Last Update: 31 January 2010
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The purpose of this position paper is to give you an opportunity to
clarify your beliefs about what computer science is,
so that, as we continue to discuss the topic in class, and as you continue to read about it,
you'll know where you standwhat your beliefs are.
Later, when your beliefs have been "contaminated" by further
readings and by our discussions,
you may wish to revise your beliefs.
But you can't revise a belief that you don't have (you can only acquire new beliefs).
So, here I am forcing you to
discover, clarify, and defend the beliefs that you
by turning them into words and putting them on paper.
Imagine that you are the newly-appointed Dean of the School of Science at the
University of Aix
(pronounced like the letter "X"; there really is such a place (almost)!).
In an attempt to
build up the rival School of Engineering,
the newly-appointed Dean of Engineering has proposed to the Provost (the boss of both deans)
that the Department of Computer Science be moved—lock, stock, and computer, so to speak—
to Engineering, on the following grounds:
(The Dean of Engineering has not yet argued that computer science is an engineering discipline; that may come later.)
How do you respond to the Dean of Engineering's argument?
You may agree with it, or not (but there are several ways that might happen; see below).
You should ignore political considerations:
You may suppose that the move from Science to Engineering involves no loss or gain of money, prestige, or anything else,
and it is to be done, if at all, only on strictly intellectual grounds.
The Provost is eagerly awaiting your reply, and will abide by your
…if, that is, you give a well-argued defense of your position.
To formulate and defend your position, you should:
And, if you are unsure about any of your answers,
try to be very precise about why you are unsure
and what further information would help you decide.
However, I believe that any other response can, perhaps with a bit of force, be seen to fall under one of the above responses.
But if you really feel that your
position is not exactly characterized by any of the above responses,
then please say:
For general assistance on analyzing arguments, see A Heuristic for Argument Analysis and the links at Argument Analysis
Give as much detailed information as you can that would assist someone else to locate the item by themselves.
(See the "How to Handle Citations" section of my "How to Write" for the proper way to do this.)
|1 typed page and double-spaced (i.e., about 250 words)|
you will have (more than) enough material.
(The space taken up by this will not count against your total pages.)
|DUE AT THE BEGINNING OF LECTURE, MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8|