Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 655. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: email@example.com Date: 2020-03-06 08:10:57+00:00 From: Willard McCarty
Subject: mathematics --> ? As you may know, some computer scientists (such as John McCarthy) have construed their field as belonging to mathematics essentially if not institutionally. Others (such as Richard Hamming) have insisted on the physical machinery and identified computer science strongly with engineering. The historian Michael Mahoney called CS "an amalgam of mathematical theory, engineering practice, and craft skill" (1997). In the humanities we seem to have little problem with computing as engineering or craftwork. Although few of us are engineers, we seem comfortable with the idea of designing and building things. Similarly, I suspect few of us would claim physical craftsmanship in any area -- I do hope I am wrong about this -- but again we don't have much of a problem with it. In both cases physical work gives us the connection. In the case of mathematics, however, we tend to have a problem. As Ian Hacking has said on numerous occasions, this is curious: we're all born with the basic equipment to do mathematics, but only in a very few does it develop, often quickly, manifested at a young age or not at all. (I first met a real mathematician when I was 16; he was 15. The professors in the mathematics summer school I was attending lectured to us all in the morning, then took this kid aside and spent the rest of the day with him alone -- because, one of them told me, they wanted to learn from him. He was, to put the matter simply, something else.) My question is this: if computing is in part or in some essential aspect mathematical, what can we do with this aspect of it? How can we take account of it, use it theoretically, as well as practically (e.g. in statistical applications)? Comments? Yours, WM -- Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor emeritus, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20) and Humanist (www.dhhumanist.org) _______________________________________________ Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted List posts to: firstname.lastname@example.org List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/ Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php
Editor: Willard McCarty (King's College London, U.K.; Western Sydney University, Australia)
Software designer: Malgosia Askanas (Mind-Crafts)
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