[Humanist] 27.278 enumeration and modelling

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon Aug 12 22:13:14 CEST 2013


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 278.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        Date: Tue, 13 Aug 2013 06:08:12 +1000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: Re:  27.265 enumeration and modelling
        In-Reply-To: <64c58b616f524d40b3f452fe9eb7218a at AMXPRD0310HT001.eurprd03.prod.outlook.com>

Dear Paul,

In the following, Humanist 27.265, you've responded to my note on 
classification by querying what sort of modelling I had in mind, and 
what I meant by interpretation. I really meant no more or less than 
modelling cultural artefacts or expressions computationally, as when one 
marks up a text or constructs a shape-architecture and produces other 
shapes from it. I didn't have the distinction between modelling and 
simulation in mind but would be especially pleased if we went off on 
that tangent. By interpretation I meant any statement or even momentary 
thought by which an ambiguity is (partially) resolved -- including, I 
suppose, by metaphor.

I hope the above is sufficiently full of holes to allow a breeze of 
conversation and argument to blow through it :-).

Yours,
W

On 07/08/2013 06:08, Humanist Discussion Group wrote:
>                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 265.
>              Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                         www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                  Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>
>
>
>          Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2013 18:19:46 -0500
>          From: Paul Fishwick<metaphorz at gmail.com>
>          Subject: Re:  27.264 enumeration and modelling
>          In-Reply-To:<20130805210917.65D682F93 at digitalhumanities.org>
>
>
> Willard
>    You have pushed my favorite button "modeling" which I  imagine is
> also the favorite of many others as well. Some comments on your
> second paragraph:
>
>> My interest here, which I recommend to your attention, is the craze for
>> classificatory enumeration.
>
> Fermi noted "If I could remember all of these particles, I'd be a botanist."
>
> However, in fairness to botany, and more generally biology, the past 40
> years or so have seen ever-increasing use of models (e.g., systems
> biology). And so, I would think the classification you mention is gradually
> replaced by a deeper understanding, with classifications still serving
> their purpose higher up the abstraction level of inquiry.
>
>> Isn't it interesting that this should occur
>> alongside -- I am *not* saying caused by -- the interpenetration of
>> computing into all aspects of modern life? To me this suggests that one
>> of the most important of our jobs as digital humanists is to make as
>> clear as possible what modelling does, what it is for. Not answers but
>> questions.
>
> What sorts of modeling comes to mind in your questions? I have many
> in my thoughts, but they may not be a match.
>
>> Not toward the perfect fit but toward the telling misfit.
>> What an amazingly difficult problem the psychiatrists have, dealing with
>> a world in which the thing to be classified changes dynamically with the
>> classificatory scheme. I think we have that problem at root in the
>> dynamics of interpretation, but one step at a time.
>
> The interpretation of what?
>
> -p
>
> On Aug 5, 2013, at 4:09 PM, Humanist Discussion Group<willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>  wrote:
>
>>
>>                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 264.
>>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>>                        www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>>                 Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>>
>>
>>
>>         Date: Tue, 06 Aug 2013 07:02:42 +1000
>>         From: Willard McCarty<willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>>         Subject: enumeration
>>
>> The philosopher Ian Hacking, continuing the work on psychodynamics
>> published most prominently in Rewriting the Soul, has written an
>> illuminating review of the 5th edition of DSM-5: Diagnostic and
>> Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric
>> Association), in the London Review of Books 35.18 for 8 August 2013.
>> See under http://www.lrb.co.uk/ (the review is freely available). His
>> primary criticism of DSM-5 is that "it is founded on a wrong
>> appreciation of the nature of things", based on "the long-standing idea
>> that, in our present state of knowledge, the recognised varieties of
>> mental illness should neatly sort themselves into tidy blocks, in the
>> way that plants and animals do". He details what happens when a rigid
>> scheme is imposed on a reality that does not fit it, not with the
>> objective of trying out that scheme to learn more about the reality (as
>> we do in computational modelling) but in order to serve a huge and
>> expensive bureaucratic enterprise. The grass-roots human consequences of
>> imposing a scheme that must be used in the funding of mental health-care
>> in the U.S. are horrendous.
>>
>> My interest here, which I recommend to your attention, is the craze for
>> classificatory enumeration. Isn't it interesting that this should occur
>> alongside -- I am *not* saying caused by -- the interpenetration of
>> computing into all aspects of modern life? To me this suggests that one
>> of the most important of our jobs as digital humanists is to make as
>> clear as possible what modelling does, what it is for. Not answers but
>> questions. Not toward the perfect fit but toward the telling misfit.
>> What an amazingly difficult problem the psychiatrists have, dealing with
>> a world in which the thing to be classified changes dynamically with the
>> classificatory scheme. I think we have that problem at root in the
>> dynamics of interpretation, but one step at a time.
>>
>> Comments?
>>
>> Yours,
>> WM
>> --
>> Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
>> Humanities, King's College London, and Research Group in Digital
>> Humanities, University of Western Sydney
>
>
> Paul Fishwick, PhD
> Chair, ACM SIGSIM
> Distinguished Chair of Arts&  Technology and Professor of Computer Science
> The University of Texas at Dallas
> Arts&  Technology
> 800 West Campbell Road, AT10
> Richardson, TX 75080-3021
>
>
>
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-- 
Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
Humanities, King's College London, and Research Group in Digital
Humanities, University of Western Sydney




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