[Humanist] 26.302 social networking in Beowulf, the Iliad & the Ulster Cycle
Humanist Discussion Group
willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Sep 14 07:31:38 CEST 2012
Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 302.
Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2012 08:30:21 +0100
From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
Subject: physics hypothetical?
What puzzles me about the discussion of Mac Carron and Kenna's work
described in "Universal Properties of mythological networks" is the
overwhelming tendency to treat it simply as true or false. It's
understandable that physicists should want to believe that physics tells
the truth about things, and that scholars of those things fallen into the
hands of physicists should react. But, it seems to me, how much better
if the results from such analysis were taken as hypothetical: let us
pretend that thus-and-such is true of Beowulf et al., that we can treat
these works *as if* thus-and-such were true of them, then see what
happens by applying method X to them, and then compare what we get to
what literary scholars, historians, archaeologists and others have said.
Isn't this one of the central things that computing allows us in the
humanities to do -- treat cultural artefacts as if they were only and wholly
objects of the natural world (as we conceive that world to be)?
Willard McCarty, FRAI / Professor of Humanities Computing & Director of
the Doctoral Programme, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College
London; Professor, School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics,
University of Western Sydney; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
(www.isr-journal.org); Editor, Humanist
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