When Worlds Collide: Philosophy & Code

In my former life, I investigated the code of life — in my present, I bring code to life. I talk about this transition with RedMonk's Kate Holterhoff on her show, The Docs Are In

by Ryan Feigenbaum

When Worlds Collide: Philosophy & Code

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When Worlds Collide: Philosophy & Code

When Worlds Collide: Philosophy & Code

They said it couldn't be done. But this post is tagged philosophy and code, bringing together my former life with the present.

I recently had the pleasure of joining RedMonk analyst Kate Holterhoff on her show, The Docs Are In, which features interviews with people in tech who have PhDs.

We talked about the similarities between academia and engineering, the state of developer advocacy in 2023, and how to write docs well. In general, transitioning from the realm of academia to the tech industry, I've found that the skills and insights gained from high-level research, writing, and teaching have unexpected parallels in the world of developer experience and documentation.

Check out the video or podcast to hear more.

The Docs are In: An Examined Life in DevX Engineering with Dr. Ryan Feigenbaum
In this Docs are In episode, RedMonk analyst Kate Holterhoff speaks with Dr. Ryan Feigenbaum, Developer Experience Engineer at Ghost. They discuss the state of DevX in 2023; transitioning to the software industry after a career in academia; and documentation best practices. Dr. Feigenbaum draws parallels between his university work in a philosophy department with

In that former life as a philosopher, I studied the history and philosophy of biology in late eighteenth-century Germany. Even then, I spent a lot of time on web dev, design, and bike shedding. To procrastinate actually writing the dissertation, I made cover art for it:

The Epistemic Foundations of German Biology, 1790 - 1802

And a digital exhibit for The New York Botanical Garden. (This was legitimate, not procrastination.)

Poetic Botany: A Digital Exhibition
Art and Science of the Eighteenth-Century Vegetable World

And, of course, wrote and presented on philosophy and science:

The Algal Organism at the Beginning of Biology
The history of Blumenbach’s Conferva fontinalis essay, and why the alga should be considered a proto-model organism
Toward a Non-Anthropocentric Vision of Nature
An essay about the poet Goethe’s discovery of the intermaxillary bone and its importance for the history of biology and environmental philosophy.
The Limits of Force to Explain Life
Kant’s denial that natural science could explain the organism unintentionally brought the organism concept to the forefront of philosophic and scientific discourse in the 1790s and beyond. It also helped to shed light on those who were reimagining the forces at work in the living world.

Whether it's the complexity of Kant's epistemology or a series of nested ternaries, it's clear that the core of my work remains unchanged: a quest for understanding and elucidating complex systems, teaching others, and creating cool shit.

To all this and more in 2024 🥂