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Published by Routledge May 2018
Against Nature:
The Metaphysics
of Information
Systems
David Kreps
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.”
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.
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
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
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.
NANO…
✤Interview in Special Issue of NANO - New American Notes
Online - ‘The Anthropocene’ at www.nanocrit.com
✤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.”
Contact
✤ Dr David Kreps
✤ http://david.kreps.org/
✤ d.g.kreps@salford.ac.uk
✤ Interview with me - about the book -
to be published in Issue 13: ‘The
Anthropocene’ of NANO: New
American Notes Online
http://www.nanocrit.com in
December 2018

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Against Nature: The Metaphysics of Information Systems

  • 1. Published by Routledge May 2018 Against Nature: The Metaphysics of Information Systems David Kreps
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. NANO… ✤Interview in Special Issue of NANO - New American Notes Online - ‘The Anthropocene’ at www.nanocrit.com ✤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. Contact ✤ Dr David Kreps ✤ http://david.kreps.org/ ✤ d.g.kreps@salford.ac.uk ✤ Interview with me - about the book - to be published in Issue 13: ‘The Anthropocene’ of NANO: New American Notes Online http://www.nanocrit.com in December 2018