[Humanist] 25.31 in denial

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed May 18 08:03:37 CEST 2011


                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 25, No. 31.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
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  [1]   From:    James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>                      (39)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 25.23 in denial

  [2]   From:    del thomas Ph D <deltom at comcast.net>                     (105)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 25.23 in denial


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Tue, 17 May 2011 09:22:36 -0400
        From: James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 25.23 in denial
        In-Reply-To: <20110517051859.1CC15144954 at woodward.joyent.us>

Plato's discussion of the difference between the users of a technology
and the producers of it in Book X of the Republic may also be of
interest here:

That there are three arts which are concerned with all things: one
which uses, another which makes, a third which imitates them?

Yes.
And the excellence or beauty or truth of every structure, animate
or inanimate, and of every action of man, is relative to the use for
which nature or the artist has intended them.

True.
Then the user of them must have the greatest experience of them, and
he must indicate to the maker the good or bad qualities which develop
themselves in use; for example, the flute-player will tell the flute-maker
which of his flutes is satisfactory to the performer; he will tell
him how he ought to make them, and the other will attend to his instructions?

Of course.
The one knows and therefore speaks with authority about the goodness
and badness of flutes, while the other, confiding in him, will do
what he is told by him?

True.
The instrument is the same, but about the excellence or badness of
it the maker will only attain to a correct belief; and this he will
gain from him who knows, by talking to him and being compelled to
hear what he has to say, whereas the user will have knowledge?

http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.11.x.html

The parallel does not completely hold up, as computer "makers" are
also among the most proficient computer "users," but this difference
may make for an interesting point of discussion about the ways in
which a computer is so very different as a tool.

Jim R

> While I am happy to agree with Prof. Rocchi — in the abstract, of course —
> the understanding of even the most primitive of tools, say the principles of
> finding the right flint, slate, obsidian, the chipping and making of a
> spearpoint, a knife for dissection of the mammoth, another flint for a spark
> for a cooking fire...all those aspects of feeding, the culturing of my
> tribe, and children, whether I am woman or man, is already divided into the
> tool-makers, and users, who need not know how to chip, or even hunt, if the
> hunters go out.
>



--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Tue, 17 May 2011 09:52:52 -0400
        From: del thomas Ph D <deltom at comcast.net>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 25.23 in denial
        In-Reply-To: <20110517051859.1CC15144954 at woodward.joyent.us>

When it comes to the simplest tools such as the inclined plane we are 
all at some time the builder and or user.  But perhaps more of a concern
"Men have become the tools of their tools."Henry David Thoreau.

Del






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