SESSION 1 Wiki Theory: 10.15 – 12.30. Friday, March 26
The major evolutions of our society is largely determined by a combination of the marketing of consumer goods with the general spreading of common knowledge. It is a question to assess if the « free encyclopedia » is on the verge to move the quest for knowledge to a mere utility. In this case, even the most elaborated and relevant content might be used to enforce a "global order".
Since the XVIIth century, Dictionaries & Encyclopedias have provided the major culture with representative descriptions of their own vision of the world. They replaced the old Ars memoriae, which were then considered as a mere registration of local common knowledge. Those new powerful instruments tried either to describe the notions we associate to the words and their meaning or to catch the essence of specific realities framing our behaviour and opinions. The word dictionaries paved the way to linguistics and hermeneutics. The Encyclopedias have originated the largest philosophical systems such as the Kantian transcendentalism or the hegelian dialectical system.
Our century must understand the value system which supports the process of debate over the major topics of the Wikipedia universe. Is such knowledge bar on use on our computers an accurate common knowledge ? Or is it a conventional consensus emerging from restricted specialized communities ? Wikipedia is contemporary to a century of the sociological and instrumental approach to science and as such a new declination of the dictionaries of notions and the encyclopedias of essences, which were in priority adressed to avert and critical readers.