新葡萄京娱乐场网址 ，一 、八个时间和空间
Are the laws of arithmetic inductive truths?
Daniel H. H. Ingalls
If we understand the way the world is really organized-even though
that may be completely opposite to what we expect- we can fit in with
that way and get much more of what we care about with much less energy.
It’s impossible to make real improvements to our lives unless we do
I can sing the praise of the 80/20 Way and say without hesitation how
miraculous it is.
80 percent of results come from only 20 percent of causes or effort.
It has turbo-boosted their careers, and enabled them to escape the
In 1990 I ditched a conventional career.
I’ve always allowed large tracts of time for family, friends, and
sheer enjoyment of life.
I was taken aback when he said …
Heard how great the book was, tried to get the hang of it, but I
The book is breezy and easy.
It revolves around two ideas: The law of focus: less is more. The
law of progress: we can create more with less.
It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary
results. —Warren Buffett
Instead of working to live, we live to work.
greater social equalty and fraternity
dispite our increasingly frantic striving, rededes ever further from
low social standing
missing out on the increasing material delights enjoyed by those on
the fast track
But the fast track is not without its hazards. For many it means a
single-minded obsession with getting ahead, total commitment to the job
at the expense of personal relationships, and a frenzied lifestyle where
work takes precedence over everything elso.
strike a chord
screw up our personal lives
I’m referring to the 80/20 principle, the observation that roughtly
80 percent of results stem from 20 percent or fewer of causes.
drive progress throught the modern world
If it were so appllied, we could enjoy life much more, work less,
and achieve more.
In reality, the best way to achieve more is to do less. Less is more
when we concentrate on the few things that are truly important, not the
least of which is happiness for ourselves and our loved ones.
I mustn’t run ahead of myself.
Let me introduce you properly to the 80/20 principle, one of the
most mind-blowing, far-reaching, and surprising discoveries of the past
Make the wonky world even stranger.
in this curious and lopsided world
The world routinely divides into a few very powerful influences and
the mass of totally unimportant ones.
The power of the 80/20 principle lies in the fact that it is
counter-intuitive, it’s not what we expect.
an innate sense of fairness
It was staggered to learn that 17 percent of customers yielded 93
percent of profits.
In every age, it is the celebrated few scientists who make the vast
majority of discoveries.
Crime statistics repertedly show that about 20 percent of thieves
make off with 80 percent of the loot.
It may have fizzled out by the time you read this.
Note that 80/20 is simply shorthand for a very lopsided relationship
between causes and results. The mubers don’t have to add up to 100. In
some cases, 30 percent of causes may lead to 70 percent of results.
bet fair, the world’s leading ‘betting exchange’, where individuals
take bets with other individuals, says that 90 percent of the money
staked comes from 10 percent of its clients.
Stanley Milgram ‘six degrees of separation’
in an outbreak of gonorrhea in …
History is full of cases where a tiny minority of players have
diverted its whole course.
As the high performers are not 10 or 20 times more intelligent that
other people, it is the methods and resources they use that are
There are always a small minority of every powerful forces and a
great mass of unimportant ones.
No prize for guessing the species.
be churned out time and again
The whole process of life is the perfect expression of the 80/20
principle, taken to its fullest extent.
Diminutive causes, massive results.
Evolution presents a stunning example of selectivity.
The 80/20 principle works everythere in life. It’s surprising and
amazing. It’s not what we expect. There is a big imbalance between
causes and results. Most causes have little result, a few transform
It is a fallacy that there is any restriction on who uses the 80/20
principle or that it is a zero-sum gain.
To object to improvement on the grounds that it is elitist is
wrong-headed: progress is desirable and helps everyone. Perfection and
equality are equally impossible, and in my opinion equally undesirable.
We use the 80/20 Way to go with the grain of the universe, producing
better results more easily.
We will always have something to improve.
The 80/20 principle can make us happy, fulfilled, and relaxed. We
start by creating more with less …
After the considerations have been adduced, we make itprobable that
numerical formulae can be derived from the definitions of theindividual
numbers alone by means of a few general laws, now we must ascertainthe
nature of the laws involved.
Learning Research Group
Chapter 2: Create More with Less
Many might go to heaven with half the labor they go to hell. —Ben
Computers keep getting cheaper, smaller, easier to use, and more
powerful. They exemplify more with less.
We can often get more with less simply by leaving something out.
It is scant exaggeration to say that more with less is the basic
principle by which modern science, technology, and business advance
living standards everywhere.
They can never rest on their laurels.
Life in the fast lane turns into work in the fast lane. There is
certainly more challenge, more stimulation, and more money, but there is
also total submission to work demands, more burnout, and pervasive
a more balanced and relaxed life
Many of the things we do absorb energy but are worse than useless.
Worry is a prime example. Worry is never useful. When we find ourselves
worrying, we should either act and not worry, or decide not to act and
not worry. If we can act to avoid a bad fate or reduce its chance of
happening–and the action is worthwhile–then we should act and not
worry. If, on the other hand, we can’t control or influence what will
happen, then worrying will cause us distress but not help us: we should
not act and not worry. Worries will always arise but we can do without
them, instantly deciding to act or not act, but in either case not to
We have a big project ahead of us: nothing less thanthe reversal of
modern work and living habits, the change from more with more to more
with less in our personal, social, and professional lives.
Social fashions don’t change all that easily or quickly.
The Calvinist notion that toil and trouble are essential for
personal advancement is so deeply rooted in the culture and working
assumptions of modern life that it will take a generation to uproot it.
It is always possible to improve anything in our lives, not by a
small amount, but by a large amount. The way to make the improvement is
to ask, “What will give me a much better result for much less energy?”
By deliberately cutting back on what we put into the task and yet
asking for much more, we force ourselves to think hard and do something
different. This is the root of all progress.
It’s incredibly corny, but the best things in life are free or
nearly free, giving a fantastic return on effort.
The reward is out of proprotion to the effort.
The only way to take leaps forward in our lives is to demand more
A bit of upfront thinking is a small price for a huge lifetime
One final element of more with less that can make a big difference
to our lives is the role that habit plays. Anything we do is much more
difficult the first time, and gets progressively easier the more we do
it, to the point where it bacomes easier to do it than not to do it. A
terrific example is exercise.
What’s fieeicult becomes easy and what’s easy often creates
Why work hard for nothing, when a few habits that become second
nature can give you a healthy rhythm every day?
We get more reward with less energy if we adopt rewarding habits
earlier rather than later. But also, given human nature, we’d better be
selective about the good habits we’re going to adopt. We get more
happiness with less effort if we carefully select a few excellent habits
we’d like to have and master these, not bothering about all the other
good habits we could in theory cultivate. There’s a limit to the number
of good habits most of us can practice. Yet a few habits can have a
phenomenal effect on our happiness throughout life–we get a massive
bonanza from a little upfront effort.
high-payoff new habits
You shouldn’t choose a habit because it’s morally ‘good’, but
because of the huge benefit to you. Just choose seven super-rewarding
habits that will be your friend for life.
