IS Philosophy (SIGPhilosophy)


Track Chairs:

Nik Hassan, University of Minnesota,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Alan Litchfield, Auckland University of Technology,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Track Description:

As a field of research, Information Systems (IS) can no longer be regarded as a fresh poppy in the domain of scientific research, and the time has passed where IS ought to have built a solid core of theory (Litchfield, 2012). This stance is supported by Lakatos (1970) who says: in any field of research, terms must be agreed to from a hardened core around which theories can be established, providing a buffer against attack and where weak theories are tested and fail without harming the field itself. For example, Schneberger and Wade (2010) list some 74 theories that have their roots in human related activities from sociology, economics, and politics, to computer science, engineering, mathematics, and physics. Of those, what are the criteria for determining core theory?

The Philosophical Perspectives in IS track provides a forum for scholars to discuss and reflect on the present state of IS research and its future prospects. We invite papers that discuss philosophical aspects of the IS field from all IS domains, and from all angles and levels of inquiry.

Minitracks:

Bodyware: Information Systems in the Age of Augmented Body and Enhanced Mind

Deniz Tuncalp Istanbul, Technical University, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Mary Helen Fagan, University of Texas at Tyler, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Recent advancements in neural signaling, cognitive science and biomedical engineering have been integrating IT artifacts into human bodies as bodyware. This calls for new challenges for humanity in general, and for the information systems field in particular. Are we moving towards a controversial future called the technological singularity? Should we explore the role of bodies and bodyware in a hyperconnected human experience? Are our everyday experiences with bodyware in line with the Latourian analysis of technological artifacts? Exploration of the advent of bodyware also raises questions about the information systems discipline. How might the fundamental paradigm shift of considering IT ontologically as part of our physical bodies change our discipline? What would happen to our understanding of IT implementation if we were to consider all the ramifications of implementing IT into our own bodies? How do we conceive of the "IT artifact" differently as these types of systems evolve?

Critical Realism in Information Systems Research

Michael J Cueller, North Carolina Central University, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Much of the work in BCR has been done from a theoretical perspective, although there have been some practical applications in the IS field(de Vaujany 2008; Dobson, Myles and Jackson 2007). What has been lacking has been a standard for the execution of research using BCR meta-theory with the result much of the work done has mixed BCR principles with empiricist principles. The next step in IS research within the BCR paradigm requires execution of empirical research from purely BCR meta-theory and methodological papers that suggest how this might be accomplished. The purpose of this mini-track is therefore to expand the consideration of the practical applications of BCR within information systems. The goal is to provide exemplars of empirical research and suggestions for research methodology done from the BCR perspective.

Foundations of Information Systems Subfields ("Philosophy of …")

Nik R Hassan, University of Minnesota - Duluth, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Alan Rea, Western Michigan University, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Disciplines do not endure for any length of time without reflecting on their underlying tenets and methods and their philosophical bent and commitments.  This mini-track provides a forum for every subfield in IS to analyze and reexamine the foundations of their subfield in light of exciting developments overtaking the IS field. All our research is based on some philosophical foundations whether we acknowledge them or not. We invite papers that discuss philosophical aspects of the IS field from all IS domains, and from all angles and levels of inquiry.

People and Technology

Alan T Litchfield, Auckland University of Technology, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

The making and use of tools is an activity that has defined hominids and humanity since the paleolithic. The residue of tool making activities over time are left behind as artefacts, which we now regard as evidence of social and cultural evolution or change. In the field of Information Systems research, the artefact is taken as a core feature and much that captures the researchers' gaze is focussed on the idealisation, building, and assessing of artefacts and tools. However, Scheler says that while there is no doubt that the human is a practical being, it is in its being, a participant in a continual appearance and that it is this aspect that is core to humanity's existence (Scheler, 1960). Thus, a tension exists between conceptions of the human as maker of artefacts and the human as a social being, from which there exist artefacts that are a by-product of its appearance.

In the last several decades, attempts have been made to comprehend the advance in technology and to understand the relationship that exists between humanity and the tools it has made. Heidegger (1993) says the human cannot master the essence of technology. Technological humanity has created a society in which it has developed disciplines designed to create mastery over itself so that technological humans remain amenable to the demands of technology in society. C. S. Lewis (2002) says that in its quest to gain mastery over nature, humanity forgets what it means to be human and humanity becomes subject to technological domination. More recently, Toffler (1972) warned that humanity’s ability to evolve its social and cultural practices and cope with change wrought by technological change is being outpaced. Despite such dire warnings, humanity embraces ever more tightly the advance of technological innovation and adoption.

In this mini-track, we invite authors to present works that approach topics that affect human-technology relations. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Philosophical issues in the uses and application of technology
The human/tool relationship
Politics (eg democratic use of computing)
Use of devices
Conceptions of the artefact
Tool building and use
Human + technology and culture
Virtual Environments (VE) (e.g. non-verbal communication, teamwork and training)
Gaming
Artificial intelligence and nature inspired computing
Philosophy of ambient intelligence
Human as the Creator
The future of the machine
Role of Myth and Story
Machine consciousness
Abstraction, linguistics, symbolism and projected identity
The genesis of technology

Socio-Technical Aspects of Information Systems

Laurence Brooks, Brunel University, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

David Wainwright, Northumbria University, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

There is growing acceptance that IS it is not solely about the technical issues which are the major factor in their successful development and use, but the other relevant (non-technical) human and social factors. These combine with technologies to create the informated contexts in which IS are developed and operate; effectively or otherwise. Within the IS field the ‘socio-technical’ movement (Mumford, {1995, 2003}) can be seen to provide insights into this complex relationship between the technological artefact and the social aspects in which they are situated (Avgerou et. al., 2004). In this, these technologies and their functionality may be seen to combine with humans and their actions to constitute informated ‘socio-technical ensemble’ (Bijker and Law 1995) that exhibit a concerted agency. How such ensembles may be effectively created, maintained and changed – locally and globally- incrementally and radically - is the subject of this mini-track.

Transdisciplinary Wisdom in IS research

Jan H Kroeze, University of South Africa, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Nik Dalal, Oklahoma State University, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

This minitrack has two intertwined themes: wisdom and transdisciplinarity in IS research. Wisdom goes beyond knowledge and is concerned with inquiry on what is of true value for the individual and for the collective good.  Wisdom arises in a person-context interaction but can also be conceived in terms of groups, organizations, communities, and nations. Transdisciplinarity refers to a holistic blended approach that brings together collaborators from various disciplines to solve complex practical problems. This minitrack offers an opportunity to reflect on transdisciplinary wisdom as a goal of IS research and as a means for studying IS issues. Three main approaches are possible: multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary. Multi-disciplinarity refers to the study of a phenomenon from divergent angles, with little or no integration. Interdisciplinarity amalgamates two or more perspectives, and transdisciplinarity is a holistic, blended approach transversing disciplinary limits.