Andrew Basden, Philosophical Frameworks for Understanding Information Systems
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This is a most welcome (and much needed) book. The author’s main thesis is that computer scientists need philosophy, not so much as a generic reference point but as a working tool with which to construct better applications and gain better understanding of “the whole story that is information systems” (p. xiii). These claims are particularly interesting because they are not made by a philosopher but by a working computer scientist.
Basden finds particularly enlightening the framework provided by the Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd. Since Dooyeweerd is little, if not utterly, unknown to anyone except specialists, Basden offers an introduction to some of his ideas. To the natural question—why pick such an unknown figure?—Basden readily answers: because he has something unique to offer, something that no other philosopher has. Which makes the book even more interesting.
I shall organize my review as follows: first I shall provide a short description of the book’s organization; then I...