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The Philosophy behind LogiLogi

The web is a relatively new medium, and new media are usually interpreted wrongly - in terms of old media. This has been called the horseless carriage syndrome; according to which a car is a carriage without a horse, film records theater-plays, and - most recently - the web enables the downloading of journals. Even Plato was not exempt of this. In Phaedrus he stated that true philosophy is only possible verbally, and that writing was just an aid to memory. Regardless of this ironically enough his 'memory aid' unleashed a long philosophical tradition. New media take their time. And we should not forget that the web is still very young (1991). Also the web is especially relevant for philosophy in that it combines conversation and writing; the two classical media of philosophy.

And where previous mass-media like TV and radio were not suitable for philosophy, this was because they were one to many, and thus favored the factory model of culture. The web on the other hand is many to many, and thereby enables something called peer to peer production. An early example of this is Free Software: without much coordination ten-thousands of volunteers have created software of the highest quality, like Linux and Firefox. Eric Raymond described this as a move from the cathedral- to the bazaar-model of software-development. The cathedral-model has a single architect who is responsible for the grand design, while in the bazaar-model it evolves from collective contributions.

This bazaar-model is not unique for the web. It shares much with the academic tradition. The move from the book to the journal can be compared with a move in the direction of a bazaar-model. Other similarities are decentralized operation and peer-review. The only new thing of the Free Software example was it's use of the web which - through it's shorter turnaround times - is very suitable for peer to peer production.

Another development that LogiLogi follows closely is one within philosophy itself: Jean-François Lyotard in his La Condition Postmoderne proclaimed the end of great stories. Instead he saw a diversity of small stories, each competing with others in their own domains. Also Derrida spoke of the materiality of texts, where texts and intertextuality gave meaning instead of 'pure' ideas. The web in this sense is a radicalisation of postmodernism, allowing for even more and easier intertextuality.

And instead of trying to undo the proliferation of paradigms, as some logic-advocates tried, and still try, we think the breakdown of language - as in further segmentation - is here to stay, and even a good thing, because it reduces complexity in the sense of Niklas Luhmann. Take human intelligence as fixed and you see that specialized (or 'curved' as in space curved around our cognitive limits) language allows for a more precise analysis. LogiLogi thus is explicitly modeled to allow for fine-grained specialization, and for a careful definition and discussion of terms in context.

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