PPIG 2008 - 20th Annual Workshop
Intuition in Software Development Revisited
Meurig Beynon, Russell Boyatt, Zhan En Chan
Abstract: The role of intuition in software development was discussed in a most original fashion by Peter Naur in 1984. Yet there has been little subsequent interest in elaborating on Naur’s ideas. In seeking to explain this neglect, we argue that the accepted views of software development, both within the formal and pragmatic traditions, are deeply influenced by a conceptual framework inherited from computer science and that, within this framework, making sense of the relation between intuition and software development is inherently difficult. In much more recent publications, Naur himself has related his thinking about software development to the philosophical outlook of William James. We discuss the current status and potential implications of Naur’s original reflections on the role of intuition with reference to trends in thinking about software development since 1984, and to an alternative conceptual framework for computing, afforded by Empirical Modelling, that can be directly related to a Jamesian philosophical stance.