Examples of high lifetime payoff habits
Daily intellectual exercise
Doing one altruistic act a day
Meditating or quiet thinking each day
Daily nurturing of your lover
Always give praise or thanks where possible
Save and invest 10 percent of income
Being generous to friends
Always having 2-3 hours of pure relaxation every day
Keeping calm and relaxed always
Focusing on what matters to you
Deciding never to worry: always to act and not worry or not act and not
Habitually asking yourself how to get more with less
Pick the few high-payoff habits that will make you happiest. This list
is far from exhaustive, so add any habits that have the potential to
make you very happy, then master your seven.
Time is a gentle god. —-Sophocles
He decided to go to Tibet, enter a monastery, and undertake rigorous
It took just a moment of inspiration, while he was relaxing,
thinking about nothing much.
Time is like that: cussed when we try to speed up, a dear friend
when we slow down.
读书笔记。In fact, being lazy—having plenty of time to think—may actually
be a precondition for achieving a great deal.
Because most of us don’t have to labor with our hands, we use our
minds to create great wealth, science, and culture.
Here is a parabox. We have never been so free, yet failed to realize
the extent of our freedom. We have never had so much time, yet felt we
had so little. Modern life bullies us to speed up our lives. We use
technology to do everything faster. But in racing against the clock, all
we do is stress ourselves out. Going faster doesn’t give us more
time—it makes us feel that we’re always behind. We battle against
time, our imagined enemy. We perceive time as accelerating, draining out
from our lives at an alarming rate.
There are two ways in which we experience time. There is the small
quantity of time–the 20 percent or less..that delivers 80 percent of
what we want. And there is the much larer quantity of time..the 80
percent or more..that delivers a miserable 20 percent.
Time doesn’t run at a constant rate. Time flows in fits and starts,
in gurgles and splurges, in trickles and floods. There are long periods
when nothing happens, and short bursts when a tidal wave tranforms our
There are times when we are totally absorbed, absolutely happy, in
tune with the universe—when time stands still.
We can sharply boost the quality of our lives by changing our use of
a good rule of thumb
When they first hear about the 80/20 principle, many people get the
wrong end of the stick.
I was worn out.
I was goofing off.
Achievement islands are the small time periods when you are your
most productive or creative: when you get more with less, accomplishing
the most with little apparent effort in very little time.
Could you spend more time on the things you enjoy, even without
quitting your day job? Could a hobby, interest, or sideline in your life
blosson into a new career? Find out: spend more time on the things you
enjoy. Try out your new projects while you are still working at your
normal job. Experiment with different ideas until one clicks.
Once there was a wayward school kid. Expelled for being disruptive,
he found a badly paid job as a junior clerical officer.
In his mid-twenties he rocked the scientifil world with teh theory
He relished the rest of his life as the first “celebrity scientist.”
Many great ideas have come from people doing ordinary jobs. Time
that would otherwise be wasted and miserable can become hugely creative
Think about the 80/20 questions overleaf. To answer them, try
thinking about or writing down everything that really excites you, that
you love doing in any part of life—at work, your hobbies and sports,
the best minutes of each day. Then either choose one of these activities
and make it central to your life, or work out what the activities have
in common and do more of that, and less of everything else.
My life took a turn for the better when I realized that what I loved
doing was evoking enthusiasm.
It’s the thing I enjoy most and do best has led me to a fuller and
richer life, while also doing less.
Down with time management, up with time revolution.
51. In today’s faster world, hours are longer, work less leisurely, and
pressure more intense.
With time management, we work more and relax less.
Time revolution says the opposite. We have too much time, not too
little. It is because we have so much time that we squander it.
To detonate your time revolution, slow down. Stop worrying. Do fewer
Chuck your to do list, make a not to do list.
Act less, think more. Reflect on what really matters to you. Stop
doing anything that isn’t valuable, that doesn’t make you happy. Savor
Reclaim time for yourself and the people you care about.
He was always dressed immaculately.
languidly writing down …
The present moment is vital. Don’t live in the past or the future.
Don’t worry about the past or the future. Get more with less—confine
yourself to the present moment and enjoy concentrating on it.
We can be proud of our past and we can hope for our future, but we
can only live in the present.
We have the precious gift of life today, to be enjoyed and
experienced how we choose. Each moment of life has the quality of
eternity, the stamp of our own individuality. When time stands still, we
are totally absorbed in the present. We are everything and we are
nothing. Time is fleeting and eternal. We are happy, life has meaning.
We’re part of time, and also out-side it.
When the present moment has meaning, time is one seamless whole,
valuable yet inconspicuous.
The rush is over, anxieties recede, bliss increases. We can be
intensely happy in no time at all. When we are at one with life and the
universe, we step outside time. We reach the highest form of more with
We can apply less is more and more with less to our life.
We will develop a personal action plan enabling us to thrive in the
modern world while elegantly side-stepping its wearisome woes.
Chapter 4: Focus on Your Best 20 Percent
- I’ve got more energy now than when I was younger because I know
exactly what I want to do.
—Legendary ballet master George
He ducked out of the standard tour to find a real movie being made.
He commandeered a deserted trailer.
He became a fixture on the lot.
He made a string a hits.
Focus is the secret of all personal power, happiness, and success.
Focus means doing less; being less. Focus makes less more. Few people
focus, yet focus is easy. Focus expands individuality, the essence of
Life’s greatest mystery is human character and uniqueness. We craft
individuality. Other animals can’t.
We’re not totally subject to our genes.
Our destiny lies in becoming individuals—creating and fulfilling
our unique potential. We each evolve differently and unpredictably.
Individuality implies differentiation. Becoming different requires
editing, subtraction, focus. We become dissimilar by focusing on our
distinctive and authentic parts.
True, we’re not blank slates. Our genes determine our appearance and
have a big say in many other matters.
We become individuals though subtraction. Less is more. We have the
wonderful opportunity to let go of the bits of ourselves that are not
authentic, not ‘really us’ — the parts imposed by background, parents,
and environment. The authentic self is a small part of our total self,
yet it’s the vital self. We all have special gifts, unique imaginations,
our little bit of genius: the spark of life that’s wholly ours.
When we focus our self, we give up doing what many other people do,
thinking what others think. Is this a loss? Of quantity, yes; but not of
quality. In quality, less is more. By narrowing our interests, we deepen
and intensify them. By focusing on our best, unique attributes, we
become more individual, more human. We focus our power, our singularity,
and our ability to enjoy life profoundly and uniquely.
Developing individuality is a consicous process. It involves
deciding who you are and who yuo are not; who you want to become and who
you don’t want to become. We become more distinctive individuals through
deliberate decisions and actions, honing and increasing what is
different and best about us.
Many people meander through life, muddling along without great hope
Are they short-changing themselves?
All of these decisions exclude. They simplify life, close off
options, eliminate excess choice. They concentrate energy.
a sounding board
Whether you believe you can do something or you beliee you can’t,
you are right.
Focus decreases doubt and turbo-charges confidence and power.
The subconscious can resolve dilemmas, breed brilliant ideas, bring
us peace and joy.
Mill calls the principle “The sums of equals areequals” an inductive
truth and a law of nature of the highest order, and inorder to be able
to call arithmetical truths laws of nature, mill attributes tothem a
sense which they do not bear. He always confuses the applications
thatcan be made of an arithmetical proposition, which often are physical
and dopresuppose observed facts, with the pure mathematical proposition
Xerox Palo Alto Research Center
The general laws of addition cannot be laws of nature.The numbers,
moreover, are related to one another quite differently from theway in
which the individual specimens of, it is in their nature to be
arrangedin a fixed, definite order of precedence. And each one is formed
in its ownspecial way and has its own unique peculiarities.
BYTE Magazine, August 1981. (c) by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., NY.
Inductions must base itself on the theory ofprobability, since it can
never render a proposition more than probable, todevelop the theory of
probability, we must presuppose arithmetical laws. Byinductions we can
only to encounter content, we can understand by induction amere process
of habituation, in which case it has of course absolutely no
powerwhatever of leading to the discovery of truth, whereas the numbers
areliterally created, and determined in their whole natures, by the
process ofcontinually increasing by one.
Leibniz holds the opposite view from Mill, the truthsof number are in
us, they must have principles whose proof does not depend onexamples and
therefore not on the evidence of the senses.
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Are the laws of arithmetic synthetic a priori oranalytic?
The purpose of
The laws of arithmetic are not posteriori, they mustbe synthetic a
priori or analytic. Kant Baumann and Lipschitz are declared forthe
former, assert that propositions and number are derived from
innerintuition. For Hankel, the numbers are intuition of magnitudes, but
it is hardto allow an intuition of 100,000, it is necessary to examine
the word intuition.For Kant, in the sense of the Logic, we might perhaps
be able to call 100,000an intuition, but an intuition in this sense
cannot serve as the ground of ourknowledge of the laws of arithmetic.
the Smalltalk project is to provide computer support for the creative
Arithmetic is not akin to geometry, in geometry, it isquite intelligible
that general propositions should be derived from intuition, thepoints or
lines or planes which we intuit are not really particular at all,
whichis what enables them to stand as representatives of the whoe of
their kink, butwith numbers it is different, each number has its own
everyone. Our work flows from a vision that includes a creative
Empirical propositions hold of what is physically orpsychologically
actual, the truths of geometry govern all that is spatiallyintuitable,
whether actual or product of our fancy, so long as they
remainintuitable, still subject to the axioms of geometry. But
conceptual thought isdifferent from empirical propositions, conceptual
thought, like the basis ofarithmetic lies deeper, it seems, than that of
any of the empirical sciences, andeven than that of geometry. The truths
of arithmetic govern all that is numerable,and the laws of number are
connected very intimately with the laws of thought.
the best computing hardware available. We have chosen to concentrate on
For Leibniz, the laws of number are analytic. For W.S.Jevonsalgebra is a
developed logic, and numberbut logical discrimination.
principle areas of research: a language of description (programming
For mathematics, we can follow the logical rules to usesymbols to
calculate, without knowing anything intuitable, or with which we couldbe
sensibly acquainted. All we need to know is how to handle logically
thecontent as made sensible in the symbols and, if we wish to apply our
calculusto physics, how to effect the transition to the phenomena.
that serves as an interface between the models in the human mind and
To use deduction, we can leave the fact where it is,while adopting its
content in the form of a condition, by substituting in thisway
conditions for facts throughout the whole of a train of reasoning, we
shallfinally reduce it to a form in which a certain result is made
dependent on acertain series of conditions. This would make the laws of
computing hardware, and a language of interaction (user interface) that
the human communication system to that of the computer. Our work has
two- to four-year cycle that can be seen to parallel the scientific
Build an application program within the current system (make an
Based on that experience, redesign the language (formulate a theory)
Build a new system based on the new design (make a prediction that can
The Smalltalk-80 system marks our fifth time through this cycle. In this
article, I present some of the general principles we have observed in
the course of our work. While the presentation frequently touches on
Smalltalk “motherhood”, the principles themselves are more general and
should prove useful in evaluating other systems and in guiding future
Just to get warmed up, I’ll start with a principle that is more social
than technical and that is largely responsible for the particular bias
of the Smalltalk project:
附录：On Understanding Substance as Mass
Personal Mastery:*If a system is to serve the creative spirit, it
entirely comprehensible to a single individual.
In the First Analogy of Experience, Kant argues that there must be some
permanently persistent substance in the appearances which represents the
persistence of time. Given Kant’s endorsement of Newtonian physics,
commentators such as Eric Watkins suggest that such permanently
persistent substance can be understood as Newtonian mass. In this paper,
however, I argue that we face a dilemma when we try to cash out the
notion of substance in terms of Newtonian mass.
The paper proceeds in three steps. In the first section, I present the
reason why there needs to be a permanently persistent substance in the
appearances, and discuss why it seems to be compelling to conceive of
the permanently persistent substance as Newtonian Mass. Then, in the
second section, I argue that there are (only) two ways of conceiving of
the permanently persistent substance as Newtonian mass, namely, to
conceive of substance as individuated mass and to conceive of substance
as the sum total of mass in the world of appearances. I show that there
are textual indications as well as philosophical reasons to support each
option. In the third section, however, I argue that both ways suffer
from inescapable problems. Thus, conceiving of the permanently
persistent substance in terms of Newtonian mass is not viable.
The point here is that the human potential manifests itself in
individuals. To realize this potential, we must provide a medium that
can be mastered by a single individual. Any barrier that exists between
the user and some part of the system will eventually be a barrier to
creative expression. Any part of the system that cannot be changed or
that is not sufficiently general is a likely source of impediment. If
one part of the system works differently from all the rest, that part
will require additional effort to control. Such an added burden may
detract from the final result and will inhibit future endeavors in that
area. We can thus infer a general principle of design:
Section I. The Permanently Persistent Substance
Good Design:*A system should be built with a minimum set of
In this section, I shall first present the reason why Kant thinks that
there must be a permanently persistent substance in the appearances. I
then discuss why it is compelling to conceive of such substance as
In the chapter “System of all principles of pure understanding,” Kant
discusses what makes possible the applications of the categories, i.e.
the pure concepts of understanding, to objects, i.e. appearances that
are given to sensible intuitions. That is, he discusses what it is that
makes the categories have objective validity. Kant’s claim is that the
applications of the categories are only possible under certain
conditions, and these conditions are spelled out by the principles. For
instance, the applications of the relational categories
(substance-accidents, cause and effect, and mutual interactions) are
possible if they are applied to objects according to the principles of
Analogies of Experience. In addition to the three specific principles
that correspond to each of the three relational categories, Kant also
provides a general principle overarching all three Analogies. The
general principle is stated in the second edition as follows:
“Experience is possible only through the representations of a necessary
connection of perceptions” (B 218). Watkins provides a helpful
interpretation of this general principle:
“The general idea is that each of the three relational categories
represents a necessary connection that is required for experience of a
single time and of objects existing and being temporally related to each
other within a single time to be possible.” (My emphasis)
Since this paper is focused on the notion of substance in the first
Analogy, I shall ignore the second and third Analogies. So I now turn to
a close examination of the first Analogy.
