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modernism/postmodernism, was Re: CL and modernism

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  • mddjlu235
    I find the modern/postmodern distinction interesting but the metaphor breaks down too quickly for me. Buckminster Fuller used the phrase Bare-Maximum as
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 31, 2002
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      I find the modern/postmodern distinction interesting but the metaphor
      breaks down too quickly for me.

      Buckminster Fuller used the phrase "Bare-Maximum" as something
      desirable
      (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=bare-maximum).
      I like to think of ZetaLisp, CL and Smalltalk as representing a
      bare-maximums that work to make me productive in building interesting
      or complex
      systems. I find those bare-minimum languages to be like living in a
      tent, something that can be fun for a day or two but not a serious
      place to live. I find
      that working with a collection of little languages and tools is
      somewhat like living in a tent city.

      -djl


      --- In feyerabend-project@y..., Pascal Costanza <costanza@w...> wrote:
      > "Logan, Patrick D" wrote:
      > >
      > > >> I have found it strange that Common Lisp is considered a modern
      language.
      > > I would
      > > rather have classified it as a post-modern language. <<
      > >
      > > Common Lisp like Smalltalk *traditionally* have been available as
      large
      > > environments that are essentially operating systems unto
      themselves. This is
      > > opposed to the post-modern Perl, TCL, Python, Ruby, and JVM
      languages like
      > > Jacl, JPython, JScheme, SISC, etc. that combine a little of this
      with a
      > > little of that and can play off each other.
      >
      > Yep, you're right. I have read the paper completely this morning and
      got
      > it. Common Lisp is modern in the sense that it is based on a simple
      > powerful concept that tells a "grand story".
      >
      > However, I still think that Common Lisp is more post-modern than,
      say,
      > Scheme, in the sense that Common Lisp deliberately encourages you to
      use
      > whatever programming paradigm you would like to use, and provides
      ways
      > to combine these different paradigms (oo, imperative, functional,
      ...).
      > So, Common Lisp doesn't tell you how to program, but incorporates
      many
      > different programming styles and even allows you to "invent" new
      ones.
      > In this way, by using Noble's and Biddle's terminology, Common Lisp
      is
      > descriptive rather than prescriptive. (This is why I am so excited
      about
      > Common Lisp right now.)
      >
      > Take for example the papers by Herbert Stoyan on the history of
      Lisp.
      > (http://www8.informatik.uni-erlangen.de/html/lisp-enter.html) He
      mainly
      > complains about the fact that people actually used Lisp. (!) Here
      is a
      > quote from one of the conclusions: "As things stand, he [John
      McCarthy]
      > must prefer SCHEME to CommonLISP -- a clear, understandable small
      > diamond, to a messy, incomprehensible clump." This should prove the
      > postmodern aspect of Common Lisp. ;-)
      >
      > Is it acceptable that a language is not either modern or postmodern,
      but
      > somewhere in between? Noble and Biddle suggest that by mentioning
      PL/I
      > and the CLR as examples that have both modern and postmodern
      elements.
      >
      > So, in order to get back on track again, my suggestion to base a
      truly
      > "universal virtual machine" on a Common Lisp core would be a
      postmodern
      > way to try to overcome the problems of today's computer science, by
      > seducing people. This would imitate current "trends", like Java and
      CLR,
      > and would offer fashionable languages to have a decent base, like
      Python
      > and Ruby. It could potentially spread usage of Common Lisp again,
      > although only under the hoods. (XML is another option: don't say
      > "S-expressions are better than XML", say "it's great that you use
      XML
      > and, by the way, here is a language that allows you to directly
      > manipulate XML by just doing a minor transformation into something
      > called S-expressions - don't mind the term"!)
      >
      > I don't know how likely it is that something like this could work
      out.
      >
      > However, another, totally different question is: do we actually want
      to
      > use "postmodern tricks" like that, or do we want to get the world
      back
      > on a "modern track" again?
      >
      > My impression is that some of us in the Feyerabend community think
      that
      > "postmodernism" is one of the roots of the problem that needs to
      > changed. For example, a postmodern phenomenon is (like Noble and
      Biddle
      > show) that languages like Java or C# are not chosen because of their
      > expressive power or their technical merits but because of clever
      > advertising. (I do think they have social merits, but that's again
      > another topic.) We can change "the world" either by telling people
      "the
      > truth", or essentially by playing the same game. These are two
      different
      > strategies.
      >
      > It's probably obvious that I am more on the postmodern side of the
      > story. I think we can't get rid of postmodernism and its phenomena
      > anymore and we have to find ways to live with it. (And I think it's
      > possible - positively possible!)
      >
      > What do the others think? Who of you is for or against telling the
      truth
      > and/or playing the same game?
      >
      > Pascal
      >
      > P.S.: Yes, I think this is a valid Feyerabend topic...
      >
      > --
      > Pascal Costanza University of Bonn
      > mailto:costanza@w... Institute of Computer Science III
      > http://www.pascalcostanza.de Römerstr. 164, D-53117 Bonn (Germany)
    • Erann Gat
      ... I think telling the truth doesn t work. I can t think of a single example where the truth has prevailed over good marketing. Having some truth on
      Message 2 of 5 , Sep 2, 2002
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        On Fri, 30 Aug 2002, Pascal Costanza wrote:

