Philosophy democratized? A comparison between Wikipedia and two other Web-based philosophy resources

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Philosophy democratized? A comparison between Wikipedia and two other Web-based philosophy resources
Authors: Beate Elvebakk [edit item]
Citation: First Monday 13 (2): 1. 2008 February.
Publication type: Journal article
Peer-reviewed: Yes
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Google Scholar cites: Citations
Link(s): Paper link
Added by Wikilit team: Added on initial load
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Philosophy democratized? A comparison between Wikipedia and two other Web-based philosophy resources is a publication by Beate Elvebakk.


[edit] Abstract

This article compares the individuals categorized as 20th century philosophers in Wikipedia with the selection found in two major edited and widely used online philosophy resources. The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy {(plato.Stanford.edu):} and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (www.iep.utm.edu). These are both free online resources, but unlike Wikipedia- they are written and edited by members of the academic community, and thus sanctioned by the established communities. The individuals presented as 20th century philosophers are compared along the parameters of year of birth, gender, and national and disciplinary backgrounds. The results show that although the types of academics listed in Wikipedia are generally similar to those in the other encyclopaedias, their relative youth and their very numbers may still serve to give the user a very different impression on philosophy as a field.

[edit] Research questions

"his article compares the individuals categorized as twentieth century philosophers inWikipedia with the selection found in two major edited and widely used online philosophy resources, The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (http://plato.stanford.edu), and theInternet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (http://www.iep.utm.edu). These are both free online resources, but unlike Wikipedia, they are written and edited by members of the academic community, and thus sanctioned by the established communities. The individuals presented as twentieth century philosophers are compared along the parameters of year of birth, gender, and national and disciplinary backgrounds."

Research details

Topics: Other content topics, Comprehensiveness, Currency [edit item]
Domains: Philosophy and ethics, Library science [edit item]
Theory type: Analysis [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Main topic [edit item]
Theories: "Undetermined" [edit item]
Research design: Statistical analysis [edit item]
Data source: Wikipedia pages [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: Cross-sectional [edit item]
Unit of analysis: Article [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: Live Wikipedia [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: Article [edit item]
Wikipedia language: English [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"This study seems to support the previous research that suggests:

that Wikipedia is heavily skewed towards Western values, ideas and perceptions; and, that Wikipedia does not, on the whole, represent alternative voices or points of view. On this background, we might say that Wikipedia does not represent the field of philosophy in a way that is fundamentally different from more traditional resources (though there might be a slight tendency toward a more “popular” understanding of the discipline). It is, however, extremely different in two respects: when it comes to the sheer number of entries, and where the age of the individuals listed is concerned. Thus, it does not present an image of an iconic, autonomous, and frozen philosophical history, but instead locates the philosophers in a messier, dynamic world, where the insides and outsides are not as clear as in traditional encyclopaedias. This happens through the inclusion of living philosophers, and “minor” philosophers, as well as a few individuals who are not universally acknowledged as being philosophers.

If a user tries to learn about philosophy from Wikipedia then, it is likely that the impression gained will be somewhat different from what would happen if the other resources were consulted. Philosophy would seem to be more of an ongoing process, and less of an established fact. As the number of entries in Wikipedia is steadily growing, this tendency is likely to become much more pronounced in the future, turning Wikipedia into a rather different kind of beast from other encyclopaedias; one that does not sit in judgment of greatness in the same way.

The very success of Wikipedia then, is also likely to mean that it is parting ways ever more visibly from more traditional sources of information. In many ways, this probably leads to what we might see as a more representative understanding of current philosophy, but it also leads to an understanding that is, in both senses of the word, less disciplined. The “quality” of Wikipedia as a reference work can therefore also be seen as a function of the entries included; or rather, its lack of exclusions. With Wikipedia, the student cannot take the mere fact of the existence of an entry as an indication of significance. Sifting through the articles in order to make a qualified assessment on the importance of the individuals and their work would take considerable time and effort. Wikipedia, then, might seem to be turning into a resource which is extremely handy for information, but that does not necessarily offer much in the way of guidance."

