The Software Arts by Warren SackThe Software Arts by Warren Sack

The Software Arts

byWarren SackSeries edited byMatthew Fuller, Lev Manovich

Hardcover | April 9, 2019

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An alternative history of software that places the liberal arts at the very center of software's evolution.

In The Software Arts, Warren Sack offers an alternative history of computing that places the arts at the very center of software's evolution. Tracing the origins of software to eighteenth-century French encyclopedists' step-by-step descriptions of how things were made in the workshops of artists and artisans, Sack shows that programming languages are the offspring of an effort to describe the mechanical arts in the language of the liberal arts.

Sack offers a reading of the texts of computing-code, algorithms, and technical papers-that emphasizes continuity between prose and programs. He translates concepts and categories from the liberal and mechanical arts-including logic, rhetoric, grammar, learning, algorithm, language, and simulation-into terms of computer science and then considers their further translation into popular culture, where they circulate as forms of digital life. He considers, among other topics, the "arithmetization" of knowledge that presaged digitization; today's multitude of logics; the history of demonstration, from deduction to newer forms of persuasion; and the post-Chomsky absence of meaning in grammar. With The Software Arts, Sack invites artists and humanists to see how their ideas are at the root of software and invites computer scientists to envision themselves as artists and humanists.

Title:The Software ArtsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 9 × 7 × 1.19 inPublished:April 9, 2019Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262039702

ISBN - 13:9780262039703

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Editorial Reviews

"At last, a book that argues that the very nature of programming is not a mere mechanical process that can be automated with Machine Learning techniques, but before all is an intense creative activity! I recommend it to any educated person of the digital age, since it clearly shows that software design requires a set of skills analogous to the liberal arts that, in their classical meaning, include logic, arithmetic, grammar, rhetoric, and, last but not least, music."-Jean-Gabriel Ganascia, Professor of Computer Science at Sorbonne University; AI researcher; Chairman of the CNRS Ethical Committee