Pragmatism-Beyond Epistemology: An Ethical Approach to Systems Decision Process – John Vodonick: Journal of Organisational Transformation & Social Change 2016

Source: Pragmatism-Beyond Epistemology: An Ethical Approach to Systems Decision Process: Journal of Organisational Transformation & Social Change: Vol 13, No 1

Pragmatism-Beyond Epistemology: An Ethical Approach to Systems Decision Process

Pages 43-53 | Published online: 19 Apr 2016

Abstract

In 1965 Sir Geoffrey Vickers issued a challenge to the community interested in the exploration of human systems. That challenge was one of embracing the moral importance of responsibility; more to the point, the urgent need to develop an ethic of Systems Thought. Since that time Systems Thought has cautiously engaged the ethical question. It has done so through questioning the methodological purity of any particular inquiry; it has done so through critically engaging the boundary of any particular system and it has done so in the epistemological sense. That being said it has not confronted in a heroic sense the fundamental ground of the ethical question: ‘what is to be done’.

This paper demonstrates that Neo-pragmatism is the most appropriate approach to a decision making process within the context of Systems Thinking expressly because both Systems Thinking and Neo-pragmatism recognize the contingent nature of the phenomenal world and the modeling nature of both Systems Thought and Neo-pragmatism. Finally the implications of social transformation of Neo-pragmatism as the appropriate decision making process for Systems Thinking is discussed.

Additional information

Author information

John Vodonick

John Vodonick received his Juris Doctor degree (cum laude) from the Pepperdine University School of Law, as M.T.S. from the Pacific School of Religion and his Ph.D. from Saybrook University, School of Organizational Systems. Doctor Vodonick lives in Northern California and teaches, writes and consults on matters of organizational ethics, structure and change management.