Abstract - The Information Society 25(3)

Developing The Information and Knowledge Agenda in Information Systems: Insights from philosophy

Leslie Willcocks and Edgar Whitley

Information Systems, ironically has no real, long-standing, philosophical depth or roots in a philosophy of information or of technology, but philosophy itself has largely marginalised these subjects. Therefore this paper provides a mutual updating, and argues for an integration of concepts, especially of information with that of knowledge, not least to make information and knowledge developments and applications researchable and discussable on a consistent basis. The paper points to the too unquestioned role of data and information in a digitising, globalising age, and illustrates the need for a philosophy and ethic of information, able then to inform engineering ethics and design. In particular, the paper argues that, with technological developments and their penetration into work systems such as they are, knowledge has become a key, under-researched and under-philosophised concept for the IS field, and that this needs to be rebalanced. Here we suggest an integrative framework, and then argue for the key, at the moment largely misunderstood, role Polanyi’s work can have in reconceptualising and studying knowledge in the IS field.


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