Posted: Mar 10, 2012 9:40 pm
by VazScep
think wrote:Can you give an example of a philosophical problem or question concerning which a computer program might facilitate our thinking?
How about a philosophical field? You don't get very far in philosophy of mind as a naturalist unless you start talking about computer programs and computer simulations.

I, for one, would be happy to wax philosophical about sense/reference, intension/extension, use/mention, referential opacity/transparency, context and identity (all of which are terms in philosophy of language) in the context of programming languages, where all those distinctions are present and have real consequences in terms of representation.

When it comes to logic, I'm happy to wax philosophical all day about the Curry-Howard isomorphism.

I'm also happy to wax philosophical and say that lambda abstraction really is about abstraction and abstract objects, and get involved in that whole problem of universals. I'll also add that the lambda calculus was originally intended as a foundation for mathematics, in the same sense as Russell and Whitehead's Principia Mathematica. The equational theory of typed lambda terms still does very well here, with the non-equational fragment serving as a model of computation.

I'm not willing to take any of this stuff seriously, but then my presence in the philosophy forum is highly questionable as it is anyway.