[Humanist] 27.739 digital knowledge

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Jan 26 09:57:07 CET 2014

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 739.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Sat, 25 Jan 2014 10:34:17 -0600
        From: Paul Fishwick <metaphorz at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re:  27.733 digital knowledge
        In-Reply-To: <20140125091504.AEA1561BA at digitalhumanities.org>

From the standpoint of someone working in both analog and digital computing, 
I’d like to suggest subsequent, and perhaps more intense, discussion on what is being
proposed as “digital knowledge.” Despite the digital underpinnings of modern
computer architectures, humans are primarily analog due to our physiology. An
example can be seen in the desktop metaphor separating us from the computer 
operating system. In the illusion that we are “copying File X into Folder Y”, most of
us have found that the apparently continuous dragging of icon representing X
into an icon representing Y results in the copy operation. There is nothing digital
about this from the human’s perspective — the underlying computer architecture is 
digital by definition and design, but does that mean that if quantum computation 
appears on the scene as early as tomorrow, the field you have developed will become 
quantum humanities whose purpose is to investigate quantum knowledge?

Paul Fishwick, PhD
Distinguished Chair of Arts & Technology 
   and Professor of Computer Science
Director, Creative Automata Laboratory
The University of Texas at Dallas
Arts & Technology
800 West Campbell Road, AT10
Richardson, TX 75080-3021
Home: utdallas.edu/atec/fishwick
Blog: creative-automata.com

On Jan 25, 2014, at 3:15 AM, Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

>                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 733.
>            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>        Date: Thu, 23 Jan 2014 14:10:00 +0100
>        From: "Dr. Hartmut Krech" <kr538 at zfn.uni-bremen.de>
>        Subject: Re:  27.727 digital knowledge?
>        In-Reply-To: <20140122065152.D2A6A6256 at digitalhumanities.org>
> Dear Willard,
> Having suppressed a sort of giggling to myself and having corrected my
> register error by looking up the pertinent definitions in the OED:
> "4.A.4 Of, pertaining to, or using digits [digit n. 3]; spec. applied to a
> computer which operates on data in the form of digits or similar discrete
> elements (opp. analogue computer)."
> and
> "5. a.II.5.a The fact of knowing a thing, state, etc., or (in general sense)
> a person; acquaintance; familiarity gained by experience."
> I turned to the handy and perhaps still useful distinction between
> knowledge, data, and information. The most pronounced definition of
> knowledge was perhaps given by Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814) in his
> 'Wissenschaftslehre' (science of sciences) in 1794: "§ 1. Das Wesen der
> Wissenschaft bestände sonach, wie es scheint, in der Beschaffenheit ihres
> Inhalts und dem Verhältnisse desselben zu dem Bewusstseyn desjenigen, von
> welchem gesagt wird, dass er wisse [...]" (1798, 38) "As it seems, the
> substance of knowledge would then consist in the character of its content
> matter and the relationship of the same to the consciousness of whom it is
> said that he knows [...]" (my attempt at translation). In short, knowledge
> is conscience, that is to say, it is inseparable from a knower, a person who
> knows or apprehends. Of course, here lies the difficulty when we try to
> subsume 'digital knowledge' under a principle that has guided intellectual
> reflexion for several centuries.
> Developing his concept of knowledge further, Fichte posits: "Kein Satz ist
> ohne Gehalt oder ohne Form möglich. Es muss etwas seyn, wovon man weiss,
> und etwas, das man davon weiss." (1798, 48) "No proposition is possible
> without its content matter and its form. There must be something that is
> known by someone and something of which one knows." (again my translation)
> Applied to the problem at hand, the definition of 'digital knowledge',
> digital knowledge would be any knowledge that is known by an individual or a
> group of people in 'digital' form. Such a definition, if accepted, implies
> two preconditions: (1) the existence of any 'systems' of things that qualify
> as things that can be known because of their systematicity (Fichte will call
> it "das teilbare Nicht-Ich," the "divisible Non-Ego") and (2) a knowledge of
> or proficiency in digital forms.
> Hope that this will help to understand 'digital knowledge.'
> Best,
> Hartmut
> http://ww3.de/krech
> Am 22.01.2014 07:51, schrieb Humanist Discussion Group:
>>                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 727.
>>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>>                        www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>>                 Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>>         Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2014 06:43:32 +0000
>>         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>>         Subject: digital knowledge?
>> This is not a psychoanalytic question, or even a psychological one,
>> rather my attempt to dredge for emergent meanings: what comes to mind
>> when you read the phrase "digital knowledge"? I'd be grateful for any
>> sort of response, here on Humanist.
>> Many thanks.
>> Yours,
>> WM

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