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Discussion on: On Science and Software Development

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anaktas profile image
Anastasios

"So the relationship that Computer Science has on development is rather like the relationship that Mathematics has with Physics. Mathematics provides the tools with which to understand the universe, and not the understanding itself. So one could argue that Computer Science, though clearly a very valuable discipline, isn't actually Science at all. It's Computer Mathematics."

So, does that mean that Mathematics is not a Science? It's the only study field which you can actually proof something. In physics (and in any other field of study) you can only provide evidence of proof that your model of the world has a percentage of similarity with the real world, based on how your model predicts the events of the real world.

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Dave Cridland Author

No, Mathematics isn't a science, because it relies on formal proofs. It doesn't use the Scientific Method. Or as someone tweeted in response to this article:

"Ultimately, we can say that mathematics is the discipline of proving provable statements true. Science, in contrast, is the discipline of proving provable statements false." - @unclebobmartin, Clean Architecture

That doesn't lessen the importance of Mathematics, it's simply a different discipline - and one that underpins much of Science.

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Anastasios

I don't agree, but this is a long (but interesting) conversation. My disagreement has nothing to do with the importance of the variety of study fields. Kirit mentioned Karl Popper above and the notion of falsifiability. Karl Popper had the opinion that in mathematics, a simple true statement (like 2+2=4) can't be proven false, thus mathematics don't comply with the notion of falsifiability and therefore mathematics is not a science. Bertrand Russell (alongside with Alfred Whitehead) wrote a 362 page essay in his book Principia Mathematica in order to prove that 1+1=2 that took him 10 years and until his death he had a lot of doubts about his work. Computer science is the result of the doubt in mathematical truth and proofness. Take as example the theory of incompleteness by Kurt Goedel.