Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Computer Revolution as a Switch to Imperative Descriptions

In their book "The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs", Abelson and Sussman write:

The computer revolution is a revolution in the way we think and in the way we express what we think. The essence of this change is the emergence of what might best be called procedural epistemology--the study of the structure of knowledge from an imperative point of view, as opposed to the more declarative point of view taken by classical mathematical subjects.
I agree, and I'd say the declarative point of view is common to a lot more than just classical mathematics. I think it's an important advance, but one that most people haven't caught up on yet. For example, in the context of my PhD research, I think the reason people get stuck when they try and undersatnd information is because they're stuck in delcarative approaches to it.

I came across this quote in Quotations for Learning and Programming.

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