Artifice and the natural world: Mathematics, logic, technology

In K. Haakonssen (ed.), Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Philosophy. Cambridge University Press (2006)
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If Tahiti suggested to theorists comfortably at home in Europe thoughts of noble savages without clothes, those who paid for and went on voyages there were in pursuit of a quite opposite human ideal. Cook's voyage to observe the transit of Venus in 1769 symbolises the eighteenth century's commitment to numbers and accuracy, and its willingness to spend a lot of public money on acquiring them. The state supported the organisation of quantitative researches, employing surveyors and collecting statistics to..
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