The first Analogy, i.e. the principle of the persistence of substance,
is stated in the second edition as follows: “In all change of
appearances substance persists, and its quantum is neither increased nor
diminished in nature.” (B 224) Watkins summarizes Kant’s argument for
the first Analogy as follows (which I take to be a correct
Premise 1: Appearances, i.e. objects of experience, are made possible by
Premise 2: We do not perceive time itself.
Therefore, In order to have experience of appearances, there must be
some permanent substance in the appearances which can represent time or
While the appearances, as the objects given to our intuitions, are
changing, the substance in appearances always stays the same and is
permanent. So, Kant calls the permanent substance “the substratum of
everything real” (B 225). But, some clarifications about Kant’s use of
the term “substratum” are needed to prevent potential confusions.
Substratum in Kant’s text does not mean what Locke uses this term to
mean, namely, the bearer of properties which is unchanging and about
which we can have no knowledge. For, according to Locke, we can only
know what is given to our senses, but since the underlying substratum
cannot be given to our senses, we have no access to it and therefore
cannot know it.
Kant, by constrast, does not think that there is any Lockean substratum
in the world of appearances. For Kant, the fact that the states of the
substance are changing and the substance stays the same does not mean
the states are separable from the substance. Rather, the changing states
of the substance are simply the ways in which the substance is given to
us. Thus, we can know the substance, that is, we know the substance
through its states. In order to avoid the Lockean implication of the
term “substratum,” I shall only use “substance” to refer to the
permanently persistent thing in the appearances despite Kant’s own use
of “substratum” to talk about what is permanent in the appearances.
Since I have argued that Kant’s notion of substance is not the Lockean
substratum, then what is the Kantian notion of substance? We need a
positive account of what the substance is. It is obvious that such a
permanently persistent thing cannot be captured by ordinary physical
objects, no matter whether they are natural objects (say, rocks) or
artifacts (say, ships), for neither artifacts nor natural objects always
stay the same such that in principle they can never suffer changes. So,
it seems no ordinarily construed physical things can be qualified as
substance that is permanently persistent. On the other hand, it is very
hard to imagine that anything non-physical could play the role the
substance is supposed to play. For it is hard to imagine how a
non-physical being could be given to our sensible intuition or could be
spatiotemporally organized by our a priori intuitions. So, it is
unlikely that Kant means something non-physical by “substance.” Thus,
there are two constraints on spelling out what substance is. First, it
is something physical. Second, as I have shown, the physical being that
can be understood as substance cannot be ordinarily individuated
physical things such as planet or rock.
In order to meet the above two conditions, Watkins suggests that, given
Kant’s commitment to Newtonian science, it is likely that Kant has
Newtonian mass in mind when he talks about the substance, since no
matter how a physical object changes, its mass always stays the same.
Since Newtonian mass is physical and is not an ordinarily individuated
object, it seems quite compelling that the substance, which is
permanently persistent, just is Newtonian mass. According to common
sense, Newtonian mass is understood to be underlying objects such that
we cannot directly perceive mass but can only perceive mass through the
way it is given to our intuition, namely, through the perception of the
objects that have mass. Thus, mass is neither unknowable nor directly
perceivable, which seems to fit the description of the substance
Moreover, there are many textual indications that suggest the
identification of substance with mass. Let me note two examples. First,
recall the general principle overarching the three specific Analogies,
namely, “In all change of appearances substance persists, and its
quantum is neither increased nor diminished in nature.” (B 224) It seems
that “quantum” is most naturally to be understood as mass, for mass
seems to be the only thing in nature that is neither increased nor
diminished on Newtonian physics.
The other indication is Kant’s example to illustrate his claim that “he
<a philosopher> thus assumed that as incontrovertible that even in
fire the matter (substance) never disappears but rather only suffers an
alteration in its form.” (B 288, my emphasis):
“A philosopher was asked: How much does the smoke weigh? He replied: If
you take away from the weight of the wood that was burnt the weight of
the ashes that are left over, you will have the weight of the smoke.” (B
We can see that here Kant explicitly identifies substance with matter.
And it is quite plausible to think that “matter” is just another way of
saying “mass”. That is, “mass” seems to be the theoretical analog of the
term “matter.” This hypothesis is supported by the example of the weight
of smoke. For, in the example, the way to calculate the weight of smoke
just is to calculate the mass (multiplies the gravitational constant).
However, despite the compelling reasons for the identification of
substance with mass, in the next sections, I shall argue that the
substance cannot be understood as Newtonian mass, for when we try to
work out the details of understanding the substance as mass, we face an
parts; those parts should be as general as possible; and all parts of
Section II. Some Mass or the Sum Total of Mass
system should be held in a uniform framework.
In this section, I shall argue that there are two ways of conceiving of
substance as Newtonian mass, and then show that both ways have some
support from the text and are to some extent philosophically plausible.
So, both ways deserve detailed considerations. But, in the next section,
I shall argue that both ways face insurmountable problems.
In identifying substance with mass, we need to settle an ambiguity: Is
the mass meant to be some mass, say the mass of a rock which is 7
kilograms (a randomly chosen weight), or to be the sum total of mass in
the world of appearances which is a very large but nonetheless definite
amount? Since both some mass and the sum total of mass are permanently
persistent, we cannot tell which way of identifying is more plausible
with respect to the permanent persistence of substance. So, we must
appeal to some other philosophically and/or textually interesting points
to ground a preference in choosing one over the other.
Let us first consider identifying the substance with some or
individuated mass. First, the first Analogy is the principle according
to which the relational category substance-accident is to be applied.
Kant defines accidents to be “the determinations of a substance that are
nothing other than particular ways for it to exist.”(B 229) Many
commentators interpret the relation to be between object and its
properties or states. Thus it makes more sense to think that the mass,
which is the underlying bearer of properties, is the individuated mass
of some object, instead of the sum total of mass in the world of
appearances. For instance, in the example of the weight of smoke, Kant
seems to conceive of substance as the matter, i.e. mass, of an
individual object. Moreover, if we conceive of substance as the sum
total of mass in the world of appearances, it is very hard to imagine
how substance can be the bearer of properties or what kind of properties
of which substance is the bearer.
