Philosophical Frameworks for Understanding Information Systems
This book fills a gap by exploring how we can understand the whole field of information technology and information systems (IT/IS) in an holistic way that covers five technical and non-technical areas of research and practice. It is guided by the need to understand the diversity of everyday experience in each area.
It demonstrates and discusses how frameworks for understanding everyday experience in IT/IS may be formulated by reference to philosophy. It also serves as an introduction to the IT/IS communities of a little-known philosopher, Herman Dooyeweerd. After introducing Dooyeweerd's philosophy in a way suited to those researching and practising IT/IS, it applies this to formulate frameworks for understanding: human use of computers, the nature of computers and information, IS development, the shaping of technological resources, and information technology as technological ecology in which we live. This re-interprets each area and generates a number of new insights of both practical and theoretical interest. The work closes by reflecting on the frameworks developed, and on the process of using philosophy in this way.
The work may be used in several ways: as a pointer to how to understand the 'whole story that is IS', as a systematic strategic re-interpretation of each of five main areas of research and practice in IT/IS, as a source of novel ideas in each of the five areas, as a demonstration of how to use philosophy to understand complex interdisciplinary areas of research and practice, as an introduction to a new philosophy. It attempts to present its argument systematically but engagingly, and may be used as a study guide.
Published by IGI Global 2008. To order it with 30% discount, download the flyer (500k pdf).
See Full Contents - unfortunately, the book itself gives only the major headings.
You can read the final draft for personal study and use. The files, mainly one pdf per chapter, are found in 'finaldraft' directory. You can download individual chapters as follows:
Enjoy for private use.
Some Unique Characteristics
- Most discussions of how to understand an area of research and practice adopt a theoretical stance. This book addresses the lifeworld of each area of research and practice in IS, seeking to provide understanding that is sensitive to the diversity, coherence, meaning and normativity of everyday life.
- Many works that introduce new ideas seek to show how existing ideas are deficient and to be replaced. This book seeks not to replace and denigrate extant work, but to critique, support and refine it.
- Most works focus on certain areas of IS. This book addresses the whole story of information systems: human use of computers, IS development, the nature of computers (including artificial intelligence), the shaping of basic technologies, and the ecological relationship by which we shape the information society and it shapes the way we live and the beliefs and assumptions we hold.
- Most reference to philosophy in IS finds it must use different types of philosophy in different areas (e.g. ontology for technical areas, epistemology for IS development, philosophical ethics for use). This book shows how it might be possible to use a single philosophy for all areas.
- This book employs a new type of philosophy, the philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd, which has a very different root from most of Western philosophy, that enables it to bridge the gulf between thought and thing, and the divorce between Is and Ought, so that normativity, epistemology, ontology and methodology are integrated.
Some Possible Benefits from Reading Book
- Readers will gain an everyday yet philosophically sound view of five areas of IT/IS.
- Readers will learn how to use philosophy in practice to help them understand their area of research and practice from an everyday perspective.
- Readers can gain new strategic directions for research in each area.
- Readers will gain a basic understanding of a radically different, useful philosophy.
- Readers will learn how to put areas of interest together to orchestrate a whole story of a discipline.
Why It Might Be Important
- It provides new ways of viewing each of five areas of research and practice in IS.
- It offers fresh insights in each area, which pose new questions, indicate new directions for research and suggest new practical devices.
- The framework generated for each area relates to all the others, so that research in each area need no longer be divorced from that in others, and provides a sound basis for interdisciplinary research and practice.
- It demonstrates and discusses how philosophy may be used systematically and yet sensitively to formulate frameworks for understanding.
- It shows how to seek an understanding that is sensitive to everyday experience without narrowing it to a theory but which can engage with theory.
- It introduces multi-aspectual analysis in the form of various practical devices to assist exploration of ill-structured, interdisciplinary domains of interest.
- It provides copious cross-references so that it may used as a study guide.
Created: 14 August 2007
by Andrew Basden.
Last updated: 21 December 2010 added pointer to final draft.