Gambling against Kierkegaard

“Leap of faith” is a weird phrase. The wikipedia article for “leap of faith” spends a lot of time discussing Kierkegaard – who the article admits never used the phrase. Other sources attribute it back to John Wycliffe and Latin translations. Cleverly it seems therefore, that to give the phrase a distinct is somewhat awkward at best.

Taking on board these definitions and meanings, even with the whole internet to search is akin to the modern buzzword – “crowd sourcing”. Using groups of people, works can be collectively generated until they reach a certain stability or definition – perhaps achieving the status of a colloquialism is when a definition has become stablised in a dialect. If we the myth over the word ‘Quiz’ then it is hard to establish which of the many new potential words which surround us will become defined in dictionaries and the equivalent.

Although this is definitely true with the spoken word – how much etymology can be applied to the formal languages and formats which dominate the digital age. At their most basic, almost every computer speaks “binary”, but on top of this other languages add new levels of abstraction. Betamax was arguably the better language than VHS, but in the format wars VHS won, as more people “spoke” it. MP3 is the dominant video format, and GIF was the dominant picture format in the early days of the internet – but licensing issues led to it being increasingly overlooked.

Much of the development work being done for Politics in Spires could well be “spoken” by other users as WordPress is the most common blogging platform on the internet. Making some of our “words” available for others to use would given them a broader usage, and make it increasingly likely that adoption would spread. However, time is money, and there is a case for also needing to develop very specific “words” that just our system needs. In doing so we can develop more “words” locally, but there are words which no one else may likely ever speak – so our dialect, becomes effectively an idiolect. However, like many other languages once they reach the point of idiolectsy (a new word, feel free to reuse!), the content and the system need to live for an amount of time we do not know. So if we aim to make words which other people will use, then it is likely they could maintain them for as long as required.

Effectively the above paragraph represents the thought process I go through each time I start a new piece of development work. Do I think anyone will use, or find useful what I am developing – if so I will take a little extra time to develop it with that in mind – this is a coding “leap of faith”. I have no idea if this code will be reused, but I believe it might be.  The triton project is soon to release some new plugins we’ve developed – and we really hope the community will take these on board and develop them too.

So sometimes, the work here  is very much a quick change here for which there is no need to share, else I take Kierkegaard to the bookmakers and place my time and effort on “Yes”.

What we recoup if we win though, well that is an entirely different question….

Posted in copyright, dissemination, technical, Triton, ukoer | 4 Comments

4 Responses to “Gambling against Kierkegaard”

  1. Barney Fife says:

    A bit more than a rambling post, you’ll find that Kierkegaard does use “leap” in a particular way, which does, in fact, allude to a “leap of faith”, which has nothing to do with “crowd sourcing”.

    “But this act of letting go is surely also something; it is indeed a contribution of mine. Must not this also be taken into account, this little moment, brief as it may be, it need not be long, for it is a leap.”

    Sometimes, one has to go beyond Wikipedia to understand Phenomenology … and maybe a dash of proofreading wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

  2. Patrick Lockley says:

    Hi Barney,
    I wasn’t really looking to understand Phenomenology – though perhaps in not doing so I did somewhat over appropriate Kierkegaard.

    I was aiming to perhaps apply the notion of open source development to the principle of a “leap of faith”.

    Thanks for the comment though (will aim to ramble less)

  3. Barney Fife says:

    yikes: i can’t believe that was me. please excuse tone. not enough coffee that day. normally am not quite so \in yo grill\ when it comes to the deontological imperative.

  4. Patrick Lockley says:

    It’s ok, you’re points are all valid – even I would admit that I am a little to “stream of consciousness” at times.

    Can you think of any other philosopher’s who might have theories analogous to open sourcing software?

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