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2.3 out of 5 stars
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on 23 July 1998
What I had hoped to find in The Philosophical Programmer was insights into the synergies between philosophy and programming. What I got was yet another introduction to programming, albeit a quality one.
A more accurate title would be Introduction To Programming By a Philosophical Author. In other words, the author has a sound philosophy for describing various aspects of programming (and making them intuitive), but offers no philosophy for a programmer to apply to her or his job.
What I wanted but didn't get was a fresh perspective on what a programmer does and how she or he can apply various philosphies to make them better. For example, Descartes' method of doubt is perfectly suited to coding.
I recommend this book to anyone who needs a general (and soft) introduction to programming. If your a seasoned vet, read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
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on 20 July 1998
I am hard pressed to say how damaging and dangerous parts of this book are.
Suffice it to say, anyone who warns of the ethical implications and great dangers of software that sets cookies on the users machine while at the same time refering to search engines as "browsers" should probably be staying very far away from both philosophy and any sort of commercial programming
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on 7 October 1998
The only reason I can find for Kirkus and Booklist falling all over themselves in praise for this book is the writing. The author is both a computer science and philosophy major; this combination does not a philosophical programmer make. The closest he comes is a stab at the psychology of computer programming. However, anyone writing in this area who excludes Gerald Weinberg from his bibliography is either clueless, short on time or just plain lazy.
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on 6 July 1998
If you've heard the story of UNIVAC, and know why 7+4=B, this book will be mostly review. The material is well presented and would make a good Intro to Comp Sci textbook. "Old Pros" may also appreciate this refresher on the fundamentals of computer language & architecture. The tiny bit of philisophy at the end of this text belies its title. I was somewhat disappointed. YMMV.
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on 30 June 1998
Other programming texts will teach you to be a code construction worker, this book will teach you to be an artist. Covers many of the forgotten or overlooked aspects of programming and explores what it means to be a coder. A unique and excellent book.
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on 20 August 1999
Being a younger programmer (20) and being unfamiliar with the technologies of the past, I thought that Kohanski was able to convey the true meaning of what programmers are, and the mentality that accompanies ingenuity.
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