How Random Babbling Becomes Corporate Policy (t3knomanser) wrote,
How Random Babbling Becomes Corporate Policy

Object Oriented Methodology as a Philosophical Construct

In the computer science arena, it is common to hear discussion of objects. Objects are programming constructs that model the properties and behaviors of some entity. This entity may be real world, such as a car, or fictional, such as a starship.

However, we learn something else crucial from this object oriented methodology. A car is also a fictional construct. Go to a window and point at a car, not a specific kind of car, just a generic, non-branded, no-specific-model car. You can't- such a thing doesn't exist. It is a useful abstraction.

When dealing with computer programming, we distill out the abstract, and model the properties common to every car. Every car has mass, wheels, a body, a steering wheel, some form of transmission, an engine, and so on. A specific kind of car has a specific mass, specific wheels, etc.

Now, let us turn this towards Plato. Plato argued for a world of ideas, where we dealt not with the concrete world, nor images of the concrete, but the abstract itself. Object oriented constructs are wonderful tools for visualising the behavior of this world of ideals. An object can accurately describe the properties of the entire class, in a computer we can create a "car", while in the real world, we can only create specific cars. The computerized car would only be a conception that manifests only the properties known to exist in all cars, and only act out the behaviors that all cars can act out.

Then, from this abstract ideal, we can generate an infinite permutation of specific instances, creating images from the abstract that represent real things, and then, these images can be fed to an assembly line, creating physical manifestations.

This computerized, object oriented methodology allows us, through technicological means, travel between all three worlds of Plato. However, this conception does not require a computer to be useful, a simple exploration of object oriented theory can suffice to redraw the philosophical landscape.

When dealing with any branch of philosophy, you can take each object and concept (in this model, concepts can be rendered as an object, having properties and behaviors, and hence, capable of acting on their environment), and create a firm description of its properties and behaviors in the most abstract sense. You can then manipulate this in a conceptual framework, and analyze the interactions of the objects, and use the result to create a philosophical statement.

Now, this is purely a synopsis. If you are unfamiliar with object oriented design and programming, I suggest you study at least a smidge of the theory involved, for this theory is powerful stuff.

One of the most interesting aspects is the rendering of both physical objects and concepts in the same framework, which allows us to directly study the interaction of the physical and the conceptual.

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