[Humanist] 24.110 knowledge from belief

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon Jun 14 07:28:37 CEST 2010


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 110.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        Date: Sun, 13 Jun 2010 16:29:00 -0400 (EDT)
        From: lachance at chass.utoronto.ca
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 24.96 knowledge from belief
        In-Reply-To: <20100610052252.644B15D776 at woodward.joyent.us>


Øyvind,

You asked:

> At what level do you mean? The level of sound of a voice or the marks
> on paper or screen representing letters? On the level of understanding
> words in the text ("London", "the other side of the river") in a
> geometric way? Or something else?

Since I had in mind the work of Jean Petitot, (Morphogenèse du Sens, 1985
; trans. Morphogenesis of Meaning, 2003), I intended to encompass research
at the phonological, orthographic and semantic aspects of verbal artefacts
as well as aspects of non-verbal artefacts.  In a sense I see the modeling
offered by catastrophe theory and the topologies it explores as rich in
possibilities fro they can account for traversal of the textual object by
an interpreter.

For short overview of Petitot's work see the online lectures by Franson D
Manjali housed at
http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/epc/srb/cyber/manout.html

Jerome McGann in "Marking Texts of Many Dimensions" (2004) devotes some
space to the topological work of Rene Thom [suggestively marked as "Thorn"
throughout the online version] and how it can be linked to autopoiesis.
McGann concludes: "Imagined as applied to textual autopoiesis, a
toplogocial approach carries itself past an analytic description or
prediction over to a form of demonstration or enactment."

In short, a consideration of geometry could lead to a greater appreciation
for the dynamic nature of textual instances. The traversal of any given
textual instance produces an object held in memory and that object changes
shape as decisions are made along the traversal.

Some might consider such ventures as abstracting from the textual
instance, as straying into another sphere. I have a partial answer. Some
time ago (in the mid 90s)  in a different context, I wrote "Abstraction
makes possible the synonymity between structure and syntax. Abstraction
also enables the comparison of discursive formations including those of
mathematics and semiotics. [...] Within an idiom of algebraic structure,
logical formalization is not so far away from topological schematization."
http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~lachance/S4.HTM

I dream of a mature humanities computing where comparisons are facilitated
by the ease with which mathematical modeling can be accomplished both
within any given textual instance and across instances. And that the
comparisons not be limited to verbal artefacts alone but also encompass
inter-media relations.

>                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 96.
>          Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
>                        www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                 Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>
>
>
>         Date: Wed, 9 Jun 2010 10:01:37 +0200
>         From: Øyvind Eide <oyvind.eide at iln.uio.no>
>         Subject: Re: [Humanist] 24.93 knowledge from belief
>         In-Reply-To: <20100607073337.91D9755A82 at woodward.joyent.us>
>
>
> Den 7. juni. 2010 kl. 09.33 skrev Humanist Discussion Group:
>
>>
>> Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 93.
>> Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
>> www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>> Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>>
>> Date: Sun, 6 Jun 2010 15:45:44 -0400 (EDT)
>> From: Francois Lachance <lachance at chass.utoronto.ca>
>> Subject: knowledge generation from belief
>>
>> Willard,
>>
>> The protagonist of Ursula K. LeGuin's _The Telling_ comes to realize
>> by
>> novel's end that "belief is the wound that knowledge heals".
>>
>> It is a fine saying. It is also an invitation to an exercise.
>>
>> I wonder what subscribers to Humanist "believe" about Humanities
>> Computing.
>> And how such beliefs compose the pathways to knowledge.
>>
>> *****
>>
>> I pondered for a while what I believe about Humanities Computing. I
>> came to
>> the realization that I believe that the scholars at work in Humanities
>> Computing will achieve breakthroughs at the point there is more
>> general
>> attention played to the topology of textual (both verbal and non-
>> verbal)
>> representations. As the discipline becomes more conversannt with
>> geometry it
>> will make truly unique contributions.
>
> At what level do you mean? The level of sound of a voice or the marks
> on paper or screen representing letters? On the level of understanding
> words in the text ("London", "the other side of the river") in a
> geometric way? Or something else?
>
>>
>> The discipline is now able to use computing to demark locations.
>> However as
>> Leonard Mlodinow writes in _Euclid's Window_ "The real power of a
>> theory of
>> locations resides in the ability to relate different locations,
>> paths, and
>> shapes to each other, and to manipulate them employing equations --
>> in the
>> unification of geometry and algebra."
>>
>> I believe that Humanities Computing needs to devote itself to
>> shape-shifting.
>>
>> --Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
>> http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~lachance
>
> Kind regards,
>
> Øyvind Eide
> Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
> Unit for Digital Documentation, University of Oslo





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