Understanding artefacts related to human aspects: The case of information technology and systems


This article has two aims. One is to critique and expand Stafleu's ideas about artefacts. The other, which may be seen as a demonstration of this expansion, is an outline of a rich view of the type of artefact that is information and communication technology (ICT) and its use in human life as information systems (IS). ICT is a kind of artefact that is more complex than those covered by Stafleu’s idea, and it has been considered in at least five ways: the artificial intelligence question of what is the computer, the computer question of the generation of software libraries, the question of how to develop good information systems, the question of benefits and harm when using ICT, and the question of impact that ICT and society have on each other. An important sixth question is about the varied nature of research into all the above, which goes beyond Stafleu’s idea of scientific research to include design, interpretive and critical research. For each of these questions, a brief outline of mainstream approaches is followed by an approach based on various parts of Dooyeweerd’s philosophy. The final two sections consists of a discussion of the assistance that Dooyeweerdian philosophy can offer in these six areas and, in turn, how research in these areas might contribute to Dooyeweerdian philosophy.