[Humanist] 28.46 when the model becomes the sole object of study

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu May 22 21:56:48 CEST 2014


                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 46.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    orlandi at rmcisadu.let.uniroma1.it                          (17)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 28.45 when the model becomes the sole object
                of study

  [2]   From:    Joris van Zundert <joris.van.zundert at huygens.knaw.nl>    (116)
        Subject: Re:  28.45 when the model becomes the sole object of study

  [3]   From:    lachance at chass.utoronto.ca                                (35)
        Subject: Re:  28.45 when the model becomes the sole object of study


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Thu, 22 May 2014 09:49:38 +0200 (CEST)
        From: orlandi at rmcisadu.let.uniroma1.it
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 28.45 when the model becomes the sole object of study
        In-Reply-To: <20140522004713.8FFC06564 at digitalhumanities.org>


I dare intervene again on the subject "model", because nobody
stressed the fact that the scientific concept of model is
far from being established, and the claim to use models
in one's research may mean many different things. Yes, yes,
I am aware that it falls under the category: "I do not know
exactly what it is, but when I meet one I recognise it";
all the way I think that occasions like the question posed
by Willard should lead to a useful discussion to clarify it,
starting from its real use in the humanities.

Cordialmente, Tito Orlandi

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Tito Orlandi  (olim Univ. di Roma La Sapienza)
Centro Linceo Interdisciplinare Beniamino Segre - Roma
Hiob Ludolf Zentrum (Asien-Afrika-Institut, Univ. Hamburg)
Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum, Roma
http://rmcisadu.let.uniroma1.it/~orlandi
-----------------------------------------------------------------

>         Date: Thu, 22 May 2014 06:25:23 +1000
>         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>         Subject: the extreme case
>
> I'm very grateful indeed for the responses to the question of when the
> model/simulation becomes the sole object of study. But allow me to
> emphasize that I am in fact asking for any examples of the extreme case:
> not merely when people pay long attention to the simulation but when
> they make a principled case for the simulation as the only way of
> finding out, when that which is thought to be real in whatever sense is
> knowable only *as* the simulation, indeed is thought *to be* the
> simulation.
>
> A better statement of this question would be welcome. I do think we need
> to keep hammering at it. There's more than one gem concealed in it,
> I suspect.
>
> 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





--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Thu, 22 May 2014 10:09:02 +0200
        From: Joris van Zundert <joris.van.zundert at huygens.knaw.nl>
        Subject: Re:  28.45 when the model becomes the sole object of study
        In-Reply-To: <20140522004713.8FFC06564 at digitalhumanities.org>


Dear Willard,

Did somebody mention Nick Bostrom already?

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Bostrom#Simulation_argument,
http://www.simulation-argument.com/,
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/16/opinion/sunday/is-the-universe-a-simulation.html?_r=0,
http://arxiv.org/abs/1210.1847)

The Holographic Principle?

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_principle)

And Conway's Game of Life which my guess is inspired some of that thinking?

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway%27s_Game_of_Life,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOxDb_BbXzU)

As far as I understand such holographic or simulated understandings of the
universe in the end derive from advanced physical mathematics rather than
from physics experimentation (which only serves to confirm the model
decades later maybe). Taken mathematics as model… can it get more extreme?
If the universe is a projection, model, or simulation itself, it follows
there's little else to study but the model, no? But it is also the model
that informed us this is a possible explanation why the universe exists as
we found it—and we're back to Escher's drawing hands in that case (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drawing_Hands).

All the best
--Joris

PS On a tangential note. Just yesterday during the Around the World
conference I was reminded of Arnon Grunberg (a Dutch novelist) who used an
alias. Not uncommon of course. But in his case I think he was stretching to
make reality an extension of fiction, I think (but I'm not sure) he was
trying to make his alias–yet fiction–part of the reality as it shows itself
to us. Is story telling, is literature a form of modeling? It has certain
formal if very liberal constraints: it is very hard to tell a story in a
intelligible matter violating these narratological constraints (cf. Amis'
Time's Arrow for maybe a successful case). Fictionalizing and story telling
might be such an extreme where reality can only be known through the model:
fiction and story telling through language?


-- 
Drs. Joris J. van Zundert

*Researcher & Developer Digital and Computational Humanities*
Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands

*Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences*
www.huygens.knaw.nl/en/vanzundert/

-------

*Jack Sparrow: I thought you were supposed to keep to the code.Mr. Gibbs:
We figured they were more actual guidelines.*



--[3]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Thu, 22 May 2014 09:12:04 -0400 (EDT)
        From: lachance at chass.utoronto.ca
        Subject: Re:  28.45 when the model becomes the sole object of study
        In-Reply-To: <20140522004713.8FFC06564 at digitalhumanities.org>


Willard,

The question of the variation in the use of models as set out so far
implies a path from a model _of_ to a model _for_. I wonder if there are
cases in humanities computing that from the outset the model produced is
designed for decerning what might be rather than what was.

I think reformulating the question to side-step the the implied transition
from model _of_ to model _for_ might yield some interesting examples that
might not be extreme but might be worth some further thought.

Francois Lachance
Scholar-at-large
http://berneval.blogspot.ca/






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