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Against Nature: The Metaphysics of Information Systems


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An introduction to my book, published May 2018 by Routledge, entitled Against Nature: The Metaphysics of Information Systems

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Against Nature: The Metaphysics of Information Systems

  1. 1. Published by Routledge May 2018 Against Nature: The Metaphysics of Information Systems David Kreps
  2. 2. I.S…in a nutshell ✤Information systems - dominated by positivist approach ✤“Much of the material covered in this book – philosophy, ecology, economics, politics, critical theory – is rarely to be found in academic work on information systems, at least overtly.” ✤BUT “a philosophy and a politics and an economics nonetheless underpin everything that is done in information systems, and … our impact upon the ecology of our world is a direct result of this implicit, unstated, undiscussed set of foundational ideas.”
  3. 3. I.S…on the planet ✤Energy: energy use identifiably related to ICTs had reached parity with global air travel already in 2008 – before the smartphone revolution ✤Economic growth: approximately 50 million tons of eWaste are expected in 2018 with an annual 4-5% growth, and only 15-20% of all eWaste is recycled ✤Extinction: digital culture is urban, manufactured, hygienic and social to an alienating extreme that makes us seemingly oblivious to the ongoing destruction of nature around us: the virtual distances us from the real.
  4. 4. Process philosophy.. in a nutshell ✤The future does not exist ✤Time, free will - duree réelle ✤Four-dimensionality / events ✤abstractions - fallacy of misplaced concreteness ✤ergo: Positivism denies “that certain patently real phenomena exist at all” Bergson Whitehead
  5. 5. the book… in a nutshell ✤ 1. A transdisciplinary approach Introduction, synopsis, context ✤ 2. The problem with digital Positivism, interpretivism and the critical stance in IS; methodological and possessive individualism at the root of positivism; positivism in early ecology ✤ 3. The future does not exist Irreversibility, Bergson’s duree reelle, Whitehead’s Concept of Nature: Process-relational philosophy: ✤ 4. The world in a new light Implications for IS; for individualism; systemic individualism, tech giants & cyberwar; nonequilibrium complex ecology, dissipative structures and network dynamics; ecological imperialism and breakdown ✤ 5. A theoretical manifesto for Green IT Process-relational social organisation vs. libertarianism; ecological economics; infomateriality; tech for green good. ———InformationSystems——— Processphilosophy —-—Ecosystems—— ——Individualism—- GreenIT
  6. 6. takeaways… ✤Our computing and business information systems are in fact helping to drive anthropogenic climate change through their merciless and individualistic efficiency. ✤Methodological individualism has to be defeated as a doctrine—across scientific endeavour, business ethics, and government policy—if we are to survive.
  7. 7. NANO… ✤Interview in Special Issue of NANO - New American Notes Online - ‘The Anthropocene’ at ✤Published December 2018 ✤ “The philosophical implications of the Anthropocene, in particular, are quite challenging to those for whom ‘free will’ is a part of theological debate. Either anthropogenic climate change is simply a predictable cancer amongst the higher apes causing a sixth great mass extinction, or we have made choices that have made the mess we are in and can—and should—try to make new choices to get ourselves out of it.” ✤“Hope—yes, I have hope—hope that in the teeth of disaster we will snatch survival from the jaws of our own foolishness.”
  8. 8. Contact ✤ Dr David Kreps ✤ ✤ ✤ Interview with me - about the book - to be published in Issue 13: ‘The Anthropocene’ of NANO: New American Notes Online in December 2018