One might argue that, on the interpretation according to which substance
is the sum total of mass, even though we could imagine no properties of
which substance is the bearer, we can still conceive of substance as the
bearer of (changing) states, i.e. the successive states of the world of
appearances. I reply that Kant cannot accept such an idea because the
states of the world are not objects of possible experience, for it is at
least empirically true that no one could have the whole world of
appearances as his object of experience. I will return to this point
later on in the paper and use it to argue that conceiving of substance
as the sum total of mass is untenable given Kant’s theoretic
The above discussion is about reasons to prefer the identification of
substance with some mass. I now turn to the reasons to prefer the
identifications of substance with the sum total of mass. There are some
textual evidences in the first Analogy that suggest this latter
identification. For instance, the following passage:
“…here the issue is only appearances in the field of experience, the
unity of which would never be possible if we were to allow new things
(as far as their substance is concerned) to arise. For then everything
would disappear that alone can represent the unity of time, namely the
identity of the substratum in which alone all change has its
thoroughgoing unity. This persistence is therefore nothing more than the
way in which we represent the existence of things (in appearances).” (B
229/A186, my emphasis)
In this passage, Kant seems to identify the permanent persistent
substance that represents the persistence of time with the unity of
appearances, which seems to be the sum total of mass in the whole world
of appearances. Let me argue for my understanding of this passage that
it indicates that Kant identifies substance with the sum total of mass.
I shall argue by reductio: Suppose Kant identified substance with
individuated mass in the above passage. Then, it would make no sense to
think that the arising of new substance could make the representation of
the unity of time impossible. For the arising of new substance in no
sense affects the substance, i.e. the mass, of the original objects. Let
me use an example to illustrate. Suppose there is a rock whose mass is 7
kilograms and there arises a new object out of nothing, whose mass is 5
kilograms. Insofar as the rock’s mass remains the same, whether or not
there are new masses arising out of nothing does not affect the unity of
the rock’s mass, which is 7 kilograms. Therefore, in this passage, Kant
conceives of substance as the sum total of mass in the whole world of
So far I have shown that there are compelling reasons to identify
substance with some mass or with the sum total of mass respectively. In
the next section, I shall argue that there are also devastating reasons
to each identification such that either way we go, we face unsolvable
Section III. One Single Time and the Limit of Possible Experience
In designing a language for use with computers, we do not have to look
far to find helpful hints. Everything we know about how people think and
communicate is applicable. The mechanisms of human thought and
communication have been engineered for millions of years, and we should
respect them as being of sound design. Moreover, since we must work with
this design for the next million years, it will save time if we make our
computer models compatible with the mind, rather that the other way
I now turn to the problems from which the each identification suffers.
In this section, I shall argue that these problems make both
identifications untenable. Let us first consider the identification of
substance with individuated mass (i.e. some mass). I argue that the
reason why individuated mass cannot be identified with substance is that
individuated mass cannot represent the oneness of time. Recall Kant’s
argument for the principle of the first Analogy: in order to have
experiences of objects as temporal, we must identify a permanently
persistent substance that can represent time in objects. While the
states of the substance change, the substance persists so that the
substance can represent time that persists. It is important to notice
that time, which is supposed to be represented by substance in
appearances, is one single time. But, individuated mass cannot represent
one single time. For there are many individuated masses, for instance,
the mass of a rock which is 7 kilograms, the mass of a cup which is 0.5
kilogram, and the mass of a table which is 3 kilograms, each of which is
permanently persistent and undergoes changes. If one of them can
represent time, any other also can. In that case, we do not have one
single time. Rather, we have many times or time-series, each of which is
Let me explain in details why multiply individuated masses cannot
represent on single time. If these individuated masses can represent one
single time, there must be some one single thing that is shared by these
individuated masses that serves to represent the singularity of time.
Whatever this shared thing is, it is not any of these individuated
masses. Therefore, individuated mass cannot present one single time.
However, on the other hand, time has be to singular. Here is a passage
in the first Analogy which explains why time has to be one single time
rather than a plurality of times:
“Substances (in appearances) are the substrata of all
time-determinations. The arising of some of them and the perishing of
others would itself remove the sole condition of the empirical unity of
time, and the appearances would then be related to two different times,
in which existence flowed side by side, which is absurd. For there is
only one time, in which all different times must not be placed
simultaneously but only one after another.” (B 232/A189)
One might argue that it does not matter how many individuated masses can
represent time, it only matters that there is an individuated mass that
represents time. Insofar as there is such a substance, which is
permanently persistent, it suffices to represent one single time. I
reply that, in that case, we still do not know which individuated mass
is suppose to be the representer of the one single time in appearances.
For there is not reason to think that the mass of one object is more
suitable to represent time than the mass of another object is, insofar
as both of the individuated masses are permanently persistent. Any
choice of one over the other is arbitrary. But the unity or singularity
of time is not arbitrary, for there can only be one time-series which
persists, and any other time-series or temporal relations are just
temporal parts of this unique time-series. Thus, I conclude that
individuated mass cannot be the representer of time in appearances.
I now turn to argue that the sum total of mass cannot represent time
either. The idea of my argument is to make use of Kant’s solution to the
Antinomies to show that the permanently persistent substance that
represents time in the appearances cannot be the sum total of mass
because the sum total of mass is not an object of possible experience.
Let me lay out my argument in detail.
In “The Antinomy of Pure Reason” chapter, Kant presents four pairs of
arguments concerning four cosmological ideas about the world-whole,
namely, whether there is a beginning of time, whether there is
indivisibly simple substance, whether there is a first cause, and
whether there is a necessary existent. As Allen W. Wood argues, the four
antinomies share a general form, namely, the thesis of each antinomy
claims that there must be a first member of the conditioning-conditioned
chain, while the antithesis of each antinomy claims that there is no
first member of such a chain and that the chain goes back into infinity.
Kant argues that there are valid arguments for each of the four theses
as well as valid arguments for each of the four antitheses, so we need a
solution to such contradictions.
Kant’s solution to the contradictions, as Wood argues, relies on his
doctrine of transcendental idealism. As for the first two antinomies,
The mathematical antinomies are generated by mathematical principles
that apply to things only insofar as they are given in sensible
intuition…But these [the first two] series of conditions are never
given to intuition as a whole…The theses are false because the
principles of possible experience make it impossible for objects
corresponding to the cosmological ideas of a first event, a largest
extent of the world or a simple substance, ever to be given to
Thus, the reason why Kant thinks that the claims made by the theses of
the first and second antinomies are false is that neither the beginning
of time nor the spatial boundary of the world or an indivisible
substance can ever be given to our sensible intuition. If something
cannot be given to our sensible intuition, according to Kant, we cannot
have experience of it. Let me call this principle the
object-of-sensible-intuition principle, namely, if something cannot be
given to our sensible intuitions, then it cannot be object of our
possible experience. And we can apply this principle to an object to
determine whether that object can be object of possible experience. That
is, if the object in question can be given to our sensible intuition,
then the object can be object of our possible experience, but if the
object cannot be given to our sensible intuition, then it cannot be
object of our possible experience.
