Recipes, Algorithms, and Programs
- Carol E. Cleland
- … show all 1 hide
Purchase on Springer.com
$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.
In the technical literature of computer science, the concept of an effective procedure is closely associated with the notion of an instruction that precisely specifies an action. Turing machine instructions are held up as providing paragons of instructions that "precisely describe" or "well define" the actions they prescribe. Numerical algorithms and computer programs are judged effective just insofar as they are thought to be translatable into Turing machine programs. Nontechnical procedures (e.g., recipes, methods) are summarily dismissed as ineffective on the grounds that their instructions lack the requisite precision. But despite the pivotal role played by the notion of a precisely specified instruction in classifying procedures as effective and ineffective, little attention has been paid to the manner in which instructions "precisely specify" the actions they prescribe. It is the purpose of this paper to remedy this defect. The results are startling. The reputed exemplary precision of Turing machine instructions turns out to be a myth. Indeed, the most precise specifications of action are provided not by the procedures of theoretical computer science and mathematics (algorithms) but rather by the nontechnical procedures of everyday life. I close with a discussion of some of the rumifications of these conclusions for understanding and designing concrete computers and their programming languages.
- Biuso, Julia (1997), Italian Cooking, Newport Beach: C.J. Publishing.
- Cleland, Carol E. (1993). ‘Is the Church-Turing Thesis True?’, Minds and Machines 3, pp. 283–212.
- Cleland, Carol E (1995), ‘Effective Procedures and Computable Functions’, Minds and Machines 5, pp. 9–23.
- Colburn, Timothy (1999), ‘Software, Abstraction, and Ontology’, The Monist 82, pp. 3–19.
- Copeland, Jack (1998) ‘Turing's O-machines, Searle, Penrose and the Brain,’ Analysis 58.2, pp. 129–131.
- Fetzer, James (1988), ‘Program Verification: The Very Idea’, Communications of the ACM 32, pp. 1048–1063.
- Fetzer, James (1991), 'Philosophical Aspects of Program Verification? 'Minds and Machines 1 pp. 197–216.
- Goodman, Nelson (1983), Fact, Fiction and Forecast, Cambridge: Harvard University.
- Hennie, Fred (1977), Introduction to Computability, Reading: Addison-Wesley.
- Kripke, S. A. (1982), Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language, Oxford: Blackwell.
- Minsky, Marvin (1967), Computation: Finite and Infinite Machines, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.
- Smith, N. K., trans., Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (V, 1), New York: St. Martins.
- Turing, Alan (1939), ‘Systems of Logic based on Ordinals’, Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society series 2, 45, pp. 161–228.
- Recipes, Algorithms, and Programs
Minds and Machines
Volume 11, Issue 2 , pp 219-237
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers
- Additional Links
- computer program
- effective procedure
- precisely specified instruction
- quotidian procedure
- Turing machine
- Industry Sectors
- Carol E. Cleland (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Philosophy & Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA