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  • An Iridology of the Sciences?

    Posted by Charles Cameron on January 3rd, 2011 (All posts by )

    [ cross-posted from Zenpundit ]

    I for one am delighted to know that we can now play around with the iridology of the sciences, using the software available on the Science-Metrix Ontology Explorer site to view which fields have journals which cross-link to journals in other fields…

    Seriously — that lower image is of the Field Citation Wheel that you can find, suitably enlarged for easy viewing, on that site.

    *

    And it’s heartening for me to know, for instance — taking a closer look at the segment of that image that’s roughly east north-east — that scientific journals do have some links on their pages to works of theology or philosophy:


    Engineering
    , you’ll notice, has more links than history, philosophy, theology, the social sciences (even counting them twice), economics, business, the arts and humanities combined.

    My own field, theology, has to share its thin segment with philosophy, and you can guess how small the number of links to articles on Islamic apocalyptic probably are…

    Which is, in part, why I wonder whether a project like the ETH’s Living Earth Simulator will really manage to map such things as, well, a possible outbreak of global jihadist Mahdism and its consequences.

    *

    But then I look at another gorgeous graphic from the same source, focusing in on a part of the network of knowledge that interests me, and I can just faintly make out, lower left, entirely isolated, the field of music

    What splendid isolation! That’s all of Bach, mind you – and all the Beatles, too.

    *

    Seriously, though:

    • It’s fascinating to be able to see how the various branches of knowledge cross-reference each other.
    • Visual data representation is a gorgeous, fantastic, field.
    • Mapping the all-of-everything is an irresistable lure for keen minds
    • I’m betting the humanities will prove to be at least as good at it as the sciences.
    • And I recall, not without a pang of regret, the time when my beloved Theology was Queen of the Sciences, and one might converse with Abelard on the streets of Paris…