Introduction to Philosophy of Computer Science

Prof. Pawel POLAK

Course content

The presentations for the lectures are available in encrypted ZIF - only for the authorised students and only for educational use.

Part 1:
a. What is a Computer? Historical and Philosophical perspective
b. Algorithm, Information, Computation - basic ideas
c. What is Computer Science? (Computer Science, Computing or Informatics – some philosophical remarks)


Part 2:

Required learning resources (readings):

  1. Ammon H. Eden, Three paradigms of computer science, Mind and Machines 17 (2007), pp. 135-167.
  2. R.V.L. Hartley, Transmission of Information, pp. 535-545. C.E. Shannon, Introduction, pp. 1-3 [in:] A Mathematical Theory of Communication, [originally published in: The Bell System Technical Journal, Vol. 27 (1948), pp. 379–423, 623–656].
  3. Alan M. Turing, On computable numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem [selected parts]
  4. Alan M. Turing, Computer Machinery and Intelligence, Mind, 59 (1950), pp. 433-460.
  5. Alan M. Turing, The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 237 (641): 37–72
  6. John R. Searle, Is the brain a digital computer?, Proceedings and Adresses of American Philosophical Association, 64 (1990), pp. 21-37.
  7. Stuart Shapiro, Computer Science: The Study of Procedures,
  8. Peter Suber, What is software?, Journal of Speculative Philosophy, 2 (1988), pp. 89-119.
  9. Timothy R. Colburn, Software, abstraction and ontology, Monist 82(1) (1999), pp. 3-19.

You can download the texts in ZIP file (encrypted).

Recommended readings

  1. William J. Rapaport, Philosophy of Computer Science,

Assessment methods and criteria

A student will be examined orally (English or Polish) on a base of a set of open questions regarding the course's content. There is a possibility of writing a final paper instead of the oral exam. Additionally, student's activity during the class may raise one's grade.