[Humanist] 31.158 digital logic and theoretical confusions

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Jul 5 07:07:44 CEST 2017


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 31, No. 158.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Dino Buzzetti <dino.buzzetti at gmail.com>                   (38)
        Subject: Re:  31.157 digital logic and theoretical confusions

  [2]   From:    James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>                      (10)
        Subject: Re:  31.157 digital logic and theoretical confusions

  [3]   From:    Henry Schaffer <hes at ncsu.edu>                             (27)
        Subject: Re:  31.157 digital logic and theoretical confusions


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2017 10:49:47 +0200
        From: Dino Buzzetti <dino.buzzetti at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re:  31.157 digital logic and theoretical confusions
        In-Reply-To: <20170704061137.E894B676A at digitalhumanities.org>


Dear Willard,

I suspect the point at stake is an epistemological one rather than a
description of the disciplinary scope of a theory. To account for my remark
by way of an example, let me quote the following passage from the Foreword
to volume 2 of the Collected Works of the French mathematician Claude
Chevalley:

« In 1982, Claude Chevalley expressed three specific wishes with respect to
the publication of his Works. First, he stated very clearly that such a
publication should include his non technical papers. His reasons for that
were two-fold. One reason was his life long commitment to epistemology and
to politics, which made him strongly opposed to the view otherwise
currently held that mathematics involves only half of a man. As he wrote to
G. C. Rota on November 29th, 1982: "An important number of papers published
by me are not of a mathematical nature. Some have epistemological features
which might explain their presence in an edition of collected papers of a
mathematician, but quite a number of them are concerned with theoretical
politics ( ... ) they reflect an aspect of myself the omission of which
would, I think, give a wrong idea of my lines of thinking". On the other
hand, Chevalley thought that the Collected Works of a mathematician ought
to be read not only by other mathematicians, but also by historians of
science. »

Yours,      -dino buzzetti



-- 
Dino Buzzetti                                          
formerly
Department of Philosophy     
University of Bologna
​                                ​
currently
Fondazione per le Scienze Religiose Giovanni XXIII
via san Vitale, 114                   
I-40125 Bologna BO
e-mail:  dino.buzzetti (at) gmail.com
buzzetti (at) fscire.it
web: http://web.dfc.unibo.it/buzzetti/
http://www.fscire.it/index.php/it/ricercatori/dino-buzzetti-2/
​ ​



--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2017 07:25:26 -0500
        From: James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re:  31.157 digital logic and theoretical confusions
        In-Reply-To: <20170704061137.E894B676A at digitalhumanities.org>


Can we begin by distinguishing between "humanities" theories and "literary"
theories? Without philosophy, we don't have the concept of the
"epistemological." Literary theory is more than self-referential in that it
comments on the social and linguistic, and more often on their
intersections. I can't speak to the validity of the claim about computing
theory.

But, I know that.

Since we can't even talk about these issues without "humanities theory," we
shouldn't be so reductive of them.

Jim R



--[3]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2017 14:30:12 -0400
        From: Henry Schaffer <hes at ncsu.edu>
        Subject: Re:  31.157 digital logic and theoretical confusions
        In-Reply-To: <20170704061137.E894B676A at digitalhumanities.org>


I really want to say something about Paolo Rocchi's letter and essay in
IEEE Transactions on Education - but I don't write as well as he does and
perhaps that's why I really don't know where to start. Nonetheless, I'll
give a few thoughts.

We're stuck with the name "Computer Science" - but since that area started,
it's been clear to me that it really isn't a "science". It's a
conglomeration of many small areas that we pretend are a unified whole.
Spreadsheets and cryptography are not as close as apples and oranges.
Combinatorics is math (or stat?) but its subfield of graph theory leads to
graph algorithms which are clearly in the computing arena (may I call it
that instead of "science"?) Next comes implementation - which certainly may
include both recursive and iterative programs, since efficiency may
over-ride elegance and clarity. Oh, implementation - in some sense all
computer languages (at least the Turing complete ones) are equivalent - but
we're in the world of implementation, of practical considerations, and in
that world languages are not equivalent. Maybe in theory there are no
differences between C and C++ - but there are major differences in what
happens when you have a team of 100's of programmers trying to finish a
project. That's not science - well, it may be Psychology, but it isn't
Computer Science - or is it?

So, to me, it's no wonder that there aren't just a few unifying underlying
theories which encompass the entire field - rather there are too many
disparate fields for that. (And I didn't even get into "Agile". :-)

So, IMHO, it's not strange that there is a lot of disagreement and many
approaches to crafting an ideal CS curriculum.

--henry







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