Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Archi-coding


One of the core ideas from Jacques Derrida is archi-writing: Regarding the relationship between speech and writing, Western philosophy has in some sense 'dissed' writing as a pale form of speech. It has been a mistake to see writing as just an artifact of speech. Archi-writing refers to "a kind of writing that precedes both speech and writing."

This may not be very clear (or some may think it's not very right), but there is an analogue that is more clear: The relationship between math and code.

By "math" I mean the writing of mathematics as seen in articles from arXiv, or in mathematical texts in general. A popular, expressive language for this math is \(\LaTeX\) math mode. While this math appears in an article, code (written in a programming language) that is associated with the math (e.g., numerical simulation) is generally relegated to final sections of the article, or is merely referenced. The idea that "math precedes code" is a mistake, just as "speech precedes writing" is a mistake.

Archi-coding would be a kind of coding that precedes both math and code.