<history of philosophy, biography> english mathematician (1792-1871). A century before the development of electronic computers, Babbage invented a mechanical "difference engine" for the calculation of arithmetical functions and set out plans for an "analytical engine" whose operation would have included logarithmic and trigonometric functions as well. Babbage's interest in the practical conduct of business led to an extensive commentary on the inefficiency of common practices in The Economy of Machinery and Manufactures (1832), Comparative View of the Various Institutions for the Assurance of Lives, and Reflections on the Decline of Science in England. Recommended Reading: Charles Babbage: Passages from the Life of a Philosopher, ed. by Martin Campbell-Kelly (Rutgers, 1994) and Bruce Collier and James MacLachlan, Charles Babbage and the Engines of Perfection (Oxford, 2000).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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