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Metadecisions: Rehabilitating Epistemology constitutes an epistemological inquiry about the foundations of knowledge of a scientific discipline. This text warns contemporary scientific disciplines that neglecting epistemological issues threatens the viability of their pronouncements and designs.

It shows that the processes by which complex artefacts are created require a pluralistic approach to artefact design.

It argues that viable solutions to fundamental problems in each discipline require cooperation, creativity and respect for contributions from all walks of life, all levels of logic and all standards of rigor - be they in the natural sciences, the social sciences, engineering sciences, management, the law or political sciences.
Several true cases, obtained from different walks of life are used to illustrate logic levels in problems and how the application of the process of modeling/metamodeling helps to conceptualize problem dysfunctions and to convert decisions into metadecisions.

Ten cases spanning subjects like Doctor Assisted Suicides (DASs), Advising Women on The Risks of Mammograms, a Deregulation Crusade, The Crash of TWA Flight 800, The Control of The World Wide Web, The Creation of the US Department of Homeland Security, among others, are used to illustrate the application of the metasystem framework to increase knowledge and meaning of fundamental problems.

The design of any human activity requires the intervention of several inquiring systems where the manager, the engineer, the scientist, the lawyer, the epistemologist, the ethicist and even the artist contribute to shape how problems in the real-world are formulated, how decisions/metadecisions to solve problems are taken, and finally, how actions are implemented.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. A Pluralistic Approach to Artefact Design

Abstract
The design of any human activity requires the intervention of several different inquiring systems where the manager, the engineer, the scientist, the epistemologist, the ethicist and the artist, contribute to shape how problems in the real-world are formulated, how decisions to solve problems are taken, and, fmally, how actions are implemented.
John P. van Gigch

Chapter 2. Abstraction, Representation and Metamodeling

Abstract
The process of abstraction is used to conceptualize the logic levels of a problem and the epistemological foundations of system design.
John P. van Gigch

Chapter 3. Levels of Logic in a Problem

Abstract
Chapters 3, 4 & 5 are devoted to illustrate the process of PROBLEM DEFINITION AND FORMULATION
  • Chapter 3 -- LEVELS OF LOGIC IN A PROBLEM--covers the process of inquiry to examine how the meaning and significance of PROBLEMS change with logic level and how decisions become metadecisions
  • CHAPTER 4--COGNITIVE FUNCTIONS. A HIERARCHY FOR KNOWLEDGE AND MEANING ACQUISITION--describes how decision makers use cognitive functions to enhance the understanding and meaning of problems they confront
  • Chapter 5 -- THE USE OF COGNITIVE FUNCTIONS TO DEFINE AND FORMULATE A PROBLEM--covers the process of inquiry to examine how the meaning and significance of PROBLEMS change with the application of various cognitive functions. This process is illustrated with sample cases
John P. van Gigch

Chapter 4. Cognitive Functions

A Hierarchy for Knowledge and Meaning Acquisition
Abstract
The cognitive functions reviewed in this chapter are instrumental in the acquisition of knowledge and in the apprehension of meaning.
John P. van Gigch

Chapter 5. The Use of Cognitive Functions to Define and Formulate a Problem

Abstract
What constitutes a PROBLEM?
John P. van Gigch

Chapter 6. The Paradigm of the Physical Sciences

A Comparison of Two Paradigms: Part I
Abstract
Chapters 6 & 7 must be read together.
John P. van Gigch

Chapter 7. The Paradigm of the Social Sciences

A Comparison of Two Paradigms: Part II
Abstract
The present chapter is devoted to the epistemology and knowledge characteristics of the “new” social sciences.
John P. van Gigch

Chapter 8. The Process of Quantification

Abstract
In the last few decades, most social sciences disciplines have attempted to develop problem solving methodologies which are based on mathematical modeling and quantitative approaches.
John P. van Gigch

Chapter 9. The Neglect of Epistemology

Abstract
The NEGLECT OF EPISTEMOLOGYrefers to the lack of concern by scientists for epistemological issues.1
John P. van Gigch

Chapter 10. The Paradigm of Information Sciences

Abstract
In this chapter the concepts of PARADIGM, SCHOOL-OF-THOUGHT, and METAPHOR, which help to identify the characteristics of a scientific discipline, are introduced and explained.
John P. van Gigch

Chapter 11. Ethics

Abstract
This chapter grapples with the following question:
“How can ethical guidelines for humankind be designed so that actions to build artefacts are moral beneficial for all concerned and cause no deliberate harm?”
John P. van Gigch

Chapter 12. Aesthetics

Abstract
TheAesthetic (as well as one of the Ethical Imperatives) are categorical. After all other imperatives are satisfied, an artefact must satisfy th eAesthetic Imperative---ithas to be beautiful.
John P. van Gigch

13. Epilogue

Abstract
It is the author’s contention that the conception and creation of artefacts require not only the contributions of designers, scientists, and epistemologists, but also that of lawyers, politicians, ethicists and artists who span the widest spectra of abstraction and logic.
John P. van Gigch

Chapter 14. Glossary

Abstract
The definitions given below correspond to their meanings in this text and may not agree with definitions found in ordinary dictionaries. Below, words defined in this Glossary appear in bold type.
John P. van Gigch

Backmatter

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