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Internet epistemology

"Internet Epistemology includes the highly critical task of examining and evaluating the large quantities of pseudoscience that the Web is being used to promulgate". (Thagard, 1998).


Braten, Ivar; Strømsø, Helge I.; Samuelstuen, Marit S. (2005). The Relationship between Internet-Specific Epistemological Beliefs and Learning within Internet Technologies. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 33(2), 141-171.

In a sample of 157 Norwegian political science undergraduates, two dimensions of epistemological beliefs concerning Internet-based knowledge and knowing were identified through factor analysis. The first dimension, general Internet epistemology, ranged from the integrated view that the Internet is an essential source of true, specific facts to doubt about the Internet as a good source of true, factual knowledge. The other dimension, justification for knowing, ranged from the view that Internet-based knowledge claims can be accepted without critical evaluation to the view that knowledge claims encountered on the Internet should be checked against other sources, reason, and prior knowledge. Further, it was found that students' personal epistemology concerning Internet-based knowledge and knowing predicted their self-reports of Internet-search and -communication activities in better and more consistent ways than did Internet self-efficacy beliefs.

Fallis, Don (2008). Toward an epistemology of Wikipedia. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Published Online: May 22 2008 12:52PM (p NA)

Magnus, P.D. (2006). Epistemology and the Wikipedia. Paper presented at the North American Computing and Philosophy Conference. Retrieved November 22, 2007, from http://hdl.handle.net/1951/42589
Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia that is written and edited entirely by visitors to its website. I argue that we are misled when we think of it in the same epistemic category with traditional general encyclopedias. An empirical assessment of its reliability reveals that it varies widely from topic to topic. So any particular claim found in it cannot be relied on based on its source. I survey some methods that we use in assessing specific claims and argue that the structure of the Wikipedia frustrates them.

Thagard, P. (1998) Internet epistemology: Contributions of new information technologies to scientific research. Unpublished manuscript, University of Waterloo. Later version in How Scientists Explain Disease, Princeton University Press, 1999. Still later version in Designing for Science, Erlbaum, 2000. http://cogsci.uwaterloo.ca/Articles/Pages/Epistemology.html

Vedder, Anton (2001). Misinformation Through the Internet: Epistemology and Ethics. In: Anton Vedder (ed.), Ethics and the Internet. Antwerpen, Groningen, Oxford: Intersentia, p. 125-132.http://rechten.uvt.nl/vedder/archive/Docs/wrdreli.pdf


Web epistemology. Internet as distributed knowledge. http://webepistemology.org/main

Entry Added: February 27, 2008
Last Update: September 22, 2008