Theory and Metatheory in the Development of Text Encoding

Espen S. Ore
Humanities Information Technologies Centre,
University of Bergen,
Allegt 27,
N-5007 Bergen, Norway

This workshop takes as its departure point an article which was published in The Monist last year. An electronic version of the article can be found at The electronic archive of the whole discussion is to be found at

The article is an account of an electronic discussion of a "target paper" written by Allen H. Renear, and discusses a set of philosophical issues that have emerged from within the electronic publishing community. They concern the nature of text and those parts or features of texts which are identified as important by designers of text processing systems and other practitioners concerned with the representation of text on the computer, such as scholarly editors and systems analysts. The history of these discussions is a case study in theory construction and reveals engineers, systems analysts and scholarly editors to be concerned with practical problems which raise philosophical issues. The course of this theory construction is a philosophical dialectic from a kind of Platonism, through a more pluralistic Realism, to pragmatic Constructivism. The philosophical topics raised include the boundary between philosophical and scientific ontology and the dispute between Realism and Antirealism.

Michael Biggs and Claus Huitfeldt (eds): "Philosophy and Electronic Publishing. Theory and Metatheory in the Development of Text Encoding", The Monist, vol 80:3 (July 1997), pp 348-367.

Core participants: Allen Renear (Brown University), Dino Buzzetti (Bologna), Claus Huitfeldt (Bergen), Espen S. Ore (Bergen).

Please, register me for this workshop!


Franz Hespe
Tito Orlandi
Lou Burnard
Finn Bostad
Allen Renear
Espen Ore
Dino Buzetti  
Elisabeth Burr
Dag Tjemsland
Claus Huitfeldt
Joseph Bell
Jon Gunnar Jørgensen
Hilde Bøe