Over the past two decades, academic economics has undergone a mild revolution in methodology. The language, concepts and techniques of noncooperative game theory have become central to the discipline. This book provides the reader with some basic concepts from noncooperative theory, and then goes on to explore the strengths, weaknesses, and future of the theory as a tool of economic modelling and analysis. The central theses are that noncooperative game theory has been a remarkably popular tool in economics over the (...) past decade because it allows analysts to capture essential features of dynamic competition and competition where some parties have proprietary information. The theory is weakest in providing a sense of when it - and equilibrium analysis in particular - can be applied and what to do when equilibrium analysis is inappropriate. Many of these weaknesses can be addressed by the consideration of individuals who are boundedly rational and learn imperfectly from the past. Written in a non-technical style and working by analogy, the book, first given as part of the Clarendon Lectures in Economics, is readily accessible to a broad audience and will be of interest to economists and students alike. Knowledge of game theory is not required as the concepts are developed as the book progresses. (shrink)
Mapping the resonances, dissonances, and linkages between the thought of Gramsci and Foucault to uncover new tools for socio-political and critical analysis for the twenty-first century, this book reassesses the widely-held view that their work is incompatible. With discussions of Latin American revolutionary politics, indigenous knowledges, technologies of government and the teaching of paediatrics in post-invasion Iraq, complexity theory, medical anthropology and biomedicine, and the role of Islam in the transition to modern society in the Arab world, this interdisciplinary volume (...) presents the latest theoretical research on different facets of these two thinkers’ work, as well as analyses of the specific linkages that exist between them in concrete settings. A rigorous, comparative exploration of the work of two towering figures of the twenty-first century, Gramsci and Foucault: A Reassessment will appeal to scholars and students of social and political theory, political sociology, communication and media studies, and contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
This is a book about evolution from a post-Darwinian perspective. It recounts the core ideas of French philosopher Henri Bergson and his rediscovery and legacy in the poststructuralist critical philosophies of the 1960s, and explores the confluences of these ideas with those of complexity theory in environmental biology. The failings in the development of systems theory, many of which complex systems theory overcomes, are retold; with Bergson, this book proposes, some of the rest may be overcome too. It asserts that (...) Bergson’s ideas can further our understanding of evolution, and of complex systems, and aid the work of scientists working in the field of ecological complexity. See http://www.creativeemergence.info/ for more detail and sample chapter. "The claim is that Bergson's notions of duration and élan vital resonate with and provide interesting metaphysical speculations complementing a process structuralist biology of the Goodwin and Kauffman stripe. This is certainly provocative and worth further thought. The key claim is that the openness and unpredictability of systems "at the edge of chaos" (where a system can be said to "choose" at bifurcation points in its state space) meets the Bergsonian desideratum of an open universe that takes irreversible time and evolutionary difference seriously. In particular, Kreps stresses the way Bergson's insistence on the differentiating force of élan vital (which Kreps successfully defends from the charge of a substantialist vitalism along the lines of Hans Dreisch) puts him in line with those who see natural selection as a secondary pruning of a primary differentiation." -John Protevi, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2016.01.20 'This is no ordinary introduction to Henri Bergson. What David Kreps' excellent study gives us is Bergson, complexe: first, because there is no simple way to take (or leave) Bergson's ideas - his thought of durée, élan, and 'multiplicity' demands the most subtle and nuanced reading to give them their full justice; and second, because only by intertwining his ideas with the most up-to-date research in systems thinking, complexity theory, and poststructuralism can we begin to understand their absolute contemporaneity. Kreps' work does all this and more: it gives us the Bergson we need for today.' -John Mullarkey, author of Bergson and Philosophy 'Kreps' book is a thoroughly researched and well-written work that shows how Bergson's philosophy of evolution and time can also reinvigorate our ideas about complexity and organization in the natural and physical sciences.' -Stephen Crocker, author of Bergson and the Metaphysics of Media. (shrink)
