Mahler puts things into perspective …

March 27, 2013

in Art & Literature,Spirituality

Wieseltier on ‘big data’

“The mathematization of subjectivity will founder upon the resplendent fact that we are ambiguous beings. We frequently have mixed feelings, and are divided against ourselves. We use different words to communicate similar thoughts, but those words are not synonyms. Though we dream of exactitude and transparency, our meanings are often approximate and obscure. What algorithm will capture “the feel of not to feel it / when there is none to heal it,” or “half in love with easeful Death”? How will the sentiment analysis of those words advance the comprehension of bleak emotions?”

read the whole essay

John Brungardt discusses

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

johnofstthomas March 28, 2013 at 10:30 am

A student of mine made a similar comment the other day in class. The students all entered in a mood full of more heat than light, obviously in the remains of a discussion originally about US vs. Windsor but which derailed. This student’s final rebuttal was “Because I have data!”

Wieseltier’s article is fascinating—especially when he discusses how the science seeks constructs its object of study for certain “data” for sentiment analysis: “This is accomplished by mechanically identifying the words in a proposition that originate in ‘subjectivity,’ and thereby obtaining an accurate understanding of the feelings and the preferences that animate the utterance.” —The empirical sciences, however, by their very method, but construct their object. They cannot allow the object to appear or show up on its own. The very act of “mechanical identification” for the sake of “accuracy” destroys the truth about the phenomena in question. The significance of a sign-act, a person trying to make something significant, cannot be understood “from the outside” by the mere symbol he makes use of.

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