[Humanist] 31.459 the anomalous, the odd, the peculiar?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon Dec 11 07:24:59 CET 2017

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 31, No. 459.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2017 06:14:49 +0000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: the anomalous, the odd, the peculiar?

What would be the best way to describe where we need to look, what we 
need to look for, in order to make some real progress in understanding 
the intellectual contribution of digital methods to the human sciences? 
In Kuhnian terms I suppose we'd look for the anomalies. the odd bits 
that don't fit. What are the questions we cannot answer? What 
disciplines do we need to look to or help? AND, of course vice versa.

My nomination is for the re-integration or expansion of results from 
computing back into whatever field of research has produced the question 
being investigated. I'd say the field about which we need to know more 
is cognitive psychology.

Some, I suppose, would nominate cognitive science. What bothers me there 
so often is the silent marriage of 'computational' and 'cognition' or 
'mind'. Curiously, as someone whose mind was formed by literary studies 
and philological obsessions, the implications and connotations of words 
matter a very great deal. So I am bothered by 'the computational model 
of mind' because very quickly 'model' is forgotten or dimmed out beyond 
recognition, and we lose the irony in mischievous Minsky's 
identification of the brain as a 'meat machine'. But quite possibly 
there are large swathes of cognitive science that are philologically aware?

It's difficult talking about what you don't know, hanging on the 
analogical when using analogies.

Comments welcome, gifts via Humanist at a gift-giving time of year.

Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor emeritus, 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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