Informatics and Philosophy of Science
We introduce ourselves:
Bialystok is the capital city of the north-eastern region of Poland, where Emil Post was born in 1897, and Adolf Lindenbaum was busy as a teacher in the early 40ties.
The people who in the 70ties initiated logic research and teaching in Bialystok came mainly from the University of Warsaw. Among their works there is the extensive Dictionary of Logic as Applied in the Study of Language: Concepts, Methods, Theories, The Hague 1981 (to which the Bialystok authors contributed fairly 70% of size and ideas) as well as MIZAR, that is, a system of automated knowledge management, including an advanced proof-checker.
Logic research is being carried out in the Institute of Mathematics and in the mentioned Chair. In the Polish system, a Chair is a unit run by Ordinary Professor - the title conferred by the President of the State, and granting tenure. This is why such a unit enjoys considerable autonomy. The predicate `clips' means tying some things into a whole. CLIPS, indeed, intends to satisfy this predicate when looking for deep connections among logic, informatics and philosophy of science. This purpose stems from the following ideas.
Solvability, provability, and definability were always the focus for PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE. Since Aristotle, philosophers claimed that each scientific problem could be solved with a suitable proof, to yield a truth, while each concept could be precisely defined. It was logic that was bound to provide methods for proving and defining. That program won a new force with Descartes, Leibniz and Newton whose faith in the solvability of any scientific problem reached a peak. The last who belonged to those great believers in the solvability of any mathematical problem, provided fitting logical tools, was David Hilbert.
It is an irony of the history that LOGIC which should have produced precise means of proving any scientific truth has, indeed, precisely proved that not every truth can have a proof, and not every scientific problem can be solved. Thus logic, with Gödel, Tarski, Turing, Post, Church, etc made the greatest revolution in philosophical reflection on science.
The same achievements of logic laid down the foundations of computer science or, better to say, INFORMATICS. The latter term can be imbued with a broader sense, comprising any information processing phenomena; also those occurring in the minds and organic bodies, while computer science deals with those in computers alone. It was Turing-Post machine, a logical result, which both revolutionized philosophical thought and launched out information technology.
More on CLIPS, its interests, staff and history is told at another page.
First published in "calculemus" Feb 01 1998 == © Witold Marciszewski