Metaphilosophy 41 (3):345-364 (2010)

Abstract
Abstract: Laws of computer science are prescriptive in nature but can have descriptive analogs in the physical sciences. Here, we describe a law of conservation of information in network programming, and various laws of computational motion (invariants) for programming in general, along with their pedagogical utility. Invariants specify constraints on objects in abstract computational worlds, so we describe language and data abstraction employed by software developers and compare them to Floridi's concept of levels of abstraction. We also consider Floridi's structural account of reality and its fit for describing abstract computational worlds. Being abstract, such worlds are products of programmers' creative imaginations, so any "laws" in these worlds are easily broken. The worlds of computational objects need laws in the form of self-prescribed invariants, but the suspension of these laws might be creative acts. Bending the rules of abstract reality facilitates algorithm design, as we demonstrate through the example of search trees.
Keywords law  invariants  freedom  abstraction  computer science
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9973.2010.01631.x
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 51,304
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Method of Levels of Abstraction.Luciano Floridi - 2008 - Minds and Machines 18 (3):303-329.
Novum Organum.Francis Bacon, Peter Urbach & John Gibson - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):125-128.
Abstraction in Computer Science.Timothy Colburn & Gary Shute - 2007 - Minds and Machines 17 (2):169-184.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Object-Oriented Programming and Representation of Objects.Adam Drozdek - 2015 - Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 40 (1):293-302.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Laws, Chances and Properties.D. H. Mellor - 1990 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 4 (2):159 – 170.
Un-Making Artificial Moral Agents.Deborah G. Johnson & Keith W. Miller - 2008 - Ethics and Information Technology 10 (2-3):123-133.
The Reductionist Blind Spot.Russ Abbott - 2008 - Complexity 14 (5):10-22.
Abstraction in Computer Science.Timothy Colburn & Gary Shute - 2007 - Minds and Machines 17 (2):169-184.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-04-20

Total views
88 ( #104,649 of 2,330,100 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #254,915 of 2,330,100 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes