Recently I found some books in the domain "Philosophy of Computer Science." However, the majority of these books described how the logic and analytical philosophy can develop and understand computer science. So it's only one way around. But it's not vice versa in these books (by W. J.Rapaport and others) as I have noticed. I was wondering how impactful is CS to philosophy? Can I find any book on this topic?

I have a computer science background. While I was studying Computer Science I noticed a lot of analogies between these 2 domains (Philosophy and CS). Our brains behave like computers. Our thoughts are like threads. We have unconsciously algorithmic thinking when we want to give a solution to a problem. And there is the MVC pattern that we can find it anywhere in the world and describes in so many situations how it behaves. There is Test Driven paradigm and Event Driven paradigm. There are a lot of methodologies and concepts that can find correspondences in the real world.

I was determined to write a book "Computer Science principles applied to philosophy" to write about algorithmic thinking and design patterns in our world. The desire of the book is to elaborate on this topics. Karma for example is a software programe, while you haven't learned the lesson you repeat it. Karma is also asynchronous.

I didn't manage to finish it because I had some issues in my personal life.

Now I reconsider writing the book and I wonder if there is any on this topic and how impactful the topic is?

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    I think it depends on what you mean by philosophy. In my experience, professional analytic philosophers don't like computers very much, so I think the impact on American and British university philosophy departments hasn't been as great as it should be. On the other hand, in my experience theoretical computer scientists really love philosophy. Some of them (I'm thinking of Scott Aaronson and some logic professors I had in grad school) have written great stuff on the philosophical implications of theoretical computer science. Jan 13, 2018 at 21:48
  • in designing computer logic, we make use of Boolean algebra, truth tables, De Morgan's theorem, etc. which have their counterpart expressions in logic in philosophy. Jan 13, 2018 at 23:09
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    This essay is entirely on the subject: scottaaronson.com/papers/philos.pdf Jan 14, 2018 at 1:14
  • @StellaBiderman Thanks for the interesting link. You got anything similar for Kolmogorov/algorithmic complexity (as opposed to computational complexity)? Thanks.
    – user19423
    Jan 14, 2018 at 6:23
  • Interesting link @StellaBiderman.
    – Stefan P.
    Jan 14, 2018 at 7:20

1 Answer 1


Among professional philosophers, "philosophy of computer science" would typically be used to describe philosophical discussions of issues arising from computer science. Major examples here include what it would mean to say that computers are "intelligent", whether so-called "strong" artificial intelligence is possible, the use of computers in mathematics and empirical science, and the social impact of computer technology. There's also the metaphysics of computers and computing.

But it seems like your question is about the impact that computer science has had on philosophy. In other words, have philosophers taken up ideas developed in computer science, such as MVC architecture or the "test driven" vs. "event driven" paradigms? Here the answer is generally "no." The idea that cognition is computation (meaning, the manipulation of symbols according to formal, not-inherently-meaningful rules) has been important in philosophy of mind. Some logicians work across the disciplinary boundaries between philosophy, mathematical logic, and computer science. And a few philosophers of science construct agent-based simulations or use computational social science methods (looking at coauthor networks or using natural language processing, for example).

But these examples are exceptional. Not many professional philosophers have formal training in computer science, especially computer science that goes beyond the practices of software engineering. Also, many of the ideas developed in computer science have been developed specifically to describe and analyze computational phenomena — the way computers work. Many of these ideas may be too specialized to extrapolate to other kinds of phenomena (e.g., human minds; the link under "cognition is computation" is mostly about whether the idea of computation can be usefully extrapolated from computers to human minds).

You might think that I'm wrong here — that many ideas from computer science can indeed be extrapolated to the kinds of phenomena that philosophers are interested in. I don't want to discourage you from exploring the connections. However, I do want to encourage you to find a professional philosopher as a collaborator — someone who is familiar with the literature I've linked too above, and can help you avoid philosophical mistakes.

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    I think you mean, "...I don't want to discourage you from exploring the connections. ":) and, P.S., I notice you edited the op's question to correct some pretty minor grammatical gaffes. And I've seen lots of other people behaving similarly. Don't do that!!! Any writing course will teach you that a first draft is for getting down your ideas. That's what's important!!! Worrying about grammar at this stage is blatantly pedantic and non-creative. Maybe you're thinking your subsequent grammatical editing is warranted. But maybe, alternatively, that's not the image it projects.
    – user19423
    Jan 14, 2018 at 6:01
  • I will take your advice to find a proffesional philosopher as a collaborator.
    – Stefan P.
    Jan 14, 2018 at 7:28

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