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Debates in the Digital Humanities$
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Matthew K. Gold

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816677948

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816677948.001.0001

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A Telescope for the Mind?

A Telescope for the Mind?

(p.113) Chapter 8 A Telescope for the Mind?
Debates in the Digital Humanities

Willard Mccarty

University of Minnesota Press

Writing in 1962 for Freeing the Mind, a series in the Times Literary Supplement, Margaret Masterman used the phrase, “a telescope for the mind,” to suggest computing’s potential to transform our conception of the human world just as in the seventeenth century the optical telescope set in motion a fundamental rethink of our relation to the physical one. This chapter considers the interrogation of research in the digital humanities for signs that her vision, or something like it, is being realized or that demonstrable progress has been made. This interrogation began in the professional literature during the 1960s and became a sporadic feature current discourse. The chapter then turns the debate that humanists should be having, that of the argument or set of arguments that will convert decades of experience into incontrovertible evidence of intellectual value.

Keywords:   digital humanities, computing, research, Margaret Masterman, optical telescope

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