The WikiPhil Portal: Visualizing Meaningful Philosophical Connections

Sofia J. Athenikos, Xia Lin


Philosophy, dating back at least to approximately 600 BC, is one of the oldest of all academic disciplines and is, in particular, one of the core disciplines in the humanities. Partly due to its long history, and partly due to the nature of the discipline itself, the domain of philosophy presents a rich conceptual and intellectual network of philosophers and corresponding philosophical concepts, ideas, and doctrines.

Wikipedia is an open-access, multilingual, collaborative Web encyclopedia project. Since its inception in 2001, Wikipedia has grown rapidly to become one of the most frequently sought resources on the Web. Correspondingly, an increasing number of computer science researchers have explored various ways to exploit Wikipedia as a source of a vast amount of lexical, semantic, and world knowledge for various natural language processing, text mining, information retrieval, and knowledge engineering applications.

The main objective of the ongoing project, entitled The WikiPhil Portal, is to extract, analyze, and visualize meaningful and interesting connections among philosophers and philosophical concepts via the automatic processing of the hyperlink structure and the semantic content of Wikipedia articles. By doing so, we aim at creating a useful and user-friendly portal for researchers and students of philosophy as well as the general interested public, thereby contributing to the cause of digital humanities. Here we report on the initial results we have obtained by extracting data concerning the hyperlink connections and influence relations involving 330 philosophers, with a focus on interactive visualization of the results.

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