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Subject:

Re: The Canon and other questions

From:

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Reply-To:

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Date:

Mon, 18 Sep 2000 13:38:08 +0200

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Dear Rosan and all,

My advice to be multidimensional and look at the controversies in the field
does not mean that you should not also become familiar with the main
paradigm of your field and your specialization within that field. It means
the opposite - and is certainly not an easy way out - rather the opposite.
First you have to become familiar with grounded theory and established best
practice (or canons if you like), and understand the value system it is
based on. Only then will you be able to question the established together
with others who do so - effectively looking for and understanding emerging
paradigms.

Unfortunately, regardless of how much you read, regardless of how aware you
are of the frontiers of knowledge and trends in your field, your insight
may not make your choice of reseach easier. The only thing you do avoid is
to start researching on something solved by others. Who said the world
becomes easier given more knowledge? Even if you become wise, the world may
still not be easy, but at least you can relate to that.

Canons imply in my world that something is morally right. As such it has a
dimension that may not be explicit in terms like core, grounded, etc. As
such the term canon may be better simply because the chances are that you
relate to the implicit values rather than taking them as granted or never
becoming aware of what they are. As I mentioned in an earlier posting on
this list, we became so concerned about the level of egoism and amorality
of our students (and som of our faculty) at the Norwegian School of
Management as judged by the majority of our society, that we enlisted the
Norwegian Theological Seminar (education for the clergy) to help us learn
theories of ethics and philosophy, so that we become better at identifying
and discussing moral dilemmas in all our teaching. We can then identify the
moral underpinnings of existing canons and competing paradigms. At least
our students become more aware of moral issues - but will they become more
moral as judged by our society? - who knows. At least we have achieved
acceptance by most that there are no theories that are truely objective and
free from value judgements, and that any prescription for arriving at
solutions are very normative indeed.

I read in the paper this morning that Norway was ranked 6th in an
international business morality survey out of 90 countries. Finland topped
the list. I don't know what criteria were used.......

In parting: As a doctoral student you are expected to set your own research
agenda, which of course includes your free choice to participate in a
research agenda set by others if you so choose - of your own free will. I
doubt that you need a canon of your own - that would only serve to smooth
your nerves. What you need is plenty of curiosity and the will to satisy
it! Remeber, research starts with questions, not full stops or exclamation
marks.

Be egoistic, but please do whatever you can to combat egocentricity - you
won't learn much from others if you think your own navel is the most
beautiful spot on earth. Good hunting for your personal agenda!

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]




Rosan Chow <[log in to unmask]>@mailbase.ac.uk on 16.09.2000 12:22:38

Please respond to Rosan Chow <[log in to unmask]>

Sent by:  [log in to unmask]


To:   [log in to unmask]
cc:
Subject:  The Canon and other questions


Thank you all for the discussion regarding the design canon's'. As usual, I
have only
questions that I would like you to help me with. If my questions are
'wrong' or 'useless',
please tell me, and better still tell me why.

Is the suggestion to 'read di versely and critically' a easy way out of the
painful
discussion of canon? Are 'core books' and 'core texts' more
politically-correct terms for
'canon'? If they are, are these just a disguise or a shield to avoid
attacks on a particular
canon? Stretch i ng this further, is this to avoid the examination of the
philosophical
priori on which the canon is based (refer to David Sless' comments)?

I appreciate everything that have been said about the pros and cons of a
canon, the
canon as a tool for commun ication and reflection, the danger of agenda
setting and the
importance of pluralism and diversity. While I was listening to the
discussion, I felt like
I was standing on a crossroad. But if I want to get somewhere, I need a
point of a
departure. I fee l a need to make a decision into which ideas I should buy,
without a
decision I can never find out if I am right or wrong, or worse, I can't
change my mind. I
need a canon!

Everybody is egocentric, as my psychology teacher likes to say. The danger
of d en ying
oneself being egocentric is that one doesn't examine the subjective self. I
see this as a
parallel to the denial of a canon, a denial of our subjective beliefs and
values which go
unexamined.

Thus my questions.

Thanks. Rosan


Rosan Chow
Grad uate Student
College of Design
North Carolina State University
? -







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