Monday, September 22, 2008

Hi, My name is Marion and I am a Google User

The Web 2.0 revolution has democratized the media, allowing everyone, despite their credentials, to post information onto the web. With no guardians double checking the facts, there is no guarantee that the information you are finding is valid.

I unconsciously tested this theory this past weekend. As much as I would like to think that I am not one of the millions of blind followers using and abusing the web for quick references and information, I was guilty of just that when I found myself actually “Googling” another homework assignment on Plato’s theory of knowledge.

In my course we have three textbooks; three credible, reliable, thorough textbooks with a plethora of facts and cited examples to successfully inform any reader of an overview of Plato’s early political theories. However, these textbooks, with their lofty language, excessive footnotes, and hundreds of daunting pages, can be a bit tedious to sift through. For my political theory class, I needed to study for a quiz and brush up on Plato’s theories of justice and knowledge. My notes were scattered and the textbook discusses the topics briefly in each chapter. I was hoping for answers. I wanted the breakdown of knowledge and justice theories in a condensed, clean, crisp form, something my textbook wasn’t offering me.

My natural instinct is to Google this information. I first typed in “dekay,” one of Plato’s examples of justice, and found my number one Google hot spot to be a blog by a dancer and chemist from Munich, Germany who writes about tango topics ( I then refined my search to try look for “Plato justice knowledge.” The fourth source down the list offered by Google was a link to AntiEssay, a free essay website where anyone can post any essay they want regarding any topic ( These essays, written by amateurs, are posted as factual, reliable references, although they are not. The author of this particular essay had completely inverted the Divided Line theory of knowledge, placing imagination after belief. According to my textbook, this is completely wrong and destroys the entire concept of the Divided Line theory. Being no Plato expert, there could have been countless other mistakes in the essay that I didn’t even realize were false.

It’s important for this generation to kick or Google addiction. This high powered search engine does not always generate the most credible sources of information, and we are suffering for continuing to use them.

My textbook reference….

Klosko, George. History of Political Theory: An Introduction to Ancient and Medieval Political Theory. Wadsworth: California, 2002.

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