Now, let me apply the object-of-sensible-intuition principle to the idea
of the sum total of mass. We can see that the sum total of mass cannot
be given to our sensible intuition, so, the sum total of mass cannot be
object of our possible experience. For the world of appearances seems to
mean the whole universe or cosmos (because everything in the universe
stands in causal relations to each other), there is no way for all of
the mass in the whole universe to be given to our sensible intuition.
Actually, we do not even know whether there are spatial boundaries of
the universe, so we do not even know whether the sum total of mass in
the all universe is finite. Thus, the sum total of mass cannot be object
of possible experience. So, the sum total of mass cannot be that which
represents time in appearances. For the reason there must be a
permanently persistent substance in appearances which represents time is
to make our temporally connected representations of objects possible.
But, if the sum total of mass cannot be object of experience, it cannot
make our experience of object possible. Thus, the permanently persistent
substance in appearances cannot be the sum total of mass.
One might object that in the antinomies, the cosmological ideas at issue
are condition-condition series. (B 436/A410) But the sum total of mass
is not a series. Rather, it is an aggregate about which the question of
conditioning and conditioned does not arise at all. Thus, Kant’s remarks
on the antinomies have no bearing on whether the idea of the sum total
of mass has any objective validity or significance. Moreover, the first
two antinomies concern whether the conditioning-conditioned series go on
into infinities. And it seems that it is impossible for us to experience
infinity, for no matter what we experience it is finite insofar as we
have experienced it. But, the quantum of the sum total of mass seems to
be a definite and finite amount. By virtues of what can we claim that
the sum total of mass cannot be object of experience? Is this “cannot”
an empirical cannot, or an In-Principle cannot? If the answer is the
former, the empirical “cannot” does not seem to be strong enough to show
that the sum total of mass cannot be experienced, because we cannot know
or predict whether in the future empirical sciences and technologies
will make the sum total of mass possible object of experience. If the
answer is the latter, at least further explanations of why the sum total
of mass, which is a finite and definite amount, cannot be object of
possible experience in principle are needed.
To the first objection I have two replies. First, in the first antinomy,
Kant also discusses whether there is boundary or the largest extent of
space. It is not obvious that there is a spatial series in the sense
that it is obvious that there is a temporal series in which one moment
succeeds its previous moments. However, according to Kant, we can think
of the space acquiring its quantum through repeatedly or successively
adding spatial units to the previous spatial units. (A 428/B 456) That
is, the way of conceiving of space as a spatial series depends on the
way of conceiving of time as a temporal series, which is naturally
serial. Then, by the same token, we can also think of the sum total of
mass acquiring its quantum by successively adding massive units to
previous massive units. Thus, if the object-of-sensible-intuition
principle applies to the idea of the boundary of space, it should also
apply to the idea of the sum total of mass of the whole world of
Second, the fact that Kant applies the
object-of-sensible-intuition-principle to the first two (or three)
cosmological ideas to solve the contradictions does not mean that the
principle can only be employed to deal with the antinomies. If the
principle is applicable to other ideas, we can also use the principle to
deal with other ideas. Since the object-of-sensible-intuition principle
is derived from transcendental idealism, which is an important element
in the whole Critique, there is no reason why the principle cannot be
applied to other ideas than cosmological ideas. Thus, it is legitimate
to use the object-of-sensible-intuition principle to show that the sum
total of mass of whole world of appearances cannot be object of possible
experience. So, the sum total of mass cannot be what represents time in
My reply to the second objection has two steps. First, it needs to be
clarified that, although the first two antinomies concern whether the
conditioning-conditioned series are infinite, Kant’s solution by the
object-of-sensible-intuition principle does not rely on the whether the
series are infinite. The principle only concerns whether the things to
which the cosmological ideas refer can be given to our sensible
intuition. It does not concern whether the things are infinite. It seems
true that infinity cannot be object of sensible intuition. But this does
not mean that all finite things can be given to our sensible intuition.
Actually Kant rejects the claim that all finite things can be given to
our sensible intuition. For Kant thinks the thesis of the first antinomy
is false, because the beginning of time or the boundary of space cannot
be given to our sensible intuition so that it cannot be object of
The second step of my reply is to spell out in which sense of “cannot,”
the sum total of mass cannot be object of possible experience. It seems
to me that the distinction between empirical “cannot” and In-Principle
“cannot” is hard to cash out in the context of Critique. For, in the
Critique, any legitimate claim to knowledge entails that the object of
which the knowledge is can be experienced. Thus, it seems that the
empiricality of the “cannot” entails the In-Principality of the
However, concerning the claim that we cannot predict whether in the
future empirical sciences and technologies will make the sum total of
mass possible object of experience, what would Kant say? Would Kant
agree that future sciences and technologies might or could transform a
transcendent idea into an idea which refers to object of possible
experience? I do not think he would. For Kant thinks his Critique
settles metaphysical questions once and for all by theoretical reason,
which is static or a-historical. Future discoveries made by sciences and
technologies should be able to do no damage to the doctrines in
Critique. Moreover, it should be odd to Kant’s ear that progresses made
by empirical sciences could have any bearings on the doctrines in the
Critique, which he builds up from scratch employing only pure reason,
which is absolutely a-historical.
Thus, I conclude that the above arguments show that identifying
substance with the sum total of mass in the world of appearance is not
tenable. Since I showed earlier in this section that identifying
substance with individuated mass is not tenable either, I conclude that
the general strategy of identifying substance with mass is untenable.
Section IV. Concluding Remarks
1illustrates the principle components in our discussion. A person is
presented as having a body and a mind. The body is the site of primary
experience, and, in the context of this discussion, it is the physical
channel through which the universe is perceived and through which
intentions are carried out. Experience is recorded and processed in the
mind. Creative thought (without going into its mechanism) can be viewed
as the spontaneous appearance of information in the mind. Language is
the key to that information:
In this paper, I showed that a seemingly very promising way of
understanding the permanently persistent substance discussed in the
first Analogy, namely, conceiving of substance as Newtonian mass, is
untenable. Then, I wonder whether there are other promising ways of
providing a positive account of substance or actually it is the case
that the notion of substance in the first Analogy is itself untenable.
At this stage, maybe I could follow Kant’s stance on the things of
themselves, namely, they exist, but we can have no knowledge about the
way of their existence. But, at the same time, we need to have this
minimal conviction that they exist. Similarly, concerning substance, we
can have no knowledge about what the permanently persistent substance
is, but we need to have the minimal conviction that it exists in the
world of appearances and it serves to represent time.
