Rens Bod, Modelling in the Humanities: Linking Patterns to Principles

Modelling is ubiquitous in the humanities: while scholars do many things, the search for patterns and principles, and the links between them, is found in all humanistic disciplines and periods. Modelling in antiquity consisted mainly of explaining and constraining patterns by means of principles. In the early modern period, modelling also included the prediction and refutation of patterns by means of these principles. Since the late nineteenth century, the focus shifted to interpreting and criticizing patterns by means of principles. I will discuss some commonalities between modelling in the humanities and in the sciences. The exploration of different modelling strategies and practices in the (history of the) humanities has just begun and may lead to a new field coined History and Philosophy of the Humanities (HPH), analogous to History and Philosophy of Science (HPS).

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