Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: Dec. 28, 2022, 8:50 a.m. Humanist 36.319 - metaphor & reality

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 36, No. 319.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
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        Date: 2022-12-22 16:46:50+00:00
        From: James Rovira <>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 36.313: Solstitial greetings!

Willard --

We *should* be equipped to do that work, but we're not until we understand
the difference between a metaphor and a material reality. At no time has
any computer "created a world." That's a metaphor when applied to a
computer, poem, novel, film, or TV show, but not a material reality. No
worlds or people have ever really been created, ever, anywhere.

We need to be rigorous humanists before we can contribute, in other words
-- examining our assumptions, defining our terms, making transparent our
reasoning. This is the work of philosophy. We have not yet begun to think
about our subjects until we do this work.

Jim R

On Thu, Dec 22, 2022 at 6:01 AM Humanist <> wrote:

> In that essay, Haraway asks this: how can we “take seriously the
> constitutively militarized practice of technoscience and not replicate
> in our own practice, including the material-semiotic flesh of our
> language, the worlds we analyze?” She goes on: “The point is to get at
> how worlds are made and unmade, in order to participate in the
> processes, in order to foster some forms of life and not others.” Is
> this not a project for those like ourselves and unlike those to whom my
> engineer friend refers? Are we not equipped to find out how the worlds
> implemented by AI systems are “made and unmade” and so “participate in
> the processes, in order to foster some forms of life and not others”?
> For those with little background in computer science—again, like
> me—there’s the help of others (such as colleagues here present) with
> knowledge of the engineering and the science. But some of this ‘getting
> at’ is equally in need of historical, anthropological and sociological
> training, for example. Hence we who need that help have much
> help to give. Put that all together, I say, and you have a Digital
> Humanities we can worthily profess.
> But today and in the solstitial days which follow, until the revised
> project of living up to the here-implied New Year’s resolutions can
> begin, there are the festivities, the rebirthing of the solar cycle that
> we celebrate in spite of what needs our urgent attention. So, allow me
> to wish you the very best for this season, during which Humanist will
> likely stutter a bit as I down tools and attend to those festivities!
> Yours,
> WM

Dr. James Rovira <>

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