thoughts on the typesystem

Tom Novelli
Mon, 26 Apr 1999 19:10:17 -0400


	When you think about things in the real world do you classify them
	by what 'types' they are and aren't?

I have to bring this up because I was thinking about the purpose of a
type/object system.  I just want to represent things in the computer the
same way as I represent them in my head... or as close as possible.  And I'm
worried that our heads may be incompatible ;-)

I think we should all look at Cognitive Science research (and similar
sources) before we program our object system.  I say it should be based on
_ordinary_ human thought constructs, not mathematics or computer science.

Personally, the idea of a type/class system is pretty alien to me.  My world
consists of only 'objects'.  Some 'objects' are very concrete: pen, pencil,
keyboard, phone...  Others are more vague (abstract): writing implement,
thing, idea, Tunes :), letter, song...  All these 'objects' relate to one
another in different ways.  Who needs types when we have _relations_?  We
can say "a pencil _is_ a writing implement" or "a pen _is like_ a pencil" or
"2 _is not_ a letter".  As far as I know, that's how I represent things in
my head, and that's how other people do it too.  Does anyone here do it

If different peoples' minds are somewhat incompatible, we should find out
how they're the alike, and make our object system flexible enough to
accomodate everyone.  At the same time, it should accomodate computers, by
being fairly efficient... we might have to take shortcuts.

Tom Novelli <>