Learning from Hume; or, Hume and Particle Physics

by Charlie Huenemann Philosophy students are typically taught the wrong lesson from the great Scottish skeptic David Hume. The standard story goes something like this. British empiricists like Locke and Berkeley wanted to connect everything we know to what we experience through the senses. The welcome consequence of this strategy is that all the stuff…

Leibniz’s Stepped Reckoner, and a clock for the next 10,000 years

by Charlie Huenemann In 1671, in some letters exchanged with the French mathematician Pierre de Carcavy, Leibniz mentioned his plans to create a calculating machine. Apparently, he had been inspired by a pedometer, probably thinking that if machines could count, they could then calculate. Within a couple of years, he hired a craftsman build a…