[Humanist] 27.283 enumeration and modelling

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Aug 14 22:16:39 CEST 2013


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 283.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        Date: Tue, 13 Aug 2013 19:11:13 -0400
        From: Paul Fishwick <metaphorz at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re:  27.279 enumeration and modelling
        In-Reply-To: <20130813204721.3723F2DA8 at digitalhumanities.org>


Dear Willard and Arianna:

   Thanks for commenting and asking questions. Here are
some thoughts I have. My endless goal is to help see crossovers
in modelling among different disciplines (mathematics, CS,
arts, and humanities). Of course we all have different definitions,
but there is also considerable room for collaboration and
intersection among disciplines.

1. To Willard:

You said (with my inserts):

>> 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'd probably say that there are two broad categories of modelling from
a scientific perspective: analytic vs. synthetic. What you are describing is
synthetic -- where someone says "I have a model home" for example, and
then uses this as a prototype for building other homes. It is generative
in nature. The analytic case would be where model is "of" something rather
than the generative "for" something. I have a queuing model of the Dallas
North/South Parkway, for example.

>> I didn't have the distinction between modelling and 
>> simulation in mind but would be especially pleased if we went off on 
>> that tangent.

My own colleagues may differ with me on this, but I would classify
modeling as language (e.g., Petri nets, state machines, data flow
diagrams) for dynamic models. Geometric models might be B-Splines
or BSP-Trees. Simulation, in contrast, is what one does with a model,
or how the model interacts with its environment (including the human).
According to this philosophy, models are 'executed' like programs, and
we call this execution 'simulation'.

>> By interpretation I meant any statement or even momentary 
>> thought by which an ambiguity is (partially) resolved -- including, I 
>> suppose, by metaphor.

I understand this, in common practice for the humanist, to be an interpretation of
narrative? I say this because one can also interpret Lisp code or
a "steam engine."  The engineer's concept of interpretation tends to
be functional in orientation. There is considerable value in engaging
humans in a way that allows them to explore functionality, aesthetics,
and cultural semantics on an equal footing.

One thing that worries me a little, and this may be a side discussion, or
a completely separate one. And that is that scholarly activities should
(ideally) include both synthetic and analytic. So, an interpretation of
an object or narrative is analytic. However, the construction of a new
interface or set of interacting objects is synthetic. In engineering, the
novel synthetic modality is definitely a scholastic activity. Scholasticism
is not limited to writing critiques (analysis). There is nothing wrong with
"making" and "building." From an engineer's perspective, I find it
peculiar that the academy tends to separate those who make from those
who write--in the humanities. No such division exists in engineering--one
is expected to be good at both. Make, build novel artifacts and then write
about them. 

Thoughts on any of the above? If my last paragraph has hijacked the
thread, we can start a new one.

2. Arianna: tell me more about reifying constructions - I find that reification
is a natural component of metaphor creation, and so presents abstract
information in a new light that may be more understandable.

-paul

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

On Aug 13, 2013, at 4:47 PM, Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

>                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 279.
>            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
> 
> 
> 
>        Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2013 21:39:33 +0100
>        From: Arianna Ciula <ariannaciula at gmail.com>
>        Subject: Re:  27.278 enumeration and modelling
>        In-Reply-To: <20130812201314.94C2F2FE2 at digitalhumanities.org>
> 
> 
> My favourite button too. 
> 
> The psychiatrist? don't we all? naming, enumariting,  classifying just to reach another turn in the spiral - the problem comes when we are tempted to reify our constructions and forget they're just a leverage in the act of interpreting, scaffolding in fieri, they are to be overcome.
> 
> Arianna Ciula
> 
> Sent from my iPhone
> 
> On 12 Aug 2013, at 21:13, Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:
> 
>>                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




More information about the Humanist mailing list