Unity and pluralism

Midgley, G.R. (1992). Unity and pluralism. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)

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Abstract

The central theme of this thesis is methodological pluralism in systems science: that is, how it might be possible to draw upon different systems methods that are traditionally thought to be based in incommensurable paradigms. The thesis is split into three sections. Section One begins by reviewing ideas about pluralism as they have been expressed in the literature on Critical Systems Thinking. This section also sets out the basic 'problem' pluralists have to deal with - that the approaches drawn upon are usually thought of as philosophically contradictory. An initial (partial) resolution of the problem is presented. Section Two takes a step back in order to examine why the focus upon pluralism is important. Here the social and ecological contexts of the debate are explored. It is discovered that many of the issues we are currently dealing with in systems science, especially complex global issues, can only be dealt with adequately through a pluralist research practice. Section Three looks at the implications of these social and ecological arguments for a pluralist systems science, and reexamines some of the philosophical ideas lying behind Critical Systems Thinking. Through this reexamination a different understanding of ontology begins to emerge. Having developed a set of interlinked arguments ranging from the ontological to the practical, the thesis concludes with an assertion that pluralism is actually necessary for the continued legitimation of systems science.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Divisions: School of Social Sciences
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/7893

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