[edit] Comments


Further notes[edit]

Facts about "Philosophy democratized? A comparison between Wikipedia and two other Web-based philosophy resources"RDF feed
AbstractThis article compares the individuals cateThis article compares the individuals categorized as 20th century philosophers in Wikipedia with the selection found in two major edited and widely used online philosophy resources. The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy {(plato.Stanford.edu):} and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (www.iep.utm.edu). These are both free online resources, but unlike Wikipedia- they are written and edited by members of the academic community, and thus sanctioned by the established communities. The individuals presented as 20th century philosophers are compared along the parameters of year of birth, gender, and national and disciplinary backgrounds. The results show that although the types of academics listed in Wikipedia are generally similar to those in the other encyclopaedias, their relative youth and their very numbers may still serve to give the user a very different impression on philosophy as a field.erent impression on philosophy as a field.
Added by wikilit teamAdded on initial load +
Collected data time dimensionCross-sectional +
ConclusionThis study seems to support the previous rThis study seems to support the previous research that suggests:

that Wikipedia is heavily skewed towards Western values, ideas and perceptions; and, that Wikipedia does not, on the whole, represent alternative voices or points of view. On this background, we might say that Wikipedia does not represent the field of philosophy in a way that is fundamentally different from more traditional resources (though there might be a slight tendency toward a more “popular” understanding of the discipline). It is, however, extremely different in two respects: when it comes to the sheer number of entries, and where the age of the individuals listed is concerned. Thus, it does not present an image of an iconic, autonomous, and frozen philosophical history, but instead locates the philosophers in a messier, dynamic world, where the insides and outsides are not as clear as in traditional encyclopaedias. This happens through the inclusion of living philosophers, and “minor” philosophers, as well as a few individuals who are not universally acknowledged as being philosophers.

If a user tries to learn about philosophy from Wikipedia then, it is likely that the impression gained will be somewhat different from what would happen if the other resources were consulted. Philosophy would seem to be more of an ongoing process, and less of an established fact. As the number of entries in Wikipedia is steadily growing, this tendency is likely to become much more pronounced in the future, turning Wikipedia into a rather different kind of beast from other encyclopaedias; one that does not sit in judgment of greatness in the same way.

The very success of Wikipedia then, is also likely to mean that it is parting ways ever more visibly from more traditional sources of information. In many ways, this probably leads to what we might see as a more representative understanding of current philosophy, but it also leads to an understanding that is, in both senses of the word, less disciplined. The “quality” of Wikipedia as a reference work can therefore also be seen as a function of the entries included; or rather, its lack of exclusions. With Wikipedia, the student cannot take the mere fact of the existence of an entry as an indication of significance. Sifting through the articles in order to make a qualified assessment on the importance of the individuals and their work would take considerable time and effort. Wikipedia, then, might seem to be turning into a resource which is extremely handy for information, but that does not necessarily offer much in the way of guidance.
ssarily offer much in the way of guidance.
Data sourceWikipedia pages +
Google scholar urlhttp://scholar.google.com/scholar?ie=UTF-8&q=%22Philosophy%2Bdemocratized%3F%2BA%2Bcomparison%2Bbetween%2BWikipedia%2Band%2Btwo%2Bother%2BWeb-based%2Bphilosophy%2Bresources%22 +
Has authorBeate Elvebakk +
Has domainPhilosophy and ethics + and Library science +
Has topicOther content topics +, Comprehensiveness + and Currency +
Issue2 +
MonthFebruary +
Pages1 +
Peer reviewedYes +
Publication typeJournal article +
Published inFirst Monday +
Research designStatistical analysis +
Research questionshis article compares the individuals categhis article compares the individuals categorized as twentieth century philosophers inWikipedia with the selection found in two major edited and widely used online philosophy resources, The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (http://plato.stanford.edu), and theInternet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (http://www.iep.utm.edu). These are both free online resources, but unlike Wikipedia, they are written and edited by members of the academic community, and thus sanctioned by the established communities. The individuals presented as twentieth century philosophers are compared along the parameters of year of birth, gender, and national and disciplinary backgrounds.and national and disciplinary backgrounds.
Revid10,906 +
TheoriesUndetermined
Theory typeAnalysis +
TitlePhilosophy democratized? A comparison between Wikipedia and two other Web-based philosophy resources
Unit of analysisArticle +
Urlhttp://pear.accc.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2091/1938 +
Volume13 +
Wikipedia coverageMain topic +
Wikipedia data extractionLive Wikipedia +
Wikipedia languageEnglish +
Wikipedia page typeArticle +
Year2008 +