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Context: ComputerScience, OnPhilosophy

Quora Answer : Which careers have their roots in both philosophy and technology?

Jan 27, 2014

I always say that software development is "applied metaphysics". In metaphysics you ask how the world is really organised. In software development you try to figure out the most convenient way of modeling the world for your application. is just the difference between identity and value in object orientation etc.

Quora Answer : Can Computer Science be explained in terms of philosophy, like science sometimes is?

May 18, 2014

There's a lot of overlap between CS and philosophy.

Some computer science (not all) is a kind of maths. And maths shares with philosophy that it's an abstract field, studying ideas in principle, independent of their empirical consequences. So, some CS is like some philosophy. In fact some core knowledge (eg. logic) is fundamental to both philosophy AND CS. (Truth Tables were invented by Wittgenstein for example.)

I call computer science "applied metaphysics" in the sense that metaphysicians ask how the world really IS. (What it's fundamentally made of. Not as in "atoms" but in terms of really abstract things like "substances" or "essences" or "properties" or "haccaeties") Computer scientists ask how the world is best "modelled" for our practical purposes : objects or relations? values or mutable structures? types? etc.

I wouldn't agree that physics or other sciences are reducable to philosophy (as in your lowest energy-state example). There's no reason to think that the empirically observed behaviour of the universe that we capture with laws has ANYTHING to do with our philosophical notions. Or rather, philosophy may or may not help us to frame hypothesis. But it doesn't EXPLAIN them. Our scientific theories are not true BECAUSE they correspond to philsophical analogies. They are true because of how the universe really is.

So, yes, there's a lot of parallels between CS and philosophy. People who are good at, and like the kind of thinking involved in, one tend to have good intuitions about the other, even if they've never trained in it.

OTOH, science isn't really a relevant comparison. Science doesn't have that relation with philosophy so the CS connection with philosophy is not "like science" in that sense.

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