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Posted 23 January 2000 - 01:38 AM
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.
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Posted 23 January 2000 - 06:56 AM
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.)
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Posted 24 January 2000 - 08:59 AM
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Posted 25 January 2000 - 05:21 AM
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
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Posted 25 January 2000 - 06:57 PM
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Posted 25 January 2000 - 07:21 PM
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.
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Posted 25 January 2000 - 07:25 PM
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.