Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 13, No. 446.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 09:29:15 +0000
From: Elisabeth Burr <Elisabeth.Burr@unidui.uni-duisburg.de>
Subject: Re: 13.0444 the god of small things
Thanks Willard for having shared this quote.
If we could really keep this in mind we (I) would
perhaps feel a bit more serene about our position
and not hampered (is this the right word?) by insuffi-
ciencies all the time. And we as humanists really need
time for thinking, trying out, not coming to conclusions
or to seemingly very small ones in order to improvise and
create. At the moment such a view seems very difficult to
pursue because we are trying to (allowing to be asked to)
compete with big science. Perhaps we should step back
and restate our own way with self confidence. This might
be even more important now that we have all these tech-
nologies at our disposals which might make it possible to
realise some of our ideas better than before but our ideas
are becoming more complex, at the same time, i.e. we can
see much more threads (I think of the Onomasticon, re-
search on the basis of corpora, teaching ecc. for example)
thus we need more time to ponder about them as well. And
revolutionary things, I think, have to do with being creative.
At 20:44 25.02.00 +0000, you wrote:
> Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 13, No. 444.
> Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
> Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 20:40:37 +0000
> From: Willard McCarty <email@example.com>
>"Some scientists are skeptical about the potential of big science for
>genuine innovation, none more so, to my knowledge, than Freeman Dyson. He
>was active in operations research during World War II (the beginnings for
>what Pickering 1995 calls "cyborg history," and hence for the "regime" of
>big science). He was one of the handful of physicists who brought quantum
>electrodynamics into being. He has long urged that the major novelties in
>human discovery will not spring out of the great laboratories --
>prestigious, well-funded, with their pools of brilliant talent. The really
>new ideas will come from the scientific fringes, undernoticed, forced by
>the exigencies of weak financing to improvise and to think, rather than to
>deploy vast armies and treasure chests of materiel. Small science, he
>thinks, will be the source of the rare stunning novelty that changes our
>vision of the world. To exaggerate the thesis: big science is bound to be
>what Kuhn called normal science, while revolutionary science will, from now
>on in, occur on the fringes."
>Ian Hacking, The Social Construction of What?, p. 196.
Prof'in Dr. Elisabeth Burr
President of SILFI:
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