I was searching for something earlier and I came across a paper by Rubén Rosario Rodríguez entitled “Liberating Epistemology: Wikipedia and the Social Construction of Knowledge,” RST 26/2 (2007): 173-201. I haven’t read the paper yet but the abstract was interesting. Here’s what it says:
This investigation contends that postfoundationalist models of rationality provide a constructive alternative to the positivist models of scientific rationality that once dominated academic discourse and still shape popular views on science and religion. Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia, has evolved organically into a cross-cultural, cross-contextual, interdisciplinary conversation that can help liberate epistemology—especially theological epistemology—from the stronghold of Enlightenment foundationalism. U.S. Latinola theology provides an alternative to the dominant epistemological perspective within academic theology that is in many ways analogous to the organic, conversational epistemology embodied by the Wikipedia online community. Accordingly, this investigation argues that the work of human liberation is better served by liberating epistemology from the more authoritarian aspects of the Enlightenment scientific tradition—especially popular positivist conceptions of rationality.
Who would have ever thought of Wikipedia as a liberator? If I decide to read the entire thing I’ll let you know what I think.