Philosophy of ICT and Islam

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Oct 29, 2013 (3 years and 5 months ago)

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Philosophy of ICT and

Islam


Lecture 1:

Philosophy of Science and Computing

Learning Outcomes



Understand
what the philosophy of science is
concerned with.


Appreciate important philosophical questions
in computer science

List of Topic



Philosophy of Science


Philosophical Questions in Computer Science


Protocol Architectures

Terminology



The Computer “A device that changes variable




assignment” Thomason (2003)



Philosophy of Science


We

are

not

concerned

in

this

context

to

deal

with

the

open
-
ended

questions

of

philosophy
.




Rather,

the

philosophical

issues

of

computer

science

and

in

particular

Islamic
-
related

issues

are

of

concern
.




Generally,

the

philosophy

of

science

tackles

issues

such

science

foundation,

science

limitations

and

requirements

for

scientific

progress
.




Philosophy of Science (con.)


Methodological

issues

to

develop

scientific

knowledge

are

also

of

concern
.




Philosophical

questions

such

as

what

is

a

law,

what

is

a

theory,

whether

scientific

results

are

objective

or

subjective

are

also

relevant
.




The

Philosophy

of

science

has

developed

since

the

1900
s

starting

from

the

proposition

that

scientific

knowledge

is

formed

from

experience

and

that

verifying

scientific

claims

is

required

Philosophy of Science (con.)


As

the

verification

of

many

phenomenons

proved

to

be

difficult

if

not

impossible,

in

1934
,

K
.

Popper

stated

that

there

could

not

be

a

way

to

prove

universal

truths

and

that

observations

can

be

used

to

falsify

scientific

claims
.




In

1962
,

T
.

Kuhn

argued

that

throughout

history,

scientists

explain

their

scientific

findings

based

on

a

set

of

unchallenged

prevailing

scientific

theories

and

thus

there

is

usually

no

need

to

prove

any

scientific

fact

from

scratch


Philosophical Questions in Computer
Science


A major philosophical computer science
question is “Is computer science a new
discipline?”


Philosophical Questions in Computer
Science (con.)


In particular, is computer science an engineering
discipline, an applied mathematics discipline or a
physics discipline.


Certainly, computer science uses theories,
concepts and techniques from such disciplines
but can’t say it is any of them.


Philosophical Questions in Computer
Science (con.)

Some

think

of

computer

science

as

concerned

with

programming

or

building

computer

hardware
.



This also does not represent accurately what
computer science represents
.

Philosophical Questions in Computer
Science (con.)



Computer

science

is

concerned

with

investigating,

understanding

and

devising

theories,

methodologies

and

algorithms

that

support

the

specification,

design,

implementation

and

evaluation

of

computational

systems


Philosophical Questions in Computer
Science (con.)

“What is a computer?” is another philosophical
question that needs
tackling


Thomason

(
2003
)

answers

this

question

as

follows
:

“A

computer

is

a

device

that

changes

variable

assignment”
.




Philosophical Questions in Computer
Science (con.)


In explaining this in a more technical way, one
could say that a computer is a machine that:



Takes
an input which includes a set of

instructions



Execute
the instructions
and



Provide
an output.


Philosophical Questions in Computer
Science (con.)


Central

to

computer

science

are

algorithms

and

that

raises

another

question

of

“What

an

algorithm

is?”



Probably,

the

best

way

to

understand

algorithm

is

to

think

of

mathematical

functions

which

map

accurately

and

unambiguously

a

set

of

inputs

to

a

set

of

outputs
.




Similarly,

an

algorithm

is

a

function

composed

of

a

set

of

instructions

that

takes

an

input

and

produces

an

output
.



Philosophical Questions in Computer
Science (con.)

Using
a sorting algorithm to sort a set of integer
is an example of a deterministic algorithm.



A nondeterministic algorithm could follow
different paths for a given input.



A random number generation algorithm is an
example of a nondeterministic algorithm

Philosophical Questions in Computer
Science (con.)


“Can we build computers that can think?” is
another question that philosophers and
artificial intelligence scientists are trying to
answer.


Philosophical Questions in Computer
Science (con.)

Certainly, intelligent computer systems have
been developed and used that can think and adapt
to new environments, inputs and situations.


However, such systems are still not as good as
humans in thinking.


An open question is whether such intelligent
systems can one day beat humans in the thinking
game.


Philosophical Questions in Computer
Science (con.)


A central issue of concern here is the computer
capabilities to understand the semantics of data.


Philosophical Questions in Computer
Science (con.)


What

are

the

ethical

issues

of

computer

science?”

is

an

important

question

that

is

vital

to

ensure

the

proper

use

of

computers

and

their

applications




This

question

will

be

answered

from

an

Islamic

perspective

throughout

the

coming

lectures
.