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Phronesis, argumentation and puzzle solving in IS research: illustrating an approach to phronetic IS research practice

journal contribution
posted on 2018-01-01, 00:00 authored by Ojelanki Ngwenyama, S Klein
The embedding of information systems (IS) infrastructure into everyday social activity is creating intractable value conflicts for society. However, IS research largely focuses on: (1) episteme, explanatory and predictive theories; and (2) techné, theories of action for implementation and management of IS technologies. Consequently, we lack applicable knowledge for deliberating about IS value conflicts. The third type of knowledge, phronesis, which Aristotle proposed to inform ethical application of episteme and techné, has not been given much attention in our discipline. Presently, we are experiencing a critical limitation in our capabilities for generating ethically applicable IS knowledge in the face of increasing value conflicts arising from pervasive digitalisation. In this paper, we introduce phronesis, discuss its philosophical foundations and illustrate an approach to phronetic enquiry into the underlying value conflicts of a failed national IS infrastructure project. Our aim is to strengthen and expand IS research methods for systematic critical enquiry into social-values dilemmas resulting from continued embedding of IS technologies into our social world.

History

Journal

European journal of information systems

Volume

27

Issue

3

Pagination

347 - 366

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Location

Abingdon, Eng.

ISSN

0960-085X

eISSN

1476-9344

Language

eng

Notes

Special issue on Philosophy

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article

Copyright notice

[2018, Taylor & Francis]