[Haskell-cafe] Re: Channel9 Interview: Software Composability and theFu ture of Languages

Bill Wood william.wood3 at comcast.net
Wed Jan 31 05:27:47 EST 2007

On Wed, 2007-01-31 at 08:45 +0000, Magnus Therning wrote:
   . . .
> Nneither way may be "natural", but imperative thinking is extremely
> common in society, I'd say much more than "functional" thinking.  Just
> think of cooking recipes, IKEA instructions, all the algorithms tought
> in math classes in grade school.  I doubt that we'll ever see functional
> thinking tought alongside imperative thinking in lower grades in school.
> It could even be that the development of the human brain as we
> grow up reaches a state where it can handle imperative thinking before
> it can handle functional thinking (I bet there's a reason why astronauts
> have step-wise instructions rather than a set of "functions").
> All I'm trying to say is that imperative thinking is so common outside
> of CS/math and we learn it so early on in life that we probably can
> consider it the "natural thinking way".

I think you're quite right here.  There's a reason that so much of
Artificial Intelligence research dealt with Planning, Procedural
Knowledge, and Temporal Reasoning.  The so-called "Frame Problem" would
not have been such a research topic if it weren't for the importance
that many researchers placed on reasoning about state change.

On the other hand work on declarative knowledge focused on taxonomic
hierarchies and semantic nets, which dealt mostly with structural
knowledge.  A common view was that the two sorts of knowledge
complemented each other, and corresponded in a natural way to intuitions
(and some epistemological theory) about human reasoning.

 -- Bill Wood

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