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Humanist Archives: April 18, 2019, 6:38 a.m. Humanist 32.619 - understanding by analogy

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 619.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
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        Date: 2019-04-18 05:25:04+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty 
        Subject: understanding by analogy

The fire that has severely damaged Notre Dame Cathedral led one friend 
of mine to search out John Evelyn's diary entry for 7 September 1666 
on the fate of the medieval St Paul's after the Great Fire:

> September 7th – I went this morning on foote from White-hall as far
> as London Bridge, thro' the late Fleete-streete, Ludgate Hill, by St.
> Paules ... At my returne I was infinitely concern'd to find that
> goodly Church St. Paules now a sad ruine, and that beautifull portico
> ... now rent in pieces, flakes of vast stone split asunder, and
> nothing now remaining intire but the inscription in the architrave,
> shewing by whom it was built, which had not one letter of it defac'd.
> It was astonishing to see what immense stones the heate had in a
> manner calcin'd, so that all the ornaments, columns, freezes,
> capitals, and projectures of massie Portland-stone flew off, even to
> the very roofe, where a sheet of lead covering a great space (no less
> than six akers by measure) was totally mealted; the ruines of the
> vaulted roofe falling broke into St. Faith's, which being fill'd with
> the magazines of bookes belonging to the Stationers, and carried
> thither for safety, they were all consum'd, burning for a weeke
> following. It is also observable that the lead over the altar at the
> East end was untouch'd, and among the divers monuments, the body of
> one Bishop remain'd intire. Thus lay in ashes that most venerable
> Church, one of the most antient pieces of early piety in the
> Christian world.

Some here will know about John Wall's Virtual St Paul's Cathedral
Project at North Carolina State University
(https://vpcp.chass.ncsu.edu/), now working toward a simulation or
"visual model of St Paul’s Cathedral and the surrounding churchyard,
together with a recreation of worship for Easter Sunday 1624, with all
the liturgical events of the day, including choir and organ music plus a
sermon in the morning by Bishop Lancelot Andrewes and a sermon in the
afternoon by John Donne, Dean of the cathedral." 

The Virtual St Paul's is a hugely impressive project that has already 
finished simulation of the Paul's Cross preaching station, which stood 
outside the medieval cathedral, together with an audio simulation of 
John Donne preaching on Gunpowder Day 1622.

I suggest there is much in considering the analogical relation between
the Virtual St Paul's Cathedral and its vanished original better to
understand what it is that we are doing with our machine.


Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/),
Professor emeritus, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London;
Adjunct Professor, Western Sydney University; Editor, Interdisciplinary
Science Reviews (www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20) and Humanist

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Editor: Willard McCarty (King's College London, U.K.; Western Sydney University, Australia)
Software designer: Malgosia Askanas (Mind-Crafts)

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