Did Charles Babbage ever read Leibniz on logic?
November 3, 2013 5:02 PM   Subscribe

Charles Babbage was a prominent member of the Analytical Society, and was at the very least intimately familiar with Leibniz's formulation of calculus. But did he ever read Leibniz's writings on logic? Did the Ars Combinatoria, or any of his writings on the "universal characteristic" or "calculus ratiocinator" influence Babbage's thinking about computation?
posted by wobdev to Society & Culture (1 answer total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
It looks like, from your second link, Leibniz's writings on logic weren't really recognized as being precursors to formal logic (and having a common uniting thread beyond just enabling calculus) until they were collected in 1840 by Erdmann. Babbage first described the Analytical Engine in 1837.

My guess would be that he encountered some of those writings anyway due to his interest in Leibnizian calculus, and that they probably influenced his work in some ways, but he likely would have thought of them more as part of the framework of calculus and not necessarily as being about broader principles of logic/computation.
posted by kagredon at 11:47 PM on November 3, 2013

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