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Beyond ProgrammingTo A New Era of Design$
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Bruce I. Blum

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780195091601

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195091601.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 October 2021

Activity, Reflection, Context

Activity, Reflection, Context

6 (p.137) Activity, Reflection, Context
Beyond Programming

Bruce I. Blum

Oxford University Press

we are almost halfway through the book and this part on design ecology, and I have yet to talk about design, no less software engineering. Is this some kind of shaggy dog story? The kind in which the hero climbs mountains in search of the meaning of life only to have the wise man tell him it is, “The wet bird flies at night.” I hope not. Here is the basic thesis of the book. Computers offer unprecedented power in creating new tools (equipment), but to achieve their potential we must reconstruct how they are used (i.e., shift the paradigm). The first half of the book concerns the foundations upon which we may reconstruct a new software engineering. In the middle of this century, of course, there would be no question as to what that foundation should be: science. But, as I have been trying to show, science and our institutions are in a period of fundamental change. For example, consider what Prigogine, winner of the 1977 Nobel Prize for chemistry, has to say.… The classical … view of science was to regard the world as an “object,” to try to describe the physical world as if it were being seen from the outside as an object of analysis to which we do not belong… The deterministic laws of physics, which were at one point the only acceptable laws, today seem like gross simplifications, nearly a caricature of evolution.… Even in physics, as in sociology, only various possible “scenarios” can be predicted. But it is for this very reason that we are participating in a fascinating adventure in which, in the words of Niels Bohr, we are “both spectators and actors.” (1980, pp. xv, xvii)… Thus, in only four decades we have moved from physicalism, which sought to impose a physics model on psychology, to a questioning of the very nature of physics itself. As Holland, a physicist, describes our present situation, “we are in a period of transition between two great world views—the universal machine of the classicists and the new holistic universe whose details we are only beginning to glimpse.

Keywords:   Abstractions, Bayes Theorem, Confirmation bias, Design domains, Engineering design, Generic error-modeling system, Holistic models, Ill-structured problems, Lapse

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