Liebniz's design was the basis of the first successful mass produced mechanical calculator more than a century later:
He also wrote extensively on the concept of artificial languages and what we today recognize as Boolean algebra:
His work on these subjects was explicitly cited by Frege as the inspiration for his own seminal work on formal logic.
Martin Davis "The Universal Computer: The Road from Leibniz to Turing"
I'm working on an article about Norbert Wiener's cybernetic reading of Leibniz atm...
anything about Leibniz in there?
if i were to choose a patron saint for cybernetics out of the
history of science, i should have to choose leibniz. the
philosophy of leibniz centers about two closely related
concepts-that of a universal symbolism and that of a calculus of
reasoning. from these are descended the mathematical notation
and the symbolic logic of the present day. now, just as the
calculus of arithmetic lends itself to a mechanization
progressing through the abacus and the desk computing machine to
the ultra-rapid computing machines of the present day, so the
calculus ratiocinator of leibniz contains the germs of the
machina ratiocinatrix, the reasoning machine. indeed, leibniz
himself, like his predecessor pascal, was interested in the
construction of computing machines in the metal . it is therefore
not in the least surprising that the same intellectual impulse
which has led to the development of mathematical logic has at the
same time led to the ideal or actual mechanization of processes
Leibnitz, in the meantime, saw the whole world as a collection of
beings called "monads" whose activity consisted in the perception
of one another on the basis of a pre-established harmony laid
down by God, and it is fairly clear that he thought of this
interaction largely in optical terms. Apart from this perception,
the monads had no "windows," so that in his view all mechanical
interaction really becomes nothing more than a subtle consequence
of optical interaction. A preoccupation with optics and with
message, which is apparent in this part of Leibnitz's philosophy,
runs through its whole texture. It plays a large part in two of
his most original ideas: that of the Characteristica
Universalis, or universal scientific language, and that of the
Calculus Ratiocinator, or calculus of logic. This Calculus
Ratiocinator, imperfect as it was, was the direct ancestor of
modern mathematical logic. Leibnitz, dominated by ideas of
communication, is, in more than one way, the intellectual
ancestor of the ideas of this book, for he was also interested in
machine computation and in automata. My views in this book are
very far from being Leibnitzian, but the problems with which I am
concerned are most certainly Leibnitzian. Leibnitz's computing
machines were only an offshoot of his interest in a computing
language, a reasoning calculus which again was in his mind,
merely an extention of his idea of a complete artificial
language. Thus, even in his computing machine, Leibnitz's
preoccupations were mostly linguistic and communicational.
Wiener becomes preoccupied with Leibniz from his youth, writing philosophical entries for the Encyclopedia Americana which are like premonitions of his cybernetics.
He wasn't uncritical though, he especially attacked the pre-established harmony of monads. The argument I'm pursuing is that if you get rid of God, if you let monads actually intercommunicate, if you reinvent Leibniz's continuum of infinite confusion and infinite clarity of knowledge as entropy and information, you're pretty close to cybernetics.
I'll try to get my hands on human use of human beings, probably give cybernetics another run through too
I guess he's saying that symbolic reasoning can be performed automatically ("by a way of reckoning", in the sense of computation). He's advocating for the use of automatic symbolic manipulation as a way to enhance the capabilities of the human mind. That's, like, the soul of logic-based, symbolicist AI. You know - "GOFAI".
In 1679 he said it would take, "five years to complete project with a few select men." Famous last words...
On the other hand, so many brilliant minds have put in so much great work in this idea that it's just silly to let it die only because we're, well, stuck.