[Humanist] 23.149 somewhere

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sat Jul 11 09:10:02 CEST 2009


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 23, No. 149.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
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        Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2009 11:48:44 -0500
        From: Devin Griffiths <devin.griffiths at rutgers.edu>
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 23.144 somewhere we are going


Re: Sterling's comment. It makes more sense to talk about "positive" versus
"negative" information in the context of psychology; early psychologists,
particularly Freud, saw it as an empirical discipline like any other
science. My concern is that, when applied to the humanities, this contrast
forces us to frame study in an additive and progressive manner that does not
reflect what humanitists do or how they think. Which is not to say that
digital humanities won't cause a broad re-orientation of humanistic study,
one which will likely embrace a more empirical and additive understanding of
what it is we do, as Sterling suggests. But that will take an enormous
amount of work -- a sea change in how humanists see themselves -- and I'm
betting that this process will end up alienating the non-additive,
non-empiricist mindset of earlier humanistic study. We'll go somewhere, but
it will be harder to understand where we've been (as perhaps this discussion
illustrates).

Devin Griffiths
Rutgers University

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