We start with the ambition – dating back to the early days of the semantic web – of assembling a significant portion human knowledge into a contradiction-free form using semantic web technology. We argue that this would not be desirable, because there are concepts, known as essentially contested concepts, whose definitions are contentious due to deep-seated ethical disagreements. Further, we argue that the ninetenth century hermeneutical tradition has a great deal to say, both about the ambition, and about why it fails. We conclude with some remarks about statistics.
Author and article information
Electronic Engineering and Computer Science
Queen Mary University of London
Mile End Road
London E1 4NS