Science has a crush on data: where is the information we have lost in the data?

Mark Henderson, Viktor Dörfler

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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Abstract

Philosophy is not the first to come to mind when we hear the notion of data. However, in this paper, we philosophise data, meaning, that we dig deep into philosophy in order to figure out how and why humankind elevated data to such a prestigious position that we do not believe it deserves. Our departure point is Russell Ackoff’s hierarchy of mental content types, which we supplement with a historical overview of the human (particularly scientific) thinking since the first industrial revolution. In a sense, we explore the origins of positivism. We synthesise the works of Michael Polányi, Theodore Roszak and Gregory Bateson to find a more meaningful position, in which data and knowledge are different but can (and should) coexist. With Jerome Bruner, we argue that data can be used to support and elaborate ideas or to serve as sources of ideas – but ideas do not come from data.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2021
Event35th Annual Conference of the British Academy of Management - Online
Duration: 31 Aug 20213 Sep 2021
https://www.bam.ac.uk/events-landing/conference.html

Conference

Conference35th Annual Conference of the British Academy of Management
Abbreviated titleBAM 2021
Period31/08/213/09/21
Internet address

Keywords

  • data
  • information
  • knowledge
  • science
  • positivism
  • meaning

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