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Reckoning with Matter
Author: Matthew L. Jones

ISBN: 9780226411460
Format: Hardcover
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 17 October 2016
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.54
Reckoning with Matter tells the story of early modern European calculating machines, from the early attempts of Blaise Pascal in the 1640s through Charles Babbage's efforts of the 1820s to 40s. All failed spectacularly. By exploring these failed technologies, Matthew L. Jones tracks diverse forms of technical life-different social arrangements of practitioners, different legal conceptions of the ownership of work and ideas, and different philosophical conceptions of knowledge and skill. Philosophers, engineers, and craftspeople wrote about their distinctive competencies, about technical novelty, and about the best way to coordinate their efforts, and drawing on these remarkably well-preserved records, Jones reveals the concrete processes of imagining, elaborating, testing, and building key components for calculating machines. By highlighting the makers and their conceptions of invention right up to the instauration of modern patent regimes and the solidification of the concept of Romantic genius, Jones argues that these conceptions of creativity and of making are often more incisive-and more honest-than those still dominating our own legal, politica...

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