Soft systems thinking in the ‘Information Age’

Frank Stowell

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Abstract

Many of us are in a state of information overload. We are overwhelmed with ‘information’ in all its forms each day. Information overload prevents us from thinking about it in a rational way. In this paper I consider if the ideas underpinning soft systems can help to create a ‘firewall ’ between being subsumed by the sheer weight of information and evaluating what it contains. To do this I return to the notion of phenomenology that underpins soft systems thinking. Phenomenology is that realm of intentional consciousness that enables the phenomenologist to develop a radically unprejudiced justification of their basic views on the world and of himself and explore their rational interconnections. Similarly, in soft systems we acknowledge that reality is formed by sensation and fashioned by experience. It is not exclusively a process of thought, (although this may shape how we process our experience), for us the world exists as the result of a subjective appreciation of it. In this paper I explore how soft systems thinking through the ‘method’ of phenomenology might be a valuable skill in coping with information overload.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-75
JournalThe Systemist
Volume41
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sep 2020

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