Purpose of Language:*To provide a framework for communication.*
The interaction between two individuals is represented
1as two arcs. The solid arc represents explicit communication: the
actual words and movements uttered and perceived. The dashed arc
represents implicit communication: the shared culture and experience
that form the context of the explicit communication. In human
interaction, much of the actual communication is achieved through
reference to shared context, and human language is built around such
allusion. This is the case with computers as well.
It is no coincidence that a computer can be viewed as one of the
- In this case, the “body” provides for visual display of information
and for sensing input from a human user. The “mind” of a computer
includes the internal memory and processing elements and their
1shows that several different issues are involved in the design of a
design of a language for using computers must deal with internal models,
external media, and the interaction between these in both the human and
This fact is responsible for the difficulty of explaining Smalltalk to
people who view computer languages in a more restricted sense. Smalltalk
is not simply a better way of organizing procedures or a different
technique for storage management. It is not just an extensible hierarchy
of data types, or a graphical user interface. It is all of these things
and anything else that is needed to support the interactions shown
Figure 1:*The scope of language design. Communication between two*
people (or between one person and a computer) includes communication on
two levels. Explicit communication includes the information that is
transmitted in a given message. Implicit communication includes the
relevant assumptions common to the two
The mind observes a vast universe of experience, both immediate and
recorded. One can derive a sense of oneness with the universe simply by
letting this experience be, just as it is. However, if one wishes to
participate, literally totake a part, in the universe, one must draw
distinctions. In so doing one identifies an object in the universe, and
simultaneously all the rest becomes not-that-object. Distinction by
itself is a start, but the process of distinguishing does not get any
easier. Every time you want to talk about “that chair over there”, you
must repeat the entire processes of distinguishing that chair. This is
where the act of reference comes in: we can associate a unique
identifier with an object, and, from that time on, only the mention of
that identifier is necessary to refer to the original object.
We have said that a computer system should provide models that are
compatible with those in the mind. Therefore:
Objects:*A computer language should support the concept of*
“object” and provide a uniform means for referring to the objects in its
The Smalltalk storage manager provides an object-oriented model of
memory for the entire system. Uniform reference is achieved simply by
associating a unique integer with every object in the system. This
uniformity is important because it means that variables in the system
can take on widely differing values and yet can be implemented as simple
memory cells. Objects are created when expressions are evaluated, and
they can be passed around by uniform reference, so that no provision for
their storage is necessary in the procedures that manipulate them. When
all references to an object have disappeared from the system, the object
itself vanishes, and its storage is reclaimed. Such behavior is
essential to full support of the object metaphor:
Storage Management:*To be truly “object-oriented”, a computer system
automatic storage management.
A way to find out if a language is working well is to see if programs
look like they are doing what they are doing. If they are sprinkled with
statements that relate to the management of storage, then their internal
model is not well matched to that of humans. Can you imagine having to
prepare someone for each thing you tell them or having to inform them
when you are through with a given topic and that it can be forgotten?
Each object in our universe has a life of its own. Similarly, the brain
provides for independent processing along with storage of each mental
object. This suggests a third principle of design:
Messages:*Computing should be*
viewed as an intrinsic capability of objects that can be uniformly
Just as programs get messy if object storage is dealt with explicitly,
control in the system becomes complicated if processing is performed
extrinsically. Let us consider the process of adding 5 to a number. In
most computer systems, the compiler figures out what kind of number it
is and generates code to add 5 to it. This is not good enough for an
object-oriented system because the exact kind of number cannot be
determined by the compiler (more on this later). A possible solution is
to call a general addition routine that examines the type of the
arguments to determine the approximate action. This is not a good
approach because it means that thiscriticalroutine must be edited by
novices who just want to experiment with their own class of numbers. It
is also a poor design because intimate knowledge about the internals of
objects is sprinkled throughout the system.
Smalltalk provides a much cleaner solution: it sends thenameof the
desired operation, along with any arguments, as amessageto the number,
with the understanding that the receiver knows best how to carry out the
desired operation. Instead of a bit-grinding processor raping and
plundering data structures, we have a universe of well-behaved objects
that courteously ask each other to carry out their various desires. The
transmission of messages is the only process that is carried on outside
of objects and this is as it should be, since messages travel between
objects. The principle of good design can be restated for languages:
Uniform Metaphor:*A language should be designed around a*
powerful metaphor that can be uniformly applied in all areas.
Examples of success in this area include LISP, which is built on the
model of linked structures; APL, which is built on the model of arrays;
and Smalltalk, which is built on the model of communicating objects. In
each case, large applications are viewed in the same way as the
fundamental units from which the system is built. In Smalltalk
especially, the interaction between the most primitive objects is viewed
in the same way as the highest-level interaction between the computer
and its user. Every object in Smalltalk, even a lowly integer, has a set
of messages, aprotocol, that defines the explicit communication to
which that object can respond. Internally, objects may have local
storage and access to other shared information which comprise the
implicit context of all communication. For instance, the message + 5
(add five) carries an implicit assumption that the augend is the present
value of the number receiving the message.
A uniform metaphor provides a framework in which complex systems can be
built. Several related organizational principles contribute to the
successful management of complexity. To begin with:
Modularity:*No component in a complex system should depend on the*
internal details of any other
Figure 2:*System complexity. As the number of components in*
a system increases, the chances for unwanted interaction increase
Because of this, a computer language should be designed to minimize the
possibilities of such interdependence.
This principle is depicted
- If there areNcomponents in a system, then there are
roughlyN-squaredpotential dependencies between them. If computer
systems are ever to be of assistance in complex human tasks, they must
be designed to minimize such interdependence. The message-sending
metaphor provides modularity by decoupling theintentof a message
(embodied in its name) from themethodused by the recipient to carry
out the intent. Structural information is similarly protected because
all access to the internal state of an object is through this same
The complexity of a system can often be reduced by grouping similar
components. Such grouping is achieved through data typing in
conventional programming languages, and throughclassesin Smalltalk. A
class describes other objects — their internal state, the message
protocol they recognize, and the internal methods for responding to
those messages. The objects so described are calledinstancesof that
class. Even classes themselves fit into this framework; they are just
instances of classClass, which describes the appropriate protocol and
implementation for object description.
Classification:*A language must provide a means for classifying*
similar objects, and for adding new classes of objects on equal footing
the kernel classes of the system.
Classification is the objectification ofnessness. In other words, when
a human sees a chair, the experience is taken both literally an “that
very thing” and abstractly as “that chair-like thing”. Such abstraction
results from the marvelous ability of the mind to merge “similar”
experience, and this abstraction manifests itself as another object in
the mind, the Platonic chair or chairness.
