What is Ontology of Programing Language?

By Xah Lee. Date:

if you don't understand something's ontology, you don't fully understand it.

a child “understands” car. But not sedan, coup, flying car, railcar, NASCAR, truck, van, bus, omnibus, automobile, transportation, jeep, motorcar, vehicle. You do.

let's pick something you don't understand. Say: analytic geometry, synthetic geometry, coordinate geometry, projective geometry, affine geometry, taxicab geometry, algebraic geometry, Euclidean geometry, elliptical geometry, differential geometry, complex geometry, discrete geometry, fractal geometry, computational geometry.

which of the above, are the same “category” with hierarchy? which are just synonyms? which are just informal term? which actually defines a particular math subject with axioms (as you would do a course of it in college)?

Now, you are like that child, who understands “car” the same way you do with “geometry”.

ontology, here, is the overall entities, their nature, relations, category, classification, the context with complete picture.

now, let's look at functional programing and object oriented programing. Wikipedia also lists the following:

Agent-oriented
Array-oriented
Automata-based
Concurrent computing
Data-driven
Declarative (contrast: Imperative)
    Constraint
        Constraint logic
            Concurrent constraint logic
    Dataflow
        Flow-based
        Cell-oriented (spreadsheets)
        Reactive
    Functional
        Functional logic
        Purely functional
    Logic
        Abductive logic
        Answer set
        Concurrent logic
        Functional logic
        Inductive logic
Dynamic
End-user programming
Event-driven
    Service-oriented
    Time-driven
Expression-oriented
Feature-oriented
Function-level (contrast: Value-level)
Generic
Imperative (contrast: Declarative)
    Literate
    Procedural
Inductive programming
Language-oriented
    Natural language programming
    Discipline-specific
    Domain-specific
    Grammar-oriented
        Dialecting
    Intentional
Metaprogramming
    Automatic
    Reflective
        Attribute-oriented
    Homoiconic
    Template
        Policy-based
Non-structured (contrast: Structured)
    Array
Nondeterministic
Parallel computing
    Process-oriented
Point-free style
    Concatenative
Semantic
Structured (contrast: Non-structured)
    Block-structured
    Modular (contrast: Monolithic)
    Object-oriented (OOP)
        Class-based
        Concurrent
        Prototype-based
        By separation of concerns:
            Aspect-oriented
            Role-oriented
            Subject-oriented
    Recursive
Value-level (contrast: Function-level)
Probabilistic
Concept

let's just look at a few terms: functional programing, object oriented programing, Probabilistic programing, Metaprogramming, Data-driven programing.

When approaching a subject, you might think, all these “xyz programing” is a big tree, of different types and subtypes, with respect to some criterions. But not really. Because, for example, {“parallel programing”, “meta programing”, “functional programing”}, are totally “different things”. You can have a “programing” that's all three. While, functional programing and object oriented programing are more like 2 things by one criterion, namely, a certain “style” of construction. Yet, can you really write out, exactly, context, the criterion, in simple plain english, that separates them apart? That's ontology. Also, as you know, some languages, such as ruby, are really both. Given a piece of source code, it can be said to be both functional programing and object oriented programing. So, here things gets critical. Repeat: can you, give a precise definition, context, judgement, that separates functional programing and object oriented programing apart? That's ontology. That's understanding. To fully understand it, you pretty much have to have a overview of most programing languages and history, and have a basic understanding of the programing field in practice, and theory of computability.

now, the main topic.

programing languages have “expressions”, “statements”. Do you know their ontology? what else are there in this category? what makes them whole, the context? which lang has what or not? what's each's effect? what necessitates them? what can be omitted?

PS there's also: directives, command, whitespace, comment, operator, keyword.

combinators, and the ontology of programing language concepts

Got a inspiration from reading Stephen Wolfram's article on combinators.

Amazing guy. The one comp scientist i respect the most. And ideas close to mine the most.

The inspiration is, that i have a question about the ontology of programing paradigms and programing language elements, that i do not know the relation of.

But now, while reading wolfram's article. I know how to find answer to that problem. In particular, reading this passage:

Stephen Wolfram Combinators 2020-12 R9B98
[Combinators: A Centennial View By Stephen Wolfram. At https://writings.stephenwolfram.com/2020/12/combinators-a-centennial-view/ ]

so, you see there, function, variable, flow control, can be subsumed as simple substitution system in combinators.

Programing Language Design