Kromhout: Translation – Order, locate → code, decode (Session 4)

As I think they are quite significant, I thought it might be nice to publish my tentative translation of the last two paragraphs of this chapter, page 155/156:

“Very generally, one could say that Spanish mathematics never combined the codification of addresses and the codification of signals into one science. The universal methods of Wilkins and Hooke, however, precisely originated from the combination of signal coding and address coding. Even more so: they are based on nothing but the identification of signal coding with address coding. The code through which a message is encrypted is at the same time the address at which the message is stored and can be found. Ars inveniendi – or Algebra – is at the same time Ars dechiffrendi

            In Hookes Philosophical Algebra the algebraic or crypto-analytical Ars inveniendi meets the imperial knowledge of instruments and colonial cosmography. Vieta’s Algebra (conveyed through Descartes’ analytical geometry and his interpretation of “Algebra” as a Mathesis universalis) is connected as a code with, firstly, practical knowledge about the construction of instruments (in Micrographia, Hooke compares himself with instrument makers instead of with the “great philosophers”; for his contemporaries he was the “greatest mechanick this day in the world.”) and secondly, with a “discourse that determines, describes and confirms facts,” which had its roots in the colonial-bureaucratic inquisitio (and which imperial features, still clearly visible with Bacon, were to be humanized into the idea of world peace by Comenius).”

And, for what it’s worth, it might be useful – and fitting – to also add my schematic rendition of this last paragraph, without all those typically German subclauses and parentheses:In Hookes Philosophical Algebra...


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