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#1   Members   -  Reputation: 144

Posted 22 January 2000 - 11:52 PM

I''ve heard that philosophy is very good for programmers. I''ve heard that it helps you to think clearer and more logically. Does anyone here practice it. Can you tell me if it helps make you better. Thanks.

#2   Members   -  Reputation: 138

Posted 23 January 2000 - 01:38 AM

Well, you wouldn''t apply philosophy the same why you would apply physics, for example. It''s more of an abstract way of improving your thinking ability. In reality, it doesn''t just apply to programming. It applies to anything that requires a creative way of problem solving.

Philosophy can teach you how to look at a problem differently. People tend to get stuck into looking at every problem with a certain mindset. The ability to break out of this mindset can often open up new solutions to the problem. It''s really no different than working on a problem all day with no success, only to have the answer pop into your head just before you fall asleep.

Programming tends to be this strange marriage between science and art. You have to somehow balance psychotic analitical thinking with the creative side to see something new.

Personally, I have read some philosophy. Has it helped? Well, I don''t know. I would like to think it has, but it''s not like I was sitting there one night stuff with my 3D engine, read Dialogues of Plato, then figured it out. I don''t see how it could hurt, but it won''t work for everyone. I believe you have to be interested in it to get anything out of it.

#3   Members   -  Reputation: 270

Posted 23 January 2000 - 06:56 AM

(Ok, I''ll use the yin-yang icon too )

Philosophy is good for everyone. It''s good to know not only *what* you think, but *why* you think that.

"Philosophy: Who Needs It" by Ayn Rand

You don''t have to agree with all of Rand''s assertions to find this book incredibly useful.

Not sure it''ll help your programming or artwork, but it''ll you better define who *you* are.

(This has been a paid announcement for the Council to Promote a Liberal Arts education and 4-year College Degree.)

Samu Games

#4   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Posted 24 January 2000 - 08:59 AM

I think it helps a great deal. While I never took a class on it in school I have always been very much on the philosphical side. Programming can be tough and the ability to think and evaluate you''re problem from different angles and intelligently will aid you a lot.

#5   Members   -  Reputation: 128

Posted 24 January 2000 - 12:23 PM

Plus, there''s lots of nifty buzzwords that make you sound smart.

It''s a well known fact that programmers love nifty buzzwords.

Mason McCuskey
Spin Studios - home of Quaternion, 2000 GDC Indie Games Fest Finalist!

#6   Members   -  Reputation: 250

Posted 24 January 2000 - 12:49 PM

ethics are much more vital than philosophies.

put that in your yang & smoke it.

#7   Members   -  Reputation: 270

Posted 24 January 2000 - 02:03 PM

Ethics without a philosophy are the words of a parrot: mere mimicry.

Samu Games

#8   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Posted 25 January 2000 - 01:57 AM

Cogito ergo sum.
- I think, therefore I am.

Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum.
- I think that I think, therefore I think that I am.

- Sleepwalker

#9   Members   -  Reputation: 250

Posted 25 January 2000 - 05:17 AM

Descartes is having a beer in a bar. The bartender says, "Hey, would you like another beer?" Descartes replies, "I think not", and promptly disappears.

#10   Members   -  Reputation: 240

Posted 25 January 2000 - 05:21 AM

Following the "I think therefore I am" concept, does that mean that if I think more than most people, I'm more real?

I'd say that philosophy isn't just good for programmers, its good for anyone. There is a reason why most doctoral degrees are Ph.D.s - ultimately, almost everything boils down to philosophy!
My bachelor's degree (joint Law/Politics with honours) included a large philosophical component - and I think it was very useful to just about everything I was doing (and it still is useful). My Master's degree (Defense and Strategic Studies) was taken in a right-wing establishment that tended to dislike anything that couldn't be fired at a communist - and most of the people there suffered greatly from not having theoretical depth to support their conclusions. (I'll let you know if philosophy is important to my Ph.D. when I finish it!) So in my case, philosophy has been vitally important.
As for pure computer studies... its probably still a good idea to study it. Admittedly, its not got a lot to do with the immediate aspect of writing code and watching it run. On the other hand, it makes understanding the implications of AI/artificial life much more interesting. It can also give a broader angle on why things are important! So its not directly relevant, but its wonderful for rounding out an individual.

As for ethics without philosophy - and vice versa - bad idea. Ethics, without an understanding of the reasoning behind them, are meaningless. Likewise, a philosophy without an understanding of its ethical implications is also somewhat hollow. Just like Law degrees without a Jurisprudential Philosophy section are utterly pointless because they tell you to work with the letter of the law, rather than understanding it - so when the law changes, your degree is pretty worthless. For that matter, its a lot like a computer science course that concentrates on one low-level language - thereby ensuring that its students never learn very much "generic" material, such as structure, encapsulation, etc. - so when they decide its time to change language, they are effectively helpless.

Edited by - Bracket on 1/25/00 11:26:12 AM

#11   Members   -  Reputation: 144

Posted 25 January 2000 - 06:57 PM

I''m still in High School, and there isn''t any philosophy classes at my school. Is there any good books or internet resources which you people would know about, which could teach me about philosophy, and make me able tp apply it.


#12   Members   -  Reputation: 144

Posted 25 January 2000 - 06:57 PM

What does it envolve, I'm ready to study anything which would help with my programming and problem solving.

Edited by - bully on 1/26/00 12:59:43 AM

#13   Members   -  Reputation: 134

Posted 25 January 2000 - 07:21 PM

Get lots of books on critical thinking and common sense. Those will be your best tools through most of lifes trials and tribulations.

Critical Thinking: An Introduction to Reasoning
by Francis Watanabe Dauer




Check out this book (I think its out of print now, so you may have to buy it used). Its a brilliant textbook on teaching critical thinking. I learned a lot from it myself.


#14   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Posted 25 January 2000 - 07:25 PM

This is indeed a very interesting Topic

I have found that on certain days when I am in a bad mood or stessed out, I simply cannot solve problems and think rationally enough to avoid pulling my hair out.

Before I tackle a problem I always get my mind set right and usually I think a lot more laterally ( sp. ).

We are all capable of amazing things, provided we have the correct mindset.

I program at my best when I am happy and my mind is empty of problems and silly worries. Find your little burrow when you are programming your best, and try to replicate it.



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