Classes are the chief mechanism for extension in Smalltalk. For
instance, a music system would be created by adding new classes that
describe the representation and interaction protocol
ofNote,Melody,Score,Timbre,Player, and so on. The “equal footing” clause
of the above principle is important because it insures that the system
will be used as it was designed. In other words, a melody could be
represented as an ad hoc collection ofIntegersrepresenting pitch,
duration, and other parameters, but if the language can handleNotesas
easily asIntegers, then the user will naturally describe a melody as a
collection ofNotes. At each stage of design, a human will naturally
choose the most effective representation if the system provides for it.
The principle of modularity has an interesting implication for the
procedural components in a system:
Polymorphism:*A program should specify only the behavior of*
objects, not their representation.
A conventional statement of this principle is that a program should
never declare that a given object is aSmallIntegeror aLargeInteger, but
only that it responds to integer protocol. Such generic description is
crucial to models of the real world.
Consider an automobile traffic simulation. Many procedures in such a
system will refer to the various vehicles involved. Suppose one wished
to add, say, a street sweeper. Substantial amounts of computation (in
the form of recompiling) and possible errors would be involved in making
this simple extension if the code depended on the objects it
manipulates. The message interface establishes an ideal framework for
such an extension. Provided that street sweepers support the same
protocol as all other vehicles, no changes are needed to include them in
Factoring:*Each independent component in a system would appear*
in only one place.
There are many reasons for this principle. First of all, it saves time,
effort, and space if additions to the system need only be made in one
place. Second, users can more easily locate a component that satisfies a
given need. Third, in the absence of proper factoring, problems arise in
synchronizing changes and ensuring that all interdependent components
are consistent. You can see that a failure in factoring amounts to a
violation of modularity.
Smalltalk encourages well-factored designs throughinheritance. Every
class inherits behavior from its superclass. This inheritance extends
through increasingly general classes, ultimately ending with
classObjectwhich describes the default behavior of all objects in the
system. In our traffic simulation above,StreetSweeper(and all other
vehicle classes) would be described as a subclass of a
generalVehicleclass, thus inheriting appropriate default behavior and
avoiding repetition of the same concepts in many different places.
Inheritance illustrates a further pragmatic benefit of factoring:
Leverage:*When a system is well factored, great leverage is*
available to users and implementers alike.
Take the case of sorting an ordered collection of objects. In Smalltalk,
the user would define a message calledsortin the classOrderedCollection.
When this has been done, all forms of ordered collections in the system
will instantly acquire this new capability through inheritance. As an
aside, it is worth noting that the same method can alphabetize text as
well as sort numbers, since comparison protocol is recognized by the
classes which support both text and numbers.
The benefits of structure for implementers are obvious. To begin with,
there will be fewer primitives to implement. For instance, all graphics
in Smalltalk are performed with a single primitive operation. With only
one task to do, an implementer can bestow loving attention on every
instruction, knowing that each small improvement in efficiency will be
amplified throughout the system. It is natural to ask what set of
primitive operations would be sufficient to support an entire computing
system. The answer to this question is called avirtual
Virtual Machine:*A virtual machine specification establishes a*
framework for the application of technology.
The Smalltalk virtual machine establishes an object-oriented model for
storage, a message-oriented model for processing, and a bitmap model for
visual display of information. Through the use of microcode, and
ultimately hardware, system performance can be improved dramatically
without any compromise to the other virtues of the system.
A user interface is simply a language in which most of the communication
is visual. Because visual presentation overlaps heavily with established
human culture, esthetics plays a very important role in this area. Since
all capability of a computer system is ultimately delivered through the
user interface, flexibility is also essential here. An enabling
condition for adequate flexibility of a user interface can be stated as
an object-oriented principle:
Reactive Principle:*Every component accessible to the user*
should be able to present itself in a meaningful way for observation and
This criterion is well supported by the model of communicating objects.
By definition, each object provides an appropriate message protocol for
interaction. This protocol is essentially a microlanguage particular to
just that kind of object. At the level of the user interface, the
appropriate language for each object on the screen is presented visually
(as text, menus, pictures) and sensed through keyboard activity and the
use of a pointing device.
It should be noted that operating systems seem to violate this
principle. Here the programmer has to depart from an otherwise
consistent framework of description, leave whatever context has been
built up, and deal with an entirely different and usually very primitive
environment. This need not be so:
Operating System:*An operating system is a collection of things*
that don’t fit into a language. There shouldn’t be one.
Here are some examples of conventional operating system components that
have been naturally incorporated into the Smalltalk language:
Storage management — Entirely automatic. Objects are created by a
to their class and reclaimed when no further references to them exist.
Expansion of the address space through virtual memory is similarly
File system — Included in the normal framework through objects such
asFilesandDirectorieswith message protocols that support file access.
Display handling — The display is simply an instance of classForm,
which is continually visible, and the graphical manipulation messages
defined in that class are used to change the visible image.
Keyboard Input — The user input devices are similarly modeled as
with appropriate messages for determining their state or reading their
as a sequence of events.
Access to subsystems — Subsystems are naturally incorporated as
independent objects within Smalltalk: there they can draw on the large
existing universe of description, and those that involve interaction
user can participate as components in the user interface.
Debugger — The state of the Smalltalk processor is accessible as an
instance of classProcessthat owns a chain of stack frames. The debugger
is just a Smalltalk subsystem that has access to manipulate the state
of a suspended process. It should be noted that nearly the only run-time
error that can occur in Smalltalk is for a message not to be recognized
by its receiver.
Smalltalk has no “operation system” as such. The necessary primitive
operations, such as reading a page from the disk, are incorporated as
primitive methods in response to otherwise normal Smalltalk messages.
As might be expected, work remains to be done on Smalltalk. The easiest
part to describe is the continued application of the principles in this
paper. For example, the Smalltalk-80 system falls short in its
factoring because it supports only hierarchical inheritance. Future
Smalltalk systems will generalize this model to arbitrary (multiple)
inheritance. Also, message protocols have not been formalized. The
organization provides for protocols, but it is currently only a matter
of style for protocols to be consistent from one class to another. This
can be remedied easily by providing proper protocol objects that can be
consistently shared. This will then allow formal typing of variables by
protocol without losing the advantages of polymorphism.
The other remaining work is less easy to articulate. There are clearly
other aspects to human thought that have not been addressed in this
paper. These must be identified as metaphors that can complement the
existing models of the language.
Sometimes the advance of computer systems seems depressingly slow. We
forget that steam engines were high-tech to our grandparents. I am
optimistic about the situation. Computer systems are, in fact, getting
simpler and, as a result, more usable. I would like to close with a
general principle which governs this process:
Natural Selection:*Languages and systems that are of sound*
design will persist, to be supplanted only by better ones.
Even as the clock ticks, better and better computer support for the
creative spirit is evolving. Help is on the way.