@digitalunav warmly welcome the collaboration with the project From Data to Wisdom. Philosophizing Data Visualizations in the Middle Ages and Early Modernity that is running at the Instituto de Filosofia of the Universidade do Porto. This project has another partner at the UNAV: the Grupo de Estudios Peirceanos, whose activity will be reflected in forthcoming seminars and workshops.
FDTW is launching a new perspective about digital visualizations, since ICTs explosion hides the deep historical roots of visual practices. The hypothesis is that epistemological issues about data treatment and visualization were already faced and, in many cases, successfully resolved in the Middle Ages and Early Modernity. In the Middle Ages, a prolific production of tools for data treatment and visualization had been undertaken for guaranteeing the efficient transmission of trivium and quadrivium knowledge, and for organizing complex relations among disciplines. Furthermore, models were elaborated to apply upper forms of thinking to empirical and practical knowledge. Circular diagrams, arc diagrams, tables, and trees, were widely used for organizing and visualizing knowledge in a considerably complex way. Currently, a great variety of researches offers overviews on Medieval diagrammatic sources. Yet, a global perspective is still lacking. For instance, scientific diagrams are usually considered independently from rhetorical, logical or genealogical visualizations. Trees were certainly the most common structures in Medieval visualizations. They were used for representing relations and oppositions among different forms of knowledge; and they were particularly useful in encyclopedias for collecting and organizing concepts, and for explaining the role of each discipline. The most interesting point in Medieval visualization is that figures were not used just for organizing data, but, in some cases, they were capable of elaborating data and leading to previously unknown conclusions. FDTW has three main goals:
I.) To study and to show how issues about data treatment and visualization were already relevant and maturely discussed in the Middle Ages and Early Modernity;
II.) To actualize digitally Middle Ages and Early Modern visualizations, by extracting general models and by creating a framework for a universally applicable open source of data visualization;
III.) To reflect philosophically on the relations, both in the Middle Ages and Early Modernity, and in the digital age, between data visualizations and the theories of mind.