Monday, October 30, 2006

Why programming gives you unique skills for understanding the world

Sketching....

Subjective elements in your understanding of something are just ways to gloss over the details how things actually happen. They’re a particular problem because we’re prone to unconsciously using them and they’re hard to spot.

Learning to program helps you develop important skills - in spotting and avoiding subjective elements. Subjective elements have no place in programming. You have to make things happen by writing a descripton that doesn't contain subjective elements.

You start with your picture of something, invariably containing subjective elements, and you have to make it into something fully concrete. The discipline of programming builds your ability to do this. You get better at spotting subjective elements in descriptions, and more agile at thinking of things and situations in terms of their concrete details.

When it comes to think about how things happen in the world, you may or not be able to think about the concrete details of what is going on, and how they bring it about, but you can certainly be better at spotting subjective glossing in descriptions of it.

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