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InfoQ Homepage Presentations How the Ancient Greeks Invented Programming

How the Ancient Greeks Invented Programming



Matt Butcher explores the philosophical systems devised by Plato and Aristotle, showing how Plato laid the foundations for what is now OOP, while Aristotle’s dynamic model is at the core of FP.


Matt Butcher is a Developer Experience Engineer at HP Cloud. He is the author of seven technology books and numerous articles on topics including Java, JavaScript, and PHP development as well as LDAP. An advocate of Open Source, he maintains or contributes to numerous projects. And, yes, he’s a real, live philosopher, too.

About the conference

Strange Loop is a multi-disciplinary conference that aims to bring together the developers and thinkers building tomorrow's technology in fields such as emerging languages, alternative databases, concurrency, distributed systems, mobile development, and the web. Strange Loop was created in 2009 by software developer Alex Miller and is now run by a team of St. Louis-based friends and developers under Strange Loop LLC, a for-profit but not particularly profitable venture.

Recorded at:

Dec 29, 2012

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Community comments

  • Refreshingly different and fun...

    by Faisal Waris,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    but strangely relevant too. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

    As the presenter suggests, my introduction to programming and philosophy was through Douglas Hofstadter. I however did not go further than reading some introductory books in philosophy.

    Another interesting book in the same vein is Digital Mantras - The Language of Abstract and Virtual Worlds, by Steve Holtzman.

    I would like to say that language should not only support both OO and functional paradigms but also have meta-programming - to parallel the notion of metaphysics. However closing the loop in this way makes things a bit messy. Now your 'object' world can access the 'meta' world and the clean division between meta and object is lost. As Douglas Hofstadter points out Gödel's famous incompleteness proof is based on this idea.

  • Re: Refreshingly different and fun...

    by Praveena Manvi,

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    Awesome information to listen.
    Scala is truly secular supporting/negating both religions OO and FP.

  • Man, what can I say?

    by Domingo Savoretti,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Just trying to put it in three dialects I can manage:

    British English: Bloody Great!
    American English (if it ever exists): Fcking Great!
    Spanish (Argentine variant, my own): Hijodeputamente bueno!!!

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