        > We can change "the world" either by telling people "the
        > truth", or essentially by playing the same game. These are two different
        > strategies.

        ...

        > What do the others think? Who of you is for or against telling the truth
        > and/or playing the same game?

        I think "telling the truth" doesn't work. I can't think of a single
        example where "the truth" has prevailed over good marketing. Having some
        truth on your side makes the marketing job easier, but it isn't necessary,
        and it certainly isn't sufficient.

        > P.S.: Yes, I think this is a valid Feyerabend topic...

        I agree.

        E.
      • patrickdlogan
        ... Smalltalk as representing a bare-maximums that work to make me productive in building interesting or complex systems. I find those bare-minimum languages
        Message 3 of 5 , Sep 2, 2002
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          >> I like to think of ZetaLisp, CL and
          Smalltalk as representing a
          bare-maximums that work to make me
          productive in building interesting
          or complex
          systems. I find those bare-minimum
          languages to be like living in a
          tent, something that can be fun for a day
          or two but not a serious
          place to live. I find
          that working with a collection of little
          languages and tools is
          somewhat like living in a tent city. <<

          I think this is why Scheme in a JVM works
          so well for me. The JVM enables a very
          feature rich environment and Scheme enables
          a very powerful way to access the
          environment. This feels "bare maximum" in
          the sense that a Lisp machine used to feel
          that way, plus it grows with every useful
          Java class I find on the net. Kind of a
          dessert topping *and* a floor wax.
        • Mike Beedle
          ... Patrick wrote: Yep, sometime the tent just comes down in the middle of a storm. I recently gave up the prescriptive Java/XML implementation of a WFMC
          Message 4 of 5 , Sep 21, 2002
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            Patrick Logan wrote:
            > >> I like to think of ZetaLisp, CL and
            > Smalltalk as representing a
            > bare-maximums that work to make me
            > productive in building interesting
            > or complex
            > systems. I find those bare-minimum
            > languages to be like living in a
            > tent, something that can be fun for a day
            > or two but not a serious
            > place to live. I find
            > that working with a collection of little
            > languages and tools is
            > somewhat like living in a tent city. <<

            Patrick wrote:

            Yep, sometime the tent just comes down in the middle
            of a storm.

            I recently gave up the prescriptive Java/XML
            implementation of a WFMC (workflow management coalition)
            compliant workflow management system (because of
            language and paradigm limitations), and turned the
            workflow system into a declarative CLIPS implementation
            using Jess. (Our goal is to eventually provide the
            implementation in SweetJess, Jess's XML cousin that uses
            DAML+OIL and Rule ML so that we can program in "XML" and
            satisfy what corporate America wants to hear:

            "It is in Java and in XML"

            we'll give them SweetJess :-) which is of course a
            logical-functional Trojan horse.

            Our code in Jess is about 1/5 of what it used to be and
            I can do things that are nearly impossible using
            the prescriptive and XML forms.

            Did I mention that it is also mobile, concurrent safe,
            and changeable at runtime (dynamic rules, functions, facts
            created on the fly)?

            The next release of Jess will add Lisp-like macros ....

            Btw, does anyone know of a native CLIPS implementation in
            Lisp? (Currently I added a PROLOG library to my lisp but
            it doesn't quite feel like CLIPS.)

            Patrick Logan wrote:
            > I think this is why Scheme in a JVM works
            > so well for me. The JVM enables a very
            > feature rich environment and Scheme enables
            > a very powerful way to access the
            > environment. This feels "bare maximum" in
            > the sense that a Lisp machine used to feel
            > that way, plus it grows with every useful
            > Java class I find on the net. Kind of a
            > dessert topping *and* a floor wax.

            Scheme is definitely a good place to be. In my case
            I needed features that were more akin to Curry (the
            logical Haskell cousin). In fact, in the future
            we are considering using the Xurry virtual machine (a logical-functional
            virtual machine that sits on top of Java).

            Some rough estimates indicate that our Xurry code will
            be between 1/5 and 1/10 of what our original wfmc
            prescriptive code used to look like,

            - Mike
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