Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: Sept. 26, 2022, 8:02 a.m. Humanist 36.186 - followup on Calvino

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 36, No. 186.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
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        Date: 2022-09-26 06:59:57+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty <>
        Subject: Calvino's "Cybernetics and Ghosts"

My thanks to Francois for bringing up Calvino's 1967 lecture, which I
think, the more I read it, is a profound meditation on the evocative
potential of the combinatorial machine. This comes out in his use of
Claude Lévi-Strauss, Vladimir Propp and others to illumine the
psychodynamics of storytelling. It would be a mistake to think he's
anticipating those who argue for the 'creativity' of artificial
intelligence but do not ask where this 'intelligence' is and question
seriously how it comes about. Anyhow, thanks to Francois, I have the
opportunity to nominate Calvino's brief lecture for the essential 
reading list I'd give to students if I still taught.

Willard McCarty,
Professor emeritus, King's College London;
Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews;  Humanist

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