13.0501 deep questions

From: Humanist Discussion Group (willard@lists.village.virginia.edu)
Date: Tue Mar 21 2000 - 07:03:14 CUT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 13, No. 501.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2000 06:56:23 +0000
             From: "Stephen N. Matsuba" <smatsuba@home.com>
             Subject: RE: 13.0496 a conjecture

    Osher Doctorow wrote:

    > I will close this communication with a question which I asked my students
    > when teaching mathematics and/or physics at Universities, High Schools,
    > Middle Schools/Grammar Schools, and even Elementary schools: what are the
    > 20 main open questions in mathematics, or in physics, of the last 5
    > years? Nobody had the slightest idea. I would recommend asking the same
    > question in both sciences and humanities because it seems to me that if we
    > do not know the questions, we cannot begin giving the answers. (Don't
    > worry, I will eventually give you some of the questions. In
    > particular, in
    > mathematics, look under the topics non-smooth analysis and rare
    > events/large deviations for a starting point.)

    To ask such a question of the humanities, I believe, is to ask something
    that is far too broad since it encompasses so many disciplines. As someone
    working in literary and linguistic studies, my list of questions in my area
    would include the following:

    1) What is the nature of language?

    2) What is a text?

    3) What does it mean to "read a text"?

    4) What are we really saying when we present an analysis of a literary text?

    5) How do we distinguish between a "valid" critical stance and a "non-valid"

    6) What is the relationship between the reader and the text?

    7) What is the relationship between the author and the reader?



    Is't real that I see? (Shakespeare)

    Stephen N. Matsuba




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