Tuesday, February 01, 2011

What Do You Know?

Wikipedia is asking for more female contributors.
This is important in that it recognizes that, if Wikipedia says something about our cultural worldview, then the perspective of that worldview is skewed if those who write it don't represent the full diversity of interests.

I don't buy the line that it's because women don't use computers as much or in the same ways as men. I think the cause is a more broadly rooted phenomenon--women being less like to recognize their own epistemic authority or to recognize that what they have expertise on counts as knowledge.

We philosophers have a word for this--agnotology, or the epistemology of ignorance. Some sorts of things are deemed worth knowing, and others not; and social practices, some of them gendered, dub people experts. Feminist philosophers have examined how cultural values shape the understanding of what counts as knowledge--including Nancy Tuana, Shannon Sullivan, Lisa Heldke, Nancy McHugh, and Carla Fehr.

Thanks to Zoe for the link!

1 comment:

tinadot said...

It's funny how something like Wikipedia that indeed as a direct influence in many people's lives reflects these epistemological truths that only take a second to recognize....yet it never even crossed my mind to look at it this way! :S