Programmed to think

January 13, 2011

Logic, grammar, rhetoric, mathematics, music, geometry and astronomy ("It's the breadth that matters", 23 December)? The strength of these subjects is surely that they do not tell us how the world came to be and what it's about. They are about representation and manipulation of knowledge in the abstract. It is this detachment from the facts of the natural or human world that make them such a valuable aid to clear thought.

Academia already has a well-established degree programme whose core is the abstract representation and manipulation of knowledge: it is called computer science.

Matthew Huntbach, Queen Mary, University of London.

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