leibniz faced in building a calculating machine for arithmetic, especially his struggle to coordinate with skilled artisans, surveys his philosophical remarks about such machines and the practical knowledge needed to make them, and recounts the eighteenth-century legacy of his failure to produce a machine understood to be adequately functional.

Keywords: Leibniz, calculating machine, Ollivier, labor history, practical knowledge, obscure and distinct knowledge, mechanical philosophy, political economy

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