On the Role of Scientific Thought. Dijkstra, E. W. In Selected Writings on Computing: A Personal Perspective, of Texts and Monographs in Computer Science, pages 60–66. Springer New York.
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Essentially, this essay contains nothing new; on the contrary, its subject matter is so old that sometimes it seems forgotten. It is written in an effort to undo some of the more common misunderstandings that I encounter (nearly daily) in my professional world of computing scientists, programmers, computer users and computer designers, and even colleagues engaged in educational politics. The decision to write this essay now was taken because I suddenly realized that my confrontation with this same pattern of misunderstanding was becoming a regular occurrence. [Excerpt] "Let me try to explain to you, what to my taste is characteristic for all intelligent thinking. It is, that one is willing to study in depth an aspect of one's subject matter in isolation for the sake of its own consistency, all the time knowing that one is occupying oneself only with one of the aspects. We know that a program must be correct and we can study it from that viewpoint only; we also know that it should be efficient and we can study its efficiency on another day, so to speak. In another mood we may ask ourselves whether, and if so: why, the program is desirable. But nothing is gained – on the contrary! – by tackling these various aspects simultaneously. It is what I sometimes have called "the separation of concerns", which, even if not perfectly possible, is yet the only available technique for effective ordering of one's thoughts, that I know of. This is what I mean by "focusing one's attention upon some aspect": it does not mean ignoring the other aspects, it is just doing justice to the fact that from this aspect's point of view, the other is irrelevant. It is being one- and multiple-track minded simultaneously."
@incollection{dijkstraRoleScientificThought1982,
  title = {On the Role of Scientific Thought},
  booktitle = {Selected {{Writings}} on {{Computing}}: {{A}} Personal {{Perspective}}},
  author = {Dijkstra, Edsger W.},
  date = {1982},
  pages = {60--66},
  publisher = {{Springer New York}},
  doi = {10.1007/978-1-4612-5695-3\\_12},
  url = {https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4612-5695-3_12},
  abstract = {Essentially, this essay contains nothing new; on the contrary, its subject matter is so old that sometimes it seems forgotten. It is written in an effort to undo some of the more common misunderstandings that I encounter (nearly daily) in my professional world of computing scientists, programmers, computer users and computer designers, and even colleagues engaged in educational politics. The decision to write this essay now was taken because I suddenly realized that my confrontation with this same pattern of misunderstanding was becoming a regular occurrence.

[Excerpt] "Let me try to explain to you, what to my taste is characteristic for all intelligent thinking. It is, that one is willing to study in depth an aspect of one's subject matter in isolation for the sake of its own consistency, all the time knowing that one is occupying oneself only with one of the aspects. We know that a program must be correct and we can study it from that viewpoint only; we also know that it should be efficient and we can study its efficiency on another day, so to speak. In another mood we may ask ourselves whether, and if so: why, the program is desirable. But nothing is gained -- on the contrary! -- by tackling these various aspects simultaneously. It is what I sometimes have called "the separation of concerns", which, even if not perfectly possible, is yet the only available technique for effective ordering of one's thoughts, that I know of. This is what I mean by "focusing one's attention upon some aspect": it does not mean ignoring the other aspects, it is just doing justice to the fact that from this aspect's point of view, the other is irrelevant. It is being one- and multiple-track minded simultaneously."},
  keywords = {*imported-from-citeulike-INRMM,~INRMM-MiD:c-13529379,array-of-sectors,computational-science,epistemology,modularization,precursor-research,semantics,separation-of-concerns},
  series = {Texts and {{Monographs}} in {{Computer Science}}}
}
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