thoughts on the typesystem

RE01 Rice Brian T. EM2
Tue, 27 Apr 1999 06:23:45 -0800

> 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.
that's a great idea.  why don't we program everything in english, since it's
so natural?  oh, wait. then we'd have to make an entirely different system
for russians, or germans, or the eskimos, since their idea of human thoughts
might be different from ours.  the idea that _ordinary_ thought processes
are enough for computer systems is as ludicrous as saying that because COBOL
was closer to human language than any other of the early programming
languages, that it was therefore the best among them.

bottom line: it's against the ideas of utilitarianism (software re-use,
etc.) to try to "force" anyone's idea of common sense representations into a

> 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
> differently?
let's assume that we don't think differently, and that we make something
upon which everyone can agree.  have we accomplished the tunes goals?  i say
no.  i say that tunes should be dynamically extensible by any user in a
simple way _for any purpose_.  no system today even remotely approaches this

> 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.
wow!  i never thought of _that_ before!  let's hack together some
programming system / OS that just works.  i'll bet that no one has tried
that before.  (intentional sarcasm)