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Python for philosophers

 
 
Citizen Kant
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      05-11-2013
Hi,
this could be seen as an extravagant subject but that is not my original
purpose. I still don't know if I want to become a programmer or not. At
this moment I'm just inspecting the environment. I'm making my way to
Python (and OOP in general) from a philosophical perspective or point of
view and try to set the more global definition of Python's core as an
"entity". In order to do that, and following Wittgenstein's indication
about that the true meaning of words doesn't reside on dictionaries but in
the use that we make of them, the starting question I make to myself about
Python is: which is the single and most basic use of Python as the entity
it is? I mean, beside programming, what's the single and most basic result
one can expect from "interacting" with it directly (interactive mode)? I
roughly came to the idea that Python could be considered as an *economic
mirror for data*, one that mainly *mirrors* the data the programmer types
on its black surface, not exactly as the programmer originally typed it,
but expressed in the most economic way possible. That's to say, for
example, if one types >>>1+1 Python reflects >>>2. When data appears
between apostrophes, then the mirror reflects, again, the same but
expressed in the most economic way possible (that's to say without the
apostrophes).

So, would it be legal (true) to define Python's core as an entity that
mirrors whatever data one presents to it (or feed it with) showing back the
most shortened expression of that data?

Don't get me wrong. I can see the big picture and the amazing things that
programmers write on Python, it's just that my question points to the
lowest level of it's existence.

Thanks a lot for your time.

 
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Gregory Ewing
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      05-12-2013
Citizen Kant wrote:
> I roughly came to the idea that Python could be
> considered as an *economic mirror for data*, one that mainly *mirrors*
> the data the programmer types on its black surface, not exactly as the
> programmer originally typed it, but expressed in the most economic way
> possible.


At best, this would be true only for a very small
subset of things that you can enter into the
interactive interpreter.

Even confining yourself to arithmetic expressions,
there are problems. Consider:

>>> 12**34

4922235242952026704037113243122008064L

The input is 6 characters long, and the output
is 37 characters long. Is that more "economical"?

--
Greg
 
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Steven D'Aprano
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      05-13-2013
On Sat, 11 May 2013 22:03:15 +0200, Citizen Kant wrote:

> Hi,
> this could be seen as an extravagant subject but that is not my original
> purpose. I still don't know if I want to become a programmer or not. At
> this moment I'm just inspecting the environment.


Towards what purpose?

Do you want to learn to program? If not, then why do you care about
Python programming? What do you aim to get out of this exercise?


> I'm making my way to
> Python (and OOP in general) from a philosophical perspective or point of
> view and try to set the more global definition of Python's core as an
> "entity".


What do you think "Python's core" means? What do you mean by "global
definition"? What is an "entity"?


> In order to do that, and following Wittgenstein's indication
> about that the true meaning of words doesn't reside on dictionaries but
> in the use that we make of them, the starting question I make to myself
> about Python is: which is the single and most basic use of Python as the
> entity it is?


Programming.

A programming language is an abstract system for performing computations.
Or, if you prefer simple English, programming. Programming is what
programming languages are for. That is *all* they are for.


> I mean, beside programming,


Your question pre-supposes a counter-factual. Namely that there exists
something *more fundamental* to programming that Python is for. One might
as well ask:

"Aside from driving screws, what is the single and most basic use of a
screwdriver?"

Just because you can pound a small nail into soft wood using the handle
of a screwdriver, does not mean that pounding nails is more fundamental
to the screwdriver than driving screws.


> what's the single and most
> basic result one can expect from "interacting" with it directly
> (interactive mode)?


For your purposes, what is so special about interactive mode that you
single it out in this way? Interactive mode is just like non-interactive
mode, only the user interacts directly with the compiler, instead of
indirectly.


--
Steven
 
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Ramchandra Apte
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      05-15-2013
On Sunday, 12 May 2013 01:33:15 UTC+5:30, Citizen Kant wrote:
> Hi,
> this could be seen as an extravagant subject but that is not my original purpose. I still don't know if I want to become a programmer or not. At this moment I'm just inspecting the environment. I'm making my way to Python (and OOP in general) from a philosophical perspective or point of view and try to set the more global definition of Python's core as an "entity". In order to do that, and following Wittgenstein's indication about that the truemeaning of words doesn't reside on dictionaries but in the use that we make of them, the starting question I make to myself about Python is: which isthe single and most basic use of Python as the entity it is? I mean, beside programming, what's the single and most basic result one can expect from "interacting" with it directly (interactive mode)? I roughly came to the idea that Python could be considered as an economic mirror for data, one thatmainly mirrors the data the programmer types on its black surface, not exactly as the programmer originally typed it, but expressed in the most economic way possible. That's to say, for example, if one types >>>1+1 Python reflects >>>2. When data appears between apostrophes, then the mirror reflects, again, the same but expressed in the most economic way possible (that's to say without the apostrophes).
> So, would it be legal (true) to define Python's core as an entity that mirrors whatever data one presents to it (or feed it with) showing back the most shortened expression of that data?
> Don't get me wrong. I can see the big picture and the amazing things thatprogrammers write on Python, it's just that my question points to the lowest level of it's existence.
> Thanks a lot for your time.

I expected some spam but this actually makes some sense.

 
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