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A Teleological Approach to Information Systems Development

A Teleological Approach to Information Systems Development
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Author(s): John M. Artz (George Washington University, USA)
Copyright: 2001
Pages: 4
Source title: Managing Information Technology in a Global Economy
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-930708-07-5.ch055
ISBN13: 9781930708075
EISBN13: 9781466665323


In this, very revealing, Platonic dialog, Socrates faces the sophist Gorgias who is a well-respected public speaker and teacher of rhetoric. Often Gorgias will give a speech in a public place and the Athenians will shower him with praise and money for his efforts. Socrates does not accept money for his teachings, because his only goal is the pursuit of truth, and the scene is set for a showdown between the two. Socrates begins by asking Gorgias who he is. Gorgias responds that he is a teacher of persuasion. The conflict in the dialog is that Socrates is a seeker of truth. He wishes to understand the true nature of concepts such as justice and virtue. Gorgias is a teacher of rhetoric. He believes that there is no truth - that you can convince anybody of anything. Socrates asks Gorgias to give him an example in which persuasion has value. Gorgias says that his brother is a physician and often has to convince his patients to undergo unpleasant treatments for the sake of their health. Socrates asks Gorgias, “What do you persuade the patient to do?” Gorgias responds “Whatever my brother wants the patient to do.” There is a moment of realization as Gorgias sees that his art is all technique. While Gorgias is a master of rhetoric and can convince anyone of anything, he is lacking in the knowledge of what he should be persuading people of. He is diminished next to Socrates who is attempting to find out how things should be. While the rhetorical techniques of Gorgias are dazzling, they get him nowhere unless somebody else tells him what to do.

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