As the chapter states in the beginning maps and graphs attempt to measure more quantitative data as opposed to trees more qualitative data. And yet maps can still be skewed by a cartographer’s bias in gauging two locations distance on the visual representation of the map. Graphs usually are the most objective of the three since they rely on scales and pure numbers and mathematics then the other two. When it comes to trees though how is the decision made of which branch is related to which one more? When it comes to the highly subjective nature of interpreting literature the answer gets muddier.
Franco Moretti mentions this in his trees chapter of “Graphs, Maps and Trees” with his mention of “objective” and “subjective” trees. And I see how the distinction could be made as I suppose you could make associations between something like genres with cataloguing keywords that are often used within a genre. But that method could be hardly called objective since the criterion for such an evaluation would almost certainly have to be arbitrary. I suppose given the nature of genres as largely arbitrary and literature’s nature as subjective, measuring more metaphysical things as genres will always be to some extent approximations rather than cold hard objective statements.
I wonder if such a thing as a completely objective tree could exist? A objective graph and for the most a part a fairly subjective map could used using mathematics. I think the distinction lies within that element. For the most part as far as my knowledge extends, most trees do not make use of formulas and data and the ones that do don’t really have hard criterions to make evaluations with. Though I’m sure some do, the ones that I have seen such as the ones in Franco Moretti’s “Graphs, Maps and Trees” don’t really let the reader in on their methodology either. Of course I am not implying that trees are a inherently inferior way of categorizing informatino just that the deficiencies built into the tree method are interesting to think about