Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: May 29, 2022, 5:43 a.m. Humanist 36.38 - in the dark

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 36, No. 38.
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    [1]    From: Dr. Herbert Wender <>
           Subject: Comment in the dark? << Re: [Humanist] 36.36: in the dark (8)

    [2]    From: Liz Walter <>
           Subject: RE: [Humanist] 36.36: in the dark (12)

    [3]    From: Fishwick, Paul <>
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 36.36: in the dark (27)

    [4]    From: Manfred Thaller <>
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 36.36: in the dark (55)

        Date: 2022-05-28 21:44:15+00:00
        From: Dr. Herbert Wender <>
        Subject: Comment in the dark? << Re: [Humanist] 36.36: in the dark


is this to be taken earnestly meant:
"Goethe wrote Part II because he wanted to counter the mordant warning issued in
Byron’s explicit critical reflection on Part I,"
(cf. wikipedia: "Byron, ...  22 January 1788")

Regards, Herbert

        Date: 2022-05-28 18:38:41+00:00
        From: Liz Walter <>
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 36.36: in the dark

"For me computation provides a much higher potential degree of control than any
non-formalized research process."

We shouldn't put computation and non-formalized research process as opposing
methods. Computation IMHO is the formalization of research process.

I would suggest that computation provides the ability to see patterning (amongst
other things). Computation provides a manner of replication and recognition and 
enumeration of patterns as, and within research process.

Elizabeth Walter
Tucson, AZ

        Date: 2022-05-28 13:29:25+00:00
        From: Fishwick, Paul <>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 36.36: in the dark


‘Machines use us’ might be a bit provocative. To use any technology, one must
acquire and continually adjust one or more mental models. Upon examination,
these mental models when elicited are precursors or proxies for formalism in
computer science (for computing technology). For instance by learning how to use
a menu based system, the user’s mental model of ‘tree’ is developed. We cannot
use tech without our cognition changing. We learn computer science when this
technology is used. There is no such thing as ‘only a tool’.


<>Paul Fishwick, PhD
Distinguished University Chair of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication
Professor of Computer Science
Director, Creative Automata Laboratory
The University of Texas at Dallas
Arts & Technology
800 West Campbell Road, AT10
Richardson, TX 75080-3021
Twitter: @PaulFishwick
ONLINE: Webex,Collaborate, TEAMS, Zoom, Skype, Hangout

        Date: 2022-05-28 06:57:50+00:00
        From: Manfred Thaller <>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 36.36: in the dark

Dear Jerry,

absolutes have a tendency to defeat themselves. In the sense they are
either not achievable, or turn into something else. For this "else" we
need in my opinion not to raise the spectre of Faust. Any nitpicker who
developed into the world's leading specialist for the first fifteen
minutes of the thirty years' war will suffice, even if they produce a
burlesque and not a tragedy. Reality has a way to temper your big designs.

But reality having such a way, getting control over the research process
to the greatest degree, which you can have in the real world - for me
under the heading "no hidden assumptions" - does not create the dangers
you project.

I do not see the attempt to control your model building as closely as
humanly possible as dangerous. (Always this nagging little "possible".)
The physics person I quote at the beginning of my posting yesterday, HAD
at some stage given up to control what he was not able to control any
longer, the ferrit-cores, e.g.

> One wants control in the first place to set a
> procedural monitor on what you’re doing, but in the end – perhaps more
> crucially given the larger framework of scholarly/scientific work -- to
> bring clarity to the unforeseeable limits of what you are doing.
Yes, here I totally agree.

> And then I’d want to add: I don’t think computation
> provides more potential (etc) than any other artful (call it
> “engineering”) process.
If your artful process contains a complete explication of all
assumptions and hypotheses I agree; but find my self a bit bewildered,
which engineering process outside of computation you would employ?


I am not a literary scholar, so just out of curiosity, and happy to be
told wrong:

Has Goethe really written Faust II ins response to Manfred? - A radical
deviation from the struggles of the human focusing on their behavior to
other individual humans, towards a human in interchange with all of society.
Manfred, much like the Urfaust, is the story of a unmitigated
catastrophy, one of the last lines being Mephiostopheles "Sie ist
gerichtet" (She has been judged). In the final version of Faust I after
the line from heaven a voice proclaims "Sie ist gerichtet" (She has been
saved). Which in my non-literary mind always has been an extraordinarily
radical change. And certainly one which removed much of the mordancy. 
(Together with a few internal lines between Urfaust and Faust I.)

I reread Manfred yesterday, but do you really claim, that the
macrocosmic Faust II, as opposed to the microcosmic Faust I answers Byron?

Kind regards,

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