The Epistemic Cultures of Science and WIKIPEDIA: A Comparison

Episteme 6 (1):38-51 (2009)
I compare the epistemic culture of Wikipedia with the epistemic culture of science, with special attention to the culture of collaborative research in science. The two cultures differ markedly with respect to (1) the knowledge produced, (2) who produces the knowledge, and (3) the processes by which knowledge is produced. Wikipedia has created a community of inquirers that are governed by norms very different from those that govern scientists. Those who contribute to Wikipedia do not ground their claims on their reputations as knowers, for they stand to lose nothing if and when their contributions are found to be misleading or false. And the immediacy of the medium encourages gossip and jokes. Hence, though we have some reason to believe that an invisible hand aids scientists in realizing their epistemic goals, we cannot ground our confidence in what is reported on Wikipedia on the fact that an invisible hand ensures quality. Nor is the information on Wikipedia aptly justified in a manner similar to the way testimony can be justified
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.3366/E1742360008000531
 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: 16,707
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
David Hume (2009/2004). An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), The Monist. Oxford University Press 112.

View all 26 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Judith Simon (2010). The Entanglement of Trust and Knowledge on the Web. Ethics and Information Technology 2010 (12):343-355.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

35 ( #93,308 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #183,615 of 1,726,249 )

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.