Historical Social Research

Williard McCarty: Modelling What There Is: Ontologising in a Multidimensional World [Abstract]

The incursion of digital computing machinery into the public sphere and the return of “ontology” from philosophical exile occurred almost simultaneously, circa 1948. In this essay I ask, what do the modelling machine and philosophers’ irreconcilable accounts of “what there is” have to do with each other? Are the ontological pluralism of the former and the multi-centric multi-naturalism of the latter kin? If so, then recent anthropology has much to say to digital humanities.

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