Philosophy and Text Technology

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Screenshot of WAB resource

How can philosophy inspire and guide IT, and how can digital tools and methods be successfully applied to teaching and researching in philosophy? These are the main questions occupying the research group Philosophy and Text Technology. Head of the group is Professor Alois Pichler.

Through its Wittgenstein Archives, the Department of Philosophy at the University of Bergen strongly engages in applying philosophy to IT, and IT to philosophy. Does our notion of text change when transported to the digital environment? What can we learn from Digital Humanities practice about the concept of text? Which are the ethical and legal implications of publishing on the Web? Are the Open access and Open source movements viable? How can philosophy support these movements? How can web search engines benefit from philosophical reflection on what exists, and how it exists? What have philosophical ontologies to do with computational ontologies and the Semantic Web? Which are the challenges we face when trying to ontologically map a domain of philosophy, for example Wittgenstein scholarship? Does it make sense to reconstruct different philosophical mappings of the world and diverging interpretations of a philosopher's work as competing ontologies? How can concurrent ontologies be reconciled, and does it make sense to try to merge them? Can contradictions between different interpretations be resolved within one and the same ontology? These are some of the questions studied at our department where we try to fertilize IT with philosophy. But we naturally also use IT to enhance research and learning in philosophy.

In 2000 Wittgenstein's writings were published on CD-ROM in collaboration with Oxford University Press. In 2009 we made a substantial part freely available for open access on the website Wittgenstein Source. Since 2007, the Wittgenstein Archives increasingly participates in the Semantic Web and builds a Wittgenstein ontology which will permit multilingual access not only to Wittgenstein's texts, but also their contents. Members of the group have for many years now reflected upon the notions of text, interpretation, objectivity in textual criticism, the impact of digital editorial philology on our text practices and the role of the editor, and other.

The Wittgenstein Archives and the Department of Philosophy welcome anyone interested in "Philosophical Digital Humanities" and promise that they will find congenial minds at our place.

research infrastructure
Alois Pichler

Infrastructure funds allocated to the Wittgenstein Archive

The Wittgenstein Archive (WAB) has been awarded 1,670,000 NOK (about 167,000 EUR) for quality assurance and updating of the world's research infrastructure for Wittgenstein's Nachlass.