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Comparing Uchiyama's View of SSM with Dooyeweerdian Thinking

Kenichi Uchiyama's Phd Thesis from the London School of Economics, "Reinterpreting Soft Systems Methodology (SSM): Introducing Actuality into the Field of Management and Information Systems Studies" was an excellent piece of work, suggesting that Japanese thinking might enrich SSM. He centred his thesis on Bin Kimura'a concept of 'actuality'.

As I started to read it, I found that it was in many respects very similar to Dooyeweerd's framework of thinking. I have sought, for my own clarification, to compare the two ways of thinking, and found many similarities, especially where they both distance themselves from normal Western thinking (whether of the positivist or interpretivist kinds). But I also found a number of differences. I present my findings (so far) as a table.

Uchiayama Dooyeweerd
High Level considerations
Eschews Realism very similar to Eschews Realism
Eschews Interpretivism very similar to Eschews Nominalism
Actuality identical to Functioning:
Everyday functioning,
in all aspects
Functioning as response to aspectual laws.
'Actual' self vs. 'Real' self similar to The Self, as functioning subject, vs. observed self as object
With respect to systems, Actuality =
"People as someone seeing the situation as something"
very similar to When I am in a situation, I (as subject) function in all aspects, and as part of doing so I can functioning analytically to see (distinguish) the situation as a thing.
'Actuality' as something 'collective' (or, at least, transcending the individual) similar to The aspects transcend the individual.
But the 'actual' self resides in the individual. very similar to Dooyeweerd's emphasis on the individual entity as the centre of meaningful functioning (rather than, for instance, the group).
Nature and Reality
'Nature' equivalent to 'The Creation'
'Reality' is thought of as 'things'. different from Temporal (created) Reality has two sides: Law side and Entity side.
'Reality' is connected with 'things' while 'actuality' is connected with action (cf. Latin roots for 'real' and 'actual'). similar to, but less precise than Laws (of aspects) govern (enable and make meaningful) the functioning of entities.
In contrast to Western thought,
emphasises 'actuality' over 'reality'.
very similar to In contrast to Western thought,
the Law side is prior to the Entity side.
'Reality' seems to be thought of in physical terms: physical things. narrower than 'Reality' is across all aspects, not just physical.
Human Functioning / Actuality
Western view: Rule over Nature
Japanese view: With Nature, Using Nature
similar contrasts to Immanence-Realist view: Nature as Object, human as separated subject
Dooyeweerd's view: Human as part of the Creation
- no equivalent But distinction is something we can make as part of our functioning in the analytical aspect.
"appearance in the immediacy of living"
seems similar to Everyday functioning,
as opposed to theoretical thinking
Emphasises the difference between 'real' and 'actual' self ... different Integrates subject and object ...
... yet sees subject-object division as ambiguous different ... while maintaining clear difference between them.
(Note: Dooyeweerd's view of subject-object differs from the normal view.)
Opposes the Western driving apart of subject from object. seems identical to Opposes the Western driving apart of subject from object.
Tends to see the non-physical aspect of 'acuality' (maybe to emphasise its difference from 'reality which is conceived as physical) different from Allows functioning in all aspects, including the physical. (Some entities are limited to physical functioning, e.g. a rock, yet it is still seen as functioning, that is a response to aspectual law.)
True actualization requires true realization.
(Hence distances itself from interpretivism.)
very similar to There is a reality that is independent of the Self, and which allows the Self to be. This side of reality is law-based. Functioning in the real world requires that laws pertain that are independent of us.
Interpretivism is "only interpretations" similar to, but less precise than Making interpretations is part of our functioning in the lingual aspect.
Emphasizes a mysterious 'between' ('ma'). similar and different The 'between' seems to be like an integration of all aspects.
This 'between' is inherently relational.
Opposes it to Western individualism.
very similar to Dooyeweerd emphasises relationship, a web of intertwinement that sustains all there is (in an aspectual way, not a pantheistic way).
On Weltanschauungen
Actuality does not see things via a Weltanschauung similar to Dooyeweerd claims Weltanschauungen are a product of immanence thinking and the absolutization of the analytical aspect of theoretical thought.
World view seems equivalent to Religious presuppositions
Holds that 'collective' world view (W3) is prior to individual world view (W2), in contrast to sociological assumptions that individual views are prior to, and group together to form, the collective view. similar to One of Dooyeweerd's important insights is that our religious presuppositions are prior to all theoretical functioning, and hence prior to our W2 world views.
Links W2 (individual world view) with 'real self' and W2 (collective world view) as 'actual self'. slightly similar to Self as both subject and object.
On Art
Sees world views etc. showing themselves in the way art is carried out. similar to Rookmaaker, using Dooyeweerdian analysis, showed that art follows philosophic presuppositions and world views.
Uchiayama sees all Western art as of the naturalistic type. narrower than Rookmaaker spans nearly 2000 years of art and many different types; Western art is of many types, each revealing a particular world view.
Explains listening to the whole of a piece of music (including memory of past sounds and anticipation of future sounds) as the whole residing between the 'real' space and the listener. ('Real' space is where physical sounds happen, and die away.) less precise than Explains listening to the whole of a piece of music as functioning in the aesthetic aspect, while hearing the sounds via the senses as functioning in the sensitive aspect and the vibrations of air etc. as functioning in the physical aspect.
'Actuality' is [involves?] the 'common sense' between the five senses (as in Aristotle). less precise than Everyday Functioning (equivalent to 'actuality') is in all fifteen aspects, of which sensory functioning is just one.

This page is part of a collection of pages that compare the ideas of the late Herman Dooyeweerd with those of Peter Checkland's Soft Systems Thinking, as part of an attempt to link Dooyeweerd's thought to that of various other thinkers. It is part of The Dooyeweerd Pages, which explain, explore and discuss Dooyeweerd's interesting philosophy. Email questions or comments would be welcome.

Copyright (c) 2002 Andrew Basden. But you may use this material subject to conditions.

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Created: 1999. Last updated: 20 November 2002. 17 June 2010 .nav, rid unet.