7.0018 Rs: Modelling (2/64)

Fri, 21 May 1993 11:05:19 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 7, No. 0018. Friday, 21 May 1993.

(1) Date: Mon, 17 May 1993 17:42:57 -0400 (22 lines)
From: "Peter I. Kuniholm" <PETER@dendro.mail.cornell.edu>
Subject: Re: 7.0006 Modelling (1/33)

(2) Date: Tue, 18 May 93 17:11:49 CDT (42 lines)
From: Norman Hinton <hinton@eagle.sangamon.edu>
Subject: Re: 7.0006 Modelling (1/33)

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Mon, 17 May 1993 17:42:57 -0400
From: "Peter I. Kuniholm" <PETER@dendro.mail.cornell.edu>
Subject: Re: 7.0006 Modelling (1/33)

Re. modelling:
I have always looked on the notion of modelling with a certain
amount of suspicion as colleagues (humanists and social scientists)
tried to use them (models) to make their work seem more like that of
the hard scientists. At lunch the other day I asked Alfred Kahn (the
economist chap who is responsible for our cramped seats on the
airlines) what he thought about models, particularly the econometric
ones. He replied that he thinks they are a fad which will sooner or
later pass.
For whatever THAT is worth.... Peter Kuniholm

Peter Ian Kuniholm, Department of the History of Art and Archaeology,
G-35 Goldwin Smith Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. 14853-3201.
Tel. (607)255-8650 lab.; (607)255-9732 office; (607)257-7845 home.

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------52----
Date: Tue, 18 May 93 17:11:49 CDT
From: Norman Hinton <hinton@eagle.sangamon.edu>
Subject: Re: 7.0006 Modelling (1/33)

Willard as usual has proposed challenging material....my first reaction was
to wonder if the computer modelling referred to might more likely prove to
be analog rather than digital, but I see no restrictions on the form and
type of the chosen model.

Being the sort whose first response to many questions is "probably not", I
do feel the need to suggest that although my computer databases are in fact
abstract modes of usng or analysing real-world data, the "model" into which
I put the data does not reflect its real-world structure. Or does it ? We
rarely find words with grammatical, chronological, and etymological
information attached: yet I have argued in several papers that this kind
of knowledge represent knowledge we "have"for speech in our own time without
the need for computer databases: when we read, for instance, the "Oxen of
the Sun" pasaage in _Ulysses_ we know it is a parody of the historical
development of English and English prose because we can identify the words
and spellings and syntax as old, older, oldest, and the style as parodic of
OE prose, Malory, etc. We do not read Middle English texts with the same kind
of certain awareness about the stylistics of the passage, and that is one
thing my database tries to supply [base apologies for citing my own work but
it is where I am]. So in terms of the article you cite, I have brought
vertain kinds of verbal meta-structures into a model (database) which my own
mind created, in order to let my mind analyze them and compare their modes
of existence in one poem to that in another.

Probably so, Willard, especially at a level of abstraction. But you should
see the debates that the database has prompted among medievalists...some
simply reject the notion that this kind of analysis in any way replicatews
what medieval readers of ME texts would do, or even recognize. The arugment
seems to be that my model is not only inadewuate, not only inaccurate, but
(should be) non-existent. It is perhaps in reacting to this kind of
criticism that my first response is "no, I have not modelled the vocabularoy
of ME...I merely list it, in a simple set of scalars, and the listing is the
result of random chance."

I have the horible feeling that this does not help at all, Willard, but I'll
toss it on the pile anyhow to see if anyone can use it....
Norman Hinton                           hinton@eagle.sangamon.edu