Against Nature – Chapter Abstracts Chapter 1. A Transdisciplinary Approach. In this short book you will find philosophy – metaphysical and political - economics, critical theory, complexity theory, ecology, sociology, journalism, and much else besides, along with the signposts and reference texts of the Information Systems field. Such transdisciplinarity is a challenge for both author and reader. Such books are often problematic: sections that are just old hat to one audience are by contrast completely new and difficult to another. My (...) hope is that in the interconnections, arguments and thrust of this polemic, readers will discover both interest and insight, alongside a range of new avenues to explore. This introductory chapter sets the scene – today’s digital world of Tech Giants and Fake News, its roots in the philosophical arguments of the 1920s, and the book’s key claims: (i) that the early 20th century philosophical grounding of today’s digital revolution is culpable in digital’s (growing) contribution to the ecological catastrophe unfolding in the 21st century; (ii) that process philosophy offers a new way to rethink that philosophical grounding, and reshape the digital revolution to support strategies to counter that catastrophe. Chapter 2. The Problem with Digital. This chapter begins with a brief overview of the research approaches in information systems as an academic field, before turning to the deeper roots of its malaise, in individualism, and its looming consequences. The three branches of Information Systems research, in academia, prove to be a useful lens through which to understand the field: Positivism, Interpretivism, and the Critical stance taken by this book. The ‘scientism’ at the root of positivism is examined, and the positivism in Information Systems critiqued as a historically contingent response to the ascendancy of a new brand of economics in Business Schools after the Second World War. But the computational market-fundamentalist form of economics sponsored in the 1950s (and applied by governments since the 1970s) centred around notions of the individual rational actor as an information processor. The philosophical underpinning of methodological and possessive individualism in this approach is exposed, and its influence upon the development – long before computing – of the science of ecology, and our notion of ecosystems, introduced. Chapter 3. The Future Does Not Exist. The philosophical core of the book, this chapter introduces process philosophy. Through an examination of the irreversible reality of subjectivity, Bergson’s famous notion of the durée reélle, and Whitehead’s critique of the bifurcation of subject and object, are introduced. The causally closed ‘time’ of positive science determines existence from the beginning to the end of the universe, be it three seconds or three trillion years. But the reality, of course, is that the future does not exist: our choices are real, and only one of myriad potential futures comes into being at each moment. As Bergson insists, durational succession exists, I am conscious of it; it is a fact. Bergson’s star – once the brightest of any living philosopher in the world – faded almost as quickly as it rose, under the onslaught from the logical positivists whose verificationism insisted that any proposition has no factual meaning if no evidence of observation can count for or against it: all ethics, aesthetics, romance, and metaphysics – and the very subjectivity with which duration is experienced - were thus closed down and dismissed. In this chapter it is reintroduced, to a new audience. Chapter 4. The World in a New Light. Many fundamental problems in the world can be seen as resulting from the false philosophy of bifurcation, fixity, and the reification of abstractions critiqued by process philosophy. Being – with all the isolation and focus upon the individual that it entails – must, if we are to address these problems, be seen as secondary to Becoming, with all the connection, interrelatedness, and complex collectivity that it implies. Choices become clearer, between positivism and interpretivism, between accents upon individualism or collectivism, between reductionist and complex adaptive systems approaches. The systemic individualism in Anglo-American societies can be regarded as actually harmful: the Tech Giants severing ties and bonds rather than connecting us; algebraic ecological models actually breaking the co-dependencies and co-requisites upon which real – complex - ecological health depends. Positivism, built as it is upon methodological individualism, seen in the light of process philosophy, becomes a danger to personal psychological balance – cutting us off from one another; a danger to the social fabric – undermining and impoverishing our civic life; and a danger to the ecological health of the planet – ignoring the immense (eco)systemic impact of our activities over the last centuries upon everything around us in the natural world. Chapter 5. A Theoretical Manifesto for Green IT. We are not islands, and in a process-relational social organisation much must be held in common. We are individuals, but we cannot survive alone. Four different perspectives on individualism show it to be little more than greed. An ecological economics reintegrating the household, the social, the supportive State, and – crucially – the life-giving earth into our polities is introduced and promoted. I introduce the concept of ‘Infomateriality’ – a non-bifurcated digital world where the physical bodies of people - fingers touching keyboards and eyes scanning screens - are as much ‘hardware’ as cabling, circuitboards and haptic interfaces, and the social practices, power relations, and embedded politics within IT artefacts define all such techné as fundamentally social. Abstract divisions are false, and whole, socially embedded systems should be the focus of IS, and from a philosophically and sociologically much deeper perspective. ‘Tech for Good’ is held up as movement in the right direction. My hope is that this book will help promote action, in the field of information systems, toward a better world, where Green Tech for Good is deployed for Nature, rather than against it. (shrink)
Provides a rigorous treatment of some of the basic tools of economic modeling and reasoning, along with an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of these tools Complements standard texts Covers choice, preference, and utility; ...
Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyse the broad phases of web development: the read-only Web 1.0, the read-write Web 2.0, and the collaborative and Internet of Things Web 3.0, are examined for the theoretical lenses through which they have been understood and critiqued. Design/methodology/approach – This is a conceptual piece, in the tradition of drawing on theorising from outside the Information Systems field, to shed light on developments in information communication technologies (ICTs). Findings – Along (...) with a summary of approaches to Webs 1.0 and 2.0, the authors contend that a more complex and poststructuralist theoretical approach to the notion of, and the phenomenon of Web 3.0, offers a more interesting and appropriate theoretical grounding for understanding its particularities. Originality/value – The discussion presages five further papers engaged with ICTs in a changing society, each of which similarly addresses novel theoretical understandings. (shrink)
This paper offers an introduction to poststructuralist interpretivist research in information systems, through a poststructuralist theoretical reading of the phenomenon and experience of social networking websites, such as Facebook. This is undertaken through an exploration of how loyally a social networking profile can represent the essence of an individual, and whether Platonic notions of essence, and loyalty of copy, are disturbed by the nature of a social networking profile, in ways described by poststructuralist thinker Deleuze’s notions of the reversal of (...) Platonism. In bringing a poststructuralist critique to such hugely successful and popular social information systems, the paper attempts to further open up the black box of the computer ‘user’, extend interpretive approaches to information systems research to embrace poststructuralism, and explore how notions of the Self might be reflected through engagement with information system (IS), and how an IS appreciation of the phenomenon of global social networking may benefit from embracing such a poststructuralist approach. (shrink)
This paper argues that the ubiquitous digital networks in which we are increasingly becoming immersed present a threat to our ability to exercise free will. Using process philosophy, and expanding upon understandings of causal autonomy, the paper outlines a thematic analysis of diary studies and interviews gathered in a project exploring the nature of digital experience. It concludes that without mindfulness in both the use and design of digital devices and services we run the risk of allowing such services to (...) direct our daily lives in ways over which we are increasingly losing control. (shrink)
This chapter focuses on Foucault, Butler, and video-sharing on sexual social networking sites. It argues that the use and prevalence of video-sharing technologies on sexual social networking websites has a direct impact on notions of sexual identity. Though sometimes pitted against one another and at times contradictory, the ideas of Michel Foucault and Judith Butler on the nature and expression of sexuality and gender identities in fact gel rather well, and both can help us to gain a deeper and more (...) rounded picture of the impact and importance of the burgeoning phenomenon of internet dating websites in general, and sexual social networking in particular. (shrink)
Implicit in the value sensitive design (VSD) approach is a concern for understanding, and where possible, disrupting problematic power relationships. Yet an awareness of the issues and ethics of power relations is a pre-requisite for such a concern to bear fruit. This article provides some insight into the issues, and through a case study of technology design to support care arrangements for age-related cognitive decline, illustrates how finding a satisfactory resolution can be particularly troublesome.
Abstract Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to respond to Burmeister’s paper on Professionalism in information and communication technology. Design/methodology/approach – This is a short and simple response to an issue that seemed central to Burmeister’s paper. Findings – A key conundrum between the definitions of professionalism and corporations needs addressing. Originality/value – This conundrum is a global political situation outwith the ability of the profession to address.
This paper presents a conception of personhood as both physical and social, and both as radically contingent upon their respective physical and social environments. In the context of age-related cognitive decline it supports literature suggesting social personhood is occluded rather than deteriorating with brain function. Reviewing the literature on value sensitive design (VSD) as applied to assistive technologies for people with age-related cognitive decline, it finds an exclusive focus upon physical support. The paper concludes that issues of power must be (...) grasped by those in VSD practice in order to reorient VSD in assistive technologies to support social personhood in those with age-related cognitive decline. (shrink)
This paper draws upon the work of three different philosophers, from America (Thomas Nagel), France (Henri Bergson) and Britain (Alfred North Whitehead), to argue for (i) the reality of subjectivity, (ii) the nonphysical nature of subjective consciousness that is dependent upon but not determined by the physical nature of the body, and (iii) the potential unity of a new concept of nature-on-the-move, as distinct from the bifurcation of nature that views only the objective as real. It then presents arguments for (...) new understandings of positivism, interpretivism and the critical stance, in a unified and more coherent frame, going beyond Habermas, Foucault and Bourdieu, to a more fundamental understanding of the philosophical context, situating IS within a more inclusive concept of nature. (shrink)
