Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 775. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: 2020-04-17 06:30:49+00:00 From: C. M. Sperberg-McQueen
Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.767: a game of adjectives -------- Forwarded Message -------- Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.767: a game of adjectives Date: Wed, 15 Apr 2020 11:43:42 -0600 From: C. M. Sperberg-McQueen To: Humanist , Willard McCarty CC: C. M. Sperberg-McQueen > On 15,Apr2020, at 1:34 AM, Humanist wrote: > > Date: 2020-04-14 09:54:42+00:00 > From: Willard McCarty > Subject: a game of adjectives > > ... > qualities that at least for me characterise digital computing. ... > Here it is so far: > > physical > temporal > finite > discrete > reductive > fast > interactive > useful > An interesting list; it seems to me to say a lot about you. I hope it's not too rude to observe that it seems to me to say a bit less about digital humanities. I don’t think it’s solely the contrarian in me that wants to suggest virtual, atemporal, infinite, continuous, anti-reductive, unhurried, and autotelic as alternatives, or perhaps replacements. I notice that I have left ‘interactive’ alone, because I am taking it in a generic, not a computer-related sense. In that generic sense, all scholarship is going to be interactive. If you meant it in the user-interface sense, I’d have to add ‘batch-mode’ to my list. (That would be a slight exaggeration: it is close to true, but not really quite true, that all of the software I use seriously and care most about operates in batch mode, not interactively — at least, in the sense that it can be and often is run from a shell script. The main exception I am conscious of is text editing. I do use text editors, so it is not the case that I would be almost as happy on MVS as I am on macOS. And I do occasionally work with language environments with a read-evaluate-print loop; they cannot usefully be run from a shell script. But the closer something is to being something I take seriously, the more work I will put in to making it something I can run again without interactive input.) If I can’t perform some task in batch mode, it quickly becomes tedious to correct bad premises and re-run the task. The result is that if I can’t run a program in batch mode, results are all too likely to be irreproducible. An interactive-only digital humanities would run the risk, or so it seems to me, of producing exclusively irreproducible results. Irreproducible results seem to me unavoidable and possibly the only measure of success, when we are seeking enlightenment. When we are seeking knowledge, I think we need reproducible results and reliable ways of transmitting them. (We can seek both, though I have the impression that some who achieve enlightenment lose interest in the search for knowledge. But my hunch is that it's not helpful to lose track of the fact that enlightenment and knowledge are different things.) At least, so it seems to me. But I believe some will disagree about knowledge or about digital humanities or about both. Michael ******************************************** C. M. Sperberg-McQueen Black Mesa Technologies LLC email@example.com http://www.blackmesatech.com ******************************************** _______________________________________________ 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
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