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The philosophy of computer science

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2013)

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  1. Computer Science and Philosophy: Did Plato Foresee Object-Oriented Programming?Wojciech Tylman - 2018 - Foundations of Science 23 (1):159-172.
    This paper contains a discussion of striking similarities between influential philosophical concepts of the past and the approaches currently employed in selected areas of computer science. In particular, works of the Pythagoreans, Plato, Abelard, Ash’arites, Malebranche and Berkeley are presented and contrasted with such computer science ideas as digital computers, object-oriented programming, the modelling of an object’s actions and causality in virtual environments, and 3D graphics rendering. The intention of this paper is to provoke the computer science community to go (...)
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  • What an Algorithm Is.Robin K. Hill - 2016 - Philosophy and Technology 29 (1):35-59.
    The algorithm, a building block of computer science, is defined from an intuitive and pragmatic point of view, through a methodological lens of philosophy rather than that of formal computation. The treatment extracts properties of abstraction, control, structure, finiteness, effective mechanism, and imperativity, and intentional aspects of goal and preconditions. The focus on the algorithm as a robust conceptual object obviates issues of correctness and minimality. Neither the articulation of an algorithm nor the dynamic process constitute the algorithm itself. Analysis (...)
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  • Computational Intention.Raymond Turner - 2020 - Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 63 (1):19-30.
    The core entities of computer science include formal languages, spec-ifications, models, programs, implementations, semantic theories, type inference systems, abstract and physical machines. While there are conceptual questions concerning their nature, and in particular ontological ones, our main focus here will be on the relationships between them. These relationships have an extensional aspect that articulates the propositional connection between the two entities, and an intentional one that fixes the direction of governance. An analysis of these two aspects will drive our investigation; (...)
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  • Why Separation Logic Works.David Pym, Jonathan M. Spring & Peter O’Hearn - 2019 - Philosophy and Technology 32 (3):483-516.
    One might poetically muse that computers have the essence both of logic and machines. Through the case of the history of Separation Logic, we explore how this assertion is more than idle poetry. Separation Logic works because it merges the software engineer’s conceptual model of a program’s manipulation of computer memory with the logical model that interprets what sentences in the logic are true, and because it has a proof theory which aids in the crucial problem of scaling the reasoning (...)
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  • Computers Are Syntax All the Way Down: Reply to Bozşahin.William J. Rapaport - 2019 - Minds and Machines 29 (2):227-237.
    A response to a recent critique by Cem Bozşahin of the theory of syntactic semantics as it applies to Helen Keller, and some applications of the theory to the philosophy of computer science.
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  • Children at Play: Thoughts About the Impact of Networked Toys in the Game of Life and the Role of Law.Ulrich Gaspar - 2018 - International Review of Information Ethics 27.
    Information communication technology is spreading fast and wide. Driven by convenience, it enables people to undertake personal tasks and make decisions more easily and efficiently. Convenience enjoys an air of liberation as well as self-expression affecting all areas of life. The industry for children's toys is a major economic market becoming ever more tech-related and drawn into the battle for convenience. Like any other tech-related industry, this battle is about industry dominance and, currently, that involves networked toys. Networked toys aim (...)
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  • The Ethics of Algorithms: Mapping the Debate.Brent Mittelstadt, Patrick Allo, Mariarosaria Taddeo, Sandra Wachter & Luciano Floridi - 2016 - Big Data and Society 3 (2).
    In information societies, operations, decisions and choices previously left to humans are increasingly delegated to algorithms, which may advise, if not decide, about how data should be interpreted and what actions should be taken as a result. More and more often, algorithms mediate social processes, business transactions, governmental decisions, and how we perceive, understand, and interact among ourselves and with the environment. Gaps between the design and operation of algorithms and our understanding of their ethical implications can have severe consequences (...)
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  • The Bit (and Three Other Abstractions) Define the Borderline Between Hardware and Software.Russ Abbott - 2019 - Minds and Machines 29 (2):239-285.
    Modern computing is generally taken to consist primarily of symbol manipulation. But symbols are abstract, and computers are physical. How can a physical device manipulate abstract symbols? Neither Church nor Turing considered this question. My answer is that the bit, as a hardware-implemented abstract data type, serves as a bridge between materiality and abstraction. Computing also relies on three other primitive—but more straightforward—abstractions: Sequentiality, State, and Transition. These physically-implemented abstractions define the borderline between hardware and software and between physicality and (...)
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  • Proofs Versus Experiments: Wittgensteinian Themes Surrounding the Four-Color Theorem.G. D. Secco - 2017 - In Marcos Silva (ed.), How Colours Matter to Philosophy. Cham: Springer. pp. 289-307.
    The Four-Colour Theorem (4CT) proof, presented to the mathematical community in a pair of papers by Appel and Haken in the late 1970's, provoked a series of philosophical debates. Many conceptual points of these disputes still require some elucidation. After a brief presentation of the main ideas of Appel and Haken’s procedure for the proof and a reconstruction of Thomas Tymoczko’s argument for the novelty of 4CT’s proof, we shall formulate some questions regarding the connections between the points raised by (...)
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  • When Logic Meets Engineering: Introduction to Logical Issues in the History and Philosophy of Computer Science.Liesbeth De Mol & Giuseppe Primiero - 2015 - History and Philosophy of Logic 36 (3):195-204.
  • A Vindication of Program Verification.Selmer Bringsjord - 2015 - History and Philosophy of Logic 36 (3):262-277.
    Fetzer famously claims that program verification is not even a theoretical possibility, and offers a certain argument for this far-reaching claim. Unfortunately for Fetzer, and like-minded thinkers, this position-argument pair, while based on a seminal insight that program verification, despite its Platonic proof-theoretic airs, is plagued by the inevitable unreliability of messy, real-world causation, is demonstrably self-refuting. As I soon show, Fetzer is like the person who claims: ‘My sole claim is that every claim expressed by an English sentence and (...)
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  • Explaining Engineered Computing Systems’ Behaviour: The Role of Abstraction and Idealization.Nicola Angius & Guglielmo Tamburrini - 2017 - Philosophy and Technology 30 (2):239-258.
    This paper addresses the methodological problem of analysing what it is to explain observed behaviours of engineered computing systems, focusing on the crucial role that abstraction and idealization play in explanations of both correct and incorrect BECS. First, it is argued that an understanding of explanatory requests about observed miscomputations crucially involves reference to the rich background afforded by hierarchies of functional specifications. Second, many explanations concerning incorrect BECS are found to abstract away from descriptions of physical components and processes (...)
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  • Computer Science as Immaterial Formal Logic.Selmer Bringsjord - 2020 - Philosophy and Technology 33 (2):339-347.
    I critically review Raymond Turner’s Computational Artifacts – Towards a Philosophy of Computer Science by placing beside his position a rather different one, according to which computer science is a branch of, and is therefore subsumed by, immaterial formal logic.
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