This paper introduces the concept of ‘skeuomorphic reassurance’ as a guiding principle for human interfaces in technological development and design, particularly for older people and people with dementia (PwD). Skeuomorphs exhibit decorative design elements reminiscent of ‘parent’ objects that incorporated such design elements because they were structurally integral. Human interfaces adopted by new technologies need to be carefully balanced between novelty and recognisability. -/- The philosophy of personhood is discussed in the context of dementia, concluding that the subjective character of (...) conscious mental processes is an irreducible feature of reality, and that the persistence of personhood in PwD constitutes a further argument in support of this assertion. -/- Assistive technologies that aid family and carers, as well as PwD, and their relationships, need to ensure that skeuomorphic reassurance is incorporated in their design, not least because older people and PwD need recognisable interfaces today, but, as this paper argues, because the problems today’s over-65s have with digital technologies may quite likely not go away, but re-present themselves generation after generation, unless skeuomorphic reassurance is built into their design. (shrink)
This three volume set contains papers presented at the Seventh World Congress of the Econometric Society. The first volume contains three papers presented at the Seventh World Congress of the Econometric Society which summarize and interpret key recent developments and discuss current and future directions in a wide range of topics in economics and econometrics. They cover both theory and applications. Authored by leading specialists in their fields, these volumes provide a unique survey of progress in the discipline. The second (...) volume comprising three papers which examine the latest developments in economic theory, applied economics and econometrics presented at the Seventh World Congress of the Econometric Society in Tokyo in August 1995. The topics were carefully selected to represent the most active fields in the discipline over the past five years. Written by the leading authorities in their fields, each paper provides a unique survey of the current state of knowledge in economics. Designed to make the material accessible to a general audience of economists, these volumes should be helpful to anyone with a good undergraduate training in economics who wishes to follow new ideas and tendencies in the subject. The third of three volumes contains papers presented at the Seventh World Congress of the Econometric Society. The papers summarize and interpret key recent developments and discuss current and future directions in a wide range of topics in economics and econometrics. They cover both theory and applications. Authored by leading specialists in their fields, these volumes provide a unique survey of progress in the discipline. (shrink)
This book introduces an events-based approach to understanding digital experience. Focusing on the event-ontologies of Bergson and Whitehead's process metaphysics, it explores subjective experience and objective reality as unified 'events' in the form of concrete slabs of existence. Such slabs are temporally defined by a term or period, in which all physical-chemical processes and personal subjective experience are included. Bringing together insights from a range of different specialisms, it urges us to consider a science of nature that includes both physical (...) and non-physical realities and, from this ontological position, draws on philosophy, media, and user experience practice to provide a new account of the technological or virtual world of today. An examination of the manner in which process philosophy may be applied to contemporary digital experience, this volume will appeal to scholars of philosophy, science and technology studies and information systems. (shrink)
The phenomenon of ‘Deep Learning,’ which has given us such science-fiction-like innovations as self-driving cars, as well as visual search tools in photographic applications, is a new form, and subset, of ‘Machine Learning’ made possible by very recent innovations in computing. Machine Learning itself has been around for some decades – essentially pattern-recognition software that requires very substantial computing resources, which were, until recently, mostly theoretical and hard to come by. Machine Learning was one avenue of the field of Artificial (...) Intelligence known as Narrow A.I. – the kind of ‘artificial intelligence’ that was strictly limited in scope as a first-steps starting point of what came, as a result, to be known as General A.I. General A.I., known then as simply, ‘Artificial Intelligence’, was the 1950s dream that brought us such things as Robbie the Robot, and more recently C3PO, and The Terminator: the kind of science fiction characters that remain the only manifestations of General Artificial Intelligence. -/- ‘Deep Learning’ also continues engineering’s 1940s trend of using language in a way that I will contest in this paper: a co-opting of words that have been used, in the past, to describe human activities, using them instead to describe what engineers have managed to make machines do. These co-optations reduce the richness of the word, making its referent an algorithm: a flow diagram that represents the bare essentials of what an engineer can understand and reproduce of a human activity; not the human activity itself. This diagram of the ‘engineering possible’ over-simplifies the human activity it tries to depict. With continued usage, the meaning of the word for us today has all-too-often become reduced to what the engineer has newly defined it to mean: something much less than it once was. -/- In this paper I attempt to roll back some of these co-optations, and to re-introduce some of the richness of the words that have been taken by engineering. I examine Turing’s seminal paper on the notion of a thinking machine. I use the philosophical insights of Henri Bergson, especially in his book, Matter and Memory, and the discoveries of neuroscience and complexity scientists. I try to show that the answer to Turing’s question, ‘Can machines think?’ remains a resounding, ‘No!’, and that notions such as ‘deep learning’ are in fact not only an inaccurate use of the very human experience of learning, but degrade the latter in using such a term. (shrink)