Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 270. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org  From: Liz Walter
Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.269: in your genes/DNA? (60)  From: Dr. Herbert Wender Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.269: in your genes/DNA? (33) -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 2018-12-15 10:21:30+00:00 From: Liz Walter Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.269: in your genes/DNA? Willard A good analogy might be that of grocery shopping at "big box stores" vs foraging in the local community garden. Liz's Android ________________________________ Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 269. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: email@example.com Date: 2018-12-15 07:28:15+00:00 From: Willard McCarty Subject: in your genes/DNA? A current habit of thought I find curious is the attribution of biological determinism in a language not that far from programming. This is the notion that we are determined by a core program in our genetic material, or alternatively that a society or social entity is similarly predetermined. There is, the thought goes, nothing to be done about a behaviour or characteristic because it is already unalterably programmed. One curiosity is that the whole point of a programmable device is that what it does (within the constraints imposed by its architecture) isn't hardwired but can be programmed and reprogrammed indefinitely. It's like a complex board-game, such as chess or go, within whose limits is freedom. What gets to me is the passiveness this expresses -- the passiveness with which many (including our students) take to computing, that is, as users rather than makers. Here, it seems to me, is a very strong argument for teaching programming as a humanistic project. Students flood in nowadays to university programmes in 'digital humanities', and in some cases at least are taught only what I would consider the epiphenomena of computing, the effects predetermined by apps and applications. Meanwhile they are being unwittingly shaped, as we all are to some degree, by the cognitive structure of the stored-program computer. How can they understand this, and so be properly equipped, if they have not played the game rather than merely be played by it? The tools are here, as one very wise computational linguist used to say. Should we not be developing in our students and colleagues a critical awareness of how these tools shape how we think and reason? Comments? Yours, WM -- 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) -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 2018-12-15 14:50:46+00:00 From: Dr. Herbert Wender Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.269: in your genes/DNA? Willard, looking at the actual biodiversity one could wonder about how many species were (hidden?) in the DNA of the just first living cell. Perhaps Francois Lachance can say more going on from the speel/paly/game reflections of Umberto Eco in a Huizinga context. I remember a further reflection on the german word 'Spiel' - probably by the swedish poet and philosophical essayist Lars Gustafsson, but I don't rememberr the locus - pointing to the technical sense: "If there is too much clearance between the brake linings of the brake disk, ..." "Sollte die Bremsscheibe zwischen den Bremsbe-lägen zuviel Spiel haben, ..." (example taken from www.linguee.de) And with respect to your reasoning about analogies to programming (and possibly to 'clearance' in adapting algorithms?) there may be a link to the discussion about interpreting (instead of parsing) mark-up in digital (textual) humanities contexts. In times when one of the hippest humanists let appears a fashion super-model in the title of an article on data-modeling and a DH guru who has muscled up with genetic TEI/XML-markup in one of the greatest fitness rooms of german literature - Goethe's 'Faust' - expresses in the new book on shaping the bodies of humanist's data his preference for data modeling (neglecting alternatives like process modeling or system modeling), in such times it may be worth to look back and see that the sharp distinction between code and data isn't the only possible computational approach to attack the problems we seek to solve. Yours, Herbert _______________________________________________ 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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