Rafael Kaufmann
Sat May 18 18:56:02 2002 wrote:
> >
> > My understanding of computer systems and programming is largely philosophical
> > and metaphysical, rather than mathematical in the formal sense of the word,
> > and I am more informed in the realm of yoga philosophy / social evolution
> > than strict computer science. I hope I can still make some kind of valuable
> Metaphysical computer systems and programming is a new thing to me: computers
> are quite firmly in the realm of the logical.  Perhaps you would care to
> elaborate?

A wild guess at what Jeremy means: Kurzweil's book, Moravec's book,
maybe "GEB". I think I know where he's standing. His use of the phrase
"mathematical in the formal sense of the word" makes my old positivist
self yell, scream and want to shove sharp pointy weapons into people.
But that's my old self, and Jeremy seems to be well-intentioned, and
open to learning. (i.e., not a self-important wacko.)

I don't know how the rest of the "collective" stands; I would probably
sustain that non-technical understanding of computer systems and
programming is no understanding at all; Plato's years trying to
understand the nature of matter didn't qualify him to build or operate a
scanning tunneling microscope. Unfortunately, the blend of practical
experience and theoretical analysis that one might call "understanding
computer systems" is, AFAIK, very hard to learn, even in CS departments.
Thus, my best, humble recommendation to Jeremy is Knuth's "The Art of
Computer Programming"; with apologies to the angry mob of computer
scientists which will doubtlessly try to kill me at about any moment, I
claim that there is no book about computing theory from a declarative
point of view that targets people with some knowledge of programming and
basic math and logic, as Knuth does.

-- Kaufmann

P.S.: I am personally offended by the suggestion that I belong to some
kind of hive mind, but I shall let that pass for the moment.