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
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 25,687
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
The Fate of Knowledge.Helen Longino - 2002 - Princeton University Press.
Trust and Antitrust.Annette Baier - 1986 - Ethics 96 (2):231-260.
Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences.Geoffrey C. Bowker & Susan Leigh Star - 2001 - Journal of the History of Biology 34 (1):212-214.

View all 20 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Levels of Trust in the Context of Machine Ethics.Herman T. Tavani - 2015 - Philosophy and Technology 28 (1):75-90.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Epistemic Trust.Linda Zagzebski - 2003 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 10 (2):113-117.
Knowledge on Trust.Paul Faulkner - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
On the Attitude of Trust.Lars Hertzberg - 1988 - Inquiry 31 (3):307 – 322.
Creating Trust.Robert C. Solomon - 1998 - Business Ethics Quarterly 8 (2):205-232.
The Case of Online Trust.Matteo Turilli, Mariarosaria Taddeo & Antonino Vaccaro - 2010 - Knowledge, Technology & Policy 23 (3-4):333-345.
Trust in Strangers, Trust in Friends.Jessica Miller - 2003 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 10 (1):17-22.
Trust and Epistemic Cooperation.Snježana Prijić-Samaržija - 2001 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 1 (2):147-157.
Trust and Contextualism.Snjezana Prijic-Samarzija - 2007 - Acta Analytica 22 (2):125-138.
Trust and the Curse of Cassandra (An Exploration of the Value of Trust).Cynthia Townley - 2003 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 10 (2):105-111.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

37 ( #133,253 of 2,146,213 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #387,123 of 2,146,213 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums