Dialectics deals with problem resolution in a different way. It is best called the study of opposites or contradictions. These opposites are mutually exclusive and in essential negation to each other. However, they are at the same time, strangely enough, interconnected with each other. These opposites should not be thought of as stationary. In fact, they should be considered “as being dynamic and active, making transitions into each other. A particularly transparent illustration of dialectics is time, in which past and future can be taken as opposites, with the present being the transition of one into the other.
” (Baaquie, B, Pg 1)) The aim of the Dialectics method is to try to resolve disagreement of contradictory viewpoints or data through rational discussions. Linstone and Mitroff (1995, Pg 79) make the point that “the guarantor of this system is conflict. It is hoped that as a result of witnessing an intense, explicit debate between two polar positions that the observer will be in a much stronger position to know the assumptions of the two adversaries and as a result clarify his or her own assumptions.
… also … that the observer or decision-maker will be in a stronger position to form his or her own position on a key issue. ” 1. 6 Unbounded Systems Thinking The four methods of enquiry discussed until now approach problem solving in different ways. The first three models deal with problem solving in an apparently objective cut and dry manner where intangible inputs are rejected outright. While the Multiple Realities model does take account of many inputs and synthesizes them with human interference, it still depends upon a mathematical model to arrive at the outcome.
The first two models are best structured to rigid and easily structured problems, such as are regularly encountered in the physical sciences and mathematics. The Multiple Realities model is able to take account of many inputs that may be encountered at the time of constructing a problem, issues that make a problem messy, and synthesizes these into one input from which the operator is able to generate a logical solution. It however needs a human interpreter to analyze these many inputs and thus construct the input, which is then operated by the model to arrive at the solution.
The Dialectic method looks at a problem from an entirely different perspective and examines a problem from the opposites and contradictions it generates, most of which are connected to each other, and then tries to arrive at a solution. Inherently, the first three methods lend themselves to use in areas of sciences while the Dialectic method is ideally suited for the realm of social sciences and liberal arts. Linstone and Mitroff (1995, Pg90) try to bring in all the characteristics of the four discussed IS’s into one theory in an attempt to arrive at a holistic way of problem solving Necessary for today’s information age.
It recognizes that agreement, analysis and conflict are inherent components of complex problems and need to be considered together. It is also referred to as the Multiple Perspective Method. Three Perspectives coexist in this model, wherein a perspective is broader than a model-data coupling. The T perspective includes Agreement and Analysis. The other two perspectives are the Organizational and Personal perspectives. Thus, the O and P perspectives that bring in collective and individual human complexity augment the Agreement and Analysis modes.
However, even in this method it cannot be proved that the perspectives chosen are right and they are quite liable to change with time. Thus, the constraints with this method relate to the choosing of the perspectives and their subsequent integration. The guidelines that need to be followed for applying this method involve achieving a balance between the three perspectives, selection of perspectives, recognition of the difference between the T and O and P perspectives, paying attention to the cross-relationships between the perspectives and appreciating the dynamism of an environment.