Cartesian Computational Thinking

There is a point of beautiful overlap between modern computational thinking and the Cartesian method.

Descartes has four stages for any problem:

  1. Start From Nothing
    1. DNA
    2. DYD
  2. Break It Down
    1. The second ·was· to divide each of the difficulties I examined into as many parts as possible and as might be required in order to resolve them better.
    2. KTP
  3. Join The Dots
    1. Starting with the simplest and most easily known objects in order to move up gradually to knowledge of the most complex.
  4. Represent The Facts
    1. And the last ·was· to make all my enumerations so complete, and my reviews so comprehensive, that I could be sure that I hadn’t overlooked anything.
    2. KGN
    3. KTF

Four centuries later we get the idea of computational thinking expressed as:

  1. Deconstruction (BID)
    1. Break the whole into parts.
    2. Break the systems into sub-sytems
  2. Patterning (JTD)
  3. Abstraction (JTD)
    1. The Big Picture.
    2. What emerges?
    3. Is it harmonious?
  4. Algorithms
    1. An input solves an output.
    2. A series of instructions to solve a task.
    3. A logical system.


Learning to use the above methods drives understanding, just as they drove The Enlightenment and and the Age Of Reason and digits.