Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 14. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: 2019-05-11 06:20:54+00:00 From: Willard McCarty
Subject: categories of reasoning? A number of years ago I came across philosopher Ian Hacking's "styles project", as he has most recently called it (2012), or as it was when I encountered it, "styles of scientific reasoning" (2002). He explains in both places and elsewhere that he took the idea from A. C. Crombie's historical division of work in the natural sciences into six ways of working and thinking: in G. E. R. Lloyd's summary (2009: 167): > (1) the postulational style established in the mathematical sciences, > (2) the experimental exploration and measurement of more complex > observable relations, (3) the hypothetical construction of analogical > models, (4) the ordering of variety by comparison and taxonomy, (5) > the statistical analysis of regularities of populations and the > calculus of probabilities, and (6) the historical derivation of > genetic development. It occurred to me that in the application of a technoscientific instrument to data in the humanities there might be a good and useful fit between Hacking's project and work going on in digital humanities. This is how (with some revision) I described the latter in terms of the former in 2008: (1) postulation, in the crafting of what we may call, generically, “editions,” viewed as metatheoretical statements, postulating the edited work as having the scholarly qualities attributed to it; (2) modelling (which is now sufficiently discussed it requires no further comment here); (3) experiment, in the wide-spread empirical exploration of source materials on an unprecedented scale, for example in corpus linguistics (4) taxonomy, in the rampant ontologizing of knowledge engineers and the design of textual encoding and metadata schemes; (5) probability, in literary stylistics, distant reading and applications of computational linguistics in the language industries; (6) historical derivation, in studies of manuscript stemmata, for example. Classification for the sake of it may provide some satisfactions, but that's not the attraction here. The attraction is twofold, first in bringing work in digital humanities into alignment with centuries of serious work and its tendency to form stylistic groupings, second in what Hacking goes on to say about the self-affirming nature of these groups. I don't want to get into that here but will later if there's interest. For now, I simply want to ask if the above alignment looks worth the candle. There's nothing to say that any given project cannot satisfy more than one of the above categories. To begin with, I want to know if there are other stylistic tendencies or if any of the above simply don't make any sense at all. Finally, note the contrast with John Unsworth's differently focused scheme of 7 "scholarly primitives" (2000). Comments? Yours, WM ---- Hacking, Ian. 2002. "'Style' for Historians and Philosophers". In Historical Ontology: 178-99. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. ---. 2012. "'Language, Truth and Reason' 30 years later". Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 43: 599-609. Lloyd, G. E. R. 2009. Disciplines in the Making: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Elites, Learning and Innovation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. McCarty, Willard. 2008. "Being Recorn: The Humanities, Computing and Styles of Scientific Reasoning". In New Technologies and Renaissance Studies. Ed. William R. Bowen and Raymond G. Siemens. 1-22. Tempe AZ: Iter and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Unsworth, John. 2000. "Scholarly Primitives: what methods do humanities researchers have in common, and how might our tools reflect this?" http://people.virginia.edu/~jmu2m/Kings.5-00/primitives.html -- 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 (www.dhhumanist.org) _______________________________________________ Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted List posts to: email@example.com List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/ Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php
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