20.009 a better metaphor?

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 11 May 2006 06:44:23 +0100

                Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 20, No. 9.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Thu, 11 May 2006 06:30:51 +0100
         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
         Subject: a better metaphor?

Bob Amsler, in Humanist 20.004, was quite right about my use of
"event-horizon". Although numerous instances can be found of similar
usage online, for example, the term almost inevitably summons its
technical meaning from the cosmology of black holes, and the analogy
between what foresight foresees and what the stationary observer of a
black hole observes, according to theory, doesn't yield much that is
useful. (How about a moving observer, as he or she approaches the
speed of light? But then, whatever was seen, said observer would
quite soon plunge into the black hole, with speculative results one
can read about.) Better to make one's analogy with hill-walking, or
walking on a somewhat misty day, perhaps. Except that I wanted to get
at the notion that events on their way to being factual are forming
in what we call the future, and to some limited degree we, as
participants in that formation, can see what's coming with increasing
certainty. Ian Hacking is the only one I know who talks about our
participation in the making real of that which we infer about the
stuff out there. Anyhow, the analogy I used raises the wrong sort of
questions. Suggestions for a better one would be most welcome.


Dr Willard McCarty | Reader in Humanities Computing | Centre for
Computing in the Humanities | King's College London | Kay House, 7
Arundel Street | London WC2R 3DX | U.K. | +44 (0)20 7848-2784 fax:
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Received on Thu May 11 2006 - 03:00:36 EDT

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