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Humanist Archives: May 12, 2019, 6:48 a.m. Humanist 33.16 - categories of reasoning

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 16.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

        Date: 2019-05-11 11:24:44+00:00
        From: Dino Buzzetti 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.14: categories of reasoning?

Dear Willard,

Thank you very much for raising this question, which very appropriately
reinforces the idea that "humanities computing" ( I deliberately resort to
this nowadays old-fashioned designation as opposed to the nowadays most
commonly used "digital humanities") is a "meta-discipline" ( I borrow the
term from Franco Moretti) one of whose most fundamental aspects
consists in the epistemological reflection on the impact of computational
procedures upon  the methods of the several disciplines in the humanities

My first immediate and very likely unwarranted reaction, though, is that
your reference to Hacking's "styles project", may be somewhat outdated,
considering the most recent AI developments, such as those described
by Dominique Cardon in his speech at King's just a few weeks ago, or
similar contributions in the same direction such as those of Jōichi Itō
at the MIT Media Lab, or of the new software engineering practices
based on the principles of the Agile Manifesto. In all these approaches
the convergence of AI models with biological complex phenomena
appears to be not just a metaphor, but a real structural similarity. So,
I think that an update of John Unsworth's approach, based on a comparison
with Artificial Intelligence may still be more productive than an appeal
to Hacking's project, certainly useful for a historical reconstruction of
the "categories of reasoning" in the history of science, but not so fitting
to account for these most recent developments.

Yours,            -dino buzzetti

On Sat, 11 May 2019 at 08:30, Humanist  wrote:

>                   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: humanist@dhhumanist.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)

Dino Buzzetti 
formerly Department of Philosophy    
University of Bologna

Fondazione per le Scienze Religiose Giovanni XXIII
via san Vitale, 114                  
I-40125 Bologna BO
e-mail:  dino.buzzetti [at] gmail.com
              buzzetti [at] fscire.it
Web:  http://web.dfc.unibo.it/buzzetti

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