[Humanist] 23.470 taking a stand, having a view?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon Nov 30 08:02:04 CET 2009

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 23, No. 470.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Mon, 30 Nov 2009 07:00:55 +0000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: a discipline with a view

The English literary critic I. A. Richards regarded philosophy as "the 
over-all name nowadays of the diplomatic agency which endeavors to keep 
studies in some touch with one another" and deployed a philosophical 
perspective to argue against the dream of "intellectual world conquest", 
for example on the part of linguistics and behaviourism ("Communication 
between Men: The Meaning of Language", in Cybernetics/Kybernetik, ed. 
Pias). In the first essay published in Speculative Instruments (1955), 
"Notes toward an agreement between literary criticism and some of the 
sciences", he writes in this diplomatic mode to consider the objections 
each side has against the other. What interests me in particular are not 
the objections as such but his standing point from the outside the 

We in humanities computing have just such a perspective by virtue of our 
transdisciplinary methodological concerns. Hence my interest in others 
who have shared similar vantage points.

Who else has written in this way? Writings on the abstract idea of 
interdisciplinarity go on tiresomely at great length about what it is, 
distinguishing it from multidisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity etc etc. 
Our concern, it seems to me, is how actually to *do* it, and I think 
that we get further than Richards' diplomacy aims to do. But his 
standing point does provide the first step.

So, again my question: who else has written like this?

Willard McCarty, Professor of Humanities Computing,
King's College London, staff.cch.kcl.ac.uk/~wmccarty/;
Editor, Humanist, www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist;
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, www.isr-journal.org.

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