[Humanist] 31.117 the error of Gigaspermum repens

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Jun 21 09:11:59 CEST 2017


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 31, No. 117.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2017 07:09:41 +0200
        From: "Jan Rybicki" <jkrybicki at gmail.com>
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 31.114 an epiphyte?
        In-Reply-To: <20170620044139.3DCC31E02 at digitalhumanities.org>


I don't know: I'd be worried by the "not being part of the organic
structure" bit. We might be mistaking a branch for a separate plant. Let us
not repeat the error once made with the Australian moss Gigaspermum repens,
which has a creeping, largely leafless, underground stem that is rarely
seen. All that is visible above ground are short, erect leafy branches (1 to
3 millimetres tall). It would be easy to think of each such leafy branch as
a separate plant (Friends of the Australian National Botanic Gardens). More
ominously, this particular Gigaspermum was once mistaken for a flowering
plant and was only later found to be mere moss (Tasmanian Geographic). Now I
don't like where this metaphor is going... Let's change the subject
completely... 
And having said this, Jan s'ascose nel foco che gli affina...

-----Original Message-----

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 31, No. 114.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

>        Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2017 13:37:41 +0100
>         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>         Subject: an epiphyte?

Here's an interesting thought, perhaps applicable to digital humanities,
borrowed from Ian Hacking's Why is there a philosophy of mathematics at all?
(CUP, 2014) -- a masterwork, by the way. He is discussing the place of
probability on the Tree of Knowledge. He cites the curious division of the
Faculty of Mathematics at Cambridge across to departments and comments,

> Probability appears to have jumped from branch to branch of the Tree 
> of Knowledge. In truth, to continue the arboreal metaphor, it is an 
> epiphyte. It can lodge and prosper anywhere in a Tree of Knowledge, 
> but is not part of its organic structure at all. (pp. 149-50)

Comments?

Yours,
WM

--
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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