JiscMail Logo
Email discussion lists for the UK Education and Research communities

Help for PHD-DESIGN Archives


PHD-DESIGN Archives

PHD-DESIGN Archives


PHD-DESIGN@JISCMAIL.AC.UK


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Monospaced Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

PHD-DESIGN Home

PHD-DESIGN Home

PHD-DESIGN  2000

PHD-DESIGN 2000

Options

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password

Subject:

Queries on Klaus Krippendorff's response

From:

[log in to unmask]

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 20 Nov 2000 11:05:14 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (134 lines)

Dear Ken, Klaus and All

Ken and Klaus had a very interesting discourse on questions on theory last
week. I will pick up on one aspect, that of consent/shared theories in
small and larger groups versus individual theories.

Klaus asks, "does a theory have the consent of those theorized?" I would
add: Does the theory have concent by anybody? Who and who not?

Ken comments: Is this always necessary? How can one ask the consent of a
computer or a mathematical artifact or a series of artifacts?

Both assume that a theory may exist in the mind of one individual only, and
I concur. The theory will influence that individual's behavior and how
signals from the environment are interpreted. In more daily speech we would
say that theory constitutes a part of the (subjective) REALITY of that
individual. Thus a theory does not have to have concent to be a theory as
long as it meets other requirements of what constitutes a theory. Otherwise
it would be an incomplete or false theory, which would still constitute
part of the reality of that individual, who would experience surprising and
unexplainable signals from the environment given his/her reality.

If the theory is shared in a group (concent achieved), faulty or not, it
becomes a paradigm for that group. In daily language we would call it
FACTS. All members of that group would have similar inclinations for
interpreting signals from the environment, and similarities in behavior, to
the extent the individual interpretations and beliefs are contained in that
shared theory. Since individuals are capable of having many theories, the
shared theories may have any degree of overlapping in the group. That's why
we often have discussions trying to establish shared facts even in rather
homogenous groups. An example of this is the theory of the universe: "Earth
is the center of the universe" was for several centuries the paradigm of
the west european world, and it guided our behavior. Then somebody caught
up on the older Egyptian and Chinese (and at that same point in time the
arabic) theories that the sun is the center, and earth a sphere. Behavior
changed, and America was rediscovered by the west. The indians and the
Vikings of course knew about America's existence, but they called it by
another name. Trust the vikings to call it "Wine-land" (Vinland). Later the
theory of the center of the universe has changed several times: The center
is the center of the galaxy, the center of the center of the big bang, and
there is no center of the universe. Einstein theorized that if you travel
along a straight line in infinity, you will come back to your point of
origin - so where's the center and the boundaries in that theory? And the
discussion around theories of the universe goes on and on, and we
accumulate observations.

The fact that we have individual theories as well as individuals with many
theories at any one point in time establishes the belief that in any
individual and in any social group competing theories exist. Of course
different groups may have different paradigms (established facts) as well.
This is important for understanding and interpreting social and individual
dynamics (learning and behavioral theory fields). It makes life interesting
and uncertain, because phenomena and outcomes become unpredictable, changes
occur, and we can never be certain that what an indicidual thinks (s)he has
communicated is what the other(s) have received. Even the degree of concent
can be rather hard to establish both scientifically as well as in daily
life.

Since the world consists of more individuals and groups than one individual
can possibly have insight into, Ken is also right on another point:
Theories take on a life on its own to the extent that they are part of the
realities of some individuals and facts for some groups. At least this
reasoning should hold from the point of view of an individual who may not
share that theory or its life. It may in fact impact on that individual
without the individual being aware of it. I strongly believe that once a
theory is constructed it is a reality, but not a fact. It does not have to
be embodied in the material as long as it is embodied in somebody's neural
system. Often a theory is also embodied in the physical, like ink on paper,
codes on a hard-disc, etc. If it can be retrieved, it may be used and
impact the present and the future just as much as anything in the physical
world. Since theories are constructed and used by humans, it does not
matter whether it stems from observations of nature and the physical, or
from the purely mental and even the fantasy world.

In his latest e-mail Klaus also makes an interesting value judgement: We
owe to the other party to establish whether our theory about them has the
concent of the other party. In essence he is argueing for openness,
honesty, and a concertet effort for mutual understanding. It just happens
to be the main ethical underpinning of theories of constituent market
orientation (see my article in the La Cluzac proceedings - no. 57), and is
considered to be of great value for organizational learning as well. So in
prescriptive theories of good management, marketing, design(ing) and
related fields Klaus would receive plenty of support.

However, we do not have shared ethics in this world. Actually, there are
plenty of people with ethical theories of maximizing one's own good, or the
common good of my partners and myself, and to hell (the christian variety
of the most unpleasant) with third parties. One way of getting more for
oneself is to have superior knowledge of the other party (assymetry of
information and understanding). There are a great number of formalized
normative theories that assumes the opposite of what Klaus consideres to be
morally best. I'll mention a few: Entrepreneurship, Strategies for
competitive advantage, theories of making others dependent on you (many
fields/applications), theories of governance, etc. One of the most extreme
theoreticians of the latter is found in the book "The Prince" by
Machiavelli, written in the 1500s. I am just wondering if the design
profession's quest for unique theories in design and designing (only to be
shared by the members of the profession?), is profoundly machiavellian in
nature........based on "power to the designers".

So both Ken and Klaus are making some very important discussion points
here. If you have been an ardious and steady reader of the mails on this
list during the last few months, you will have seen a steady stream of
mails from me arguing ethics that are far removed from Machiavelli and
based on creating win-win outcomes: Talk with and work with people in other
knowledge fields, share our own knowledge with the others, don't isolate
yourself, expose your valuable knowledge to those who need your designs and
designing knowledge. Only then will you find out what your unique
contributions are, and others will enrich you and your own field. Even if
Ken correctly describes the world with its great variety, I go with Klaus:
Build a better world through sharing and seeking concensus, even if you
will not always reach your honorable goal.

Morally yours,

Brynjulf

Brynjulf Tellefsen
Associate Professor
Department of Knowledge Management
Norwegian School of Management
P. O. Box 4676 Sofienberg
N-0506 Oslo, NORWAY

Phone direct: +47-22985142
Via exchange: +47-22985000
Faximile: +47-22985111
Private phone/fax: +47-22149697
e-mail: [log in to unmask]



%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

JiscMail Tools


RSS Feeds and Sharing


Advanced Options


Archives

February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998


JiscMail is a Jisc service.

View our service policies at https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/policyandsecurity/ and Jisc's privacy policy at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/website/privacy-notice

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager