Computing as a Science: A Survey of Competing Viewpoints

Eugene Garfield garfield at CODEX.CIS.UPENN.EDU
Sun Aug 21 14:40:23 EDT 2011

Computing as a Science: A Survey of Competing Viewpoints

Author(s): Tedre, M (Tedre, Matti)
Source: MINDS AND MACHINES  Volume: 21  Issue: 3  Pages: 361-387  DOI: 
10.1007/s11023-011-9240-4  Published: AUG 2011  

Abstract: Since the birth of computing as an academic discipline, the 
disciplinary identity of computing has been debated fiercely. The most heated 
question has concerned the scientific status of computing. Some consider 
computing to be a natural science and some consider it to be an experimental 
science. Others argue that computing is bad science, whereas some say that 
computing is not a science at all. This survey article presents viewpoints for 
and against computing as a science. Those viewpoints are analyzed against 
basic positions in the philosophy of science. The article aims at giving the 
reader an overview, background, and a historical and theoretical frame of 
reference for understanding and interpreting some central questions in the 
debates about the disciplinary identity of computer science. The article argues 
that much of the discussion about the scientific nature of computing is 
misguided due to a deep conceptual uncertainty about science in general as 
well as computing in particular.

Language: English
Document Type: Article
Author Keywords: History of computer science; Philosophy of computer 
science; Computing as a discipline; Computer science

Addresses: [Tedre, M] Tumaini Univ, Iringa Univ Coll, Iringa, Tanzania
[Tedre, M] Univ Eastern Finland, Sch Comp, Joensuu, Finland
Reprint Address: Tedre, M (reprint author), Tumaini Univ, Iringa Univ Coll, POB 
200, Iringa, Tanzania
E-mail Address: matti.tedre at
IDS Number: 789ZV
ISSN: 0924-6495

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