The entanglement of trust and knowledge on the web

Ethics and Information Technology 2010 (12):343-355 (2010)
In this paper I use philosophical accounts on the relationship between trust and knowledge in science to apprehend this relationship on the Web. I argue that trust and knowledge are fundamentally entangled in our epistemic practices. Yet despite this fundamental entanglement, we do not trust blindly. Instead we make use of knowledge to rationally place or withdraw trust. We use knowledge about the sources of epistemic content as well as general background knowledge to assess epistemic claims. Hence, although we may have a default to trust, we remain and should remain epistemically vigilant; we look out and need to look out for signs of insincerity and dishonesty in our attempts to know. A fundamental requirement for such vigilance is transparency: in order to critically assess epistemic agents, content and processes, we need to be able to access and address them. On the Web, this request for transparency becomes particularly pressing if (a) trust is placed in unknown human epistemic agents and (b) if it is placed in non-human agents, such as algorithms. I give examples of the entanglement between knowledge and trust on the Web and draw conclusions about the forms of transparency needed in such systems to support epistemically vigilant behaviour, which empowers users to become responsible and accountable knowers
Keywords Knowledge  Recommender systems  Trust  Wikipedia  Web  Algorithmic authority  Epistemic practices  Socio-technical epistemic systems
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10676-010-9243-5
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,914
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 20 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Linda Zagzebski (2003). Epistemic Trust. Philosophy in the Contemporary World 10 (2):113-117.
Snježana Prijić-Samaržija (2001). Trust and Epistemic Cooperation. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 1 (2):147-157.
Jessica Miller (2003). Trust in Strangers, Trust in Friends. Philosophy in the Contemporary World 10 (1):17-22.
Robert C. Solomon (1998). Creating Trust. Business Ethics Quarterly 8 (2):205-232.
Ian Frowe (2005). Professional Trust. British Journal of Educational Studies 53 (1):34 - 53.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

23 ( #126,522 of 1,725,584 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #167,283 of 1,725,584 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.