The essays included in the special issue dedicated to the philosophy of computer science examine new philosophical questions that arise from reflection upon conceptual issues in computer science and the insights such an enquiry provides into ongoing philosophical debates.
We examine the philosophical disputes among computer scientists concerning methodological, ontological, and epistemological questions: Is computer science a branch of mathematics, an engineering discipline, or a natural science? Should knowledge about the behaviour of programs proceed deductively or empirically? Are computer programs on a par with mathematical objects, with mere data, or with mental processes? We conclude that distinct positions taken in regard to these questions emanate from distinct sets of received beliefs or paradigms within the discipline: – The rationalist (...) paradigm, which was common among theoretical computer scientists, defines computer science as a branch of mathematics, treats programs on a par with mathematical objects, and seeks certain, a priori knowledge about their ‘correctness’ by means of deductive reasoning. – The technocratic paradigm, promulgated mainly by software engineers and has come to dominate much of the discipline, defines computer science as an engineering discipline, treats programs as mere data, and seeks probable, a posteriori knowledge about their reliability empirically using testing suites. – The scientific paradigm, prevalent in the branches of artificial intelligence, defines computer science as a natural (empirical) science, takes programs to be entities on a par with mental processes, and seeks a priori and a posteriori knowledge about them by combining formal deduction and scientific experimentation. We demonstrate evidence corroborating the tenets of the scientific paradigm, in particular the claim that program-processes are on a par with mental processes. We conclude with a discussion in the influence that the technocratic paradigm has been having over computer science. (shrink)
Objectives. To examine the potential association of human B19 or V9 erythrovirus infection and onset of ANCA‐positive vasculitides. Methods. We tested the sera of 13 adults with newly diagnosed ANCA‐positive vasculitides. Each was age‐ and sex‐matched to three sera obtained from healthy controls. All samples were tested for B19‐ and V9‐specific immunoglobulin G and IgM antibodies, and B19 or V9 DNA was sought with the polymerase chain reaction. Statistical analysis was performed by conditional logistic regression. Results. Patient diagnoses comprised six (...) cases of Wegener's granulomatosis, six of microscopic polyangiitis and one of Churg–Strauss syndrome. IgG Ab to B19 were detected equally in patient and control sera. All 13 cases and 39 controls were negative for IgM Ab and viral DNA. Conclusion. These results suggest that neither acute nor chronic B19 or V9 infection is an aetiological factor in ANCA‐associated vasculitides. (shrink)