Uncovering the epistemological and ontological assumptions of software designers

06/16/2004
by   David King, et al.
0

The ontological and epistemological positions adopted by information systems design methods are incommensur-able when pushed to their extremes. Information systems research has therefore tended to focus on the similarities between different positions, usually in search of a single, unifying position. However, by focusing on the similari-ties, the clarity of argument provided by any one philoso-phical position is necessarily diminished. Consequently, researchers often treat the philosophical foundations of design methods as being of only minor importance. In this paper, we have deliberately chosen to focus on the differences between various philosophical positions. From this focus, we believe we can offer a clearer under-standing of the empirical behaviour of software as viewed from particular philosophical positions. Since the em-pirical evidence does not favour any single position, we conclude by arguing for the validity of ad hoc approaches to software design which we believe provides a stronger and more theoretically grounded approach to software design.

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