[Humanist] 31.150 digital logic

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sat Jul 1 09:52:21 CEST 2017

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 31, No. 150.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2017 17:11:14 +0000
        From: Paolo Rocchi <procchi at luiss.it>
        Subject: Logic and theoretical confusion

How can humanists become aware of the logic of digital? Are they cognizant
of the theoretical confusion that underpins computing? Dozen of theories
deals with informatics, but this wealth of works does not make a coherent
knowledge base. Computing theories do not offer a real epistemological
contribution because of their partial range of vision that turns out to be
self-referential, abstract and sometime contradictory. Even theories which
address the same theme are often not connected either logically or causally,
or by shared characteristics. 

Are computing theories useful? For sure. Each construction aids the
practitioners involved in the underpinned sectorial activity. It may be said
that every theory provides 'operational' assistance but appears absolutely
insufficient to cover the broad scenario addressed by those who want to
grasp the core of computing. I’ve developed this topic from the
educational perspective in: Guest Editorial - Informatics and Electronics
Education: Some Remarks IEEE Transactions on Education

All the best

Paolo Rocchi

Docent Emeritus
via Shangai 53, 00144 Roma

Adjunct Professor
LUISS University
via Romania 32, 00197 Roma

>        Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2017 10:57:53 +0100
>        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>        Subject: Logic of the Digital

Allow me to draw to your attention a relatively new book of which I just
became aware: Aden Evens, Logic of the Digital (Bloomsbury, 2015). I
quote its first paragraph and a snippet from a bit further on:

> All digital technologies share one thing: they operate on the basis
> of a discrete code. Usually this code is binary, constructed from
> sequences of binary digits or bits, each of which can be in one of
> two states, named 0 and 1. The most basic contention of this book is
> that the binary code, which defines and enables digital technology,
> is consequential; the 0s and 1s that allow a machine to operate
> digitally lend to that machine something of their character or way of
> being. Logic of the Digital articulates this ontology, describing how
> the binary code reveals itself throughout the digital and so also in
> the thought and action of those who live with and within digital
> technologies.
> ...
> A code such as the binary code is not a neutral surface of
> inscription but lends its character to the objects and actions it
> encodes.... This is not a technological determinism... The digital
> makes an excellent companion to rationalist epistemology,
> instrumental reason, positivist notions of truth...

Those who argue that digitality does not matter have something to argue

Read it tonight!


Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
Humanities, King's College London; Adjunct Professor, Western Sydney
University and North Carolina State University; Editor,
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20)

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