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Humanist Archives: April 20, 2019, 5:10 a.m. Humanist 32.623 - reliability?

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 623.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
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        Date: 2019-04-19 19:48:26+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty 
        Subject: reliability?

One book to which I go for thoughtful discussion of authority and
reliability in the natural sciences is John Ziman's Reliable Knowledge
(Cambridge, 1996). Ziman discusses both questions in a very thoughtful 
way. But still, differences between epistemological aims and methods in 
those sciences and in the humanities must lead to quite different 
conceptions of reliability and authority. And whatever we say about the 
latter, for digital humanities those aims and methods must, I'd think, 
fall somewhere between the two. What does reliability look like when you 
use computational techniques to investigate cultural materials? How is 
reliability achieved? To what degree is it valued? Certain questions in
the human sciences can be resolved in a way that renders the matters they
address stable for a long time, but these are relatively rare -- or seem
so because once settled the achieving of an answer is forgotten, and if
recalled, not valued very much after the lip-service has been paid. But
surely there cannot be life in a discipline without constraints, without
stability, without reliability against which to push.


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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