[Humanist] 28.215 the silent response to digital hubris

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Jul 20 16:12:36 CEST 2014


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 215.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2014 11:17:52 -0500
        From: Paul Fishwick <metaphorz at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re:  28.210 the silent response to digital hubris
        In-Reply-To: <20140718155226.EC9C16202 at digitalhumanities.org>


Martin

   I think you raise a good point. Too often, we view anything not in our
immediate sphere as our “tool.” One of the key challenges for the Humanities (digital
or otherwise) might be the hopeful realization that computing is not just a 
tool. It is a philosophy and a way of looking at the world through an 
information lens. In my teaching arts and humanities students (who are
joined with a cross-listed CS set of students), I try to emphasize the vital
importance of abstractions such as iteration, encapsulation, arithmetic,
and memory--independent of technology. The tool, or technology, is
a means to a deeper appreciation of the abstractions. Iteration, recursion,
and branching are beautiful concepts that can help in enriching the
arts and humanities.

   Having said this, we certainly could not do without the tool, or the technology.
Also, while my efforts of guiding arts and humanities student beyond
their limited tool characterizations, there are also most definitely complementary
challenges of  guiding the CS students to the essence of the arts and 
humanities. The pleasures of unbridled representation
beyond standardization is one component of this essence.
-p

On Jul 18, 2014, at 10:52 AM, Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

>                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 210.
>            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
> 
> 
> 
>        Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2014 18:36:02 +0000
>        From: Martin Mueller <martinmueller at northwestern.edu>
>        Subject: Re:  28.208 the silent response to digital hubris
>        In-Reply-To: <20140717140911.77EC43BF7 at digitalhumanities.org>
> 
> 
> Adam Crymble's thoughtful essay reminds me of Spitzweg's painting The
> Bookworm (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Bücherwurm), which shows a
> reader on a ladder in his library. The ladder helps you to get at the
> book. Painting is also an art of ladders. You can think of the ladder as
> "merely" a tool. And so it is, but without it ceilings and high walls are
> left unpainted. Do ladders transform the art of painting? It depends on
> how you look at it. Crymble has a good point when he urges proud DHers  to
> practice humility (always good advice). Humanities scholars are more
> likely to welcome digital tools as a versatile and skilled servant than as
> a new master. There are a lot of paradoxes here, and it may be useful for
> people to get off high horses of different kinds: the humanists off the
> high hermeneutical horse with its disdain for the empirical, quantitative,
> and anything that smacks of "lower" criticism, and the DHers off a
> triumphalist and transformative rhetoric (of which a very little goes a
> very long way). 
> 
> Martin Mueller
> Professor emeritus of English and Classics
> Northwestern University
>  

Paul Fishwick, PhD
Chair, ACM SIGSIM
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





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