Home About Subscribe Search Member Area

Humanist Discussion Group

< Back to Volume 33

Humanist Archives: April 21, 2020, 8:11 a.m. Humanist 33.788 - evidence for the linguistic relativity of programming languages?

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 788.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

        Date: 2020-04-20 08:39:24+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty 
        Subject: evidence for the linguistic relativity of programming languages

It seems that in 2017 the Alfred Sloan Foundation funded the Knowledge
Lab at Chicago and Psychology at Wisconsin-Madison to study "the way in
which computer languages can both expand and limit how individual and
collective minds work... [that is] how human minds respond to different
functions and different domains, both in programming languages and in
popular data science environments"*. As far as I can tell, conclusions
from this project have not yet been published, but I'd love to stand
corrected. The fact of such funding from such a source supports my
suspicions, based on prowling the Internet for the past several days,
that there's not been much beyond emotive handwaving in response to this
question and studies of peripheral relevance (e.g. Fedorenko et al). My
primary findings include the following:

1980. Kenneth E. Iverson, "Notation as a tool of thought". 1979 ACM
Turing Award Lecture.
1982. Edsgar Dijkstra, "How Do We Tell Truths that Might Hurt?" (EWD498).
1985. John Dalbey and Marcia C. Linn, "The demands and requirements of
computer programming: A literature review". Journal of Educational
Computing Research 1.3.
1993. Diana E. Forsythe, "Engineering Knowledge: The Construction of
Knowledge Artificial Intelligence". Social Studies of Science 23.
2002. Garry L White and Marcos P. Sivitanides, "A Theory of the
Relationships between Cognitive Requirements of Computer Programming
Languages and Programmers' Cognitive Characteristics". Journal of
Information Systems Education 13.1.
2014. Sebastian Nanz and Carlo A. Furia, "A Comparative Study of
Programming Languages in Rosetta Code"
2016. Jiahao Chen, "Linguistic Relativity and Programming Languages".
Proceedings of the Joint Statistical Meetings, Chicago, Illinois.
2019. Evelina Fedorenko et al, "The Language of Programming: A Cognitive
Perspective". Trends in Cognitive Sciences 23. 7

Add to the above list -- or swipe it away and replace it with something
more promising?


-- see also

Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/),
Professor emeritus, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College
London; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
(www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20) and Humanist (www.dhhumanist.org)

Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted
List posts to: humanist@dhhumanist.org
List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org
Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/
Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php

Editor: Willard McCarty (King's College London, U.K.; Western Sydney University, Australia)
Software designer: Malgosia Askanas (Mind-Crafts)

This site is maintained under a service level agreement by King's Digital Lab.