189-reasoning - Abductive Reasoning, A-Life, and the...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
1 Abductive Reasoning, A-Life, and the Historian's Craft: One Scenario for the future of History and Computing By John Bonnett Canada Research Chair in Digital Humanities Department of History Brock University 500 Glenridge Avenue St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1 Canada jbonnett@brocku.ca As historians consider their future use of the computer, I suggest they will need to look back. When considering the future practice of the discipline, they will need to consider from where and whence history came. If your degree is like mine, its initials are Ph.D., not H.D. Historians will need to think on that, and more specifically they will need to draw on the repository of philosophy to consider how and where they apply the computer. We are used to thinking of historians as epistemologists. We are concerned with method. We take pains to describe what we know, and how we know what we know. Further, we are used to thinking of historians as metaphysicians – we talk incessantly about change – and even politicians. Who benefits from our representations of the past? Who are excluded? But when considering how historians in future will use the computer, I suggest they will need to don another hat, that of aesthete. If historians are to use computers to support analysis, expression and instruction in ways that extend beyond practices derived with print technology, they will need to consider the aesthetics of their craft. They will need to focus on form, the characteristics of computer-generated form, and how such characteristics can be applied to support the research and analytical methods that historians are likely to pursue in future. They will also need to focus on narration, on the potential that new genres in new media present for the expression of content and concepts. The purpose of this paper is to present one scenario indicating how such an agenda might unfold. 1 When considering the future use of the computer, it is important to note a characteristic that historians often forget: computers change. Their platforms change. Their methods for interaction and expression change. The point is significant because economic drivers – primarily originating in Japan – and scholarly interest – in domains ranging from English literature to mathematics – suggest the emergence of what can be characterized as a Topographic Revolution in computer-mediated communication. 2 The Topographic Revolution can be characterized as scholarly appropriation of forms that are topographic – with two- or three-dimensional shape – dynamic – meaning that they change their configuration over time – and autonomous – meaning that while the rules
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
2 governing the behaviour of a given formalism are set by an author, its performance of those rules is not. To support this supposition, one can point to the emerging “spatial revolution” in
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 02/08/2012 for the course BUS 104 taught by Professor Johnson during the Spring '11 term at FIU.

Page1 / 9

189-reasoning - Abductive Reasoning, A-Life, and the...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online