Philosophy in an Evolving Web: Necessary Conditions, Web Technologies, and the Discovery Project

Thomas Bartscherer, Paolo D’Iorio


This article considers how digital technology—and in particular recent innovations in networking and Semantic Web—can be exploited to assist scholars in conducting academic research while at the same time minimizing the risks posed by web-mediated scholarship. We argue that an clear understanding of how humanities scholarship has traditionally been structured and practiced is a prerequisite for the success of any large-scale digital humanities initiative, and we therefore attempt to articulate what we have identified as the conditions necessary for the possibility of scholarship, conditions which are independent of any given technology. We discuss the following five conditions: stability, accessibility, durability, dissemination, and standards of quality. We then turn to a detailed look at the Discovery Project, recently launched under the aegis of the European Union’s eContentplus programme, to consider if and how the project meets the conditions specified. We conclude by noting three major challenges that confront this project and all similar initiatives aimed at integrating humanities research and digital technology.


20th century philosophy; media philosophy; philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; computer science; Discovery project; information; internet; semantic web; source

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